For many top mortgage producers, it takes a small army to help run their business and shut down their loans. Karen Dulmage from the NFM Family of Lenders and Main Street Home Loans is a bit of a throwback in that way. She’ll approach 100 million in closed loan production in 2020 . . . with 1 extraordinary assistant by her side. Her enormous success has thrusted her into the spotlight as NFM TV’s Top Producer for the month of October.

Full Transcript is Below:

– Welcome to our Top Producer Series for the month of October, 2020. I’m Greg Sher, and we’re gonna go down to Pinehurst, North Carolina, NFM family of lenders, Karen Dulmage, who is a Branch Manager for Main Street Home Loans, Main Street has just taken the industry by storm. Karen Dulmage is a big reason why, thanks for being with us, and agreeing to be our Top Producer for the month of October, Karen. How are you?

– I’m doing well. Thank you so much.

– It’s great to have you here. We’ve got so much ground to cover. Let’s start with how you got into the mortgage business at the age of 19. Almost unheard of. Tell us about it.

– My mother was an operations manager for many years. She did some time in sales once upon a time, and so I guess I just kind of fell into it. Did some post-closing work, some closing, and then when I graduated, with a degree in a completely different field, I ended up going into sales.

– So Karen, in 2019, you closed 53 million, this year, 2020, you’re approaching 100 million. We’re in the middle of a refi craze, I know you’re a very big purchase originator, how have you been able to balance all that and the craze that is low interest rates?

– Very little sleep, really. So just trying to juggle all the clients right now and keeping our business partners happy. It has been a little bit of a challenge this year with volumes so high. It’s myself and my team member, Kim Sutton, she manages the production on our team, and she’s a godsend, so she’s been with me going on eight years and I owe a lot of credit to her because she helps keep me sane, and helps us keep all the balls in the air.

– Can you talk a little bit about the environment at Main Street and how it has helped you skyrocket your volume?

– Mike Farrell and Darran Anthony, I’ve known them for many years, and Mike’s been probably one of my bigger mentors, I would say, in the industry. We’ve worked alongside each other since 2004. I came to work with him in 2011, and so when all of this kind of transpired and this vision came about, there was no other crew I would rather follow and get into business with because they are a huge support system for me.

– I see that at least twice a week, Mike takes the time, makes the effort to send a video out to all of the Main Street employees, giving shout outs, appreciating people, what does that do to assist in having a great culture?

– I think it’s absolutely kind of the cornerstone of it. I mean, we’ve got just such great team spirit and that’s because everyone is just so a part of it. And they can celebrate it. And, I mean our families, our kids, our animals, everybody’s kind of decked out in Main Street gear, because we’re so proud, together where everybody is part of it and everybody has a voice, which I just think resonates with the employees. And we just operate much more like a family.

– Speaking of family, I wanna talk about your husband for a moment, I know he’s Special Forces, has been in the Army now for 17 and a half years, first of all, thank you, thank him for his service, I know we all appreciate the sacrifices that he continues to make.

– Thank you.

– Tell us about him.

– He’s a huge part of my support system. He’s had a very successful career himself, Army Special Forces, and he’s kind of at the tail end of that, so I’m counting down the days, but he’s been a huge support and we just kind of take each day as it comes.

– A by-product of having a spouse in the military is that, sometimes moving is required. I understand you had to move a couple of times during your mortgage career, what was that like and how did you adjust?

– It was scary. The first time was 2013, and at that time I was kind of at a really good place in my career in the Northern Virginia Washington DC area, where I primarily born and raised that entire time, and my husband’s career took us to North Carolina, so leaving was, I was fearful, about what would happen to my career, but in hindsight, I think it’s been a huge advantage, to me and to my career, because I kind of took that same drive that you see in a major metropolitan area to this much slower pace community that I’m in now, and I think that’s helped me tremendously.

– 50% of your business, ironically, talking about your husband and Special Forces, military, people that have either served or are serving, have you always had such a big concentration on VA customers?

– So we’re in Pinehurst, North Carolina, about 50 minutes or so from, I believe the second largest Army base in the US, so we have a lot of military families here. We’re very invested in that community, we speak the language, so it’s just a very natural fit, so many of my real estate partners are actually spouses of active duty service members, so it’s just been kind of a natural transition into this world when we relocated here about seven years ago.

– Karen, I know that giving back is very important to Main Street and to you personally, you do work with the Habitat for Humanity and also Alzheimer’s, can you talk about why these are two causes that you champion?

– I’m on the Board here at our Local Habitat of the Sandhills, and I think it’s just, it translates very well into what I do in my career, is we’re still putting people in homes. So affordable housing is very much a necessity, and so I feel very passionate about that. And Alzheimer’s awareness, that was really a Mike Farrell passion, although it relates to me heavily because we have family members who we’ve lost to this disease, but he’s been a big, big supporter and has arranged so many successful walks and getting donations, and so we’ve kind of carried that torch down here into North Carolina, where we do the same.

– So Karen, before I let you go, give some advice to producers who are struggling to get above that three to five loan threshold, you’re obviously closing many more transactions than that, what hurdles did you overcome and what advice do you have to those people that are having a problem getting over the hump?

– So, I think if you can connect with business partners that you like, I’m very fortunate, most, all of my business partners, I consider them personal friends, I think life’s too short, you work with people that you like, and that naturally turns into a good working relationship.

– Karen Dulmage from Pinehurst, North Carolina, thank you again for agreeing to be our Top Producer for the month of October on NFM TV.

– It was fun. Thank you so much.

– All right, we look forward to following your continued ascent. I’m Greg Cher, we’ll see you again next time. Thanks.