Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
I was recently thinking about the huge growth the Freddie Mac Small Balance Loans (SBL) business experienced this past year — both in the size of our team and our loan volume. The two undoubtedly go hand in hand. When we made the decision to take SBL full speed ahead, we knew we’d have to invest in our people to become really successful, and fortunately that is how it played out.
To clarify, that success is defined as funding over 2,600 loans – exceeding our target by 150 percent – executing a significant number of very-low-income (VLI) deals, and funding over $5 billion in financing in the two years since we started. Not too shabby for the new business line on the block, but it wasn’t by happenstance either.
It’s the People
The magic we’ve created starts with the people involved. It is about committed owners, responsible property managers, and honest brokers and lenders working together. Even after 37 years in multifamily real estate, I continue to be impressed with the quality and integrity of the people in this industry.
When we started funding small balance loans we had, and still have, a start-up mentality. We pursued new employees who were highly motivated and knowledgeable about the areas they represent and as a result of the crush of business, they were able to prove themselves both internally and with our customers. At the same time, we were vetting new customers and hosting training sessions every month.
Today, we have three regional production teams — East, Central and West — each with dedicated producers, underwriters and analysts. Their experience today is equivalent to that of a much more mature program. The relationships established have allowed us to continue to grow and to expand our footprint.
Character is Key
As we approach the end of 2016, I’d say battle-tested and hardened is a fair assessment of our production team. Despite the newness of our team, their performance shows they are as seasoned as those who have worked in the industry much longer. That experience includes over 3,000 loans that have moved through our pipeline, the thousands of other deals that were reviewed, the miles traveled, the deals priced, the packages assessed, and the endless stream of emails and texts they navigated. The SBL production team has met and addressed the challenges that come with building a new platform and being part of a competitive landscape in small apartment lending. Our team of seven producers and seven analysts have worked to eliminate bottlenecks by empowering the regions, creating checks and balances, and building accountability.
From Dream to Reality
Whether my day starts with a cup of coffee at my desk or a TSA security line, I know that it will be a good day because of the people I work with. This group of talented professionals show enthusiasm for the work, their colleagues and their customers that is infectious. I want to have their backs because I know they have mine. It is humbling to work with them, and I can’t wait to see what we’ll accomplish in 2017!
Discussions on owning or renting a home, the housing market and housing finance.