Top Producer Series:
2019 12-10 | NFM TV
He’s a real-life dual-threat. Since 2011, NFM Branch Manager Craig Kam has consistently been at or near the top of both the individual producer rankings and branch volume rankings. It’s for sure a lot to juggle. Hear how he does it and what his keys to success are, as he rounds out 2019 with our last installment of the Top Producer Series.
Full Transcript is Below:
- [Announcer] Executive leadership. Industry news makers. Top producer insights. This is NFM TV.
- Welcome to NFM TV. I'm your host Greg Sher. It is Top Producer Series time for the month of December. We've had 11 incredible segments chock-filled with great information for originators, and we round out the year with one of our own, Craig Kam, who is the branch manager for NFM Lending out of the Columbia and Bethesda area. Craig, thanks for being with us.
- Thanks for having me, Greg.
- Bring it up here. Gimme a hand shake, buddy. What a year it's been for pretty much everyone out there in the mortgage business, but you are very consistent year over year. This year, 60 million in personal production is what you are putting up. But wait, there's more. As a branch manager, your entire branch will close around 600 units for $175 million. You're a 27-year industry veteran. You've been at NFM since 2011. I've qualified you, the red carpet is out. Tell us, Craig, how in the world do you pull such big numbers while managing such a successful branch?
- Well, I'd like to say first, that this year has definitely been amazing. We've had an incredible year. Nobody could really have anticipated the amount of loans that we were gonna do. It's just incredible. As far as process, doing that many loans is really all about execution. It's about taking the customers in. It's about making sure that you have a very solid plan with what you're gonna do with them. Making sure you have milestones that you're gonna hit, and make sure that your team is really involved in every step so that you can make sure people close on time, and just do it in a professional way.
- All right, so let's peel some of that back now. Let's just talk about your personal production, 60 million in 2019. What does your team look like as we peel back the layers here? How many people are on it? What are their functions?
- So not including process, I have three people on my team. I have a person that will initially take customer's information that will help just explain to them the process, and make sure we really understand their goals. The second step would be really collecting their documents, analyzing their documents, and then making sure that they actually qualify for a loan. And then the last person I have is somebody that just goes contract to close. She's just dedicated after the contract comes in to make sure they close on time. I would like to add that in all those steps I'm pretty heavily involved. So, whether it's the initial call, or whether it's the review of documents, or structure of the loans, I really take a lot of ownership for that, because ultimately it's me who's kind of putting that out there.
- Is that a control issue, or a comfort issue, or maybe a little bit of both?
- It's a little bit of both.
- Okay. I, at the end of the day, whatever goes out the front door my name's on, so I gotta have some ownership of that, and people can help me through the process, but I really have to feel comfortable what we're putting out there.
- So it's safe to say you talk to every single customer that gets through your pipeline and closed?
- I would say that at some point I do. I like to have an initial phone call with the people, because it really does give me a clear understanding of what they are trying to achieve, and then the process can go from there. And I do really like to talk to them at the point where we're actually doing the pre-approval so we can kind of refresh what we said initially.
- I would imagine as a result of those relationships and those seeds that you planted, your referrals from people you've closed, probably a pretty good percentage of your business?
- Yeah, 90% of what I do is really referred in through either a realtor/source, or a previous customer.
- Yeah, how about past clients?
- Tons of stuff comes--
- Tons, okay.
- From past clients, yeah.
- So I mentioned you've been in the business 27 years, long time here, since 1993, and you've seen all kinds of changes with technology. I wanna know, if and how technology plays into your sales cycle?
- Yeah, technology, it's interesting. It really sped up the process. It really makes things that were complicated, and really time-consuming, just move in a much more efficient way. At the end of the day, we use a lot of the new technologies and a lot of people really like that. But I still really rely on some of the old ways that I did 20 years ago in terms of meeting people, talking to people, really having an initial conversation. A lot of people really do wanna have a conversation with somebody that they feel like they can relate to, somebody that, you know, has bought a house. I can bring my experience to, after 20 years I can bring a lot of experience to somebody that's buying a house, especially somebody for the first time. So I do rely on technology, but I definitely rely on just those old skills that I had, that I've always had.
- I wanna talk more about your structure, before we let you go. One of those guys that has a long list of agents, or someone that really focuses on a smaller groups of agents sending more. Which guy are you?
- I'm really in the middle, I have some, I deal some people that send me a lot of business. And then, over the years there's a lot of people that I'm just their go-to person, but they might not do a lot of transactions. But they remembered me, and they come back to me. So it's a real mix, but every month I definitely close a lot of deals with people that I've closed deals with the previous month or the month before that. But mixed in there is, there's agents that do a couple deals a year. I think people just wanna be able to go to somebody that they can really rely on, and rely on the process.
- How deep do you go with your agents in terms of relationships? Some people like to go on vacations and elaborate dinners, are you that guy or--
- Sometimes I am.
- Not that guy? The truth of it is is I think I have a natural curiosity about people and their lives and what they're doing. So I'm interested in what they have to say, and I'm interested in their just general what's going on in their life. And I think that comes through and it's not, I really am interested. So, I feel that people relate to that.
- Yeah, some people get into the business later in life. Very few people get into the mortgage business right out of college. You're the exception, right? You got right into the business--
- Pretty much out of school. How did it happen? Tell us how you fell into this business, and here we are 27 years later.
- You know, it just really happened by accident. I met a guy.
- I've heard that before.
- Yeah, I met a guy that was in the mortgage business. He looked like he was doing really well. I asked him what he did, and it didn't seem that complicated to me, and that's how I got into the business. I was 23, 24 years old.
- So you jumped right in.
- You been at NFM since 2011. Obviously you do substantial volume. I'm sure your phone rings all the time from people trying to recruit you. But yet you're still at NFM, you're such an important part of the fabric at this company. What has kept you at NFM?
- I think NFM has an interesting position in the market in terms of it's a pretty large company, and we get the advantages of being at a large company, but I think the management and access to the management is relatively easy to get to. So if you have an idea or thought and you wanna take it to the executives at the company, they will consider what you have to say and you can kind of present whatever your thought is pretty clearly to them and then they'll determine whether it's something that they wanna implement.
- What a year it's been. What a year it's been for you. What a year it's been for NFM TV, and we round out our top producers series with Craig Kam and a big, big thank you to you and continued success. We can't wait to see what you do in 2020.
- Thank you, Greg and it really has been an amazing year.
- All right, that's Craig Kam. I am Greg Sher from NFM TV. This rounds out an incredible year of top producers. We'll be back in 2020 with more. Happy holidays to you and yours. We'll see you then.