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TOM Talk Episode Six – Employee Interview with Ericka Thompson

We are so excited for TOM Talk Episode Six! Our President, Michael Kuentz interviews one of our Loan Processors – Ericka Thompson. Watch below – transcript added for ADA. We hope you’ll share these videos with your friends and tune in to learn more about our company and employees!

Transcript (Speakers: Michael Kuentz – President, Ericka Thompson- Loan Processor)

Words on screen; TOM TALK – POWERED BY TRINITY OAKS MORTGAGE

Michael Kuentz: Ultimately what I want to, what I’m, what I want to gain out of all of this is a more transparent, a healthier, you know, we, we were blessed to be named the number one place to work, but that’s a survey, right. I want to continue to see. It in action, not just on paper. I want to continue to see, you know, Ericka growing and developing in her career and, and then telling other people about this cause it’s truly the best game in town type thing.

Words on screen; TOM TALK – Let’s talk with… Ericka Thompson

Michael Kuentz: Hey, TOM family. Welcome yet again to another edition of TOM talk. And as I’m always excited each and every time I get to do this, I’m super excited because I haven’t seen Ericka in far too long. I feel like you know, when Ericka joined us, gosh, last year then COVID hit us. Right. And so it’s great to see her face and just get to talk with her.

But team we’re, we’re blessed to talk with Ericka Thompson today. Ericka is part of our operations team. And I’ve just enjoyed getting to know her, although it was short-lived when, when when we got to talk face-to-face and I learned about she’s like me, coffee is like you know, coffee has to be a certain way for us to drink it just right. Then you have your coffee the way you like it. Tell me about it. Tell us about your coffee.

Ericka Thompson: Well, I’ve changed now to a different. It’s I’m a woman and I’m allowed to change my routine. So, now I am taking it’s called elevate and it helps you with focus and to get started. And I add a little bit of dairy-free hazelnut to it.

And so it’s kind of, it’s really helped me. I’m not a morning person at all. So, it helps me to get going and to have more of a positive outlook.

Michael Kuentz: Good for you. That’s awesome. I know, I know that was a bit of a curveball, but I just recall that story of you and I meeting at the coffee.

Ericka Thompson: Yes. Seems like every morning.

Michael Kuentz: One of your first days, so, well, Hey tell us what you do for us.

Ericka Thompson: I am a loan processor for one of the greatest teams that I’ve ever worked with our leader, Kelly is awesome. And I think we have a great team of mature ladies. It makes a difference and no, not to younger people, but it just really makes a difference to work with more mature staff and you know, more understanding and we’re able to, you know, buckle down and know that we have a job to do so it’s been great.

Michael Kuentz: Yeah. That’s awesome. And you know you’re, you said it best right. Maturity in this industry is important. You know, you’ve got kind of the, been there, done that. You’ve seen it all. There are not many things that. That you haven’t been able to work through before and businesses that are growing need that type of maturity. But at the same time, what I love about it too, Ericka is when we do go and bring in. You know, folks that, you know, don’t understand that mortgage has two G’s in it, you become almost an immediate mentor because you’ve, you’ve been able, to work through all of those hurdles over the course of your career.

But I agree with you. We’ve got a tremendous, tremendous operations team in general and I was talking to Christine this morning about that as I. I feel like, you know, capacity where we’re looking good. Tenure, we’re looking good. Even folks that are growing up in the organization, they’re getting more confident and we’re starting to build some real stability and scalability too.

So. Yeah. So you’ve been with us for a year. And what a year that you joined, right. Had, I mean.

Ericka Thompson: I know.

Michael Kuentz: I mean here one, one minute, we’re in the coffee room and the next minute we’re remote. What have you experienced over the course of this last year?

Ericka Thompson: Well, I think the year has really taught me a lot.  As far as. The unknown and what you can and can’t handle. And then I’ve met a few new boyfriends along the way with the Amazon guy, the FedEx guy. Yeah.

Michael Kuentz: We know him by name don’t we?

Ericka Thompson: Yeah, I know him by name. Hey! The trucks that go down this street and during the beginning, my neighbor. On either side, one of us was getting a visit from one of those three companies every day, maybe from all three in a day. But yeah, it’s just really taught me of the unknown. And I’ve had so many friends who lost their jobs and to know that our business kept going was really a blessing because you think about the things that you were doing before that you could really do without.

You know, and it’s just really been a blessing. And so many lives were lost during that time. I’ve had friends in the beginning, it was kind of almost like, eh, it’s not real, it’s not going to happen. But then as time going around on Facebook, it would be, do you really know anybody who’s actually had COVID it took a few months.

I mean by the summer. And then surely by September, everybody knew somebody who had been affected by COVID in one way or another, whether there was a death or just being, you know, having tested positive from it. So it just really was an eye-opener and it taught us a lot of ways that we can do things whoever would have thought that so many things can be done via zoom or via video. There are so many adjustments that have been made.

Michael Kuentz: I agree. I, you know, it was we had to kind of trial by fire, right. Overnight. We go from a place where we liked coming into the office to now we need to make sure that we’re set up we’re secure. We’re able to do our jobs remotely, you know, in some respects.

I mean, I love the human interaction and I miss that on a more consistent basis. But in some respects, I think it forced our hand. To, to be ready for what the mortgage industry you know, is gonna move to, you know, more remote, more technology, more leaning on that, making our people better through the investment of technology.

And so I think in some respects, but you’re right, it was such a blessing to be. And essential business because there are so many folks who still to this day are trying to pick up the pieces. And so we can, we can thank our father for that. No doubt about it. Yeah.

Ericka Thompson: I think if this pandemic had happened 10 years ago, nobody would have been able to survive it. I don’t think technology just was not there. So I think God has his timing and everything. Even with this, you know, 10 years ago. It just would have wiped everything out. So everything is in his perfect time and I believe

Michael Kuentz: That’s good. I love it. So what is the, what’s the one thing that you wish you had known when you began your career?

Ericka Thompson: Oh, my gosh. I think, I mean, I started, I don’t want to date myself, but Kelly and I laugh about old things that we remember back in the beginning, but I think the main thing is to know that you can impact someone’s life either way, whether it’s, you know, getting them in that dream home. Or not being able to where you get, you know, halfway through the process or even at the end of the process.

And then something happens to where you’re not able to do that loan. And that’s happened to me several times, whether it’s a mistake on my end, companies end, or on the borrowers and where they go at the last minute and buy a home full of furniture and you don’t even have the house yet, or you, you know, you have a 30 day late and it just ruins the whole thing.

So, to know that you have someone’s life in balance and to have in the very beginning, I didn’t understand because I was not a homeowner, but having gone through the process yourself, it’s a whole different ball game you have. So your life is in limbo. You’re just waiting. You had your kids here, you got your husband.

You have movers, you have all this stuff, just laying in the balance, depending on this one transaction and you’re, their lives are in your hands and to not to be nonchalant about it is you just can’t be, it just can’t be. You have to put yourself in their shoes.

Michael Kuentz: Yeah, really it couldn’t be once again with our perfect timing of our Lord and savior. It’s you know, we just went through a rebranding, right? Trinity Oaks and, JHH went through a rebranding and our brand vision. Right. What you just talked about. It’s so critical that we’re joyful. We’re a hope-filled, loving guide throughout that because we’re in this business. We know it, we do it every day.

And sometimes, you know, we’re doing hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of these. But that one family on the other end is doing it one time, maybe three times in their life who knows. And we’ve got to remember that and we’ve got to be that joyful, hopeful, loving guide.

Ericka Thompson: And it takes a little bit of learning to get something out of a customer that you need. We want to hit our numbers.

Michael Kuentz: Yeah.

Ericka Thompson: They have their lives that they’re living and it may not be that important to them, but they still want to close. But they don’t realize, we need this, we need this. You know, you “Lady send me, what I need or you will not close,” but you gotta find better words to say it, you know, to get them to know the importance of it.

Because if you send it at the last minute and then we won’t meet your closing, but sometimes it just doesn’t seem that important to them.

Michael Kuentz: Who says you’re not in sales, right. You’re also, you’re making sure to keep the transaction moving and absolutely. And you’ve got to do it with balance and grace, all of that. So that’s good. So, what advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a career in mortgage similar to what you’re doing?

Ericka Thompson: I think it takes a lot of organization and balance because you have to be able to have so many different things going on in your head. Oh, and one thing for sure, for sure. I learned the hard way you have to be able to turn it off.

At the end of the day, when it’s over, it’s over. I would find myself early on in my career laying in bed in the middle of the night and waking up, going ah! Did I do this? Did I do that? I mean, I would constantly be thinking about it and thinking about and thinking about it, but it took time for me to say, no, I can’t. I have to cut this off and now live my life over here. Not saying that you don’t still think about it.

Michael Kuentz: Yeah.

Ericka Thompson: But you have to, you’ve gotta be able to divide that up. Be organized enough in your day. And when you’re closing out your day, make a list of what you have to do that next morning, but then once you close it up, you’re on with your family.

Yeah. You have to make that time, your family, your, your husband, or your kids, or whomever. And if you don’t have that just for your life, you have to be able to make that separation. So that’s what I would tell somebody. Don’t get too caught up in. You know, the number of files that you’re doing, just so you make a bonus or whatever, you have to still be able to balance your life.

What good is making the money, if you’re not going to be able to enjoy it with your family?

Michael Kuentz: Amen. A hundred percent.

Ericka Thompson: Yeah. Yeah.

Michael Kuentz: So, what, what are some of the best resources that you have found or that helped you along the way while you’ve been in this business?

Ericka Thompson: I think staying in contact with. All the employees or managers that I’ve worked with to see how different companies are doing things, or they may have heard something new that’s coming down the line, or you may have had a scenario at a previous company 10 years ago, but you still have the contacts and you can call them and say, Hey, do you remember when XYZ happened?

How did we handle that? Or what would you do if this situation came about? So, it’s really helpful to keep those good contacts from past companies to fall back on or just to go back and, you know, see how they would handle a situation. Or even if you have a difficult situation with an underwriter on making a decision, it’s good to bounce an idea off of another underwriter with a different company to see how they would look at it. So, a lot of underwriting is based on their opinion of the situation. Anyway.

Michael Kuentz: Yeah, no, that’s, I, I love that because and that’s anything in life right. We want to, we want to learn from experiences. We want to take our history with us and be able to then build networks around that and be able to, I call it my bat phone.

You know, I’ve got five or six people that I, you know, that I can get on speed dial. And my hope is I add value to them, but I know they add value to me. But you got to build that network. It’s so critical, so important because it can help you grow and develop. It can help us get deals across the finish line.

Maybe we didn’t think we could and help that family that we weren’t quite sure or not. So that’s really good, Ericka. That’s good. Well, I have to tell you, I’ve enjoyed this. I really, really have enjoyed seeing you. It’s been too long.

Ericka Thompson: Yes.

Michael Kuentz: And I look forward to the day that we can get at least maybe a few days in the office here again. But it’s a, it’s a real pleasure having you on this team. It really means the world to me to have you guys and you’re doing a great job obviously, and I look forward to just great things, for you and your time here. And great things for Trinity Oaks Mortgage.

Ericka Thompson: Thank you. I really enjoyed my time here and the people that I work with, most of all.

Michael Kuentz: Amen to that.

Words on screen; TOM TALK – Thanks for watching!

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END OF TRANSCRIPT

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