“How to Master Your Time,” by Brian Tracy
“My first loan couldn’t have been more than $200,000,” recalls Paul Cargal, 26-year-old loan officer/mortgage consultant with Metro Broker’s Financial, Atlanta, Ga., “But completing it was definitely nerve wracking because I wanted to make sure every little thing was done perfectly. I knew my performance would leave an important first impression.” A perfectionist by nature, Cargal sets lofty aspirations and says his main goal for his second year was to increase business by “providing one of the highest levels of service known in the industry.”
His ambition has certainly paid off in his second year, Cargal’s personal loan volume reached $27,000,000 with 210 closed loans. “He is one of our star originators and is very dedicated to his customers and to constantly finding ways to work smarter and help more people get into a home of their own,” remarked Judy Jones, vice president of Metro Brokers Financial.
Growing up in what he calls a “real estate family,” Cargal has always been interested in the industry but admits he wasn’t sure if he would ever make a career out of it. However, after graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in Business Management, Cargal landed a job as a pricing coordinator in the Secondary Marketing department at Banc Mortgage. The experience was invaluable to Cargal as a new originator and taught him a great deal about different product options and pricing out loans. “I ended up liking the mortgage business so much that I decided I wanted to try to become a loan officer myself,” says Cargal.
The opportunity came when Cargal’s father, a local real estate agent, introduced him to Lloyd Carver of Metro Broker’s Financial, one of the most successful loan officers in his state. The meeting evolved into a fruitful relationship as Cargal trained for eight months as his junior loan officer. “It’s important to have a mentor and I learned a lot from him [Carver],” said Cargal. “He taught me what programs to place borrowers in, how to market myself to agents and lend loans by beating other lender’s prices.”
Of his rookie year Cargal reflects back and says, “There is not one most memorable loan that I can remember in my rookie year. Anytime I can obtain a loan for a buyer who was previously denied a loan by other lenders is memorable. Meeting any buyer’s need for a loan is also memorable.” Today, the breakdown of his business consists of approximately 40 percent new construction, 40 percent re-sales, 15 percent investor and five percent refinances. However, Cargal is quick to mention that he does not market himself to any one group of customers. “My specialty is whatever matches my customer’s portfolio, whether that is an FHA/VA, Jumbo, First-Time Homebuyer, Sub-prime, C/P or investor loan,” he remarked.
Since his training with Carver, Cargal has gone on to originate for three of Metro Broker’s offices in Georgia—located in the cities of Buckhead, Stockbridge and Peachtree City. “It was difficult at first to manage my time between all three offices,” admits Cargal, “since I obviously can’t be in all three locations at once. But once I got all of the agents on a routine, letting them know what days I would be in each office and making myself readily available on the phone, it became a lot easier.”
Along with spreading his time evenly between three offices throughout his typical 50-hour work week, Cargal also helped his business grow by implementing a few of his own marketing strategies, the first of which includes speaking in front of agent caravan meetings. “I’ll speak about different loan programs at these events,” said Cargal. At the meetings Cargal also hands out V.I.P. gift certificates for a free appraisal or to Home Depot and says he garners a good response from this. Besides public speaking, Cargal also kept his name visible throughout his second year as an originator by sending out fliers for new listings/re-sales and calling agents/builders to see if there was anything he could do for them. “I currently also send out annual mailers to my past clients and letters with pre-qualification forms attached to them. Out of 200 solicitations I receive anywhere from two to three responses.”
Cargal credits his success to hard work, persistence, having a great processor and assistant and most importantly, the agents that put their trust in Cargal by giving him the opportunity to do business with them. He leaves the following advice for new originators. “Probably the most important thing I learned is better methods for moving loans through the loan process, for faster closings without delays,” commented Cargal. “These methods include quickly returning calls and getting pre-approvals as fast as possible to ensure nothing goes wrong.”