Life can get tough at times. With piling demands and an ever-increasing inflation rates there can be a few times in life where you will need to borrow money for various reasons. Home loans is one of the most prominent of them all, or as you call it, mortgage. Financing through mortgaging can seem like a different ball game altogether. But with the right guidance from the right people, things can be straightened out.
Featuring for the Cover Story of The Enterprise World’s this issue of The Most Influential Women to Watch in 2022 is Mindy Rothenberger, finance expert helping people simplify mortgage.
Exceptional Leadership Of Mindy-
Mindy Rothenberger is the President and CEO at Southpoint Financial Services. Her vast experience in the mortgage and financial industry has proven to be a great catalyst to her success.
She entered the mortgage industry 26 years ago and worked her way up from the bottom, becoming the top producer in each job function along the way.
It is rare for an individual to have all the underwriting certifications and qualifications and have the same success as a top producer on the sales side. Her vast experience and knowledge of the underwriting guidelines gave her an edge when counselling mortgage loan borrowers in the purchase if a home, or the refinance of an existing home.
She quickly earns the trust of her borrowers as well as her industry peers, by delivering on every loan as she said she could.
“I am a hands-on leader.”
Mindy tries to understand each job function in the company and tries to reach the knowledge level to perform them. She feels it is important to understand each department’s challenges and how other departmental changes may have an unintended impact on another department.
As for the key skills, having started from the ground and up, the experience is invaluable. The amount of insight learned from years of preforming those tasks are invaluable. These experiences over the years helps Mindy to understand an employee’s struggle or complaint better than most leaders simply because she has done the job herself.
“For women in leadership the biggest lesson is speak less and listen more!”
It’s human nature for most to find a man who is strong or stern to be admired, yet as a woman if you use those same methods most people find the delivery to be rude or nasty. This is part of human nature as people often look to men leadership to be stern and strong.
The only motto that works for these situations is to choose words wisely by listening more and speaking less. When in a meeting, or presenting an idea, Mindy tries to be direct and to the point. As this is a chance where the other party can see the facial expressions and it makes everyone more aware of the intent.
Her Journey with Southpoint Financial Services Inc.-
Southpoint Financial Services was born in 1996 by two men who owned an insurance company that worked closely with local community banks throughout the Southeast. Through this close working relationship with these smaller banks, Larry Overby and John Murphy were able to identify a common complaint from each of them, the ability to offer mortgage products and services.
Although these community banks wanted to service all their customers’ financial needs in-house, most could not offer their consumers mortgage products. Through this need, it was decided to open Southpoint Financial Services allowing these banks the ability to service their own consumers’ mortgage needs.
Southpoint would give these banks the comfort of knowing their consumer would not be overcharged, and more importantly, their consumer would not be steered away from their smaller bank as Southpoint would only offer mortgage products on behalf of the bank. Thus, Southpoint Financial Services was born.
Overcoming the Challenges-
“The biggest issues were building our brand and trust.”
In the financial sector, trust is vital for success. Without it, most will not give your company the opportunity to participate in one of the biggest purchases of their lives. When people decide to buy a home, more often than not they have saved for a long time to enable them to purchase. They often have a vision or idea in their head of what the process will be like, therefore they are skeptical when delivering news they may not like. Putting limitations on one’s purchasing power is already a difficult task, but if the other parties do not have a level of trust and confidence in your business and your performance, it makes the home-buying process very difficult.
Time! Time and performance is the key to earning a reputation that will last through decades as well as multiple market changes. It’s imperative to perform and meet expectations every single time one participates in a financial transaction. Always remember that this process is new to the borrower, therefore it is important to remain patient with the borrower and to take the time to ensure they feel confident in the loan they are accepting with a level of understanding about it.
The Growth Quotient-
Steady. Southpoint Financial Services has not done much for advertising. Most of the business is a result of referrals from past clients or third-party vendors they have worked with in the past.
One key point that the team incorporates is that they are very particular with the staff they hire, taking great efforts to ensure a cultural fit. Big isn’t always better. Southpoint does not strive to be the “biggest” lender out there, rather they strive to be the “best performing” lender out there.
“If we take care of today and our duty to our clients today, then tomorrow will take care of itself. Growth will be steady and paced such that we control our results and image.”
Southpoint Financial Services’ biggest asset to thwart competition has always been the consumers’ service from their employees.
“My philosophy is that your employees ARE your business. It is imperative to a company’s success that you must first take care of those who are taking care of your consumers,” says Mindy.
Employees who feel respected, appreciated and empowered become your most valuable asset as these employees tend to remain loyal, putting forth their best efforts daily. The longevity of a company’s employees speaks volumes for the leadership and company’s philosophy.
“As a leader, if I take care of my big assets, term success and not just the instant gratification of closing the loan for the current borrower. They do not mind teaching a new homeowner about the mortgage process and what the terms and conditions of their loan mean for them. Says Mindy.
Furthering the successful stint of Southpoint’s services, Mindy would like to offer the services in all 50 states. Ideally with a slow growth such that a downturn in the market does not cause the firm to outspend its balance sheet.
“I would like to offer a more digital process for the transaction that would enable a more user – friendly process for all parties involved in the transaction.”
Execution Comes with Little Steps-
Because so many borrowers suffered financial hardships or losses, the firm as lenders feel responsible to ensure a level of protection for them. They have added some additional policies the borrower must qualify for to get approved. The team wants to ensure they understand the importance of a mortgage loan, how it affects their credit, what happens if they should default, who they call, etc.
Southpoint Financial Services now requires every first-time home buyer to take the online course and give them the proof they have taken it and passed it. While this is not required in most of the programs, as a responsible team they think it’s important to ensure these buyers have a level of understanding about the mortgage and its commitment. After all, it’s often the biggest purchase of their lives.
Southpoint Financial Services would also want to see a little more reserve than it did before the pandemic. They are not adding these layers to hurt their borrower or frustration our partners, however, Mindy feels they have a duty to do their best to put them into a home at a price point they can afford.
The buyer needs to understand they are buying a home today to get into the game. This home today allows them to start building wealth and a nest egg so they CAN buy their dream home next. But’s it a process, they often want more than they can afford and rather than push the higher amount for bigger loans, we push for the lower one to ensure the borrower KEEPS this home!
“COVID showed us, anything can happen and if we overspend, we will never have an ability to save for that unforeseen event.”
Mindy’s Advice to the Budding Venturers-
“First of all Anything is possible. I never thought coming from very humble beginnings, I would be where I am today. Without that D1 college degree, I simply do not fit in when you think of the elite. Learn to be ok with not fitting in, stars never do, they shine above the rest anyway. Others’ opinions can offer valuable feedback for personal growth, but don’t let it define your worth or set limitations on your life.
Don’t be so quick to accept failure or defeat because your start was a little lower and may take a little more effort or a little longer than that D1 grad. A great attitude, willingness to engage in a process and learn, and most importantly having a great work ethic will win every time. Don’t feel less than others because of your gender, race, or social status, and NEVER allow anyone to determine your value, or limit your goals but you.
Learn everything you can to become the expert, knowledge is the biggest gift so pay attention when you are being trained. Lastly, when do reach leadership, understand what leadership truly means. It’s not about the title, it’s not about the ability to bark orders or make big decisions. Leadership has to come from within, you must truly care about others and want to see them achieve success. A leader will be a resource for development and leading the vision for those they lead. Lastly, learn to speak less and listen more!!!”