American Portfolio Mortgage Corp.
With branch locations across the United States, American Portfolio Mortgage Corp. is an independent direct lender and mortgage broker aimed at providing customers with a smooth and stress-free loan process. Eloy Martinez, a senior loan officer, helped bring American Portfolio to the Lansing area in 2016. Martinez recently sat down with Greater Lansing Business Monthly and shared his background, what sets American Portfolio apart from other lenders and what to expect in the industry in 2020.
Can you give us a peek inside your background and describe your role with American Portfolio Mortgage?
After college, I worked retail sales for a short time, but in 2001 got into the mortgage industry. I entered into the industry via a mortgage broker, and after a few years I hired in as a mortgage banker at Standard Federal. I stayed with the big banks throughout the majority of my career and weathered the transitions of Standard Federal being bought out by LaSalle Bank and, ultimately, Bank of America. In 2010, I transitioned from Bank of America to Wells Fargo as there was some opportunity to bring their mortgage presence to the Greater Lansing area. Being with the major banks helped bring great knowledge of mortgage products, processes and underwriting guidelines.
In 2016 an opportunity arose for me and another colleague to bring American Portfolio Mortgage Corp. to the Greater Lansing area. We opened our office in the north end of Lansing on the border of DeWitt Township. This company has been amazing and has brought great stability to the services we can provide to our referral Realtor partners and homebuying clients. I’m a senior loan officer with American Portfolio Mortgage, and helping families achieve homeownership is an awesome sense of accomplishment.
What sets American Portfolio Mortgage apart from others as a business?
Being senior loan officers at APMC, our experience of originating helps to keep the process somewhat predictable to a certain degree to know how to best navigate the buyer’s loan process. Our company is built for seasoned loan officers, allowing us to originate loans with minimal to no overlays in underwriting. When we run our desktop underwriting, we’re able to underwrite directly to those results without adding additional requirements.
I believe a lot of successes come from the top down. What I mean by that is that our company president/owner knows what it is firsthand to be a loan officer since he once operated in that role. Some top executives of financial institutions have great knowledge of the mortgage process, but there is definitely something to be said when the powers at be have firsthand experience to know what loan officers deal with on a day-to-day basis.
What got you interested in this industry?
I came across the mortgage industry by an unexpected opportunity. At the time, I was in a sales position prospecting at a business complex, came across a mortgage office, gave them my pitch and then they gave me theirs. The rest is history. I learned a lot in those first few years after entering into the mortgage industry, and then just grew to enjoy helping families with their homeownership dreams.
Are there common misconceptions or things people don’t know about your line of work?
A misconception might be that it’s really hard to get a mortgage. I think if clients are educated as to why certain things are being asked of them, they can see how the dots connect to pave their way to obtaining a mortgage. I will say that it is a detailed process, which, in my opinion, is more of a quality-control practice. The better scenarios and situations are documented, the better understanding can be conveyed for those reviewing the files.
What do you like most about your job?
I love the people. I’m a people person. I wouldn’t say that I have the gift of gab, but I enjoy the presence of people and helping them accomplish the American dream. My job also allows me a flexible work schedule. There are many times that I need to travel with my family for business and personal engagements, but I’m able to work remotely with complete success. One of my Realtor referral partners gave me a great compliment when she said, “I didn’t even know that you were out of state. You work flawlessly and always answer my calls, so I didn’t even know you were traveling.” That’s one of the greatest compliments I think I’ve received in my career.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in pursuing a career in this industry or with your business?
For those interested in becoming a loan officer in the mortgage industry, I would encourage that person find a seasoned professional and take them for a coffee. Pick their brains about their day-to-day responsibilities, monthly achievements and goals. If they find themselves interested, then seek the opportunity to be mentored by a seasoned professional.
What should people expect in the new year with regard to trends or changes in the field of real estate and mortgages for 2020?
I wish I had a crystal ball to be able to predict the rate environment. But I will say things are pointing to a rate-friendly environment for 2020. Rates are at an absolute all-time low. There’s no doubt about that. I would encourage families renting homes that now is a great time to see if you qualify for a mortgage. I think they’d be really surprised that they could own their home for the same amount they’re paying for rent and, in some instances, a lower mortgage payment.