Melinda Payan, President, The Truth About Lending

Melinda Payan’s strong desire to assist people with their financial well-being led her to approach mortgage financing in a unique fashion. Since joining the broker channel in 1999, she has seen firsthand the great growth the wholesale channel has experienced in the past few years and is excited to share her insights about the future.  

What interested you in starting a career in the mortgage industry? 

I was a financial advisor for several years and wanted to focus on helping people in a different kind of way.  

What’s a career highlight you’re most proud of? 

Raising four children and growing a successful mortgage company and still finding the time to be a Room Mom for one kid or the other every year.  

What’s unique about your business? 

I truly believe that a higher power works through us to be able to help people. We really are very successful at structuring loans and knowing our guidelines in such a focused way that we see opportunities that other loan officers don’t see. We find that over 80% of people who were denied qualify for a conventional or FHA loan but the retail loan officer did not know how to structure the transaction.  

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned during your time in the mortgage industry? 

The most valuable thing I have learned is that a relationship with a real estate agent or a consumer is worth way more than any commission. Doing the right thing always comes back to you two-fold.  

How do you approach mentorship with members of your team? 

We have weekly product knowledge sessions. We also have an amazing support team where each loan officer has an opportunity to go over a scenario with either our Sales Manager or Production Manager. That way we avoid major issues later on and the loan officer gains a tremendous amount of knowledge.  

If you could change one thing about the mortgage industry right now, what would it be? 

I would change the education requirement. I feel like much more focus needs to be on functional training than sales and compliance. We have a lot of great people who can sell mortgages and be compliant but they can’t execute and the loan does not close because it was not structured right.  

Why have you stayed in the mortgage industry as long as you have? 

I have been in the industry as long as I have because I love helping people. I feel like I create lifelong friendships with my clients and I am very blessed to have that same feeling with my staff.  

Where do you turn for leadership advice? 

I like to discuss matters with other broker owners as well as a few key people that I have respected over the years. AIME has been an amazing resource for that and I am very grateful for the relationships that I have made within the broker community.  

What is your business philosophy? 

Be the change you want to see in this world.  

What are the biggest challenges facing mortgage brokers and what’s your advice for overcoming them? 

The biggest challenge is time management and organization. How do you balance keeping the wheels moving and keep originating? My best advice is: do not self process. This is just the worst thing you can do because you can’t be everything to all people. You need to have a great team surround you if you want to truly excel in this business.  

If you could go back to your first day in the industry, what advice would you give yourself? 

I would tell myself to have a better CRM from the beginning. When I started I was so busy I didn’t do a good job of capturing all the info on every client into a CRM and I didn’t realize the importance until a few years into the business. Working your database is the most important thing.