Todd Bitter, Branch Vice President of JKS Mortgage and a prominent player in the wholesale channel, has come a long way since the 2008 recession and his first stated-value loan at 1.25%. Known for his slogan, “Answer the Damn Phone!”, Todd has had a busy past two years. In 2020, Todd closed over 345 loans and originated $11,000,000 in volume, all self-processed and self-sourced. Thinking outside the box when it comes to advertising, Todd has tapped into the large local tech presence to win many of his leads.
JKS Mortgage, founded in 2000 by Todd’s friend Jamie Smith, has recently introduced a new Loan Officer, Adam Corley, who previously worked at AmeriFirst Financial in Phoenix. At the time, Adam only had eighteen months in the industry, closing 2-3 loans a month at best. After being under Todd’s wing, Adam now self-processes his own loans. “I would hit weird things on deals and say, now remember this, it won’t come up very often,” says Todd. “I would give him the refis and he would start working those, and it gave him the chance to really earn as he learned.” Todd also enrolled Adam in the UWM Success Track program. In less than a year, Adam closed eighty-one units in refis.
Todd has mastered the process of working with real estate agents. “[Brokers] go into a purchase transaction with a chip on their shoulder right away, expecting that real estate agent to be a pain in the ass, expecting that real estate agent to get in their lane, things like that,” says Todd. “I think it just goes to having the mentality of working with that real estate agent, knowing how to speak to them, and just setting the expectations, and if you have that setup, a purchase transaction is way easier.”
If the relationship is set up properly and the communication is efficient, that real estate agent becomes your LOA. When Todd emails a client for a bank statement or other document, and he is not getting a response, he will call the real estate agent so that he or she can follow up with the client. In addition, Todd will establish the first point of contact with the real estate agent – he doesn’t wait for the agent to call him first. Todd now has real estate agents copying him on emails to clients. “Open the lines of communication,” Todd explains. “Don’t be afraid to say no, and don’t be afraid to give bad news.”
Todd credits those that have given him 15 minutes here and there to help with his career. His advice to those that are new to the industry is to stay active in the social media platforms, especially the Brokers Are Better Facebook page, and to not only answer your phone but to always smile when speaking to someone on a call. “[People] can see your smile through the phone,” says Todd. He recalls the tough days during the 2008 crisis when he and his wife had to roll quarters from change to buy groceries. “Find that spot in your life that you never want to go back to, and use that as motivation. Find your ‘why’. If money is your only motivator, you’re not going to go very far with that,” adds Todd.
What are Todd’s 2022 mortgage predictions? As mortgage rates slightly rise, the big retail operations will back off the competition, and wholesale will continue to grow. “You’re not going to be competitive at 2.75%,” notes Todd. Todd also uses a comp cap to stay viable and generate more volume.
Todd plans on attending the Hall of AIME event in February to further network with other industry professionals and take advantage of the Mastermind Sessions and keynote addresses.
- Intro to JKS Mortgage (1:26)
- High Volume While Self-Processing (4:37)
- Todd’s New Hire (7:44)
- Working With Real Estate Agents (12:57)
- Building Business for 2022 (33:37)
This episode is sponsored by CF Wholesale and co-sponsored by First Look Appraisals.