When Thomas Ray came to Benchmark Mortgage as manager of the Greenville branch, he vowed to make it a “green sticker branch,” which to him meant making the loan process smooth from start to finish for everyone involved, from underwriters to customers. As a result of those efforts, the Greenville office consistently ranks among the top of Benchmark’s more than 45 branches across the country when it comes to efficiency and profitability.
Now Thomas has his sights set on the client experience. “We’re changing the game when it comes to the mortgage process,” Thomas says. “We want our customers to see us as a team of people helping them meet their goal.”
To that end, Thomas is focusing on training his team to have deeper conversations with borrowers, to gain an understanding of their short and long-term goals and then structure different options with the most potential to achieve those goals and save customers the most money over the life of the loan.
“Most of the time when people apply for a mortgage, the lender runs their application and comes back with an offer,” Thomas says. “But the reality is there are lots of different options for every borrower.”
Thomas also encourages his loan officers to engage in more dialogue with clients throughout the process, paying attention to all the little things lenders don’t typically communicate to buyers, like who to contact to set up utilities or how to apply for a homestead exemption, for example.
“We guide them through that process during and after closing, and we’re making a real effort to continue to send valuable, usable information to our borrowers after closing,” he says, explaining a new Benchmark program that keeps loan officers in contact with customers for at least five years after closing, providing market updates to keep homeowners up to date on property values.
“This allows us to structure new options to save them money,” Thomas says. “We try to keep showing the love to our customers even after closing. We want them to view the whole process as pleasant and helpful.”
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