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Aaron Duez is a Branch Manager and Mortgage Loan Originator for Caliber Home Loans in Jacksonville, Florida. He is passionate about serving and supporting his community, knowing how important the home buying process is. I sat down with him for a little Q & A on what it’s like to be a loan officer with Caliber Home Loans.

Jessica: What is the best part about being a loan officer for CHL?
Aaron: Upper manager supports me and supports my ideas on how I can do more business. One of the biggest reasons I joined Caliber was its commitment to VA Lending and our veterans. I don’t know of many other lenders who have a Director of VA. That was a game changer for me.

Jessica: What does your normal day look like, responsibility wise?
Aaron: Making outbound calls all day for sure to realtors, recruits and past customers. Your sphere of influence is one of the most important value propositions you can have.

Jessica: What is the hardest thing about being a loan officer?
Aaron: The stress of making sure everything happens according to the timeline expected by your client and/or your referral partner. There is so much that is out of your control when it comes to turn times, appraisals being returned in a timely manner or even how quick the customer gives you the docs you’ve been asking for. All this on your plate and the agents and customer still wants to feel like you are only working on their file. Resetting expectations is what we are told when someone else can’t do something quickly but that is not how or what referral partners or our customers want to hear. They only care about their loan and not the 30 other loans in your pipeline. You must be able to dance that line in order to make everyone happy or you won’t be in this business very long.

Jessica: Can you share a client success story?
Aaron: A long time realtor partner brought in a bond loan to us. The borrower “Brittany” ended up in a delicate situation and needed our assistance.

The borrower, a professional who worked long term in the Real Estate Management business sent over most of her upfront documentation and then quickly disappeared. We submitted the loan and reserved the bond documents with what we had.

After the loan had come, I reached out to the borrower via email and by phone. After hearing that the Bond program required tax returns from both the borrower and the spouse, the realtor shared with me the back story of why the borrower disappeared. In the middle of buying a home, the spouse had been arrested for felony assault against the wife.

Needless to say, the borrower was very shaken up and although she wanted to go through with the transaction, was very concerned about her security and her safety. She wanted the utmost secrecy and confidentiality.

As the time for the Final UW came near, we reviewed title work and realized we still needed the spouse to sign off on the quit claim and he was not responding to the title company. The Loan Officer reached out personally, “man to man”, to persuade him to sign the documents. We scheduled a notary to come into the office and meet with us so we could get the docs signed and move towards closing. The persuasive Loan Officer worked magic as the spouse got turned around and lost on the way to the office but was diligent enough to turn around and keep his commitment to sign the papers. We explained the documents he was signing, and he quickly gave us the approval. We then personally drove the notary over to the workplace of the borrower whose eyes lit up like a Christmas tree when she saw us and professed shock and excitement that we got him to the documents.

We ended up closing smoothly on the home and received multiple kudos from the buyer and buyer’s agent who is very grateful for both our assistance and support but our never-ending optimism that we were going to cross the finish line. The ecstatic borrower sent us a Ghirardelli chocolate gift tower.

We hope to help make life changing efforts for every buyer, however, in this particular instance, it makes all the hard work worth it as we know that not only did we affect a life, we also affected positive change that will be felt for generations.

Jessica: What makes CHL different from other lenders?
Aaron: The commitment to the loan closing from the top down. I’ve had several conversations with James Hecht on his cell phone. I’m able to call up my Divisional manager Lee Cove and he’ll listen to what I have to say and not just hear me. I can strategize with Brian Livingston my Regional on a business plan on how I plan on becoming more successful next year and get his true input and ways that he’s going to commit to me on how he can help me make it happen. Then you have that guy Bryan Bergjans who’s makes himself available to all of us for the better of our VA Clients. He stands up for what’s right and how we can make a difference in our veterans lives that have given us all so much as to honor them for their service.

Jessica: What got you involved in this career field?
Aaron: I bumped into an old friend 25 years ago and was trying to decide what I wanted to do for a career. She suggested the mortgage industry as she said I would kill it with my personality. Well, that was 25 years ago and I’m still doing mortgages and loving it.