Have you ever called a help line and, after the fourth or fifth question posed by the automated voice, found yourself thinking, “I wish I could talk to a person?” We all appreciate and agree that technology has brought a host of wonderful advances. However, when it comes to a transaction as big as a home mortgage, Bobbie Dyer of Dyer Mortgage has found that what looks like a great online deal, in the long run, often costs you more in time and money.
“Many people approach shopping for a mortgage like they were shopping for paper towels,” Dyer said. “Only they may spend more time on the paper towels. The difference is, you don’t get the personal involvement of someone who understands the industry and the area. A professional who can explain your options and your costs, while taking an interest in you as an individual, to customize your mortgage to match your needs.”
Dyer Mortgage began with a vision to alter the paradigm of the traditional mortgage business, which had not changed for decades. Dyer’s business model is a unique combination of A.I.- artificial intelligence, and what she refers to as, “L.I.-local intelligence.” A.I. gives clients the speed, convenience and vital feedback that is part of the 21st century loan process. But the crucial difference is adding to that local intelligence. They can provide insight about the market, while delving into the nuances of the individual’s situation.
This dual approach of A.I., having the most critical and up to date data and L.I., not only understanding local conditions, but taking the time to uncover the specific circumstances that can influence loan approval, from a recent divorce to being self-employed, is the differentiator. Which, underscores Dyer Mortgage’s ability to walk a customer through the mortgage process from start to finish.
All of this is built on the work ethic which brought Dyer from a trailer park in rural Colorado and turned her into a business leader who advises the Federal Reserve through the Regional Economic Information Network (REIN), serves as a Trustee at Florida Tech and sits on the board of the Health First Foundation.
Rising to the top, while challenging Goliath
By the time Dyer was 15, she had developed a personal credo that, even today, rolls off her lips like the lyrics to a favorite song, “Other people can be smarter than me, richer than me and prettier than me. But they will NOT outwork me.” “Hard work is what got me to where I am today,” she said. “No matter what the job was, I made sure I did it all with as much effort as I could.”
Dyer was a good student and found she was exceptionally autodidactic, along with being adept at financial math, with a good memory for details. These skills would provide advancement and opportunity for her business aspirations.
She got her first job in the mortgage industry typing closing documents for five dollars an hour. Her meticulous attention to detail and ability to make complex calculations began to catch people’s attention and soon, she was being trained to take on more and more responsibilities.
Moving to Melbourne, she landed a job as a loan officer at Great Western Bank. She transitioned to another bank, now owned by Chase, but made her real mark when she was recruited by Norwest, which was then acquired by Wells Fargo.
She soon became a branch manager, while at the same time she integrated herself into the community as a volunteer. “They wanted me to be on the board of the museum at 24 years old and I told them, ‘I don’t have any money.’ They said, ‘That doesn’t matter, we know you’ll work.’” It is an ethos she continues today, by both working and giving, while offering her staff paid time to serve with non-profits or to volunteer. They also provide “Lunch & Learn” seminars to area businesses, bringing helpful information and education directly to people in their workplace.
Running a branch was a perfect fit for Dyer’s skills and experience. She was with Wells Fargo for 18 years, building her branch from practically nothing, into having the number one market share in a company whose revenue last year was over $86 Billion, with assets at almost $1.9 Trillion. For several years, her branch was in the top 10 in the U.S., and she sat on significant committees with the bank and traveled throughout the country speaking and doing training seminars.
Soon, however, Dyer noticed inconsistencies in the contracts loan officer’s compensation was based on, along with other practices that disturbed her. Like any good employee, she appealed to her bosses at Wells Fargo. However, their attitude was at first dismissive, then they offered her a personal payment to ignore the situation.
Exasperated, she filed a class action lawsuit, which a federal judge settled out of court, in favor of Dyer and the other plaintiffs, for approximately $15 million, though she received only $2200 personally. “It was about the principal of the thing. Even the executive from Wells Fargo, who was in the final mediation with the judge and me, said he was unaware of the situation.”
Unique & Boutique
When Dyer closed that professional door, she opened another. Though she received a number of very lucrative offers, her dream was to build, what she described as, “a boutique mortgage company.” The parent company she works with, Primary Residential Mortgage, a privately held mortgage bank, gave her the opportunity to build a company that was truly “Customer centric, where I could guide the process,” she said. The relationship also brought the economy of scale of a large business.
It was being able to build a business culture and to guide the client experience that Dyer wanted. “When you sit down with people and listen, there is a connection that often lasts a lifetime,” she said. “I wanted the customer to feel like they had someone who would guide them through the whole process and could advise or direct them, by considering their larger financial picture. I tell my team, ‘They aren’t files, they are families.’”
Many of Dyer Mortgage’s clients come from personal referrals, along with local realtors and builders. They also created a Corporate Relocation Concierge Program that includes working directly with HR managers, relocation companies, assisting the employee even before an offer letter is accepted and guiding them in every step of the journey.
“There are too many uncertainties in this type of transaction for your only recourse to be a 1-800 number,” Dyer explained. “We have had sellers die right before a closing, along with a myriad of other situations, that could have derailed a purchase. It is such a complex process that people need a trusted guide.”
Dyer’s vision was to be not only locally focused, but to have the authority to complete the loan process locally. She wanted to give expert advice with a loan customized to the client’s needs, not begin locally and then be transferred to a call center or to get preapproved online, only to find that when a person actually examined the documents, it was not approved.
Experience is perhaps the real differentiator; the experience of Dyer Mortgage’s team and the experience customers have. Most of the company’s 13 professionals have worked together for over a decade and some two decades; their team is diverse and reflects the community they serve, being bi-lingual and including active duty and retired military families.
Her team calls them, “Bobbie-ism,” memorable sayings that define Dyer’s approach, like, “The cheap often becomes expensive.” By assisting the customer through specific local information, such as down payment assistance and property tax exemptions, the value become clear. “Internet or out-of-town lenders don’t know about County assistance programs clients may be eligible for, this could be a grant of up to $30,000 the consumer would not know about, unless they worked with a local lender,” Dyer said.
That perspective comes from the experience of having 30 years in mortgage banking, with over 10,000 loans closed and having funded over $500,000,000 in home mortgages. Add to that, Dyer has been recognized as a Nationwide Top Producer, along with being voted one of the 2018 70 Elite Women in Mortgage Banking in the U.S. it becomes clear why Dyer Mortgage is another example of why working with local companies pays so many dividends.
Top two mistakes consumers make
1. Going online and providing personal information (including social security number) to internet companies, while assuming that they are working with the actual lender. In many cases they are applying with a lead-generation site, that appears to be a lender, but is not. These sites often sell their information over and over.
2. “Instant approval” loans aren’t so instantaneous. Automated applications are very useful. But the difference with Dyer Mortgage is validating the information and personally going over all aspects of their personal financial situation. These loans are too large to commit to without all the details being known.