The first time John Wines witnessed his clients’ contented faces at their house closing, he knew he’d found his calling. That mental image — the family exchanging smiles, hugs, and tears — motivates him daily.
“Clients are like family,” John’s father, a mortgage banker himself, used to tell him. “I run into my clients in grocery stores, in restaurants, everywhere,” John says. “You just want to make sure that you do a good job for them because these are your neighbors, the people you see everyday.”
John is not only adept at prioritizing his client’s needs, but he also has a knack for paperwork and numbers. It’s why he began his career as a processor. He eventually became an operations manager before he switched to underwriting at one of the country’s largest banks.
Leaving the security of an employer entirely, John became president of his own mortgage brokerage for almost five years so he could create a more family-oriented client experience. Though he maintained profitability each year, he found it difficult to fully serve his clients due to operational shortcomings. “I used to spend all of my time in the office late at night trying to figure out how to make loans work,” he recalls. “I was trying to correct the inefficiencies of operations at the big banks.”
After nearly five years contending with corporations that didn’t care about John’s customers as much as he did, he decided to look for a better option. “My customers are one of the most important things to me and when I finally got to the point where I realized that having my own company was actually holding them back, I decided I had to make a switch.” With Atlantic Bay’s reputation on the rise in Charlotte, John decided to investigate the company.
“I used to spend all of my time in the office late at night trying to figure out how to make loans work,” he recalls. “I was trying to correct the inefficiencies of operations at the big banks.” JOHN WINES
After John spoke with several successful mortgage bankers who had been with Atlantic Bay for a decade or more, he was convinced to join. Each of them shared the same message: Atlantic Bay was unlike any lender they had encountered in their careers.
A month after John joined Atlantic Bay, several managers sent encouraging emails remarking on his progress. The recognition was refreshing. Previously, accolades from corporate management, were more likely to sound scripted and impersonal, John says. He soon observed that Atlantic Bay’s friendly treatment of their sales staff also extended to the client. “They don’t just look at them as loan number 2540. These are actually the Joneses who have to be in their house by the 30th.”
For the first time John had support to deliver the level of service that his clients deserved. Because Atlantic Bay underwrites To Be Determined (TBD) files, John can give his clients an accurate picture of what they can afford before they ever look at a house. It’s also strengthened his REALTOR® partnerships. “My REALTORS® love it because they don’t want to waste their time driving around with somebody only to find out that they can’t get approved. It puts everybody’s minds at ease.”
Before Atlantic By, John had come to accept that the mortgage industry was by nature a high stress environment, but that perception quickly changed. “Before, I was a walking stress ball because there was always some sort of fire that I had to put out,” he explains. “Atlantic Bay gave me my life back. I have the ability to relax about my loans and focus on meeting with the client and enjoying the relationship, and then going home and spending time with my family or playing golf.”
In fact, John feels the most relaxed wielding a golf club. He doesn’t play too competitively; he mostly enjoys the relationships he’s formed with other agents and mortgage professionals on the green. “I don’t even solicit them,” he explains. I’ve played with them four or five times but never asked them for their business until one day we had just kind of built that relationship and that trust.”
Walk into John’s office today and you’ll immediately see his influence, from the framed Atlantic Bay marketing posters, coordinated wall colors, down to the custom ABMG logo-emblazoned coffee cups he personally created. The message is clear: John is passionate about Atlantic Bay and especially their marketing campaigns.
“As a mortgage banker, the marketing is key to me. That’s what helps bring loans in the door. So whether I’m marketing to previous clients, my REALTORS®, or to builders, they’ve got something for everyone,” he says. “No matter what I’m trying to do they usually have a marketing piece that is perfect for the situation. And if it’s not they will create some really cool stuff too to make sure that I have everything that I need.”
As a branch manager, John has a unique perspective on what makes his team effective at their job. He says that mortgage bankers with a similar story to his own can find success at Atlantic Bay. “If anybody is at a company and they feel like they’re struggling to just close loans and they are having to close them despite their company, they could definitely be a good fit for Atlantic Bay.”
John can clearly track his growth since he join Atlantic Bay over four years ago. He appreciates ABMG’s ability to discern his areas of strength and capitalize on them. “When I joined Atlantic Bay I told CEO and President Brian Holland that I didn’t want to just be a mortgage banker, I wanted to actually help grow the Charlotte market,” he recalls. “He took what I said four years ago, and took it really seriously, and today we’ve actually grown the market. It’s just been really unique to see a company that cares about their employee’s career path and wants me to accomplish the goals that I’m looking for.”
“It’s just been really unique to see a company that cares about their employee’s career path and wants me to accomplish the goals that I’m looking for.” JOHN WINES