Top Originator Spotlight: Matt Hawkes of Network Funding

Veteran mortgage loan officer talks about building strong client relationships in new age

Top Originator Spotlight: Matt Hawkes of Network Funding

Mortgage Professional America recently caught up with Matt Hawkes, loan officer and branch manager at Network Funding, to learn more about the challenges facing the next generation of mortgage professionals and his high hopes for the future.

“I feel that we are in a digital age, and the upcoming professionals entering our market are most comfortable dealing with people through text and email and forms through the computer,” Hawkes said. “A lot of customers are good with not talking to someone on the phone or face to face, but I feel it is necessary. Nothing beats speaking with someone in person or on the phone.”

Mortgage Professional America: Can you tell us about your mortgage journey? How did you come into the industry?

Matt Hawkes: Fresh out of college, I got a job at a company called Mellon Mortgage as a customer service representative. I got familiar with mortgage terms, and I experienced different personalities. This job helped me with my customer service skills. I use this every day and feel my customer service skills are how I separate myself from the other loan officers. I have been in the mortgage industry ever since—for more than 25 years. I worked my way up from a customer service representative to a processor, a closer, to a loan originator. Now, I run my own branch in Galveston, Texas.

MPA: Who was/is your role model and/or leadership mentor? How important is it to have a mentor to grow as a leader?

MH: My role model was at one of the previous mortgage companies I worked for. He displayed confidence and could talk to anyone. He helped me understand by example that hard work and dedication will pay off. He wasn’t perfect, but he made it work, just like I do.

MPA: How do you balance your career, personal life and passions? Is there such a thing as balance?

MH: I don’t know if there is balance. I know I make my career, personal life, and passions work. I can manage an office, handle customer loans, and still have time for my family, quick family trips and golf and fishing on the weekends. I would say that I am very disciplined, and I have the support of my wife and children to help me through the hectic days.

MPA: What would you say differentiates you from other originators in the field today?

MH: With my experience, I understand the mortgage industry and processes. I am familiar with the different mortgage programs available for the first-time buyer, veterans, second home buyers, etc. I am able to talk to anyone and relate to them. I can explain these processes to customers and solve problems to get a loan done. Many originators are not that experienced and unable to help borrowers get the loan they want and need.

MPA: Share with me something about yourself that you’re working on improving and how you think your business will be better/more productive/run more smoothly once you’ve accomplished your goal.

MH: I have started sitting down with my team to review and update job responsibilities. This is a work in progress. If you have someone leave the company, someone has to take up their responsibilities, so nothing slips through the cracks. If it’s in writing and reviewed with the employee, there should be no questions on who handles what.

MPA: What advice would you give young originators entering this profession/organization?

MH: Don’t give up. Some months the business is slow. Sometimes it is rampant. This is a dynamic industry dealing with all sorts of people, and change is constant. This job is fast-paced and very gratifying. You will make a difference in people’s lives by enabling them to get a home, and they won’t forget that.

MPA: What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?

MH: Stay focused and have patience, and great things will happen. Never burn a bridge. You never know if you will be dealing with that person or company again. It will happen if you are in the business long enough. Life in the mortgage industry has its ups and downs, but more ups than downs.