A strong work ethic is the cornerstone of a successful brokerage that can weather even the worst crises
Tom Hutchens, executive vice president of production at Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions, is a firm believer in the value of giving it all in one’s chosen profession.
“I got involved [in mortgages] because I’m a hard worker and I like to serve others,” Hutchens told MBN. “A long-time friend of mine started talking about the mortgage industry, and he said it was very entrepreneurial which appealed to me.”
This can-do outlook is mirrored in the way Hutchens conducts his business.
“My two specialties are being a leader and my servant mentality. I lead people by serving them,” Hutchens said. “I’ve always prided myself on being a good listener which has contributed to my success in both. My role as a leader is to simply make everyone around me successful. If I can do that, then I will be successful.”
With 22 years of experience and counting, Hutchens certainly is well placed to know what works and what doesn’t.
“Typically, in this business, if you work hard enough you can be successful and that type of work ethic is often rewarded,” Hutchens said. “The mortgage business has really far exceeded my expectations. I thought that hustle was mainly on the wholesale side where I came into, but it’s true in all walks of the mortgage business.”
This persistence has proven crucial in what Hutchens considers the most formidable challenge of his career so far: The Great Financial Crisis over a decade ago, which wreaked unprecedented havoc on markets across North America.
“Most of us in the mortgage business never saw that coming,” Hutchens said. “I’d argue that was one of the hardest times in anyone’s mortgage career since businesses closed overnight and professionals lost their jobs as a result.”
Hutchens said that he was no stranger to these sudden closures.
“I’ve been primarily in the wholesale lending channel for most of my career,” Hutchens said. “I started at SouthStar Funding which was a non-prime wholesale and correspondent lender that was unfortunately dissolved during the Great Financial Crisis. Then I was on the hunt for opportunities, trying to find dislocations in the market due to the GFC.”
Where other brokers understandably saw loss, Hutchens saw prospects.
“Instead of moping and being concerned about it, I thought to myself, ‘What kind of opportunities did that create?’ This essentially led me into the distressed real estate market – and there was a lot of it,” Hutchens said.