Top Originator: Adam Hammond is the servant leader of the south

by Kimberly Greene19 Jun 2019

Adam Hammond is in a growth state of mind.

He is a mortgage banker and area manager with FirstBank Mortgage who closed more than $75 million in 2018. When evaluating his strategy heading into 2019, however, Hammond thought bigger. When you think bigger, you have to plan accordingly, he said, and that means changing and adapting on a daily basis.

Although Hammond would be the first to say that he’s not afraid of change, there are some things that he’s managed to maintain throughout his career of serving home buyers. One of these constants has been his most successful marketing strategy: building and nurturing relationships on a daily basis. The other thing that has been a constant is also his team’s greatest strength: their ability to shine in times of adversity. Overcoming those hiccups in the loan process are where he’s been able to build a loyal and diversified realtor following.

“The part that we get better than most is our follow up, and that’s following up with realtors and the clients that they send us. We are relentless in follow up. A lot of people get busy and those things go untouched,” he said. “To me, it’s not about the number of leads, it’s about the ones that you capture. A lot of people don’t realize that if they just [capture] more of their business that they are already getting, they don’t have to work any harder, they just have to work smarter.”

Hammond has been in the mortgage industry since 2003, when he got a job at what was then AmSouth Bank through a friend. Hammond discovered that he was good at selling mortgages, and he found himself drawn to the service leadership type role where he could giving back to his community through his day-to-day activities. Although he would learn a lot over the next 15 years, the biggest thing he’s learned is to keep a purpose front and center.

“My number one advice would be don’t chase a commission or chase a deal. If you serve others, all of that falls into place,” Hammond said.

Hammond started his own broker shop just four years later in 2007, and although his business emerged successful from the housing market crash, the regulatory changes that followed made it difficult for small shops to do business. He felt as if he was forced out of production in order to handle more management and compliance-related tasks, which he didn’t enjoy because he wasn’t able to demonstrate that servant leadership. So in 2013, he gave in to the “relentless” recruitment efforts of his mentor Sue Hereford and moved to FirstBank Mortgage.

It’s no broker shop, but Hammond says that FirstBank has an entrepreneurial heart.

“It is really a team of business people running a mortgage company. The autonomy that we’re given to run our businesses under the umbrella of the bank is why I’m here, and I’ve stayed because of the people.”

When an originator is closing somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 loans, people are especially important. Hammond insists that his team—a processor, two loan officer assistants (one of whom also originates), and a junior loan officer—are an integral part of everyone’s success.

“I don’t consider it my team, I consider it our team; they all have a commitment and a relentless approach to winning and giving to others better than anyone I’ve ever seen, and that’s what makes us great.”

As a top producer and the father of four young children, Hammond also knows a thing or two about time management. There are constant demands on his time, and he’s struggled with managing his time and a work life balance. Time constraints are the hardest for everyone, he said, but he doesn’t think change is a bad thing.

“As a growing team, and I’m all about growth, the more we grow, the more folks I can help. And the more folks my team can serve. So we are in a growth model, our goal is $125 million, and a lot of people say, why not $100 million? In my mind, if you don’t think it, you won’t achieve it. It’s a really lofty goal, we may not reach it this year, but it will not be long.”

Watch this space . . .