Greensboro, North Carolina is a big small town, and Daniel McCoy knows just about everyone in it. That’s helped him immensely with his mortgage business, although he didn’t always have it that easy.
“Honestly, I wasn't somebody who walked in the door and succeeded right away,” McCoy said. “It was not something that I instantly was drawn to; it was just something that I came into and then after a few years, learned what it took to be successful. Once I figured that piece out, then it was just a matter of growing a successful business.”
Before mortgage brokerages and other teams really became popular, McCoy broached the concept with his father, who was a branch manager. McCoy had started business on his own but together, father and son built a business founded in the post-recession refi boom. Those first few years together were anything but easy, though; the team moved from First Horizon to Met Life, and when Met Life closed their doors the team ultimately landed at a bank that had a good construction loan product, which McCoy knew had a lot of potential. They started marketing hard to builders and before long built a name for themselves when it came to construction lending and custom builds. Today, that’s the bread and butter of the McCoy Team business, although they still do quite a bit of purchase and refis.
Even though more people operate in the construction lending arena today than they did 15 years ago, McCoy says that the process involves a lot more moving parts and requires more patience to stay with borrowers for longer periods of time as the construction takes place.
“A lot of people either don't do it or they don't do it well. And so when you when you establish yourself as being able to execute from pre-qualification through construction, closing through draw process through closing on the permanent loan, builders refer you with much more comfort,” McCoy said. “We’re in charge of their paychecks, and they don't want to leave that up to somebody who is not proven and really either doesn't know what they're doing or just doesn't have the tools and the backing to execute efficiently. So you do see a lot more a lot more lenders stepping into it, but that's not really a concern because a lot of them just don't know what they're doing.”
Plenty of originators specialize, but construction lending in particular is harder for newer originators, McCoy said. Because he’s built his team around that process, however, they’ve attracted people who are able to address builders’ and clients’ needs before they even know they need anything. It’s a well-engineered process, and that’s the golden nugget behind his volume and longevity in the industry.
“I think that's why we've been successful; not because I'm a great salesperson or anything like that, but because we have a process that is successful. Word of mouth is the best marketing tool you can have. With all the selfies and whatever other people are doing now, when someone tells you, ‘work with McCoy team, they know what they're doing,’ we're a lot better shape for getting business.”
McCoy markets specially to builders’ associations because that’s where a lot of their business originates, but the team is also engaged in that big small town that they call home. They participate in nonprofit events but more than just doing events, it’s just being present and active in the community each and every day. Just by knowing who he is and what he does, McCoy said, he become “the mortgage guy.”
Because of the McCoy Team’s organic growth they don’t have any other formal marketing strategies, including social media. McCoy admits that he could do more in this arena, but that’s not what he perceives to be a strength. As people have come to know him and what he does, he’s become “the mortgage guy” and that’s worked out well, too.
In 2017, McCoy became even more closely connected with his community when he cofounded Little Brother Brewing, a small brewery and taproom in downtown Greensboro. Opening the brewery while running a successful mortgage business was “one of the most stressful times” of his life, but well worth it.
“It's been very rewarding,” McCoy said. “I never thought I would do mortgages for 15+ years but that makes it a lot easier to continue the mortgage grind to have that kind of secondary outlet. And really, we've had a lot of success with that, but it's all about team building. It's very similar. The same things that have made me successful mortgage business help make the brewery successful: hiring good people, building a good team, and that's what we've done.”
McCoy learned a lot from bouncing around from company to company years ago, and his big takeaway was that any good originator needs to be able to create their own business. It’s not about the logo on a shirt or a sign on the door. Instead, it’s about who you are in your market. The McCoy team has their own processors and assistants so that if something happens outside of their control, they just move their business elsewhere.
That may be somewhat jaded, McCoy said, but it was an important lesson.
“It's more survival than anything. You can't let your business fall apart because some company got sold, bought, closed, whatever it may be, it's just a volatile industry, and you have to be prepared for those situations. And we always are.”