"It's not all about the sales aspect of it – it's about helping families"
Sandra Frith (pictured), assistant vice president and mortgage loan officer at Huntington National Bank, has always had a passion for numbers – something which inevitably led to her pursuing an accounting degree. However it was a chance job at a car dealership that inadvertently led to a finance-driven career.
“I took a job at a dealership in their finance department,” she said. “I moved up the ranks becoming a finance manager. – and I got all the way up to a general manager where I actually ran the dealership.”
However, times were different back then – and in the late 80s car dealerships were something of a man’s world.
“It was very difficult, especially for being a very young female in a management position - it was a lot of stress,” she said. “As such, I ended up looking at home financing – and this was just when mortgages were starting to get a little bit of gain. I think that more people were starting to purchase homes rather than rent, so I was able to start out at a very small mortgage broker and learn the ropes.”
And Frith has never really looked back.
You always remember your first…
Her passion for this new path was kindled at her first closing with a young family.
“The wife was in tears - happy tears, of course,” Frith recalled. “They were able to actually own a home. That’s when I decided that’s what I needed to do for the rest of my life. It’s not all about the sales aspect of it – it’s about helping families or younger people gain access to homeownership. It’s just such a rewarding feeling and knowing that I was part of that is what got me really heavily involved into mortgages.”
Finding her niche
Frith didn’t just stumble upon success; she built it through learning, persistence, and an acute awareness of the market’s pulse. Moving from brokerage to banking offered her stability and a platform to fine-tune her expertise. At Huntington, she found her niche in a physicians’ program, which was underutilized until she turned it into the cornerstone of her career.
“I was thankful that when I came to Huntington 12 years ago, they had a program that nobody was working with,” Frith explained. Her strategy is far from secret, but it is profound in its simplicity. “The main thing is knowing that product inside and out,” she said. “You really [need] to know what you’re talking about.”
And networking is a big part of this approach – with Frith likening it to the lifeblood of growth in the industry. However, she cautions new professionals against impatience in the rush for success.
“It doesn’t happen overnight - you have to be patient,” she said. “That’s a big key. You have to know how to take rejection. I’ve been rejected I can’t tell you how many times, but you just keep on going. And, eventually, it just starts.
“It started with my own primary care physician. I just happened to be in there for my checkup, and I said, ‘hey, by the way, I’m at Huntington now and this is what I can offer for physicians. Do you have any colleague or members of your family that this could interest?’ And then it grew into an empire.”
That initial conversation snowballed into a vast network, underscoring Frith’s belief in the power of relationships, patience and, most importantly, product knowledge.
“You have to know your product,” she said. “There’s so many competitors out there with different programs and different guidelines. Know what you can do – and try to network every day. I’m constantly out there networking, trying to grow everything, because you never stop. My thing is, I’m never too big – there’s always room to grow.”
Sandi Frith – Mortgage Loan Officer – NMLS# 564023. The Huntington National Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC.