"Not all business is good business"

From legal eagle to broker stardom

"Not all business is good business"

Having begun her career in the legal field, Tammy Saul (pictured) is now the number one producing loan officer in Maryland – and one of the top individual mortgage brokers in the whole country. Now owner of Federal Hill Mortgage, she spoke the Mortgage Professional America about her legal roots – and how the desire for a fresh start paved the way for mortgage superstardom.

“I went to business school and then I went to law school,” she said. “I graduated law school and I was a practicing attorney for two years with no thought to do anything more than that. After all, that is what one does when they go to law school - they become a lawyer. And that’s what they are for the rest of their life.”

However, Saul wasn’t destined for the legal field.

“I was suddenly, and without notice, fired from my legal job,” she said. “Which was devastating to me because it was my identity, my career, my everything – and my intention was to go and find another job quickly.”

Luckily, Saul’s then boyfriend, now husband, was a mortgage loan officer.

“One day I just asked if I could go to work with him,” she said. “I thought I might try being a loan officer until I was hired somewhere else – and I had no intention of staying because I was a lawyer. I went to law school. I  need to continue practicing law because this is what I’ve invested years of my life in - this is my passion.”

‘We can do this on our own’

On her first day, Saul was given about 20 minutes of training on the basics, a script and a telephone.

“I went from being an attorney at a big law firm with a suit on to now sitting in a cubicle, speaking to dialler leads, many of whom hung up on me or wouldn’t give me the time of day,” she said. “But I was determined. And I figured it was just for the short-term. I quickly realized that the script that was given to me wasn’t natural - so I spoke however I thought was best to connect with clients. Within two months, I became the top producer in that branch with no experience or really any formal training.”

As her mortgage career took off, Saul found herself torn between pursuing her former legal profession and embracing the growing opportunities in the mortgage industry. The more she excelled in the mortgage field, the clearer it became that this was her true calling. One pivotal moment changed the course of Saul’s life. Eighteen (18) months after she started in the mortgage field, she turned to her boyfriend who worked alongside her.

“I said, we can do this on our own,” said Saul. “And that completely changed the trajectory of our lives. I couldn’t start my own company because I’d only just started in the sector, but he got the wheels turning. He got his broker’s license, left the company – I stayed on for the extra income – and we started off on our own.”

Through sheer perseverance and dedication, Saul’s business flourished. Today, Federal Hill Mortgage operates out of a $2.5 million commercial building they own, with a team of 20 employees. Saul’s hard work and commitment have earned her recognition as the number one producing loan officer in Maryland and one of the top individual mortgage brokers in the nation.

‘Not all business is good business’

But it hasn’t all been plain sailing -  for Saul there was one main obstacle that started to interfere with her mental wellbeing.

“Choosing the right people to work with and the right referral partners,” she said. “When I was new, I would accept business and work with any real estate agent who would send me a client because I needed that to survive. So if a real estate agent wasn’t treating me well, I would just brush it off – I didn’t complain. That really impacted my quality of life - going down that road of toxicity. It got to be so bad with certain people that I made a conscious decision for my mental health and for the health of my children, that it just wasn’t worth it.”

Saul eliminated the toxic people from her life – not just agents but anyone who wasn’t treating her too well. And, when one reached out to her suddenly to offer her a leadership role, she knew what she had to do.

“They sent me a text message saying that they’re now growing – they have a team of over 100 agents,” she said. “And they’re acquiring new agents. They wanted me to be the in-house leader and asked me to reconsider working with them again – because they know that I close the deals. And I responded, ‘no thank you’. Eight years ago, I would have sat there and thought about it – I might have taken it. Now I know that not all business is good business.”