Meet Senior Loan Officer Erika Griffin, who has been at CIMG for over twenty years and "loving every minute of it".
I’m on the front line. I am the first and last person to talk to a customer. My job is to seek business, prequalify, lock in rates, gather documentation and sign applications.
I love helping my customers buy a new home OR save them money with a refinance.
Ha! I still don’t really have it. I’ve locked loans and taken applications on the golf course many times!
I believe the key to my success as a loan officer is that I've always kept it light, easy and a little bit fun! I once turned a cartwheel in the office after solving a big problem! It isn't always easy... But I love talking to my customers and getting to know them on a personal level. Many of my customers have become friends.
This mindset is also my advice for women getting into this business - let your personality shine through your work! Enjoy it and have fun with it. Be loud!
Meet CIMG Post Closing Specialist Eddwena Hampton. Eddwena has been a valuable member of the CIMG team for six years.
My official title is “Post-Closing Specialist”. I am a part of the shipping department which ships notes to the warehouse and builds packages to submit to the investor. The shipping department is the final check in before a loan is officially purchased. If anything is missed before the closing package comes to me, it is my responsibility to check for any discrepancies and if some are found to notify the appropriate person to resolve the issue. I like to think of the shipping department as a relay race--the shipping department is the anchor leg and the last runner to receive the baton and cross the finish line!
My three tips to young women who want to achieve success in any type of workplace environment is:
1) Speak up- It may feel awkward at first to speak up for the things that you require or deserve from your employer, but with time and practice it will get easier.
2) Accept your mistakes- Realize that you are allowed to make mistakes...it’s how you handle those mistakes that will make a difference. Give yourself grace. We are not robots and sometimes an error will occur. Think about it, even technology has “technical difficulties” from time to time.
3) Believe in yourself- You should be one of your biggest cheerleaders. Never forget who you are and that there is only one YOU. “You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe”-Oprah Winfrey.
I achieve work/life balance by making the conscious effort to prioritize. I am very big on not talking about anything pertaining to work if it is on the weekends or if I am on vacation. Life goes so fast that it is very important that I am present with those I surround myself with (family/friends). You must make the effort to take care of not only those around you (family/friends), but yourself as well. Self-care Saturdays and Sundays are a must.
Meet CIMG Underwriting Manager Susan O'Connell. Susan has been part of our team for nearly 14 years and shares insight into her job and how she leads at the company.
I am the Underwriting Manager. I am responsible for managing and underwriting the mortgage loans. This involves staying up to date on all the investor, agency and government guidelines. Also, communicating any changes, supporting the team with answering questions, giving guidance, and communicating with investors.
What I love most about what I do is the people I work with! Everyone is supportive and willing to help with the goal of getting the borrower closed on the home. Everyone works hard to make that happen.
Be prepared to work hard, work as a team, and be willing to continue to learn/educate/train. Thank the people who help you and be willing to help others.
It’s has always been a challenge, but it makes it easier if you set boundaries/priorities and go from there. Having a support system helps. My family has always been very supportive. I take the time to disconnect from work and spend time with my family.
Having relationships with many people within the company/business that I can communicate with to bounce off questions, exchange information, keep updated on policies has been key. Having people working well together as a team and support of the company has also been a big reason.
Meet Post Closing Manager Lisa English, who has been a part of our CIMG family for 20 years!
I manage the shipping process and facilitate the loan file purchases by our investors. I help borrowers with any post-closing issues and also help manage the Chapel Hill office, working with La Verne to make sure the phones are answered, supplies are ordered and any day-to-day operational office issues are cleared.
The people! I work with people at the investors level, the loan staff at CIMG and the borrowers. I love the teamwork on all levels!
Learn everything you can about the company and the mortgage business; be open minded and understand what being a part of a team means and being the best at what your part is on the team.
Being part of the team and doing your job is important, but having a life outside of work makes one a better team member. It is hard not to be engaged 24/7, but I put down the phone and do something like read a book, exercise, eat and drink with family and friends, so good mental health. Then I come back to CIMG with a clear mind!
Being empathetic, enthusiastic and helpful. Most of the people that I interact with in my role need something and I try my best to meet that need.
Meet Michelle Cooper, one of the women leading CIMG who elevates and inspires us every day! Michelle is the Morehead City Branch Manager and a Loan Officer on the Robby Oakes Mortgage Team.
My role at CIMG is a Loan Officer. I’m the first step when someone is looking for financing to buy a house. I guide customers through the mortgage process by helping them find how much they qualify to borrow and pre-approving them for a loan before house shopping. I discuss what purchasing a home will look like for their scenario from a financial standpoint starting with how much money they will need to bring to closing and what estimated monthly payments will be after that. Once they have that information they can shop for a house with confidence! I continue as their main contact for the remainder of the mortgage process and I will likely even attend the closing! That’s the fun part!
I have been with CIMG since Summer of 2020.
The best part of my job is that I am constantly learning new things and I am interested in what I do each day. When I wake up, I immediately start thinking about the day before and pick right back up where I left off. There is very little about my job that is repetitive. I get to meet new people and help them with what is very likely one of the largest financial decisions of their life.
Advice I have for young women that want to succeed in the mortgage industry, or any career, is to find good mentors. Find people that are successful, that you respect, and that want to see you succeed. Put together your own personal board of directors and talk with these people frequently. When one of them gives you advice that sounds difficult to do or outside of your comfort zone, lean in and do it. Do the hard things.
One of the keys to success in a role like mine is having knowledgeable, accountable, and reliable people working with you. It takes a lot of people and departments to get a loan ready for closing from referral partners and closing attorneys to my coworkers. I work with some of the best in the industry.
Meet Closing Manager/Raleigh Branch Manager Ashley Weaver. Ashley has been an integral part of our team for 13 years, check out the full interview below.
The closing department brings everyone’s hard work together. We send the closing documents to the attorney for the borrowers to sign so they can move into their new home, or obtain that lower rate on their existing home. I help to make the closing process run as smoothly as possible.
I have been with CIMG for 13 years
I work with a great team! We are always asking each other questions and working together toward the same goal. I also love knowing that I’m part of the process to help people obtain their dream home.
Learn EVERYTHING! Ask all the questions. When an opportunity presents itself for you to learn another aspect of the job/industry, take it!
In an industry like ours it can be hard at times, but I try to disconnect when I get home and be present with those around me.
Listening to others, attention to detail, and patience.
We’re thrilled to introduce you to the next of the women leaders at CIMG: Veronica “Taffy” Clark. As VP of Quality Control and Manager of Post Closing, Taffy has been inspiring us throughout all of her 10 years at CIMG. Check out our interview with Taffy below to hear about her 26 year career in the mortgage industry.
I’m Vice President of Quality Control as well as manager of the Post Closing Department. I’m responsible for all QC audits from our external auditors, all Investors, and all PMI companies we do business with.
As VP of QC, I love making sure our audit reports reflect the quality of work that our company strives for. As Post Closing Manager, I love my team the most. The group runs like a well-oiled machine and each person is cross trained to do different tasks as well as being able to back each other up if someone is out.
There are so many levels of employment within the mortgage industry that I would advise anyone interested to just get their foot in the door, don’t be afraid of trying new things, and always look for opportunities to increase your knowledge in the industry.
My balance comes from taking care of myself physically and emotionally, by working out at the gym, running, traveling, and spending quality time with my family.
I have faced many challenges during my 26 years in the industry, from trying to figure out how to get that work/life balance while having to work long hours, learning how to train people when I had no experience in training, how to manage people when I had never been a manager, how to develop new processes when there was no process to start with.
The key for success is to always be willing to take on new challenges; have good organizational skills; and always keep a positive attitude.
Meet Mara Bergholz, Mara has worked at CIMG Residential Mortgage for over ten years. Before being promoted to her current position as AVP of Quality Control, Mara worked in the Sales and Post-Closing departments and is actively involved in CIMG's Giving-Back initiative with Carla Johnson. While not at work she enjoys running, seeing live music and finding new adventures with her five year-old daughter, Isla and husband, Trevor. She also loves taking trips to the Durham Museum of Life and Science and going to the beach to see family.
I love interacting with people and problem solving!
Find or create your passion in what you do and don’t be afraid to speak up.
It’s a constant juggle to balance work and life. Both sides are ever changing, and the plan seems to need constant updating. At this point in our lives being home for dinner and being able to shut down for those few hours when we are all together in the same place is a priority.
Learning when to speak up and when not to, it is something I am still working on.
Meet Jennifer Salemson, President of CIMG Residential Mortgage. Jennifer wears many hats from handling all of our financial responsibilities, to HR duties, as well as overseeing CIMG’s Raleigh branch.
What I love most about what I do is getting to work with the people I do. We have an amazing group of people that have all come together to make the CIMG Family.
Balancing work and home life is a tough one these days. With kids ranging in age from 4- 18 there is always a lot to be done and not always enough time to get it all done. I am fortunate that I have such a great team at CIMG that makes sure we stay on top of it all.
Challenges I have faced in my career would definitely circle back to the home/work balance. Trying to figure out how to maintain a successful career and a successful home life is a work in progress every day.
I feel the key for success in a role like mine is to surround yourself with a group of talented, loyal, hard working people. Other than that, adding in a little bit of luck never hurts.
Meet Tracey Anthony, SVP of our Operations/Executive Management Team. Tracey has been with us since our founding and recently gave us some insight into her work here at CIMG.
Working with an amazing group of people who give 150% every day to make the mortgage process as easy as possible for our borrowers. The family atmosphere/environment we have at work is the real deal!
Join a female led company like our own. Mentors are so important.
I have an amazing husband and two sons (21 and 17) who have always supported me no matter how busy we are. They also feel appreciated and supported by CIMG for “sharing me”! I love that at our gatherings one of the thank yous that is always shared is the acknowledgment of the families/spouses/significant others who support our employees.
Time management/balance earlier in my career. Maturity, confidence and 100% support by our owners has been key.
I like to think I have a “little bit of Switzerland” in me. The ability to be the middleman between different roles to help strengthen communication in every aspect of our process and figuring out the best combination of personalities to work together to maximize our success.