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Stephens Says Cultivating Relationships During Pandemic Will Pay Off

Keith Griffin
Apr 23, 2020
Robert Stephens, senior VP, constructions sales at GSF Mortgage Corp. and series host Andrew Berman, head of engagement and outreach for National Mortgage Professional magazine, sat down Wednesday afternoon

Robert Stephens, senior VP, constructions sales at GSF Mortgage Corp. and series host Andrew Berman, head of engagement and outreach for National Mortgage Professional magazine, sat down Wednesday afternoon to discuss the state of single-close construction lending and offer tips for loan originators during the pandemic during the latest episode of in the Mortgage Leadership Outlook series.
Stephens specializes in helping companies grow their single close construction business. Before taking the senior VP of construction sales position at GSF, he worked for a number of lenders, including JPMorgan Chase, First Guaranty Mortgage Corp., AFR Wholesale and more. He is also host of Mortgage News Network’s “Under Construction” show.
The pandemic hasn’t had a major impact on single close construction lending, he said, adding it’s almost business as usual.
“We are still 100% closing and funding single close construction loans for our core options FHA, VA, USDA and Fannie,” said Stephens. “We bumped up our credit scores a little bit to 680, but that just goes with what’s happening in the market.”

Building During The Pandemic

►Stephens said loan originators should think of themselves as “farmers” during the crisis. A farmer doesn’t open the backdoor and magically have crops, he said. Now is the time to cultivate relationships with customers by reaching out and checking in with them. “That’s a very easy thing to do. It’s going to pay off. Two three months from now when things pick up … you’re not 1 of 100 people calling,” he said. “Now is not the time to sell single close construction loans. Now is the time to strengthen our partnerships.”
►One way to use your time during the crisis, Stephens said, is planning for the end-of-the-year now. “How many times does New Year’s Eve roll around and you have regrets?” Stephens said. “What would I change now whether it’s my career or personal life? You’re going to enjoy the payoff when the end of the year rolls around.”
►Companies might consider getting more control over processes handled externally. Stephens said GSF handles the entire single-close construction loan process from start to finish. He said that helps his company be a best-in-class lender. “That’s been the key to our success: Control and managing the process from end-to-end.”
Watch the complete interview with Stephens below.
Previous guests in the Mortgage Leadership Outlook series include Christine BeckwithDavid LunaCarl WhiteBarry HabibRick ShargaDavid H. StevensRob Chrisman and more. See all the interviews from the Mortgage Leadership Outlook series on its YouTube channel.


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