This Brokerage Is Recruiting LOs, While Others Face Layoffs

CEO compares company to Navy SEALs: not all can make it

Katie Jensen
Recruiting LOs

Human Power

Essentially, Petra Cephas is a human-centric business. This type of culture aligns with the company’s business model, using a human-powered customer relationship management (CRM) system. According to Nageh, this is what entices seasoned loan officers.

The human-powered CRM system provides loan officers with a support staff to handle all customer relations activity, allowing loan officers to focus more on getting loans processed, gathering leads, and getting referrals. Instead of clients receiving generic emails sent by bots, they appreciate speaking with a human. This makes communication much more authentic for both the broker and the client.

“If you’re a loan officer for Petra Cephas and meet 20 potential referral partners at a networking event, all you have to do is take a picture of those business cards and someone from the marketing team will put them in your software, and even your phone,” Nageh said.

The company does this through Google business suites. Once someone downloads contact information into Google contacts, the loan officer should be able to download that contact through their phone with the mobile app. A simple, yet efficient process.

The marketing team also handles sending thank you letters to clients, and maintains those relationships so loan officers can focus on sales.

“Most loan officers, when they talk to me, say ‘That sounds like something my assistant would do.’ I say the whole company is built on assisting you,” Nageh said.

Petra Cephas

Easing Burdens

Usually, loan officers are burdened with extra duties, such as this or weekly updates. At Petra Cephas, the marketing team intimately monitors the progress of each loan officer every week. After every month, loan officers get an email of every single closing they completed and who referred them.

Nageh emphasizes that brokering is a relationship business, and borrowers want sincerity and authenticity. Petra Cephas specializes in developing personal relationships. Nageh says the company won’t send generic Thanksgiving or Christmas cards, because those phrases become saturated and diluted with the other vendors a customer uses. Even plumbers send out holiday cards, so in order to separate your business from the rest, it’s important to send substance.

“We don’t send fluff,” Nageh said.”We provide true value.”

Loan officers also are responsible for following up with their clients. Six months after a closing, the loan officer will check in on the client, and then once every year after that.

Petra Cephas likes to show its generosity in many ways. Every year, two weeks before Thanksgiving, any past clients may come by the office to pick up a turkey — tofu turkeys, kosher turkeys, and natural turkeys are available.

The company also holds an annual Petra Cephas Day, a festival-style event featuring face painters, ice cream trucks, massage therapists, and mediterranean food for all to enjoy. At the last annual Petra Cephas Day, 300 people attended to join in on the fun.

Additionally, every year Petra Cephas rents a cruise for its clients to sail the Hudson River.

Authenticity, Not Tech

Nageh admits he’s investing more in technology at the moment, but he refuses to sacrifice authenticity for technology.

Currently, he is working on technology to replace menial tasks, such as data entry. “It’s a waste of time for loan officers,” he says, “and I don’t want them doing it.”

When loan officers hear about Petra Cephas and how well they’re doing in the current market, they can hardly believe it, Nageh says.

“They’re astonished; they’re flabbergasted,” he said. “Everyone is conducting mass layoffs, like Wells Fargo and loanDepot; First Guarantee filed for bankruptcy, and Sprout shut down. It’s surprising for loan officers who first join the company to see how much we’re growing.” 

Katie Jensen
This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine November 2022 issue.
Published on
Oct 28, 2022
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