Spring is Sandi Frith’s busiest season as an originator, but not for the usual reasons. In February and March, doctors who are about to graduate from medical and dental school receive their “match,” or the placement for their residency. Frith, who specializes in physician loans, fields calls from these residents all spring, helping them to finance home purchases in new cities.
Working for a national bank, Frith can originate her physician-specific loans in 40 states. These products offer lower downpayment options on larger loan sizes and don’t require private mortgage insurance, saving these new doctors thousands of dollars. They’re available to medical doctors, dentists, ophthalmologists and even veterinarians.
I felt the joy of helping someone achieve their dream, felt the gratification at the closing with them.
“When they’re graduating med school after eight or nine years, they’re not going to have a lot of money saved for a downpayment, and they’re usually starting brand-new contracts,” Frith said. “A big advantage for the doctor’s program is that we can allow zero down up to $1 million. And there’s no private mortgage insurance whatsoever on any of the doctor products, so it makes it easier for them to qualify when they match.”
Housing around large hospitals, where new residents are often placed, is expensive. Consequently, many doctors end up renting, Frith said. But her loan programs allow medical professionals to get into homeownership sooner and allow them to build equity faster. She’s been working in this niche for 12 years now.
Before coming to Huntington, Frith worked in private banking with high net worth clients at another national bank. Many of these high net worth clients were doctors. When the mortgage arm of her former employer closed, Frith took her book of business to Huntington, which was just launching its loan program for doctors. “It was a perfect storm,” she said. “I thought, ‘Wow, that’s something I can really market to my past clients. I can take that doctor program here at Huntington and run with it.’ And that’s exactly what I did.”
She likes to keep up with her past clients, checking in at least once a year on the anniversary of their closing. Frith said this not only keeps her top of mind for refinance opportunities, as well as upsizing or downsizing of homes, but it also brings her new business via referrals.
Frith has an extensive network in the medical community with clients all over the country that refer colleagues to her. Many of her clients belong to business groups within the medical field, so her name is often passed on that way as well. In the process of building her business, Frith has met many Realtors whom she brought in as referral partners.
Outside of her medical network, she also operates in the construction and luxury home loan niches. “It’s all about getting the news out and doing a great job for your clients as well as the Realtors, the listing and the selling agents, to get those referrals back from them,” Frith said.
Frith works from her log home in the woods of Michigan, north of Detroit. She and her husband rescue koi fish, which they keep in large ponds on their property, and she often visits them during breaks. She said the woods are enticing, just as her career is.
“When I started in the mortgage business, I really felt it was my calling,” Frith said. “I felt the joy of helping someone achieve their dream, felt the gratification at the closing with them, and saw how happy people were. That’s when I thought, ‘I can do this for the rest of my life.’ And it has been the rest of my life.” ●
Tips of the Trade
Instead of relying so much on technology, just get out there, nurture your referral sources and gain new ones the old-school way. There’s nothing more impactful, I think, for a Realtor, financial adviser or homebuilder, than taking the time out to go and visit them. It’s a big thing. And remember this formula: FOS x F2F + AFB = success. Feet on the street, times face to face, plus asking for business equals success.
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