The Force is strong with Rick Elmendorf, at least as far it goes for showing gratitude to his clients and referral partners. Elmendorf, who is a branch manager and senior loan officer for Caliber Home Loans in Fairfax, Va., hosts an annual movie screening for client appreciation day.
At the most recent one he hosted the premiere of the new Star Wars film and he was able to fill two theaters. The annual event helps Elmendorf expand his referral base.
Elmendorf entered the mortgage business in 1994 as a loan officer for a mortgage broker. He has also worked as an assistant vice president of home loan production for Countrywide Home Loans, vice president and mid-Atlantic retail sales manager for Bank of America Home Loans and as a branch manager for First Home Mortgage. He joined Caliber in December 2014
This is Elmendorf's first appearance on the Top Producers list. Last year, he originated 458 loans for a combined dollar volume of approximately $157 million, ranking him No. 20 on the 2016 Top Producers list.
Tell us about your most creative or successful marketing strategy. How did you come up with the idea? What were the results?
I host a movie event every year for my client appreciation day. This year we hosted the premier of "Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens." We sold out two full theaters and my clients and business partners (and their families) thoroughly enjoyed it. This event usually results in a couple of client referrals.
What's unique about the local market that you serve and what do you do to address those needs?
I work with a lot of financial planners. We focus on the customer's overall financial well-being, including their mortgage, which sets us apart from much of the competition. We look at their mortgage around their short-term and long-term objectives. Catering to every aspect of the customers' financial needs allows for stronger relationships and they become our clients for life.
Tell us about an unusual or difficult loan scenario and what you did to ensure a successful closing.
To make a long story short, my borrower was unable to close on his purchase as expected because of issues with the home inspection and more. He was literally homeless, hauling his kids and family in a U-Haul. The real estate agents, the notary and myself facilitated the process by meeting him a hotel — which we paid for as a gesture — to be able to complete the loan closing the following morning.
What do you know about the mortgage business now that you wished you knew when you started out?
That this business changes often; rather than fighting the changes, learn to adapt quickly. Try to stay ahead of the curve.
Who is someone in your life, either personally or professionally, who helps contribute to your success?
My wife, who is also my operations manager. She runs a tight ship. She understands the nature of this business and she puts in crazy hours to ensure our customers and business partners have a seamless experience and become raving fans.