DWAYNE STEIN vividly remembers what it was like when he purchased his first home more than 15 years ago. It was a time of nervousness, excitement and anticipation, but it was also one of anxiety and worry. It is a memory that has shaped the customer service philosophy at CrossCountry Mortgage (CCM). “We are in the business of helping people achieve their dreams,” he said. “Our goal is to make the experience of buying a home a positive one.”
With the latest technological advancements and specialized educational training, Dwayne said the loan officers at CCM are pioneering the way that home loans and refinances are processed. “From providing up-to-date information on federal guidelines to real estate agents, to offering efficient loan approvals and closings, we strive to be a resource every step of the way.”
On the front end, the “Purchase Pronto” program guarantees loan approval notifications within 48 hours of receipt. This enables the home buying process to begin in earnest almost immediately. Agents are able to make offers quickly and with the peace of mind that the processing will go through because an underwriter has already looked at the application.
CCM is also committed to closing their loans quickly. Their loans close within 14 working days as compared to the national average of over 40 days. “Buyers are able to move on to the next phase of their lives in their new homes. And, agents are able to move on to the task of selling another home,” he said.
As a 20-year veteran in the finance and lending industry, Dwayne explained CrossCountry has all the advantages of a local lender while also providing the security of a national company. Established in 2003 in Ohio, the company has grown to include branches in 48 states with applications pending in the remaining two. As the exclusive lender in Louisiana, Dwayne now has offices in Mandeville, Metairie, Slidell, Shreveport and Bossier City.
“Because of the way we are designed, we are able to offer a wider selection of loan offerings than most mortgage companies. As a direct lender to Fannie Mae, Ginnie Mae and Freddie Mac, we have the flexibility to provide loan options other lender’s can’t, to help meet the specific needs of our customers,” he said.
Dwayne added that CCM also has the ability to be more actively involved in the loan process. “If one of our loan officers are out of the office, or even out to lunch, we can still get our hands on a customer’s file if necessary. We know there is a person behind each loan number and we try to give them the respect and courtesy he or she deserves. We don’t want anyone to have to wait to get answers they need.”
Before establishing his first CCM branch in Metairie in 2011, Dwayne had spent the majority of his career with HSBC, the largest banking institution in the world. Having worked up the corporate ladder from branch manager to training manager and finally district manager, he built a successful track record in sales and leadership. His branches were consistently ranked nationally and internationally for performance and loan volume. In fact, for the first quarter of 2006, only months after the area was battered by Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans branch was recognized as the top performing branch in the country.
“I remember my boss asking me how we could have accomplished such a feat with all of the distractions around us,” Dwayne recalled. “I told him that we were in the business of making loans, not excuses. This became a mantra for the whole company.”
When HSBC decided to get out of the mortgage business in the United States, it closed nine branches in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in 2009—all of which were under Dwayne’s management. He took the change as an opportunity to set a new career course, combining all that he loved about corporate banking with the advantages of a small, locally owned business.
“Teaming up with CrossCountry enabled me to build a culture of teamwork and professionalism while also promoting a family friendly environment,” Dwayne said. “I am a firm believer in empowering my staff to grow professionally while also having time to spend with their loved ones.”
As a father to nine-year-old Gavin, Dwayne certainly leads by example. He is actively involved with Gavin’s activities and is even a coach for his traveling baseball team, Aces. The two are also avid sports fans and attend both Saints and LSU games together on a regular basis.
In addition to pictures of Gavin in various team uniforms, Dwayne’s office walls are adorned with photos from half-marathons he’s run over the years. From the Rock and Roll marathon in New Orleans to San Francisco, CA, Dwayne said he tries to run at least one half-marathon each year. Noting that speed is not one of his strong suits, Dwayne admits that his “slow and steady wins the race” style may not be as effective in running as it has been in the areas of financing and management.
“We are about providing excellent service on a consistent basis,” he said. “It is one of the reasons I agreed to host the radio show, ‘Mortgage Gumbo’ on 99.5 WRNO (Saturdays at 1 p.m.).” The weekly program covers a variety of subjects related to home ownership, connecting potential homebuyers with industry professionals on the real estate market, housing trends and property maintenance. He uses this format to educate listeners and give them options on their most valuable asset.
“My focus is on building lasting relationships based on trust, expertise and unparalleled customer service,” he said. “At CrossCountry, we will never take an agent’s business for granted. We work to gain trust on each and every loan we process.”
CrossCountry Mortgage is located at 2160 8th Ave., Suite A in Mandeville. For more information, you can reach Dwayne Stein at 985-612-1900 or at crosscountrynola.com. Tune in to 99.5 WRNO Mortgage Gumbo on Saturdays at 1 p.m., [email protected], mortgagegumbo.com.