Mark Goodwin was only 22 and working as a buyer for the Tandy Corp. in Fort Worth, Texas, when he saw a job post that changed his life. The ad was for a sales position at Home Savings of America. Although he had no direct experience in sales, he’d met many salespeople through his work as a buyer and recognized the job as an opportunity.
Goodwin took the leap and applied. After a month of interviews, he was hired as an assistant, and after only six months, he started originating loans on his own. Thirty-seven years later, Goodwin is still originating. He’s only had three jobs in that time and has been with First National Bank for 10 years.
“If no one’s fishing in the pond, you’re liable to catch more fish.”
“When I got into finance, I literally didn’t know anybody or anything about the market I was in. Northeast Tarrant County was a very new market,” Goodwin said. “To be frank, I had a hard time with real estate agents and referral partners believing that a 22-year-old was going to handle their transaction very well. I had to prove myself.”
Years of hard work and building trust with both referral partners and the public has made Goodwin a force to be reckoned with in North Texas. He’s implemented programs to take buyers building homes from an empty lot to a permanent loan. He’s built relationships with companies that refer their executive teams to him. And he’s built a referral base of people moving to Texas from California and expensive cities such as Seattle, Chicago and New York.
These days, he mainly does construction and jumbo loans for high net worth clients. His average purchase loan size is about $1 million. “Initially, my markets were not jumbo. … Over the last eight to 10 years, the market has become bigger and bigger and bigger,” Goodwin said.
“Land prices are higher, and in these new developments, big houses are being built. In that market, there are many subdivisions where I’ll finance almost every house in that subdivision,” he said. “I focus on finding the real estate agents, builders and developers in that market. Many a time, when I’ve worked with the developer way in advance, that really eliminates my competition.”
His team is small and Goodwin personally works with two longtime assistants who also concentrate on high net worth clients. For these people, time is money. “I am able to take a loan I got on Monday and it’ll be approved Friday; I just have to wait on the timeline so I can close it,” Goodwin said. “The ability to do things faster, do things better and give the service level no one else can is why I have this volume.”
Despite a turbulent year in 2022, he increased his volume by $100 million. His strategy, he said, was to pick up the referral partners that no one was calling during the refinance boom. “If no one’s fishing in the pond, you’re liable to catch more fish,” Goodwin said.
When he’s not working, Goodwin has other passions. He’s a wakesurfer and takes yearly fishing trips to the Amazon River. But he’s most proud of his wife and his two daughters, who are about to graduate from college. His zeal for life translates back to the mortgage industry, too.
“People ask when I’m going to lose the passion I’ve always had, but that’s the thing: I am so passionate about being the best and being out there for everyone to call, being someone to answer questions,” Goodwin said “Once you’re noted for doing that and being passionate, people will remember you after 37 years.” ●
Tips of the Trade
Originators sometimes start in a market that’s saturated and there’s a lot of originators in that particular market. Instead, find a market you can grow with. Find a community, a small city or outlying areas. Slowly become the leader and presence in that market. If you build alongside your clients, alongside the community, and they get to know you, it’s so much easier than being dropped into a market. If you focus on a little market and make yourself the presence, you can always expand and make the circle bigger.