From age 8, Spiro Petritsis was raised in Athens, Greece. A dual citizen born in New Mexico, he moved back to pursue a career in America. He had been in the auto business for a couple of years, working at a Ford dealership, when the mortgage industry found him. Some former colleagues had gone to work at Wells Fargo. The hiring manager there called him, and in 2003, he joined the business and never looked back.
“I loved Greece — I really did — and I didn’t see myself ever leaving. … The plan was go, start a career and transition back to Greece. But life has different plans sometimes,” Petritsis said. “This is where I met my wife and we made a home here.”
The couple had three daughters and settled down, but Petritsis and his wife Georgia are keeping their dream alive. They plan to return to Greece for half of each year when they retire.
Life also had plans to move him again, from Albuquerque to Houston, where Wells Fargo offered him a position as an area manager in 2010. He settled there with his family and worked in a nonproducing role for a few years, which gave him time to expand his Rolodex of referral partners and develop a system for building deep relationships with them.
Now he’s back to producing loans at Prosperity Bank, where he’s worked since 2018. He still uses the same building blocks to create mutually beneficial partnerships with Realtors and homebuilders. Making Realtors happy, he said, comes down to three simple things: no surprises, expedited service and a consistent loan process.
Builder relationships are especially important to Petritsis too, since one of the bank’s most popular products is its one-time-close construction loan. He’s eagerly pursued hundreds of these relationships.
“In the one-time-close space, you need to have a relationship with the builder. That was the main focus: ‘How do we become friends with the local builders?’” Petritsis said, adding that he and his team aggressively pursued builders, charmed them with sharp underwriting skills, delivered on promises and executed smoothly.
The construction product — along with other useful tools offered by Prosperity such as home equity lines of credit, lot loans and options for non-U.S. residents — even nets referrals for Petritsis from other mortgage originators. Among his friends and connections in the industry, the products he offers are well known, so when another lender doesn’t have what Petritsis has, the client is often referred to him.
Business has slowed this year in the Houston area, he said, but it hasn’t been as dramatic as some other markets. Houston is a “relocation sweet spot,” Petritsis said, and people are still moving there. He invests time in every client, having a long conversation with them at the beginning of the mortgage process. The 30 to 45 minutes he spends getting to know each client helps him to understand exactly what they need and works to prevent any possible hiccups down the road.
“I really believe that when you communicate with a customer that it’s not about rate, it’s not about terms, it’s about helping them understand the process — a predictable process, I would say, with no surprises,” he said. “That’s what customers are ultimately looking for, to do business with somebody that understands their wants and needs, and gets them to the finish line.” ●
Tips of the Trade
Learn the business. What I mean by that is, be the processor, be the underwriter, know how to analyze income. Know every aspect of the business, and that will really help you better level with the customers and with your internal partners. What I recommend to everybody is to make friends in the industry. Don’t build a transactional relationship; make long-lasting relationships in the marketplace. Your Realtors or builders, everybody’s going through the same obstacles, so it’s OK to be human. Go deep on your relationships.