Natalie Reid-Loudan learned early that the mortgage business is about hard work and relationships. Both are embodied in how she approaches off-hour phone calls.
“If somebody calls me at 7 a.m., I’m going to answer,” Reid-Loudan said. “If they call me at 10 p.m., I’m going to be like — can you believe they’re calling me at 10? — ‘Thank you for calling. This is Natalie. How may I help you?’ You grumble about it, but that’s our industry.”
Even on vacation, Reid-Loudan never turns off her phone. “I’m on the beach. I can answer the phone,” Reid-Loudan said. “That’s money on the line. It’s going to pay for the next vacation.”
This work ethic has served Reid-Loudan well. She originated $46.2 million in loan volume in 2018, and where she truly made her mark was in originating U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans. She ranked No. 2 on Scotsman Guide’s Top USDA Volume list in 2018 with $9.5 million in loans. About one in five of her 227 closed loans were through the government program.
Reid-Loudan works for PrimeLending in Winchester, Virginia, about 75 miles west of Washington, D.C. She covers an area that includes parts of Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. Her average loan amount is $250,000, what she calls “USDA market.” She has found that it’s an ideal loan for many of her clients, since the program allows borrowers to finance up to 100% of the cost of the home.
Although many of her clients can come up with a small downpayment, she advises them to use that savings on unexpected needs once they move into the house.
She started in the mortgage industry 18 years ago when her two children entered school. She needed a job that offered flexibility so she could go on field trips and help with homework after school. She had been working in the accounting department of a car dealership. Her husband was often on the road working in sales for a travel-trailer company.
Reid-Loudan builds relationships not only with real estate agents and other referral partners, but with anybody “walking and breathing.” She’ll hand out koozies or water bottles at parties, or see if someone is doing something interesting on Facebook.
“At 10 o’clock at night, I’m snipping pictures, snipping pictures, snipping pictures,” she said. If she sees someone hiking, for instance, she’ll print out the picture, frame it and send the picture and a handwritten note to potential clients.
Reid-Loudan has catapulted up the rankings in USDA loan volume over the past four years. She was at No. 24 in Scotsman Guide’s 2015 rankings. She rose to No. 11 in 2016 and to No. 3 in 2017. She has accomplished this in part by adding staff. She had a part-time worker (a long-time friend) prior to 2015, then hired her on full time, while also adding a couple of others.
That meant she has had to give up control in some areas and allow others to do what she has trained them to do. That has allowed her to concentrate on doing what she does best. “And that’s shaking hands and developing relationships,” she said. “You know, the old adage, shaking hands, kissing babies. That’s the essence. That was the difference.”that in a lot of companies, and I’ve seen a lot of cultures. We’re a close-knit team.”