TOP MORTGAGE LENDER IN TENNESSEE KEVIN BLAIR
Having bought four or five houses of his own in the 20 years prior to entering the mortgage business certainly helped with Kevin Blair’s decision when he was given an opportunity for a major career change. “It was a complete life change. After 20 years in a completely different industry, I was looking for something different,” he says. “I started in mortgages more than 17 years ago and never looked back.”
As a mortgage banker with BrandMortgage in Chattanooga, TN, he leads a team of six professionals who handle all the needs of borrowers they represent REALTORS® they help. “I do all the approvals and my five other team members help close the loans,” says Kevin. He explains that his approach is different than many lenders because of the strong support team behind him including a full-time loan coordinator in addition to experienced processing professionals.
The top-notch communication practices of the BlairSmiles team define the success they deliver to borrowers and REALTOR® partners. “Phones are always answered,” says Kevin. “We don’t let any calls go to voice mail.” They even have what they call the “Bat Phone,” which two other people and Kevin answer on the weekends. Responsiveness, after all, ensures borrowers and REALTORS® get approvals when they need them.
“And it’s not just communication, but the way that we handle our business,” adds Kevin. “With technology the way it is, we can quote closing costs down to the pennies and always give 100% accurate, on-time information.” The team prides itself on providing such accuracy for the biggest purchase most people ever make. “After quoting closing costs, they don’t change. All the way through the buying process, there are no surprises.” Naturally, this assurance keeps clients and their REALTORS® happy. “Partners know that when we say yes, the loan is going to fund.”
The mortgage business is a personal business to Kevin. “We are known for total transparency,” he adds. “I like teaching people about the loan process and I don’t take part in any games. I’d rather tell someone the truth and have them not use me only for them to find out later that I was telling the truth!” Kevin has built a business on telling the whole truth, whether good news or bad news. “People make five major decisions in their lives and buying a home is one of them. We don’t play game with people’s lives.”
In addition, BrandMortgage is bank owned, so if there’s a loan out there, Kevin does it. A full 99.9% of his transactions are purchase loans, with most in Tennessee and North Georgia, though BrandMortgage can lend in 10 states. His only refinances are for repeat clients. “This is a relationship business and we do all we can to help our borrowers and to give our REALTORS® confidence in the way we take care of the people they bring us.” This practice funnels back into more referrals for everyone.
Kevin’s business is in a rapid growth mode, driven by new relationships with builders, CPAs and other strategic partners. “When people think about mortgages in Chattanooga, we want them to think of Kevin Blair for the good job I do for them.” He has even been a guest on one of his REALTOR® partners’ radio shows and hosted it once. “I’d love to do more radio!”
In the meantime, he does his best to enjoy personal time with his family, including his three children and eight grandchildren, who all live locally. Recreationally, he is involved with some local motorcycle clubs and loves traveling with the extended family. “Our bank is also big on giving back to the community,” he says, noting their work for St. Jude’s and his additional volunteer work through his church. “I also like to speak at high schools, teaching kids how to take care of finances. If we can get to our kids younger, we can change this world!” he says. “I truly love what I do.”