Q&A with Ben Phillips (and partner, Eric Bradshaw)
Tell us about your business, Home Rate Mortgage?
Ben and Eric founded HomeRate Mortgage in November 2013. We built the business from scratch; originally, we started under a different brand in 2010, but as nationally recognized loan officers ourselves, we created our own brand three years later. Our talented and professional team is still in the same location. HomeRate Mortgage handles all aspects of residential financing including loans for purchasing, refinancing, HRM and more.
Based in Tennessee, we are a local business, run by local residents and have established a notable local brand name. We are extremely competitive with our pricing, and our loan officers and processors are extremely receptive. In fact, our business recently placed in the Top 3 Financial Companies for Chattanooga’s Best of the Best Award.
What sets you apart from your competition in the industry?
HomeRate Mortgage handles home loans with expertise. We close loans quickly and do more volume than anyone else – bar none. We are absolute experts on loans. Both of us were raised in military families, so we have a comprehensive understanding of that specific business sector. We also work with the Wounded Warriors organization and donate annually to the golf tournament.
HomeRate Mortgage consistently offers better pricing than national competitors, because we utilize innovative technologies that allow us to compare pricing and better understand out competition. This has launched us into the top 10% of the competitive rate.
What is the culture like for employees at your workplace?
One of the biggest things we do is help our people grow. HomeRate Mortgage is not only focused on our clients, but also focused on the big picture – which includes our employees. Since we are expanding, we offer some employees the opportunity to work remotely and will help then set up their own offices. We are firm believers that if we help our people grow, we equip both clients and the entire business alike to thrive.
Compensation is, of course, an important factor as well, and our loan officers receive a base pay as opposed to 100% commission – this leads to more volume. Our loan officers can close over 20 loans a month, which is unheard of - but it is a testament to the great system that we have in place. Most of our loan officers make a 6-figure income and the top 10% make 116k or more nationwide.
What are your responsibilities with the business and what led you here?
I focus on managing the marketing and operations part of business as well as recruiting. I oversee our technological operations; I make sure we are constantly upgrading our systems to make sure we are using the most innovative technology to do our jobs most efficiently.
I started in the mortgage business in 2005, working for HSBC as an AVP. It was a huge business that went downhill in 2009. Half the people in Tennessee that were licensed left the business, but Ben and I stayed on and eventually opened our own business. While it was a bad time in the business world, it ultimately launched our success because we were great at what we did and had very little competition at the time. This evolved into us being the best at what we do today: helping people to get the best loan and mortgages at the most affordable price.
In addition to my business experience, I have a BBA in marketing from Lambuth University. Today, I am happily married and the father of two great kids.
I manage the hiring and inspiring aspect of the business. I am the voice on our commercials and together, Eric and I write the commercials. I have always strived to live a successful life. I was a state champion in high school, which led to a scholarship in college, and I also received academic honors– so I have always had a competitive attitude. I started my career with Arthur Anderson, the accounting firm, and after that business was tarnished in 2001, I moved into the mortgage business, eventually opening my own business. I was born and raised in Tennessee, and we are truly a local business that we built from the ground up. I am married and happy to be raising my two children in my home state.
Any other business ventures?
Three months ago, we opened up a real estate office, Exit Realty Scenic Group. We work with clients throughout the state and beyond on home and property sales and purchases. We also bought a preschool last year – so we consider ourselves much more than just mortgage people. We are seasoned entrepreneurs that are always looking for new opportunities.