Anyone who knows me well knows that I am fascinated (ok, obsessed) with the notion of a “growth mindset.” I was first introduced to the concept of a “growth” versus “fixed” mindset by Carol Dweck in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Dweck, a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, demonstrated that the human brain is “malleable” and can be shaped and expanded through neuroplasticity. Malleable means to be able to modify something firm in its form or nature. If this is all new to you, you should also check out Charlie Harary’s book, “Unlocking Greatness.”
At work, I often tell my employees that we need to be malleable in all aspects of our job. Because of strict compliance and rigid underwriting guidelines, we need to be unyielding with what is required to get our loans to the finish line - but at the same time, we need to be malleable. We need to be flexible and use common sense discretions to accommodate everyday issues, exceptions, and emergencies - to get it done with whatever it takes! I further extend this concept into how I consult with my clients - firmly crafting the most considerable debt of their life - to mold around their unique lifestyle and financial goals.
I recently talked to my well-connected client, who was now moving forward with his fourth refinance with me. This time around, he wasn’t doing any extensive consolidations, renovations, or modifications. Our previous mortgages have each addressed a specific need in his life at the time, but this time around, “his house was in order” (pun intended), and he simply wanted to get a low-rate mortgage. One evening, after a long meeting, I saw that I missed a series of successive calls from him, and finally, a voice message explaining his panic.
He seemed disappointed, even a little annoyed as he left his message. He had spoken with a friend who suggested that he consider doing an “Interest-only” mortgage. That friend introduced him to another person, who highly encouraged it, and told him its something he should pursue. An Interest-Only mortgage is typically where the monthly repayment for the first ten years is only the loan’s interest. It then converts into a 20-year mortgage with a higher payment to account for the principal and interest, until the loan is paid off.
He was concerned that I didn’t suggest this strategy to him; he thought I was “his go-to guy!”. I immediately called him back, and we started to discuss the nuances of this loan product. Of course, I could have offered him an interest-only option, but it made no sense whatsoever given his current financial objectives. He was at the stage in his life where he wanted to pay down his mortgage aggressively - and had been paying extra principal over the past few years already. An interest-only mortgage not only commands a higher interest rate but serves no benefit to him. These guys were self-employed, bonus-driven, financial executives – where perhaps they needed the cash-flow or lower payment to invest their monies for trading.
Not having spoken with them, I can’t say if that was the proper advice for their circumstances, but it certainly made all the sense in the world for my client to go with a very low rate 15-year mortgage. He was extremely satisfied and relieved, knowing that once again, I was taking his full financial scope into consideration and crafting a personalized solution for him.
Shout out and happy birthday to Kayla Bluman, Shana Carmen, Judah Diament, Yitzchak Feman, Yoni Hook, Daniel Jacob, Shai Jaskoll, Terri Karasick, Atara Kaye, Karen Remer, Nomi Rotblat, Gilad Schiowitz, and Marc Zharnest
Shmuel Shayowitz (NMLS#19871) is President and Chief Lending Officer at Approved Funding, a privately held local mortgage banker and direct lender. Approved funding is a mortgage company offering competitive interest rates as well as specialty niche programs on all types of Residential and Commercial properties. Shmuel has over 20 years of industry experience, including licenses and certifications as a certified mortgage underwriter, residential review appraiser, licensed real estate agent, and direct FHA specialized underwriter. He can be reached via email at