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Friday, January 28, 2022
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About three decades ago, Richard sat on an airplane excited for take-off, counting down the minutes until he would reunite with his girlfriend in the British Virgin Islands. Much to his frustration, the plane stood grounded and was delayed several times until all passengers were finally told the flight had been canceled. Needless to say, all the passengers were disgruntled and disappointed as they began exploring alternative options.

For some, it meant canceling their trip altogether; for others, it meant staying overnight and arranging transportation and lodging until another flight would be available; for one distraught passenger, it meant thinking quickly and creatively. Richard was determined to get to his destination as soon as possible. He began calling airlines and specialty carriers, searching for a private or charter plane that would be ready to depart promptly.

After many unsuccessful attempts, he finally had a willing carrier available to charter a direct flight to his destination. Naturally, they were demanding an excessive amount of money. It was too much money for him to spend, and he was running out of time. He called back the carrier to find out how many seats were on their luxury liner. Within a few moments, he had his answer and did some quick calculations.

He asked an airport employee to borrow a black marker and a whiteboard. On it, he wrote, “$39 one way to BVI.” He went up and down the isles of the plane with his sign, and before he knew it, his airplane was full. Not only that, his own seat was paid for in full by the other passenger fares. Now renowned as the English billionaire business magnate, investor, and philanthropist, Sir Richard Branson was hours away from seeing his girlfriend.

He ended up marrying this woman and decided to launch his own airline company as a result of the experience. Virgin Airways is a partnership between Branson’s Virgin Group and Delta Air Lines. He didn’t reinvite the business, but he tried to look at the experience through the eyes of a customer. He worked hard to differentiate his airline through service and customer experience.

I bring up this inspiring story after speaking with a client who seemed overwhelmed by the home buying process. When I asked him to detail some of what was overwhelming him, he described how he has been researching mortgage companies for weeks. I told him the following “secret” – all conventional mortgage companies do the same thing. A majority of conventional loans end up being sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

No one has “reinvented the wheel,” and mortgage underwriting guidelines and documentation are the same regardless of where one obtains their loan. What is different from company to company is the service, competence, and comfort that you will get while working with one lender versus another.

Shout out and happy birthday to Jamie Ash, Moshe Gelfond, Steve Gutlove, Lenny Halstuch, Susan Lowensteiner, Carley Peven, Amos Tayar, and Rabbi Asher Yablok and Shira Zimmerman.


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 [email protected]

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