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Key to One Ohio Mortgage Banker's Success

ColdStream uses intense sales training

February 1, 2006


photo of Paula Parisot
Paula Parisot
photo of ColdStream founders
ColdStream founders

Bridal shows and home improvement shows are just some of the places one Cincinnati-based mortgage banker drums up leads for its originators. But before they start on the leads, salespeople, who are recruited from a local university, must first endure a 3-month boot camp.

Three industry colleagues, Nolan Marx, Jeff Herr, and J. Scott Thompson, founded ColdStream Financial in May 2003. With a foundation based on focusing on its employees and a target market of middle-class Americans with nonprime credit, ColdStream is growing its business.

Marx, ColdStream's CEO, told MortgageDaily.com the company recently added 10 loan officers -- bringing the total to 80 employees of which about 60 of them are loan officers. Marx predicts the company is set to double its 2005 loan volume of $246 million this year while steadily increasing its most important resource -- its employees.

"We invest a ton of time and money into our employees and they stay," Marx said. "What makes us the biggest (mortgage banker) in Cincinnati is because of the people."

ColdStream is an active recruiter of Miami University students, as reflected in its placement on Miami U's list of the top 10 companies to hire graduates, alongside Deliotte & Touche, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young.

"We hire sharp, young workers and we spend a lot of time working with them and grooming them," he said.

The sales training program, which is taught by full-time sales trainers, includes a 90-day mortgage training boot camp, and takes two years to complete. "We teach the science of selling," Marx said -- noting they teach how and why people make decisions, how to keep customers and manage emotional relationships, as well as understanding the products and how they work.

ColdStream offers a full range of mortgage programs, however Marx said 80 percent of their business falls into the subprime category. "We work with people that are everyday hardworking Americans, some are just starting out," Marx told MortgageDaily.com.

Bridal shows, which the company sponsors exclusively, have become a part of its marketing strategy, he said, along with other trade shows such as "CityRama" which targets the topic of refurbishing lower-income neighborhoods and the "Kitchen, Home and Bath" shows.

"We are a very proactive sales force -- not reactive," Marx said of generating leads. "We do provide a lot of leads for our loan officers and we don't buy leads from the Internet."

ColdStream also provides first-time homebuyer packages for their clients that include thousands of dollars worth of discounts from various service providers such as tax accountants, movers, home inspectors, etc.

"We negotiate cheaper services," he explained. "We tell them we will refer people to them in return for offering (the customer) a discount."

ColdStream says it is licensed in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.

Paula Parisot is a MortgageDaily.com feature reporter and a blogger at CloserBlog.com who has also worked in the mortgage industry.

e-mail Paula at: [email protected]

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