Bill Townsend: Ready to Finish ‘Unfinished Business’ in Mortgage Lending
By: Todd Fliss
Senior Vice President, Residential Mortgage
NMLS # 725207
Bill Townsend grew up in banking. As a teenager, he worked as a proof operator, then a bank teller. He studied finance in college, and that led to his now 20-plus-year career in mortgage banking. He’s spent seven of those years as a mortgage lender and continues in that role for INB. Bill serves customers in the Bloomington and Springfield areas.
While he easily could have chosen a different path at this point in his career, he chose mortgage lending because he believes he has unfinished business. “I get a lot out of it,” he says. “When finance is in your blood, it’s in your blood.”
In addition to the dollars and cents side of mortgage lending, there’s the people aspect. “You meet a lot of people as a mortgage lender,” he says. “That’s fun. There’s a satisfaction in helping the first-time buyer. Repeat customers are very rewarding, as are referrals.” No matter where they are in the home-buying process, Bill says customers become friends.
Bill is glad to make the move to community banking. The realtors he’s met have said it’s difficult to get things done with larger institutions. Some of them suggested he “go local.” After doing his research on what INB has to offer, he decided it was the best choice for him. “Now, I don’t feel like I’m serving shareholders from across the country. I’m serving people right in the community where I work.”
Straight Talk Important
“Service” includes giving first-time homebuyers advice. “I always ask them to consider, ‘Can you really afford it?’ When you buy a house you have to buy all kinds of stuff. A lawn mower and a ladder. Curtains and a vacuum cleaner. That’s $100 here and another $100 there. They add up. I also caution everyone not to overbuy. You don’t want to be house poor.”
“The job is all about relationships and name recognition,” Bill explains. While he ultimately can have discussions about family finances, he can only get there by telling people he has a service to offer. “I’ll be spending a lot of my time early-on with INB getting out there, making calls. Dropping off business cards.” It’s that activity that has worked well throughout his career.
“Communication is the key no matter how you do it.,” Bill explains. “No one ever complains that you over communicate.” Bill takes great satisfaction in meeting one-on-one with people, but believes in using whatever means a customer prefers. Given the tools INB provides lenders and customers, some of Bill’s INB colleagues say they sometimes don’t meet a new home buyer until closing.
Many of Bill’s customers over the years have been applying for government-backed loans; Government lending is a specialty for Bill. “I was an underwriter and know those programs very well. You have to pay a lot of attention to the details. I know how to structure loans and submit them. I, know what documentation is necessary. I see problems before they arise.”
Bill and his wife have two children. He loves sports, and served as a baseball and soccer coach when his kids were young. He was a member of the Auburn (Ill.) Soccer Association board for many years. Now that his kids are older, he has more time for riding his bike, reading and vacationing in his favorite spot, Destin, FL.
Bill’s NMLS# is 815738.