The Heath Barnes Show

Mortgages Reimagined

with your host, Heath Barnes

The Rise In Interest Rates And Developing A Growth Mindset With Tammy Wittren

HBS 21 | Rise In Interest Rates


Money and mortgages are different now than it was in the past. Are you concerned about the market moving forward? Equip yourself with the knowledge to maintain a growth mindset despite the challenges. Join your host Heath Barnes as he sits down for a conversation with Tammy Wittren about the rise in interest rates, facts about inflation, and mortgage-backed securities. Tammy is a licensed loan originator working to secure the best loan product with the lowest fees and most competitive rate. In this episode, she explains market changes brought by the pandemic and discusses where you should invest your money. The whole world shut down because of COVID, which significantly affects the economy. She emphasizes the importance of developing a growth mindset to achieve great things in your professional journey.

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The Rise In Interest Rates And Developing A Growth Mindset With Tammy Wittren

I’m overjoyed to have our guest, Miss Tammy Wittren. Tammy is a loan officer out of Portland, Oregon with over 30 years of experience in real estate and lending. She became a licensed realtor and assisted the nation’s top real estate agent before coming as an award-winning branch manager at NFM Lending. What separates Tammy from the competition is she has built this team of professionals and a community who both share her commitment to serving others. Her passion to serve others, both realtors and clients, has let her provide free guidance to loan officers and realtors through mastermind, home buying seminars, and coaching programs.    

She has been both a student and coach for over twenty years and is a firm believer in the power of a growth mindset. Tammy also is very philanthropic. She has raised more than $500,000 with Habitat for Humanity, The ALS Foundation, Relief Nursery, and many more non-profits. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, gardening, and spending time on her property in Oregon City with her significant other, Steve, and their beloved dog, Walter. Welcome.

That’s nice.

It’s good to see you again, Tammy. Let’s jump right in. How did you get into the business? I read through a little research that you were a realtor. Share with the audience what the beginning looks like.

I am a Montana State University grad. All through college, I waited tables and that crazy stress. I thought I wanted to get into resort marketing. My degree is in Communications and then I have a minor in Finance and a minor in Econ. I knew I was going into sales. I didn’t know what. I was in Bozeman, Montana, a beautiful little place. I was graduating and I was like, “Real estate, that’s a great commission. I’ll do that.” I jumped into it. I was 21 years old, very young. After about six months, granted my expenses were cheap, one of the top producing realtors at that time, ERA franchise, her name was Sue Frye. She asked me to be on her team. That’s how it started.

When you’re a loan officer, you need to contact all the clients and be in a relationship. You should also build relationships with listing and selling agents. Share on X

I worked for her for almost four years. This was back in ‘88. The first fax machine happened at the end of ‘88. We were making photocopies of pictures and making flyers that way. You came to the office to get the key. I did real estate that way. What it did for me is it helped me understand what it means to excel at something. I watched this woman who moved from California to Montana and started over with nothing and had this grinding work ethic. I learned exactly what I needed to be in what I didn’t want to be. I made little money and worked my butt off for all those years. My husband at that time finished his graduate degree and we moved to Portland, Oregon.

I get here. I get my real first big job in corporate sales with a resort here called Sunriver. I did that for six months. We were buying a house. The guy that interviewed me we were buying a house with was like, “I love this real estate industry stuff. Have you ever thought about the mortgage business?” Part of my job back then is I had to take the application from the client and get it to the lender. There was one of them. We would get the appraisal ordered. The appraisal took 90 days to happen. That was my job.

As an assistant, you would take the loan application to the loan officer.

I drop it off after. I had figured out payments and all that. That’s how I got into it. I started working for my branch manager that closed my loan that Monday. The following Monday, I showed up in his office as his assistant. I was his assistant for about six months and then launched on my own.

One thing I heard you say is you found out from this realtor that you work for what you needed to be and what you knew you didn’t want to be. I’m curious what came up for you early that showed you, “This is who I want to be versus who I don’t want to be,” because you were working for like the top agent in the US.

HBS 21 | Rise In Interest Rates
Rise In Interest Rates: We had an influx of buyers that normally would not qualify someone with a very low household income.


In the US, at the ERA franchise, 1989. She won the world’s number one production back then at $85 million in this little town of 30,000. Here was that fundamental for me. It was that if I ever made it, I would share the winnings. I would not hoard them. I would share them with the people that got me there. I don’t want to do this alone. I do it with my team. One of my greatest accomplishments in my life isn’t my production. It’s that I have this team that chooses to work with me. I pay them a fair good wage. I have a couple of people that have been with me for 13 and 14 years, and a couple of people for 7 and 8 years. I’ve also had my team walk out on me a couple of times. I learned a lot.

That’s painful. I’ve had that happen as well. We learn so much when our team walks out. If you have any introspective and understand that you create everything around you and if your team walks out on you, there’s something you get to look at. It also builds tenacity inside you that, “I can do this. I can rebuild.” It builds that confidence. For our audience, can you share what your team looks like right now and the size?

Right now, year to date, we’re about $130 million. Everything flows in under my name. I have a frontend team that works solely on my loans. I bring the loans to our realtor contacts. They take them from application to disclosure. We lock and disclose them, then they go to my backend team. There are four people on my frontend team and two people on my backend team. I have an executive assistant team manager who is an important secret weapon in this industry. I have a realtor contact at the frontend. She’s my realtor liaison.

What do you spend 90% of your time doing? Is it prospecting for new clients and prospecting agents?

Prospecting agents and getting ready for presentations to add value to realtors and clients. I am someone who can’t have a totally fixed calendar because I’m constantly brought in. I do all the problems. Meaning, any bad news, I’m the deliverer of that. Any renegotiations, I’m doing that. We have set points where I’m interjecting in their fight. I am their loan officer. I need to contact all the clients and be in relationships. I also want relationships with listing and selling agents. I never want them to feel like they’ve been passed off. I spend a lot of time with that. I have a commitment to my team that I’m contacting no less than fifteen new realtors a week, and then I validate and show them my work of contacting and asking for reviews. I’m accountable to my team.

Until the Ukrainian and Russian war is over, we have inflation. The Feds only have so many tools. You look around the globe, and there is not a country that is not increasing interest rates. We're all doing it together to try to get a handle on this. Share on X

For our audience, somebody would say, “You’ve got a big team.” How does a client not feel passed off? How do you stay connected with the client and they feel like you’re still involved? Are there a couple of things that you do?

This is how I live my life. It is not about ego. It’s not about me. I don’t sell the Tammy Wittren team. It’s the Wittren team. It is a team because I am great but I’m a cog in the wheel. Together, my team and I deliver exceptional customer service. I cover nights and weekends for my team. Their ass is in the seat from 7:30 to about 6:00 every day. I swear to God, many of them have catheters because they are not screwing around. Clients need cost estimates. They need to talk to you when they need to talk to you. My frontend is actively in that. Every client has my cell. They can call me. I will pick up and answer.

What we also know is that the J.D. Power customer service award has drilled down what customer service means. Customer service isn’t about you being the be-all know-all. It’s about the client being served. That means something different to everybody, but it is two touchpoints. I have my frontend, my backend, and I come in. To keep consistency and communication, I can’t override them. What I am doing is we share all communication, all emails, etc. I have a bunch of consistent emails that go out through the process. I pick up and follow up with a text or a call, “Do you need me? Do you need to talk?” I don’t find that clients do. Again, remember I do cover nights and weekends. I talk to everybody a couple of times on the weekends.

What I hear you saying is you’re touching them, whether it’s texting or calling saying, “Do you need me?” That way, they feel like you’re still there with them in the process.

We’re also very clear about the expectation. You’re using my team and me because of the level of service. We are available. I sleep for about six hours. That’s about all. I am committed to this. I’ve been doing this for a long time. My realtors know I’m available and I’m going to get stuff done. Part of my sales pitch is I help offers get accepted because of my name, and because I am doing the number of presentations. I did not let up a bit in COVID when it comes to my presentations. I do some presentations weekly to realtors. I do an economic summit. I get a hundred and some realtors three times a month to those. I am out there. My name is visible. I’m in it and doing it.

HBS 21 | Rise In Interest Rates
Rise In Interest Rates: Inflation is so high, not because of anything that the federal reserve or happened in the US. It is because of the Russian-Ukrainian war. Food and energy are the most volatile commodities that changed the CPI number.


When you’re giving those presentations, I heard you earlier talking about providing value to not only your agents but your clients. Rates are going up. How are you providing value to your agents and your clients? Most people in this environment are super scared, especially if you’re a newer loan officer. They’ve never been in an environment where rates are this high. You’ve been around a long time. You’ve seen this. What are you communicating to not only your team but mainly to the realtors and your clients about interest rates?

I might go off on a little rant for a sec, but I’ll make it quick and try to get to the point.

We like rants. We like people that are passionate about what they’re talking about.

I want to remind everyone that the pandemic hit in March 2020. We were all there. I remember the date, the 17th. It had a buildup. It started the quarter before. People don’t realize or remember this. We have a short-term memory. Rates had ticked up to almost 5%. We’re 4.875%. I locked someone at 5.25% back in the 2019 fourth quarter. China shut down. We weren’t told about it. They shut down a month early. We got our reconnaissance going. We figured out they were shutting down and the Federal Reserve was like, “This is going to be a big deal. We need to intervene.” They quit increasing short-term interest rates, which we had finally recovered and they were doing it. They put a halt to that and dropped rates. That started it.

As you remember, we started January and we were all like, “What’s going on? The media was unclear with us.” February happened and it all started. People were getting sick. Here’s what I want everyone to remember, global pandemic. It’s the only time in world history that the entire world has shut down. Not even the Spanish Flu or the plague has the entire world shut down because we are a global world. For someone to believe that we were entitled to interest rates that happened because we had a global pandemic, they need some more education and information about why interest rates dropped to 3%.

If you're manifesting fear, your actions are fear-driven. You tend to shut down and not do the work. Share on X

The world shut down. We were on life support. There are industries that were so vital to world function. The airline industry, for example, has a cash burn of almost $20 million a day that was in jeopardy of imploding. That amount of intervention from the 162 countries out there was unilateral and everybody came to the table. That is the only reason why interest rates dropped that low.

I don’t think people even know that right before they dropped, they spiked. They went up 1% in a day. The only reason they failed is because the Mortgage Bankers Association went to the Feds and said, “You all get to do something about this,” and they started buying mortgage-backed securities, and the rates fell off a cliff.

I will tell you that in 2008, when the Federal Reserve came in and did quantitative easing, it was a new phenomenon. It was done in China and Czechoslovakia at that time. It was not known economics. It was a theory. We realized where we screwed up in 2008. What the Federal Reserve said, if you go back and read all the minutes, they should have come in with guns blazing to get the economy back in 2008 recovering faster. We delayed the whole thing by almost three years because of their slow willingness to come to the table and do quantitative easing.

Quantitative easing is not the dropping or increasing of the Fed’s fund rate. That is overnight, banks that reduce prime. There’s only so much room you can do with that. Quantitative easing is when the Federal government steps in and buys mortgage-backed securities off the market and holds them on our balance sheet. When people say the Feds are printing money, that’s what they need. They held back all this inventory.

Remember supply and demand. If you want someone to buy something at a 3%, people know that they’re never going to refinance off of that. In turn, if the market wasn’t buying it, that rate would have increased. The Fed stepped in and purchased that. During 2008, that financial crisis we had or the great recession, we bought $4.9 trillion worth of assets. We are now at $9 trillion worth of assets that the Federal Reserve bought through quantitative easing to get to the place where interest rates were that low. What am I communicating to all my people? That was a once in a lifetime thing. We were not entitled to it. Because of it, we had an influx of buyers that normally would not qualify. Someone with a household income that you and I were used to in our normal business was qualifying for a home loan.

HBS 21 | Rise In Interest Rates
Rise In Interest Rates: You can retire in America when your home is paid off.


The quantitative easing continued since 2000 and never stopped. They literally tried to stop it in 2018 and realized they couldn’t. People don’t realize this has been going on since 2008.

We stopped. The Federal Reserve stopped purchasing in November of 2021. We headed into 2022 not buying those. Because of that, interest rates were poised to go up. They did. The Feds are also now pushing mortgage-backed securities to the tune of $49 billion a month back off the balance sheet that the market is absorbing. We have this supply and demand thing that’s happening. The one thing I want to remind folks, the Federal Reserve has three mandates. Secure unemployment. We don’t want to see unemployment higher than about 5%. Their average is between 4% and 5%. We’re now down about 3%. Remember it got to 14%. That’s why they stepped in to stabilize interest rates. Honestly, they’re stabilized. They’re not up and down every day.

The third is to make sure that overall inflation is under control. That’s why they’re stepping in. Inflation is wackadoodle. Let’s talk through the mechanics of that. Why is inflation high? Inflation is high, not because of anything that the Federal Reserve did or what happened in the US. It is because of the Russian and Ukrainian War. Forty percent of commodities, food and energy are the most volatile commodities that changed the CPI number, not core inflation. Core inflation throws those out. Core inflation is not as high.

It’s the CPI, Consumer Price Index, that is so wackadoodle because it includes those inflationary numbers. Until the Ukrainian and Russian War is over, we have inflation. The Feds only have so many tools. You look around the globe, there is not a country that is not increasing interest rates. They’re all doing it. We’re all doing it together to try to get a handle on this.

Speaking of inflation, I was talking to a client who was thinking about, “Should I buy? Rates have moved up.” I had this discussion with him. I said, “Would you rather have a 3% interest rate with 2.5% inflation or a 6% interest rate with 8.5% inflation?” When the government says 8.5%, do you believe it’s 8.5%, or do you think that’s the lowest number they could get away with proving? I suspect it’s probably much higher. In 2021, housing went up 19%.

Let's not forget the fundamentals of home ownership. And that is, first and foremost, to pay your loan off. Share on X

That’s 24% on average. That’s killer numbers.

For those loan officers that are thinking, “How do I share with my clients to take a 6% interest rate?” All they have to do is think about inflation. That means your house is going up 8% or 10%. Would you rather have 8% or 10% growth with a 6% interest rate or 3% growth with a 3% rate?

I love this statement. Let me roll back a minute because you hit the fundamental for all of us. I always remind people, and this is the grounding of all this. Home is three-pronged. We want our home paid off when we retire because you can retire in America when your home is paid off. We take a 30-year loan. It’s affordable. People over their lifetime pay the loan off. Let’s not forget the fundamental of home ownership. That is first and foremost to pay your loan off. With that, interest rates then, is it an increase if it was a once in a lifetime phenomenon that caused them to increase or are we now back to normal?

With that said, why do we buy a house? It’s not a car. It’s not an RV. It is an appreciating asset almost everywhere in the world. In the US, it’s at 4%. Let’s do this math. At $400,000, 4% per year appreciation is $16,000. Appreciation is something. It’s a passive activity that happens through home ownership. You do nothing. When we’re talking to clients, are they saving $1,200 a month? Typically, they’re not. This is a passive thing happening. Not only are you getting to retirement because you’re paying that asset off to arrive here. You’re also acquiring $16,000 per year, compounded. In five years, it’s $86,000.

You start doing the math. This is how leverage works. It’s fundamentally how wealth is created in America. Pay your mortgage on time off. Experience the appreciation. Home is something you have to live in anyway unless you’re going to do what people do in Portland, and you’re homeless and you live in a tent. You’re going to either pay someone rent. We all know rents are increasing. It’s becoming restrictive in Oregon and Southwest Washington with rental laws and rules and stuff. You got to live somewhere. You either pay someone else or you bite the bullet.

HBS 21 | Rise In Interest Rates
Rise In Interest Rates: Diversification is something that we all need to think about. You don’t want all your eggs in one basket.


What I will tell you, I do a post-closing interview and I try to do it with my clients about 3 to 4 months later. I’m always curious to ask, “How hard is it to make the payment? It was tied. I know you were struggling.” It’s funny how most clients are like, “There’s some pride that’s happening every month, but I’ve cut a few things. Now I’ve got a raise.” When we talk to clients, what we’re not factoring in is typically a 3% appreciation or a 3% raise. Even the Federal government gives Social Security a 3% raise.

People should also realize that the way we look at money and mortgages is different now than it was 30 or 40 years ago when our parents taught us that we need to put as much money down, finance it for a shorter period of time, and pay it off as quickly as possible. That came up because mainly their parents back in the ’30s and ’40s, the bank would come and take your house. That’s not happening anymore.

The mortgages were short-term back then.

The loan officers or clients or whoever is reading can think about interest rates matter, but what also matters is the rate of inflation and figuring out what else can you put in your money besides your home, because your home is going to appreciate no matter what.

Also, for diversification. If you googled US property appreciation and US stock market, you can get a graph that will show you the last 100 years. The projectile on that graph is about like this. There are some bumps but overall, home and stock market are solid investment value. There are going to be highs and lows just like in life. It’s a season. Hang on. Don’t sell when it’s low, hold, take a deep breath, and get unemotional as you were talking right there. Diversification is something that we all need to think about. You don’t want all your eggs in one basket.

Appreciation is a passive activity that happens through home ownership. You do nothing. Share on X

I like to think of home as a stool. Either it’s a three or four-legged stool. You invest in the stock market. Maybe you do crypto, and you do something else that you know yourself. That’s how you get a solid retirement. The other thing people need to remember too is mortgage insurance is such a gift. Mortgage insurance is insurance. Clients, by law, are only required to make 24 on-time payments and then they can petition the servicer to get it removed if they have a 22% equity position.

It’s 24 on-time payments and that 22% equity position is an insurance rule in law. They don’t talk about it. Obviously, when you sign your PMI document, it gives you the amortization in eleven years that it automatically comes off. It varies with 3%, 5% and 10% down. You guys know the rules about mortgage insurance and articulate that to your clients. Does it make sense when you could keep your money making money? You could have a little mortgage insurance, suck it up for two years if the market is appreciating, use a low appreciation rate, and see if you can get there.

I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but I had several clients that put 3% and 5% down. They are calling me a year later, wanting to have their EMI removed. I’m like, “You got to wait one more year.” We’re trained. Future is usually dictated by our past and learning things in the past, “Am I used to be out of control?” It’s affordable now and it’s tax deductible. I give people the option, “Mine is only $30 a month. Keep your cash.”

Even if it’s $150, it’s still better to keep your cash. Look at your options. Hopefully, your loan officer is digging in and seeking to understand what your goals are financially and where you are personally. There’s this conundrum with a lot of folks about student loan debt and stuff. Do I pay that off? Do I do this? That needs to be a conversation in all of this.

As the market changes, understanding where to put your money. I’m even telling my clients, “It’s a great time to put your money as an investment property.” If you’ve got most of the hedge funds out there buying single-family residences because it’s a good hedge against inflation, it’s probably a good idea for you. In fact, I don’t know if you know this, but I was at a poker game with some friends/agents of mine. They were telling me that hedge funds were buying are still buying a single-family residence at full price and then reselling them 2 or 3 months later at 5% over what they paid for.

HBS 21 | Rise In Interest Rates
Rise In Interest Rates: People need to remember that mortgage insurance is such a gift.


I would love to segue as a value-add for your people out there. We’re talking all about that the buyers are suffering. The truth is sellers are suffering. Somehow, social media has made everyone feel like a loser if they’re not $100,000 over on the sale of their house and got ten offers, and if a buyer didn’t get an interest rate of X. The truth of it is that the market has shifted. With that, sellers are still getting fair market value. They’re just not getting the bonus income. You and I both know, we’re on commission. It’s a bonus. Theoretically, the market has not slipped, but the great thing about it is that clients and buyers had this low-interest rate. In my marketplace, it was offset because we had to have an appraisal waiver on everything.

Buyers had thrown away the opportunity to negotiate repairs many times for going on a home inspection. In addition to that, they were free-rent back for the seller for 60 days, 90 days. They were still paying their rent. The list went on and on. Now, if we pause and we think about the things that the buyers are getting, they’re able to negotiate maybe a seller credit. We’re talking to people about buying out the mortgage insurance. Here’s a caveat to that, if there is some slow down in the future and rates dropped a little bit, it doesn’t make sense to refinance someone if they buy out the mortgage insurance.

Make sure you think that through. If you get a big old seller credit, there are all kinds of ways to spend it. Maybe you do half upfront. The old days of splitting mortgage insurance premium, you look into that. If a buyer can get any negotiation on repairs, not doing an appraisal waiver, and not overpaying for the house just because they had to, that alone and the mitigation of the $600 payment increase that people go back to the lowest rates are shifting. I like to call it equalizing. I never said it was fair, but it’s equalizing.

You talked earlier about seller credit. Here are some things that are happening also in the market that people should consider. It’s a good way to contact listing agents. As the market starts to shift and as interest rates rise, as a seller, if you give a discount on the house, you should think about giving it as a discount in points rather than taking it off the price. Most people would rather have a $10,000 discount on the price. As a lender and as a buyer, it makes more sense to take that $10,000 and drop your rate a half point.

Dollar for dollar, it’s more productive for a home buyer to take a $10,000 credit into the transaction because of the loss of future earnings on that money than it ever is to do a price decrease. $10,000 is a big deal.

There are going to be highs and lows, just like in life. Hang on. Don't sell when it's low. You can take a deep breath and don’t get too emotional. Share on X

It’s not much on your payment.

No, it’s not enough. You would have to save forever and ever. Get a credit for closing costs. Remember, if you have a big fat credit and you can’t eat it up, mortgage insurance is paid upfront. Those kinds of things need to be brought into the conversation too.

What I’m hearing you say is even though we’re in difficult times and times are changing, we get to adapt and we’re going to find ourselves coming out of this even stronger. As someone that is an advocate of a growth mindset, what would you say to our audience that is concerned about the market and moving forward? How do they maintain a growth mindset or positive mindset through this?

First and foremost, if you’re manifesting fear, your actions are fear-driven, you tend to shut down and not do the work. I would tell you that now more than ever, realtors need great loan officers who are experienced and who are in the game actively. A lot of folks stayed in this business who are writing out the refi volume and they’re going to retire or get out. Realtors are hungry for service, education, and someone to partner with them and help talk clients off the fence and be a point of reason. I am dumbfounded by how easy it is to pick up the phone and call agents and say, “I would love to reconnect. We lost touch. Are you available?” They’re like, “I would love to.”

Where are you? What are your pain points? What are you struggling with? Realtors are in the same struggle as we are, more leads, how do we do it, and going back to the basics. It’s all of it for everyone. Calling past clients, I was dumbfounded. In my coaching program that I run with NFM, I was dumbfounded. Eleven students went around the horn on both calls, “How many of you were contacting your past clients?” Not one raised their hand.

HBS 21 | Rise In Interest Rates
Rise In Interest Rates: The truth of it is that the market has shifted. With that, sellers are still getting fair market value. They’re just not getting the bonus income.


The reason they said they weren’t is, “Why would I? I already refinanced them. What good are they?” My past clients are worth a referral. If you close a loan, get a review, first and foremost. Do what I say, not as I do. I’m working on my reviews, hot and heavy. That 30 extra reviews, I’ll get to 60 by the end of July. Anyway, get a review from your clients. That client is worth five referrals over the next 5 or 10 years. Why wouldn’t you? Every time you send a postcard out, our phone rings off the hook.

Some people say, “I don’t know what to say.” Why don’t you call them and say, “I thought I would reach out as a previous client? I don’t know what to say, but how’s the house?” Some people would rather you reach out. Some people don’t have someone reaching out to them.

Loan officers, let me remind you. This is great fodder for your realtors to remind them. When people think of their advisors in their life, they have a physician, typically women do. They have a CPA and a financial advisor. People have a realtor and they have a loan officer. If you are someone’s most important resource for their most important asset, you have earned the right and the privilege to call the client and say, “I’m just checking in as your loan officer. Do you have questions or concerns?” They may say, “The sky is falling.” You come in and you say, “No, it is not. This is okay. We’re going to weather this. It’s a great opportunity. You have a fantastic rate. Can I help you with other questions?”

As we start to wind this down, what came to me is in this new environment for loan officers, if you want to make a shift in your business, be responsible for everything that happens in your business. For me, we literally missed the closing and called the day before. I got my team together. I said, “I want each of you to come up with three ways of why you’re responsible, all three people in the team. We’re going to put a letter together and we’re going to send it to the client, the seller, and both agents. We’re going to do this from now on because if we miss a closing, we impact people’s life. We get to be responsible.”

Here’s the thing, some of my best relationships, they’re not from doing what I’m expected to do, which is closed on time as promised and being the expert. It’s the character I’ve developed and created through hard times, delivering horrible news where I’ve stood up and I’ve delivered it sooner rather than later in a way where I’m not blaming anyone and I own it. I say, “I wish I had someone to blame, but here’s how I screwed it up, but here’s how I’m going to fix it. I will call the listing agent and tell them it was my fault, not your fault, not the buyer’s fault. I own this. I will do it. If my company will do a credit for the seller’s PITI, we can do a lender credit, which we can take off the credit you have.” There are ways to show that you’re an active participant. We all make mistakes. Owning it builds character and creates a reputation of being a solution-driven loan officer. Problems happen. It’s never that they don’t, it’s how you respond.

You think about the closest relationships in your life. You’ve had difficult situations and you’ve talked through it. It’s not the relationships where nothing has ever gone wrong and you closed everything on time. That’s not a relationship. That’s a conditional relationship. As long as you close loans on time, I’ll send you business. Many loan officers think, “I close every loan on time.” It’s not true. Not everyone closes everything on time.

I can say we close on time as promised because I get the transaction in and then I get the appraiser to comment on when he’s coming back and then I call everyone and go, “This is out of my control. Let’s change it.” Call everyone. They want to know. People are hungry for us to be connected and hungry for you to be the professional you are. People want to help you if you let them know how. As loan officers out there, your clients don’t understand that you are a referral-based business and that you need them to refer you. I promise you that 90% of them do not understand that.

For those reading, if you want your business to look like how Tammy runs her business, learn to be responsible and take care of your clients. I love that about you. It’s a sign of why you’ve done so well and why you’re a leader in the industry. I appreciate your time. If our readers would like to contact you, what’s the best way for them to do that?

My email is

Before I let you go, I would love to hear a favorite book, quote or something you learned that you would love to share with the audience.

I go back to some books that I always read to get in a good mindset before a coaching call or before something. I also have a little scripting thing I’m doing. The one thing I do know is that if I’m grateful first for everything, my mind cannot be grateful and negative at the same time. When you’re feeling yourself slipping, and you’re feeling yourself losing control, focus on the gratitude. I’m telling you, I get on my knees and sometimes it doesn’t happen quick enough. I tell my team, “I’m struggling. I’m looking for gratitude. I’m trying to get a mind shift.” I love that I can share that with my team. I’m human. I need coaching and encouragement.

I’m curious, do you have any books that you can recommend to our audience that you love?

My favorite book for mortgage folks is Pound the Stone by Joshua Medcalf. I loved this book. It’s a little parable. It’s fun. The lessons are great sales lessons. It’s the little sales Bible I use in coaching. My friend, Patrick Galvin in Oregon Portland, wrote this book. It’s called The Connector’s Way. This is a great realtor book too. It’s super-fast. It’s this tiny. People call it a bathroom book. It is a great book. It talks a lot about LinkedIn and connecting with your realtors. I would leave you with this value-add. If you want to become a partner with your realtors, the one thing you can do for them is advocate, elevate and edify them during the transaction with the client. If you want to send it home, ask for a referral on their behalf.

Honestly, what do realtors want from us? They want us to give them a deal. If you want to do something for them, just be an integral part of the growth and development of their business. The old Zig Ziglar saying, “Help enough people get what they want and you’ll never have to work a day.” You will have more abundance than you need.

There’s no wonder why you’ve been so successful in the business because you’re putting other people before yourself. I appreciate that about you. Thank you so much for being on the show, Tammy. I hope to have you back for sure. I love being around you.

I love you too. I can hardly wait to see you and Cynthia come to work.


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About Tammy Wittren

HBS 21 | Rise In Interest RatesTammy Wittren is a licensed loan originator serving Portland, Oregon, and the surrounding areas. With over 30 years of real estate and lending experience, Tammy has a detailed understanding of the industry from all angles. From becoming a licensed realtor and assisting the nation’s top real estate agents to a branch manager at award-winning NFM Lending, Tammy has separated herself from the competition by building a team of professionals and community who share her same commitment to serve others.

The Wittren Team earns referrals and retains past clientele by helping their clients navigate the mortgage process and by providing them with an unparalleled level of customer service. In addition, Tammy’s continued education, research and knowledge of the global market’s effect on interest rates, allows her to stay ahead of their competitors by structuring loans that truly suit her client’s needs. She is a trusted advocate working to secure the best loan product with the lowest fees and most competitive rate.

Tammy’s passion to serve both her realtors and clients has led her to also provide free or budget-friendly resources and guidance for loan officers and realtors through mastermind sessions, home buyer seminars, and coaching programs. She has been both a student and business coach for over 20 years and is a firm believer in the power of a growth mindset.

Tammy’s desire to serve others has led her to run golf tournaments that have raised nearly a half million dollars for Habitat for Humanity Portland, Raphael House, and the Relief Nursery. She is also involved with local charities including the ALS foundation, the Beverly Cleary Foundation, the Windermere Foundation, the Food Bank of Oregon, Volunteers for America, and numerous schools across the county.

In her spare time, she enjoys reading, gardening, and spending time on her property in Oregon City with her significant other Steve and their beloved dog, Walter.

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