When you ask Loan Officer Bill Weakley what led him to his career as a loan officer, the answer might surprise you. His initial search for a new job after a 15-year career in the restaurant industry began when he and his wife decided to start a family. But it wasn’t until the first ultrasound appointment when the doctor showed two heartbeats instead of one, that Bill knew he knew he had to make a change that would allow for more flexible hours with his quickly growing family.
On Halloween 2012, after studying and taking a six-month mortgage course, he took a chance and never looked back. And while he says this job is more stressful than his last, he also says it has given him the work-life balance that he hoped for.
“I’m now able to play an active role in my children’s lives—attending their school plays and cheering them on at their sports games on the weekends,” Bill said.
“I’m so happy I decided to take that leap of faith. It’s still the most challenging job I’ve ever had—way more than the restaurant business,” Bill said. “When someone comes into your restaurant to order dinner, the worst thing you can do is give them bad service or burn their steak. When you’re dealing with someone’s home, there is no room for error.”
But the risk is definitely worth the reward, Bill says.
“Being a loan officer gives you some of the best benefits. I like to think of my job as running Bill Weakley Incorporated, because I’m basically running my own business. I create my own business plan, and I work on 100 percent commission, just like a small business owner. Some months are better than others, and you’ll have to get used to fluctuating compensation, but every day brings a chance for you to grow your business and get out there and close more loans.”
When asked about the best part of his job, Bill says there are two parts. First, his flexible schedule, which allows him to spend more time with his family. He’s also been able to provide financially so that his wife could stay home with their twins instead of sending them to daycare.
“We’re both so grateful for that,” he said. “Now that the kids are reaching first-grade, I know my wife is itching to get back to work. But we really wanted to be able to look after them on our own without having to send them to daycare.”
The best professional aspect of being a loan officer? His ability to help people.
“When I was in the hospitality industry, I always enjoyed helping people. I’m able to do that even more so with this job. I get to help people provide a safe place for their family to live—which is the most important thing in life. Becoming a homeowner is a dream come true, and I get to help people fulfill that dream,” Bill says. “That’s why I always attend all of my closings. I want to see the smile on my client’s face and I want to hear about all of their moving plans and what they’re excited about. Even if it’s a client’s third home, they’re still accomplishing a big dream and it’s fun to be a part of that.”
Sitting with his clients as they close on their loan and receive the keys to their new home ensures that Bill never goes numb to the importance of his job, he says. Especially because it’s no easy feat making it to the closing table.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize how many individuals are involved throughout the entire loan process and how much man power is happening behind the scenes to get their loan approved. It’s not just some computer algorithm that we plug in. There is a real person involved every step of the way,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important to have a local lender.”
“A lot of people don’t realize the level of service that is necessary throughout the mortgage process. constant changes and hiccups along the way, and you need to be able to call your lender on a Sunday morning and get immediate answers,” Bill says.
That why Bill tells his clients that they can reach him after work hours and during the weekends, not just 9-5 on week days.
“I’d rather have them call me at 9 at night and get the answer that they need and get a good night of sleep than have them up worrying all night,” he said. “As a loan officer, I know what’s at stake, so I give my clients 100 percent of me. I enjoy developing relationships and I try to meet all of my clients face-to-face so that I can understand their hopes and dreams and help accomplish them.”
Bill Weakley (NMLS #974320) is a Loan Officer in Virginia Beach for Advance Financial Group (NMLS #1611080), a subsidiary of TowneBank Mortgage. He can be reached via phone at 757-407-2002 or through email at [email protected].
The information contained herein (including but not limited to any description of TowneBank Mortgage, its affiliates and its lending programs and products, eligibility criteria, interest rates, fees and all other loan terms) is subject to change without notice. This is not a commitment to lend.