Amy Buynoski, vice president, and mortgage banker with Fidelity Bank and Mickey Schilling, mortgage business development manager and vice president with Fidelity Bank, are guests on this week’s All About Real Estate episode of Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio. During our interview, Amy and Mickey gave us a little background on Fidelity Bank, which is the largest community bank in Georgia, and they also let us in on some need-to-know mortgage loan tips.
Fidelity Bank was founded here in Atlanta in 1974 and has experienced unprecedented growth, even through the banking industry downturn. The footprint of the bank recently expanded to Florida, and there are more than 26 mortgage offices servicing a majority of the mid-Atlantic. What sets Fidelity apart from other banks is its dedication to providing great service to its customers. At Fidelity, employees strive to uphold the company motto, “The number one community bank with the best customer service in town.” Fidelity makes an effort to get to know customers on a personal level. Many branch employees even know their repeat customers by name. This means a lot to account holders that may have had negative experiences with other banks.
The success of the bank is also attributed to its substantial support system, which starts at the branch level and goes all the way to the corporate office, which is located just off North Druid Hills in DeKalb County. This makes key players in the loan decision process accessible for face-to-face meetings with officers. Homebuyers applying for a mortgage loan with Fidelity also have an additional level of comfort in that mortgage offices are fully staffed with processors, underwriters and closers, ensuring that loans don’t have to be sent out of state for underwriting. This allows loans to close in as little as two weeks.
The luxury of being local also means that mortgage officers can sit down with underwriters and talk about loans on a personal level, so mortgage applications aren’t looked at as numbers, but as individuals. Post-closing, Fidelity continues to service 90 percent of their loans, giving customers a local point of contact for service concerns and no hesitation about having to speak with someone out of the state, or out of the country, about loan issues or questions.
Fidelity is a full-service bank and offers traditional checking, savings and time deposit accounts. The most popular product offered is something that is virtually nonexistent in the current retail banking market, Totally Free checking accounts with free bill pay. Customers do not have a minimum account balance and the account can be opened with just a $50 deposit. Fidelity also has a wealth management division, an automobile loan division and provides small business loans. Oh, and let’s not forget to mention the free cookies, coffee and coin counter available in each branch!
For first-time homebuyers who have not previously applied for a loan, the process can be a bit overwhelming. Amy walked through the steps to help buyers get started with applying for a home loan which begins with contacting a mortgage officer with Fidelity. At that point, applicants can either fill out an application online, which takes 10 to 15 minutes, or an application can be filled out over the phone. The mortgage officer will also ask for financial documents that will be used to verify income.
Amy added that another misconception about buying a home is that a percentage of the cost of the home is needed up front as a down payment. Today, several programs that exist can grant buyers funding, reducing the total amount needed as a down payment significantly. Fidelity can also service buyers that have low to moderate income, or low credit scores, as the bank has access to many programs that can help customers that need assistance, and they can even match a customer with a Realtor.
New homeowners can also make many mistakes; one of the most common is going on a shopping spree once the loan has been approved. Home buyers should wait until after closing to make large purchases: Credit is monitored throughout the home buying process to make sure that new credit accounts have not been opened that can impact the ability to repay the loan. New home buyers also shouldn’t change jobs while closing on a home loan, as this too can impact the loan closing.
Fidelity offers a variety of mortgage loan products including conventional Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans as well as Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, Veterans Affairs (VA) loans and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans. USDA loans can be 100 percent in certain rural areas.
For customers looking to renovate a home they have decided to purchase, Fidelity offers several solutions. There are also doctor loans for medical doctors that offer 100 percent financing with no mortgage insurance as well as construction to permanent loans up to a $2 million that can be used to renovate a home already owned or used to build a new home.
Interested home seekers can find Amy at www.abuynoski.lionbankmtg.com, or by calling 678-249-7457. Mickey can be reached at email@example.com. To find out more about Fidelity Bank and its other services and products visit, www.lionbank.com.
Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio’s “All About Real Estate” segment airs on Fridays and highlights the movers and shakers in the Atlanta real estate industry – the home builders, developers, Realtors and suppliers working to provide the American dream for Atlantans. For more information on how you can be featured as a guest, contact 770-383-3360 or via the contact form on this site.
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