The couple met while working at a local mortgage company 18 years ago. Both were going through a divorce when a personal friend recruited them for a new mortgage company she was starting. Love was the last thing on their minds when their friend predicted they would marry. Both already having children, they thought she was nuts when she said they would have a child together. Well, after 17 years together, two mortgage companies and a daughter later, they are happy they proved her right.
After working together for a couple of years, the couple decided to branch out on their own. They opened a branch office of Allied Home Mortgage 15 years ago, where they continued until the corporate office went through some changes last year. The Streets decided to start fresh with Ohio-based CrossCountry Mortgage Inc. They were fortunate to keep their office in the same location. Russell, who is a licensed mortgage banker in both Tennessee and Virginia, is owner and branch manager. Tammy is the office manager, and she and Phyllis Laney both work as loan processors.
"We had to start all over last year," Tammy said. "It was very challenging, but we prayed a lot, worked harder, and became more determined. It ended up being the biggest year we have ever had."
"Opening a new business was a gamble," Russell said.
"But I still had my customer base, and the majority of my business is referrals. That, and the fact that I had Tammy telling me what to do," he laughs. "She's good at that."
Tammy gets a chuckle out of that, but doesn't disagree.
"People are always asking us how we can stand to work together. We actually get along great at work. He has his roles, and I have mine. We enjoy each other's company. You know, it just works," she said.
Russell specializes in FHA, USDA, VA, regular Conventional and Reverse Mortgage loans.
"A lot of people may not know that 100 percent loans are still available," Russell said. "It's important for people to know they can always call me and, most of the time, I can see if they prequalify right over the phone. You would be surprised at the number of people that think they would never be able to qualify for their own home, but are now enjoying being a homeowner. It's always worth a phone call."
"I’d put him up against anyone as a loan originator. He’s the best at what he does. He takes pride in his job," Tammy said of Russell. "He will work a loan for months to see that a person gets their house, where someone else might turn them down. He gets and takes calls on his phone at all hours of the day. He is always working, but that’s okay, because this is our livelihood."
Most of the couple’s business is within an hour and half radius of Kingsport, because Russell likes to be accessible to clients. Their branch of CrossCountry Mortgage was a recent recipient of the runner-up award for New Business in the 18th Annual KOSBE (Kingsport Office of Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship) Awards.
The Streets consider volunteering within their community important and have served on several boards and organizations such as Junior League, Optimist Club, the Chamber of Commerce, Hope House, Leadership Kingsport, Girls Inc., the list goes on. The couple even started the Thanks for Giving annual event, which just completed its seventh year of collecting items to give away to those in need around the holidays.
"We had over 1,500 people go through this year, with hopes of reading 2000 next year. Friends and family make it possible, and the blessing we all get from it is beyond words."
"Yes, the future looks bright here at CrossCountry," says Tammy. "We have all the avenues to help people get the home of their dreams."
"Now Russell," she says as she looks at him sternly, but with a twinkle in her eye, "you really have to get back to work!"
CrossCountry Mortgage is located at 505 E. Center Street in Kingsport. Business hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call 423-246-2126 or email Russell at firstname.lastname@example.org. (NMLS#3029 Branch - NMLS#148950)