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At Homestead Funding, our employees are our family. We embrace who they are and their unique experiences. In this month’s Employee Spotlight, we’d like to thank Courtney Parish for sharing who she is and what makes her the great Branch Manager and Loan Originator she is today. You can find her every day in our Catskill, New York branch. She brings a unique perspective to her work, having grown up right in the heart of the town she does business in.
Courtney’s mortgage journey may have started unconventionally, but her transformation of her branch is a combination of community, hard work, and dedication to her borrowers. She started out in one room with a computer and a phone. “I didn’t have training. I literally read manuals and watched videos to learn the business. It was all self-made.”
Courtney (right) with her husband and two children
The town of Catskill is inspiring to Courtney because of its tight-knit and safe community. She recalled that when her children were younger, the school they attended was located directly in front of her office. “I didn’t want to raise my family in a city with millions and millions of people.”
Courtney graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York with her bachelor’s degree in Marketing. While attending school, she realized that she didn’t enjoy the cut-throat and brutal nature of the fashion industry. “People told me I’d ruin my career if I moved back to Catskill,” she recalled.
But she didn’t. When she moved back upstate in 2000, she landed a job as a closing coordinator for a local attorney. There, she encountered a borrower who was struggling with their Loan Originator. Courtney fought for the borrower to make sure they were receiving the homebuyer support they needed.
Two weeks later, the same Loan Originator called Courtney and offered her mortgage training. She decided it was worth a try and entered the industry. She then joined Homestead Funding in 2006.
“It’s unique to work in the place you grew up,” Courtney said. She went on to explain, “it used to be that I’d know around 50% of the people who’d walk into the office for business. If people didn’t go to their bank’s lending services, they’d come to me.”
The pandemic began to change the local relationship with borrowers, especially with interest and home prices rising. Now, first time homebuyers in Catskill can’t afford the median home price. “It’s frustrating,” Courtney admitted. “I moved back to Catskill because I knew it would be a place where I could repeat the cycle—get married, have kids, and have a career.”
While her children are above eighteen and living their young adult lives, Courtney recalled what it was like to be a working parent as her children grew up. “I’m a better mother working than I would be if I had been a stay-at-home mom because I became more appreciative of the time with them,” she said. Working helped Courtney value and make space for spending time with her family. “My mother was a single mom raising two daughters. She worked two jobs to put a roof over our heads and raised us to be strong and independent.”
Courtney (right), posing with her mother and sister
Courtney cites her family’s restaurant work on a marina as the basis for her business. From the age of eleven until she was nineteen, she was dedicated to dealing with the public and addressing their needs. “It was the eighties, and I was a hustler,” she grinned. She explained that when her shift ended as a teenager, she would babysit for the children on the boats.
She brings the same community feeling into her management style. She stressed that her Loan Originators know that they can come to her about anything and everything. “We’re coworkers, but we’re really friends first,” Courtney grinned. “I don’t want anybody waking up and going, ‘ugh, I gotta go to work.’ I want people to be happy and excited about coming here, even if you’re having a bad day.”
When asked what advice she had for those just starting their career, she answered, “work hard, be passionate, and know that you get out what you put in.”
Homestead Funding is honored to have unique and dedicated employees who work every day to ensure the success of their other coworkers and the community they serve. To learn more about how we can help your homeownership dreams, contact us today.
Homestead Funding offers exceptional customer service and a convenient mortgage process. Whatever your financing needs, our goal is to exceed your expectations.