Gum Tree Mortgage was founded in early 2003 by Kenneth McNeal and Jim Shirley.
The business has grown from a 2-man operation in a very small office in Tupelo, Mississippi into a regional Residential Mortgage Banking operation with over 20 employees and offices in Tupelo, Oxford, New Albany, Starkville, Mississippi and now proudly serving Bozeman, Montana.
The focus from day one was to provide a great experience for our clients! We offer programs for building, buying, or refinancing residential property with special programs for first-time-home-buyers, new construction, and rural homes. In addition to offering conventional, VA, and USDA Guaranteed Rural Housing mortgage loans, Gum Tree Mortgage is also an FHA Approved Lender.
At the start, a refinance boom was under way and the backlog of individuals wanting to refinance was enormous. Kenneth and Jim decided to focus all of their efforts on the purchase and new construction business. Simply put, the fact that they were available at most any hour of any day helped to create growth quickly. As more and more banks focused on the low hanging fruit of the refinance market, GTM continued to market itself as a purchase shop and the friend of Real Estate Agents. Their goal was to work closely with Realtors® and Builders to make the mortgage process as simple and fast as possible. Today, they are still a "purchase shop". As they have expanded and created their own customer base, they have grown in the refinance world. However, the core focus is and will always remain the individual wanting to buy or build a home. GTM is truly passionate about helping people live out their dream of home ownership.
As former college roommates, Kenneth and Jim, probably never fully imagined how intertwined their future lives would be. They share many attributes; however, the strength of their partnership is their differences.
Kenneth has a Bachelor's of Business Administration degree in Business Information Systems and Quantitative Analysis. After college and before starting Gum Tree Mortgage, he worked in Information Technology for many years beginning as a Programmer and advancing to Chief Information Officer. He is a "process" guy who develops and introduces all of the systems, processes, and technology needed in today's mortgage world. Constantly changing regulations and laws require constant attention to detail and he has proven to be in step with or in front of every major change in the mortgage industry. No time in our history was that more evident than during and after the financial crisis of 2008. While many Mortgage companies went out of business, Gum Tree Mortgage survived and has flourished. Kenneth's attention to detail has been and continues to be critical in the growth of Gum Tree Mortgage.
Jim has a Bachelor's of Science degree and his professional career has always had a focus in marketing and sales. After college, he went to work for one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. While employed with them, Jim was trained in sales, communication styles, and the importance of the customer and their needs. Jim rose in that company from the "boots on the ground" sales rep calling on produce farmers in south Florida to a District Manager role responsible for a sales force that covered multiple states. Jim's ability to develop a compassionate team of originators that serve as our "boots on the ground" has been and continues to be critical in the growth of Gum Tree Mortgage.
Helping people live out their dream of home ownership is the most important aspect of the mortgage industry. While Kenneth and Jim's individual contributions to GTM are different, their common goal and passion is to see their customer achieve the American dream, which in turn has helped to create a strong and enduring partnership
We Value People
We value our fellow teammates, we value our families, we value our industry partners, and we value our clients, alike.
2 We Value Relationships
We value the relationships that are formed among our own team, with our industry partners, and the long term relationship of being one our client’s trusted advisor.
3 We Value Integrity
Integrity is easy to claim, but only merited by others when consistently demonstrated. We value those whose integrity is so engrained in their DNA that it is unquestionable.
4 We Value Dreams
We value the dreams of the first time home buyer. We value the dreams of growing families. We value the dreams of the single parent. We value the dreams of the retirees. We value the dreams of the real estate investor. We value the dreams of our employees. We value the dreams of our own future. We value dreams.
We are in the business of making dreams come true…and as a byproduct, we offer great mortgage loans!
We believe that our purpose is to work in concert with our teammates, clients, and industry partners to help our clients realize their dreams, as they relate to residential home ownership. It is through a combined effort that we achieve our greatest results.
Gum Tree Mortgage is a team of individuals working together with the organization’s and the client’s best interest in mind. We believe in transparency and honesty. We wholly believe in the concept of team. We celebrate our successes as a team and hold those in high esteem who have gone the extra mile to provide great service, supportive function, or achieved something others in our industry might have just avoided.
We believe it is management’s role to create an environment of trust and accountability that allows employees to flourish in their given roles. We achieve this through establishment of systems, policies, and procedures that facilitate process. The net results of these are appreciative customers and employees who have a sense of accomplishment and worth. We believe in empowering and challenging our employees to seek better and more efficient solutions to tasks.
Our very first office was attached to a transmission shop. Fortunately we were only in that location for very short period of time.
Our very first two desks were donated. Truth is they were being delivered to the city trash collection and they fell out of the back of a truck. A friend called and asked if we needed two "slightly" scratched desks. ... well of course!
February 2004 - Gum Tree Mortgage's office floods. Just proves that you can only control what you control! Loans had to be put on hold for a few days while Kenneth and Jim used squeegees to push the water out of the office!
We generally have ONE company event per year and it is our Christmas dinner. We celebrate the year we had, the accomplishments, and long serving team members. It is common to have 100% attendance of all employees and their spouse or significant other.
25% of the Gum Tree Mortgage staff has been with the company more than 10 years.