Celebrating 20 Years: A Video Interview with KTL Performance Mortgage
In this video interview, you’ll hear from the owners of KTL Performance Mortgage: Desteni Mason, Kristina Heath, and John Heath. Learn how KTL started, the owners’ highlights from the last 20 years, what the future holds, and more.
Edited for Clarity
Desteni Mason: Hi, I’m Desteni Mason with KTL Performance Mortgage.
Kristina Heath: And I’m Kristina Heath.
John Heath: And I am John Heath, and we are the three owners of KTL Performance Mortgage.
Desteni: KTL Performance Mortgage started in 2003. I was sitting in the living room
of my father-in-law’s house, and he asked me my opinion on starting a mortgage company and if I would want to pair up with him to get it started.
He said he would find some investors and there was just a lack and need in our community for financing for the underserved communities. And we decided to take a leap of faith.
Kristina: I started with KTL Performance Mortgage in February 2004. Bill Mason came to me and asked me if I would like to have flexible hours and if I’d like to work less hours. He said had a great opportunity that I could be doing home loans.
Previous to this, I had been in the car business working lots of hours and I thought I would try it. So I tried it and I liked it! And it’s just as many hours. I love it a lot more, though.
And in 2009, we all came together as owners of KTL. And every year it’s gotten better and better.
John: In 2007, after being in retail for about thirty years, I was golfing with Bill Mason, the common denominator here. He asked me what I knew about the mortgage business, which was not much and he invited me into the company and said he would teach us the real estate and mortgage business.
So I jumped in and took a couple of years. And then, as Kristina said, in 2009, the three of us bought into the company and we bought Bill out in 2019.
It’s been a great experience from day one.
Desteni: I think that the business itself has evolved a lot since 2003.
My favorite memory of the early years when Kristina came on, which was awesome because I finally had another female in the office with me to share that space.
But back then her and I would sit by the fax machine and you would literally fax your submissions to the lender of choice. Then you would patiently wait for that fax to come back so that you could reach out to your buyer and your realtors and let them know what you needed on the home loan.
So times have definitely changed. Some good, some bad.
I feel like back then it was maybe a little bit of a slower pace. Now we’ve adapted to the now society with texting apps and emails and uploads that just happen. Everything happens so fast now.
But I think that’s the biggest change that I’ve experienced.
Kristina: I agree with Desteni. We faxed, we waited, and we met a lot more people face to face, which we really do love still doing.
Back then we had limited programs. I believe we started possibly with just Conventional loans, and we started in the state of Ohio. Then we went into Indiana and then I still think we were doing Conventional loans, maybe a little subprime, helping people out who needed the help.
Then we started maybe four or five years later doing FHA loans, which further broadened the spectrum.
And then John came on and kind of opened our eyes to VA loans. Desteni found USDA loans. So we’ve just continued to add programs.
And now we have Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Florida. We keep looking to grow and see what other opportunities are out there for us and our borrowers.
John: I would agree the technology end of the business has changed tremendously. I think one of the biggest things that have changed in my experience, I remember when I first went to (mortgage education) school and I was in one of the first classes where you had to have a mandatory education to get your license.
When I went to the school I was probably one of the only new applicants. It was in the 2007 meltdown era, so more people were getting out of the business, but to stay in the business, you had to get licensed. I remember the sleaziness of the mortgage business that existed before 2007.
And I think that since 2007, from an ethics standpoint, a regulatory standpoint, there’s been a huge shift.
I think there were a lot of slimy people in the business in the older days and they have been weeded out and it has become a highly ethical, again highly regulated industry. I think when you compare the reputation of mortgage people today compared to 20 years ago, there is a huge difference.
Desteni: I think the highlight of celebrating 20 years truly is the milestone itself. When I entered this business, I was 21 years old, fresh.
John: And now she’s 29. (laughs)
Desteni: I’ve tremendously grown up in this industry. From where I started to where I am now, it really is mostly accountable to the people I work with, the people I work for, and my customers. It’s absolutely molded the person that I’ve become.
Kristina: In the past 20 years, I as well, along with Desteni, have grown as an individual. My highlights have been just loving this industry, the job, the people I work with. It’s fun.
Sometimes you want to pull your hair out. But there are those families that come in and they don’t ever think they can buy a house, and we get them to closing.
There’s just too many to even think about. The little kids that are going to have a backyard. Yesterday I just had a client and they haven’t told their kids they’re buying the house yet, because the kids didn’t think they’d ever own a house. They’re going to be living next door to the little boy’s best friend and nobody knows yet.
So today they’re going to tell the kids, which is super, super great.
I think we’re making a difference. In 20 years, we’ve made a difference in Darke County, and Richmond. We’re putting our footprint in Muncie. Growing even more in Florida.
I think we bring a level of kindness, empathy, and helping, like Desteni said, the underserved find houses and helping the people that don’t have time, that are awesome and great credit. Those that just want the ease of doing business. And we’re here.
So we’ve gone from just one part of helping the underserved and now helping everyone.
It’s a pretty good feeling when 99.9% of the people love us and we love them.
John: Part of it, I think is that we’ve survived. We have gone through the 2007-2008
mortgage meltdown that brought the country to its knees. And we grew through that when a lot of other people were getting out of the business.
The pandemic was a ride in itself. It was like a week-to-week kind of survival. I remember thinking back every Friday at about 4:00, we would get some nasty phone call from one of our investors with bad news and we would fret over it all weekend,
and we survived that.
We’re going through the highest rates we’ve seen right now in the last 30 to 40 years, which is having an impact on the business.
So, I think the fact that we have grown and we’ve survived and have become stronger together as a team through all that is the highlight for me.
John: I think what differentiates us from our competitors is in our name
and it’s in our mission statement. It’s knowledge, trust, and love. It’s how we do business. It’s how we treat each other. It’s how we treat our clients, our realtor partners.
Just the level of, we are emotionally invested in…
Desteni: Sometimes too much, right? (laughs)
John: Yeah, sometimes too much, in our clients, in our real estate partners, and with each other.
I think the culture we have built is unlike what you’ll find anywhere else.
Desteni: The top thing I want potential customers to know about working with KTL is that we are truly one group of people whose mission is to get you to the closing table. We are here so that you can either purchase the home of your dreams, refinance into a lower interest rate, take out that remodel home loan so you can fix your property up, or get a home equity line to consolidate some debt.
Our ethics are top-notch. We act as one big unit striving to get the customer the best possible scenario for their specific needs.
What we’d like people to know is that everyone’s needs are different and everyone comes to us at a different milestone of their life. We are here to customize a game plan that helps them exactly where they are, not where their neighbor is, not where their parents are, not where their brother and sister are, but where they are in their moment of life at that specific time.
We strive to be excellent at that so that they can end up in the spot where they need to be.
Kristina: I feel the future for KTL is going to be…I think we all want to leave a legacy. In the next 20 years, it may look different as far as technology, but the foundation is always going to be there of knowledge, trust, and love.
The world is crazy right now and it’s an instant society. People sometimes
don’t have that knowledge and they definitely don’t have the trust. And the love has gone to the side. KTL is just going to continue to culture that and to have that knowledge, trust, and love.
We’ve added additional loan officers. When it’s a down industry, we are still growing because we’re ready for that next step. The three of us continue to get together and we say, what is the next step?
And we are always moving forward.