Purchasing a new home can be one of the most exciting yet worrisome experiences of one’s life. Jason Berg, Vice President and Branch Manager of FM Home Loans in Teaneck, is committed to ensuring the best experience possible for each of his clients. Opened in 2013, FM Home Loans specializes in lending for the purchasing or refinancing of residential properties. Located in the heart of Teaneck on Cedar Lane, FM Home Loans is rapidly expanding and currently undergoing renovation to accommodate its growing staff.
Originally from Belle Harbor, New York, Berg attended Queens College from which he graduated in 2000 with a degree in Economics. He began his career in risk arbitrage trading where he handled mergers and acquisitions. Shortly after, he took a position at Champion Mortgage, a national lead based company. It was during that time that Berg honed his industry skills in an effort to be a creative thinker. Numerous loans passed through his hands and he worked hard to think outside the box to make them work. This experience taught him how to customize his approach to different scenarios and perhaps see something another lender might miss.
In 2010 he decided to work independently and build his own network. With his friendly and outgoing personality, his name spread quickly within the industry. Realizing that he shared the same goals as FM Home Loans owner David Brecher, Berg, along with Nicole Scott, a junior underwriter, opened FM Home Loans in Teaneck in 2013. Three years later their staff has grown to 15 and they are currently looking to hire additional support. Berg explains that the two key components of his position are to assist the loan officers and increase his referral sources. To that end, he decided to partner with Keith Debonis, who had previously worked in the Hoboken branch of FM Home Loans and embraced a similar work ethic to Berg. Together they were able to combine their referral sources and progress the business further.
Married with three children, Berg works hard to successfully balance his professional responsibilities and his personal life. When Berg decided to open a branch of FM Home Loans, his wife elected to take a hiatus from teaching so that Berg could focus on structuring his business while life at home stayed afloat. He attributes much of his success to her commitment to him and their family. Berg dedicates his weekend to family time, and while accessible via email, he truly attempts to detach himself and bond with his wife and kids.
Berg realizes that there are many competitors in the lending industry. “We are all selling very similar products; therefore, the experience has to be what sets you apart,” explained Berg. Along with his staff at FM Home Loans, Berg has created a system that makes the lending process much smoother than that of most vendors. Berg works with each client that comes through his office and attempts to simplify the process on their behalf. He evaluates each client’s situation so that he can recommend the best loan program to suit his or her needs. While his goal is to sell loans, “Just saying yes all the time gets people into trouble,” Berg said. He works hard to educate clients and offer solutions in what can often be a tricky situation. Each client is an individual and it is imperative to analyze his or her specifications in order to devise a successful plan.
Berg offers the borrower his full attention and treats every client in a confidential and trustworthy manner. Developing good relationships with clients is one element to building a successful business. Most of his business comes through recommendation and word of mouth. More recently, his focus has shifted to realtors and accountants and generate business. Licensed in New York and New Jersey, Berg has maintained many great relationships with realtors in both locations. With new added space in the lower level of his offices, Berg plans to offer training sessions for realtors and loan officers. “We help them and in turn they help us,” Berg commented.
Nina Eizikovitz, a realtor with Links Residential, describes Berg as someone who is always available to offer advice and direction. “When I first got my real estate license, Jason invited me to his office to give me some pointers and help me make important connections within the industry. My clients that use FM Home Loans know that they are in good hands and can be assured that the transaction will be smooth from application to closing,” explained Eizikovitz.
Berg is surrounded by a friendly staff that seems to really enjoy their work environment, and everyone unanimously agrees that he is an outstanding boss. He is caring and treats everyone fairly. Atara Aroll, whose main function is to assist the borrower throughout the lending process, describes Berg as “a very trustworthy and calm individual, two qualities that are extremely important in this business.” Nicole Scott, who started FM Home Loans in Teaneck with Berg, had relocated and downsized from a large company. “I took a risk going to a start-up shop and it paid off,” remarked Scott. “Unlike the larger companies, FM Home Loans takes more time in reviewing each application in an effort to help borrowers qualify for a loan,” she added.
An avid sports fan, Berg’s office is decorated with signed memorabilia and souvenirs. Himself an athlete, he particularly enjoys a round of golf and is sponsoring this year’s Yavneh Academy annual golf outing along with Links Residential. A community man, Berg is active in Shaare Tefillah as well as the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey.
When asked what he finds most rewarding about the job, Berg expressed his satisfaction in attending a closing with his client. It is a great moment for the client and in turn a feel-good moment for him as well. Jason Berg is a hard worker who is motivated to succeed. Friends and colleagues attest that he will always go the extra mile. Berg wants his name associated with good, honest and dependable service and he continuously works hard to assure that. While completion of his new space is just around the corner, he hopes to outgrow it quickly.
By Andrea Nissel