Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Anthony O. Kellum.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
a. I entered the mortgage industry in the early nineties. I was working for a bank and really enjoyed what I was doing. But at some point, I felt there was more to be done to service the underserved in certain areas in Detroit. For example, a woman came in and asked if she could put a home in lay-away and this was my “a-ha” moment. I also remember my supervisor making sly remarks and comments when African Americans came in for a mortgage, had great jobs but did not have the necessary funds for a down payment. Keep in mind I was a young guy and not fully aware of systemic racism and redlining but this is exactly what was going on but even with my naiveté I knew this was wrong and I wanted to do something about it. There was more I could do to educate people on the process and importance of home ownership. Kellum Mortgage and Property Is Power was born out of these experiences.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
a. The primary challenge was raising capital. Having the funds to open the doors to an office, furnish it and hire employees who recognized the mission of Kellum Mortgage. There were also industry market challenges with the fluctuation of interest rates and property values which all created heart burn from time to time. Another challenge I faced was trying to raise economic awareness meaning, just because you can make a payment…does not mean you should. For example, I had several clients with double digit interest rates and when I explained that was too high and we could significantly lower the interest rate, they were proud they could afford to pay $16,000 even though they could have paid $8,000 in interest. With that being said, I understood the importance of gaining the trust of the people within my community. Because we have been taken advantage of for so long, we simply do not trust and unfortunately at times I found it challenging to raise the economic awareness within our community.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
a. One of the key reasons someone should work with Kellum mortgage is because we are a boutique firm with the capabilities to customize our loan programs to fit the individual needs of our borrowers. Also, we are a licensed mortgage broker which in and of itself is important since banks do not require their loan officers to be licensed. This sets us apart because the regulatory bar is lower for banks and consequently brokers are held to a higher regulatory standard.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
a. Persevere. Never give up. Believe whole heartedly in your abilities. There are no shortcuts. And ABSOLUTELY don’t be afraid to fail.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
a. Success means to me that you wake up every day doing what you love and you to bed knowing you made a difference in your community.
What’s next for you?
a. What’s next for me? Taking over 30 years of real estate experience and sharing it with our young people. This means taking it to the next level by creating the Property is Power platform. With a series of Property is Power books, doing a real estate tour and simultaneously doing social media live events, radio show appearances, pitching a Property Is Power HGTV show and creating a Property is Power podcast.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?
a. People can connect with me through www.kelluMortgage.com, they can DM me via the following social media platforms Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.