The man in Oregon wanted to buy a second home, but he didn't have any cash on hand for a down payment. What he did have was gold: thousands of dollars in gold coins, which he was unable to sell because he couldn't prove he owned them legally. That's where Olivier Phliponeau stepped in. A ditech home loan specialist, Phliponeau tracked down the original seller, proved the coins belonged to the buyer and helped him get that second house.
"My manager bet that I wouldn't be able to close the purchase," says Phliponeau, proudly, "but we closed."
For the last seven years, Phliponeau has been one of ditech's leading Home Loan Specialists. A former United Airlines pilot, he left the cockpit after United's bankruptcy forced them to lay off pilots. The transition from flying a passenger jet to helping clients get home loans was an unusual one, but one that Phliponeau was uniquely suited for.
He has the charisma and people skills of a born salesman, and he relies on his unique background to help him better understand the needs of ditech's clients. He has helped people purchase homes, refinance homes, and better understand their mortgages, and he always does his best to make the client's life easier, even under unusual circumstances, and without the benefit of getting to speak in person.
"Face to face, I think it's a lot easier to build a rapport with a customer," he says. "They know you, they can see you, you can have dinner or lunch. Over the phone, you really have to gain their trust."
It's that need—the need for a personal connection with a client in a business where they can't meet face to face—that has driven Phliponeau to go the extra mile for people in need. When his phone rings, he's ready for anything.
Not long ago, Phliponeau got a call from an elderly man in need of help. He was in foreclosure, and he was going to lose his house. Because he was self-employed, he couldn't verify his income. A recent health issue had made it tough for him to work, and the hospital had garnished his wages because he couldn't make his payments. The problem seemed impossible, but Phliponeau was undaunted.
He suggested ways that the homeowner could approach the hospital billing department. And after several failed attempts, Phliponeau successfully assisted the homeowner with resolving the issues. “They adjusted his bills, and they reduced the garnishment. The guy got to keep his house."
Phliponeau’s favorite clients aren't the easy ones. He looks forward to the difficult cases, because those are the ones where he can do the maximum amount of good. Asked what he's looking for in a client, he says, "Somebody I can help the most."
"Someone who is struggling financially, who needs my help," he continues. "It's nice to say at the end of the day that you saved somebody from losing their home, or helped them send their kids to college. At the end of the day, purchasing or refinancing a home is a very big deal in somebody's life. Having a home is a big deal. "
From airline pilot to home loan specialist—it's not a typical career path. But when he became a pilot, Phliponeau wanted to fly for a commercial carrier, not a shipping company, because "I wanted to have people on the airplane, not boxes." It's that commitment to satisfying customers that has made him such an excellent fit for Ditech, where he sees his job as all about finding home-owning solutions and putting a smile on his clients' faces.
"That's what I try to do," he grins. "Get people happy."