But despite his belief that he was initially overlooked by some in the industry, both because of his race and young age (“there was some holdback early on in my career…because I was the young African American male”), he chose not to dwell on the subject. It’s a moot point, anyway, given his stratospheric rise.
Of perhaps greater relevance are the people in the industry who mentored him, including his uncle but also a rather well-known ‘triumvirate’ who were able to see past the superficial and recognize his talent. They were Phil Shoemaker and Will Pendleton whom he met at Caliber Home Loans, and Willie Newman, the CEO and president of wholesale lender, Homepoint.
“They gave me an opportunity to be in their executive suite, and I learned so much there that it allowed me to grow my business, so I’m never going to play victim about my age or my race.”
When Shoemaker and Pendleton left Caliber to join Homepoint, James stayed on for another eight months before following them there. The experience proved invaluable.
“Client retention and capture rate is something that Phil has preached about for a long time,” he said, warning that ignoring this aspect is a mistake many young brokers often make (“they’re leaving money on the table”).
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