Matt Culp, J.D.
Matt Culp grew up in the real estate business on Bainbridge Island – literally.
His mom Diane, now retired, was revered as the queen of escrow on Bainbridge, a respected local business leader and the owner of Puget Sound Mortgage and Escrow. Throughout Matt’s years at UW Law School, he worked for his mom’s business.
Even after passing the bar in 1995, Matt caught the mortgage bug and stayed connected to PSME, working as a processor in 1996 and then becoming a Loan Officer in 1998. He eventually started his own firm, Bainbridge Lending Group (BLG) in 2005.
The result: Matt brings to the mortgage business an attention to detail and ability to find the pitfalls before they become problems, unmatched in the industry.
“Because I am an attorney, I operate as an adviser, not a salesman,” Matt explained. “That means I communicate well and make sure everyone is on the same page. I’m accountable to every client and every real estate agent on every single transaction, so I don’t promise things I can’t deliver.”
As a lifelong Islander, owning a business based on Bainbridge for Matt is more than passion, it’s a badge of honor.
“This is my community,” Matt stresses emphatically, noting that his firm, Bainbridge Lending Group, is the only mortgage firm headquartered on Bainbridge.
“What makes us different from our competitors is they work for a bank or an out-of-state mortgage company: We’re local in every sense of the word, and we work for the customer, not the banks. Working with a local lender that can deliver a deal on time makes our customers stronger buyers – sellers and Realtors know that.”
“It also doesn’t hurt that as a mortgage broker, we typically have much lower interest rates that the big banks and other lenders simply can’t match,” Matt said.
For the last 16 years, top producing real estate brokers have turned to Matt and his team at Bainbridge Lending Group for help with some of their most challenging deals. Matt’s legal eye and business smarts makes the tough deal appealing to him.
“Self-employed income is difficult for most loan officers and fraught with challenges,” Matt explains. “But it’s very common on Bainbridge and at BLG we have both a pool of lenders that will do the deal and the expertise to get it done.”
Matt notes that his greatest accomplishment isn’t in business, but personal: He has two kids, a son that’s now 21 years old and in the Air Force, and his daughter, 12, who occupies the majority of his personal time. His unfinished business remains on the Golf course: “I love to play golf and I am still hoping for that hole in one at Wing Point one day,” he said with a smile.
Tom Rees has been a Loan Officer on Bainbridge Island for over 10 years. He is committed to serving his clients with honesty, effficiency and knowledge as they pursue their goal of home ownership and intelligent mortgage financing.
Tom is well known by Islanders and referred by local top-producing Realtors as “Mr. Dependable” for his proven track record as a loan officer.
He honed his business skills early: During his elementary and middle school years every day Tom got on his bicycle to deliver the Seattle Times, seven days a week, no matter what the conditions.
Today, helping people buy a home and refinance is more than just crunching numbers for Tom, despite the fact that he’s an accomplished businessman. The University of Washington business school grad with a concentration in finance knows how to help folks traverse today’s mortgage minefield, but for Tom, it’s still a people business.
“I love being part of something that helps people improve their lives,” Tom said.
Born and raised on Bainbridge, Tom is a well-known community leader and is very active in Rotary. Islanders trust Tom based on his strong communications and organizational skills, his depth of industry knowledge, his honesty and dependability: He gets the job done without surprises.
Becky Benz found her passion in real estate and mortgage lending in the early 1990’s when she worked for a local bank on Bainbridge Island. After leaving home a few years ago, she’s returned in full-force to the mortgage business by joining Bainbridge Lending Group, the island’s only locally owned mortgage broker.
Becky grew up on Bainbridge in the Port Madison area, moving to the island when she was just 8-months old. She graduated from Bainbridge High School and began her banking career after earning her degree in Business Administration from Washington State University. While in banking, her interest in real estate and mortgage financing grew and she became the bank’s key mortgage professional.
Her success and growth in home financing prompted her to move to Puget Sound Mortgage and Escrow. Becky was attracted by the mortgage firm’s ability to “broker” mortgage loans to several different lenders. This freedom and experience fostered Becky’s advance to become one of Bainbridge Island’s most prolific and trusted mortgage financing professionals.
Brokers, Becky knew, were able to “shop” a loan among many different lenders while the national banks based on Bainbridge were mostly limited to the few loans in their own programs. Becky liked saving her customers money and as a mortgage broker, she was able to secure better loans from her customers and provide better service than they would have gotten from a big bank.
Becky has two sons, both Bainbridge High School graduates, now living in New York City, giving her a great excuse to visit them and enjoy the area. But it’s her enthusiasm to work and live on Bainbridge that is completely unbridled. “This is my community, and I enjoy seeing my clients out and about,” she says, adding, “I truly enjoy catching up on their family news. After all, we’re neighbors.”