Weekly Meeting November 13th, 2019
Pictured above is Craft talk organizer Jeff Tromberg and Kris Amorello (formally Klemetsmo). Jeff led a Q&A with Kris who has had a fascinating life – and she’d hardly done yet! The following is an edited version of her talk as told by Kris to Jeff (and the members). Fasten your seat belt and take a fast ride through the wonderful life of Kris as shared with Jeff.
My family moved to Boca Raton when I was nine years old. I went to public schools in East Boca at that time: Addison, Mizner, Boca Middle and Boca High.
I then went to college at East Carolina University. When I left college, I came back to Boca Raton but, wasn’t ready to settle into “a normal career.” I grew up on the water, boating and fishing. I also grew up around the Norwegian Queen Yacht, Christine Lynn’s Yacht. My best friend’s father growing up was the yacht’s Captain and now my best friend is the Captain of the same Yacht.
I wanted to see the world and still earn some money (don’t we all!). My first thought was Yachting. I interviewed for a stewardess position on a boat that was in a shipyard in France. I left two weeks later to work on the boat. I lived in the south of France for three months while the boat was in the yard. It was great because we worked on the yacht during the week and then were able to travel around Europe on the weekends.
You name it we went. While on the boat, we did ‘watches.’ Watches were for times that we were underway or at a dock that may not be as “safe” for the boat to dock or at anchor during storms. The watches are usually three hour shifts every 12 hours for as long as you are underway or needed extra security while docked or anchored.
During this time, I learned about navigating, using the boat’s instruments and how to manage the yacht in the water. I then learned how to manage the exterior of the yacht, e.g. learning the lines, running little tenders and working in the engine room. There is so much to learn on the exterior of a boat, I realized that there was more than I could ever possibly learn.
After 4 years, I wanted to return home. While I had a wonderful experience, learned a lot and met some great people, I was done traveling away from my family. I returned to Boca and joined another company with fleets of yachts. I worked my way up to running a 65 foot Princess (similar to a Seaway). Then sat for my 100 ton license and began learning to commandeer a 172 ft. yacht. The mechanics are similar but on a grander scale. The time for a boat to respond at that size is a lot slower. Anticipating your next move has to be the fore front of your every thought.
During this time, I feel in love and wanted to raise a family. I knew staying on boats would not be conducive to raising children. I realized I needed a new career. My family was in the mortgage business. They had their own brokerage since early 1990s. I tried to get hired as a loan processor at another company. However, this was during the refinance boom in the early 2000s so I asked my mom for a job.
I was greener than green. At the time, my parent’s company was licensed in 15 states with virtual offices. For the first two years, I worked non-stop 7 am to 7 pm every day. I needed to learn about mortgage banking and learn quickly. I handled loan processing for 10 different loan originators! About my third year into processing, I took the state license.
I watched the refinance boom turn into the purchasing boom to the great fall in real estate in the 2007-2009 time frame to the moderate healing to where we are today. My rules of the road I once loved on a boat had now changed from Reds and Greens to Freddie and Fannie.
I found however, the passion I had for boating and negotiating tight spots when docking and reading the water and plotting all were similar to lending. The same characteristics apply. Negotiate the loan whether it is with the client or an underwriter, plan ahead for a smooth process and finally execute. The puzzle pieces I had while running a boat and making sure there were safe arrivals are the same with lending. Some files have 50 pieces to the puzzle while other have 1,000 pieces. At the end of the day, you work to achieve a successful closing just like the goal to reach the next port in yachting.
After the downturn, I joined Paradise Bank in 2012. Paradise Bank was a commercial lending bank, now handles both Commercial and Residential lending. Paradise Bank realized the playing field was more even in 2012 than it was in the prior years. Consumer mortgage financing: people have to qualify for loans and the risk is lower than mortgage loans being made in the early 2000s. At Paradise Bank, when the bank was only a Commercial Lender. But, they wanted to refer their clients for Residential Lending, would refer the client to my family brokerage firm.
I had worked alongside Paradise for many years. It was a natural fit for me to join and start the department for the bank. I was one person originating, processing, closing funding and selling loans when I first started. Now, we are still a modest department of five key employees, but we are mighty! We produce on average $6.5 million a month in total volume. We have two originators, a loan processor and closer/funder and compliance person.
The high touch for our clients during the lending process is what I would expect for anyone obtaining a mortgage. A home is the single greatest thing most buy in their lifetime and no one does it regularly so the process is confusing. I often state to people I will be your BFF for the next 30 days and am available anytime throughout the process. When you look at other professions, they don’t normally delve into all aspects of a person’s life. With a mortgage, I am involved in their credit, their debt, their income, their past life that may impact their new life. There are so many elements to a mortgage that I end up knowing everything about them.
Recently, I met and married by new husband, Douglas Amorello. Doug and I met during a fishing tournament at Ocean Reef. At the risk of sounding cliché it was love at first sight. We clicked with every step within minutes of meeting. He is the lid to my pot.
In addition to mortgages, I now have the opportunity to work with Doug. He is a commercial fisherman in Massachusetts. He also runs fishing charters in Massachusetts and Florida. We have a Fishing Charter Business, Streamline Outfitters, in south Florida and The Keys from December to May and in the summer May to December in Plymouth Massachusetts. In Massachusetts he harvests cold water lobsters as well as hosting charters for Striped bass, blue fish and Blue Fin Tunas. Florida fishing is for sails, Dolphin, Wahoo, Snappers and more.
I work with him when I am in Massachusetts. We are either on our 31 ft Contender, twin Yamahas or we are on our 36ft H&H (typical New England Style Boat) single screw boat. I now feel like I have the best of both worlds: navigating and fishing our south Florida waters as well as learning a new set of charts in Plymouth, Mass and Cape Cod.
My passion for boating will never die. My passion for lending is the same. I love my job and love the opportunities. I get to work alongside my husband fishing or lobstering and moving boats when needed and help people with their home financing.
I was fortunate enough to meet Neil Saffer at a fishing tournament hosted by my bank over four years ago. He brought me into the greatest group of people. February will be my 4th year with this club. I love attending different events either hosted by our Rotary one events we support locally. I always know something fun is going to happen even when it is physical work. You never know who you will meet and what will happen next. The club has fulfilled a need I had to be involved especially in the community I have been a part of for several decades and raise my children. My kids are friends with my childhood friends’ kids, they attend the same schools I did. It is strange to hear that but very true. I joke with Marina my daughter that I know people on the East side of town from 0-90 so don’t try to get away with anything, I will find out about it!
Thank you for taking the time to listen to me to hear about my wonderful life.