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Lender Snapshot: Robert Spiegel

by Alsha Khan

Loan Officer/Production Manager, The Spiegel Group at Republic State Mortgage

Where did you grow up?

Dallas, TX

What was your most interesting job before going into lending?

I was in commercial real estate, mainly working with developers to build and lease out retail shopping centers.

What do you do to relax when you’re stressed?

I cook. Anytime the pressure is on, I start preparing food. Not great for the waistline, but following the process in the kitchen is a great way for me to unwind.

If you could meet any well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why?

I am fascinated by major industry leaders/disruptors like Elon Musk. Anyone that has disrupted an industry excites me. I’m curious about how their brain operates, their mindset, etc.

Where is Houston’s best-kept secret?

La Tita Gorda on Mangum – they have the best chilaquiles you’ve ever had.

What do you love most about the industry?

I love our ability to make a difference in our clients’ lives.  Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of this when things are crazy, but it’s the fundamental reason we are here, and it’s what keeps our tanks full.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job?

Dealing with clients with unrealistic expectations. I don’t ever want to relay bad news, but sometimes we have to tell clients they cannot afford the home they want (or they just do not qualify for a decent loan).

What are you binge-watching/reading/listening to lately?

I have been watching Them on Amazon Prime – I’m still not sure I understand what is going on, but I keep watching.  It is messing with my head.  I also watch anything mind-numbing. I’ve probably seen every Family Guy episode at least three times.

What’s your favorite meal in Houston?

Fried chicken and a pharmacy burger from La Lucha.

Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Houston?

Any of the refurbished older buildings downtown along Main Street like the Rice Hotel – I love older architecture. Also, anything mid-century modern.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you on the job?

Recently, we had a seller that did not show up to closing. That was the first time for that. Apparently, they had to bring money to the closing table, and they did not have it, so they just didn’t show up and basically disappeared. No one could get in touch with them; meanwhile, the buyers were living in a hotel.

What’s one thing people might be surprised to learn about you?

I appear as an extrovert, but I’m secretly very introverted.

What’s your favorite vacation spot, and why?

Spain. I’m in love with the culture and the food.  They will uncork a bottle of wine at lunch – count me in!

In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the lending industry?

Find a mentor and learn everything you can from them.

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