Spencer Thomas is an Executive Vice President with First Veterans Mortgage and has spent the last two decades in the finance industry. But it was his time as a soldier which changed everything.
“I was the youngest of six kids and was an underachiever in high school. I never really pushed myself, but after my junior year I joined the Army Reserves through the SplitOps Program,” he shared.
Though Thomas set his sights on becoming a Marine, the Army won. “The recruiter told me about the split ops program where you could do basic training after your junior year during the summer and spend your senior year in the Army reserves. After graduating, you go to your MOS training,” he explained.
The underachiever went from barely passing to maintaining a 3.5-grade point average in his senior year. He’d spend almost six years as a reservist. During those years, he went on a church mission to the Philippines for two years. It was there Thomas met his wife and began a new path.
“I started in banking as a teller and within three years worked my way up to the private banking department,” he said. Thomas also earned his undergraduate in business management and a master’s in business analytics. He even dedicated a year to law school but realized it wasn’t for him.
Four years after beginning his career in private banking, he opened a mortgage company with a friend in New Mexico and then moved to Las Vegas. Though the financial crisis of 2008 slowed things down, he’d maintain his work in private banking while loans slowed. In 2016 he was approached to become a consultant to financial institutions to help create training programs and consulting engagements for Private Banks, Trust Companies, and government entities like the FDIC, and so he moved his family to Georgia, where they now still reside.
“We did a bunch of work teaching in private banking, training and building out sales as well as training programs for private banks and trust companies,” he said.
Though Thomas would leave and begin working with other companies, it all brought him right where he felt he was meant to be: serving the military community. In May 2023, he took the position at First Veterans Mortgage, running the entire division for Nationwide Mortgage Bankers.
“I'm tasked with growing this division across the entire United States, forming strategic partnerships and alliances. I’ll also be hiring and training loan officers, with a focus on working with veterans and active duty military,” he said. “But what I really like to do is help my brothers and sisters in service, not just buy a home but teach them how to become real estate investors.”
Real estate has long been recognized as one of the best ways to increase wealth. It’s a strategy he wants to see more veterans take advantage of.
“I teach them everything that I learned as a private banker and educate them on things like managing their assets, protecting their wealth, and planning for retirement - if they want,” Thomas shared. “All that is just a free service I provide on top of the lending. I also have a good track record of if they do what I educate them on, usually their net worth increases by six or seven figures within a relatively short period of time.”
He encourages people to talk to professionals and to never be afraid to ask questions. For him, it’s relational, not transactional. It’s an approach he wishes more people would lead with.
“What drives me is the ability to build, create, and to help others succeed financially. I do actually make more just in real estate with my partners than I do as a loan officer, but I like being a loan officer/branch manager, whatever you want to call me, because I get to work one on one with people and really make a difference in their lives,” Thomas explained.
When he reflects on the last 20 years, it was his service in the Army and his church mission which would turn his life around. “The Army taught me the discipline for success and my church mission taught me the sales skills and relationship-building skills I would need,” he said.
Thomas hopes his story inspires the military community to pursue goals and financial wealth building. “If it helps at least one person get started in real estate or move forward on something that they're hesitant to do so that's going to generate wealth for them then we did something good,” he shared.
You can follow Spencer Thomas on LinkedIn and ask him questions, anytime.