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Southtown Mortgage: Shining a new light on home mortgage loans

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By Tanna Friday

MOODY – Tucked away in Moody, Alabama, is a special place for potential homeowners.  Southtown Mortgage is part of Hometown Lenders, headquartered in Huntsville, and maintains locations in 15 other states.

The company began as brokers and then grew into a lending business before branching out. Southtown joined Hometown over 5 years ago. Partners Keller McKaig and Shane Ray said that they didn’t look for Hometown Lenders, it found them. Now they are reaching out to the community doing what they do best – making it possible to own a home.

“Basically Shane and I were with a local lender,” said McKaig. “When the crash hit we got put together. With that, the local lender wasn’t a fit anymore and we branched out. Together we discovered a Christian-based company in Huntsvile, Hometown Lenders, which became a perfect fit.”

McKaig shared that Hometown Lenders’ owner, William E. Taylor, believes in providing a solution in home loans.

“Instead of saying we can’t do that loan, we try to figure out how we can help,” said McKaig. “Instead of saying no, we say yes.”

Although there was a learning curve, McKaig and Ray have almost 35 years of combined experience to offer the community.

“We are about a billion dollars lending,” he said. “So we have every product, and every program that is out there.”

McKaig explains that their main focus is FHA,  conventional, USDA, and VA.

“The only thing that we really don’t provide is reverse mortgages,” said Ray.

“We have construction perm loans,” said McKaig. “   So you do construction perm loans one time and that’s it. That way you don’t have to go to a bank or  somewhere else. It is all done at one time.”

McKaig mentions that Southtown Mortgage not only has great rates, but also has excellent turn times.

“Everything is about the customer,” he said. “We try to make everything flow.”

“Our company set a goal in 2017 for our average closing time to be less than 21 days,” said Ray. “After counting the numbers, it ended up coming in at 17 days from start to finish. This is counting weekends too.”

Ray explains that Hometown Lenders has been in an expansion where everything is being handled in-house.

“When we first started out, it was 50% of what we were doing,” said Ray. “About 98% of what we do now is in-house.”

What that means, Ray explains, is that Southtown Mortgage has a team of 7-8 underwriters that both McKaig and Ray have direct contact with.

“You don’t have that much in the broker world,” said Ray. “There is usually a gap with a processer that will only communicate with that underwriter whereas the loan officer will never have an opportunity to do that.”

Ray said that Southtown Mortgage closes everything in their name.

“We don’t service the loans,” he said. “We typically sell them.”

What is more interesting about Southtown Mortgage and their parent company, Hometown Lenders, is their over all mission to serve.

“One thing about this company, owned by the  Taylors, is not only the company a locally owned, “ said McKaig. “The Taylors’ are Christians and opened with a mission to serve and formed Mission Firefly.”

Mission Firefly seeks to help create sustainable solutions locally and around the world by focusing on five key areas of need: spiritual, physical, economic, health and education.

“Two hundred dollars out of  every one of our loans goes to building a house,” he said. “Corporate also matches it. It is approximately $4,000 to build a house, so every 10 loans closed, we build a house.”

Mission Firefly also builds churches and water treatment plants.

According to Mission Firefly’s website, the ministry was formed by a group of friends at Hometown Lenders who decided it was time to get off the pew, outside the walls, and put their faith in action. There are three ministries within Mission Firefly including ‘water purification’, ‘Lunches of Love’ and ‘Child Sponsorship’.

Mission Firefly has partnered with over 50 thousand youths to provide clean water in most of the villages the mission works with. So far, the ministry has provided clean water to 16 villages across Guatemala, Honduras, and Haiti.

The Lunches of love ministry serves Alabama’s underprivileged children with healthy food and snacks to make sure they have enough food on the weekends.

Through Mission Firefly’s child sponsorship program, each child receives food, water, shelter, clothing, medical, and spiritual guidance.

“There is such an epidemic that we take for granted,” said Ray. “We just turn on the facet and enjoy the water it provides us. There are people out there travelling for miles to find drinking water.”

To find out more about Hometown Lenders’ Mission Firefly, visit

Don’t forget to visit Southtown Mortgage to see how they can help you.

“One thing that sets us apart is that we answer our phone,” said McKaig. “We are always here for you.”

Visit Southtown Mortgage and Hometown Lenders at or 2841 Moody Parkway, Suite 500, in Moody. You can reach them by phone at (205) 640-4148.

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