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10 Questions: One-time cowboy credits discipline for longtime mortgage career
10 Questions | Stephen K. Smith, American Pacific Mortgage

10 Questions: One-time cowboy credits discipline for longtime mortgage career

From the Get to know Napa County's local entrepreneurs and businesspersons in 10 Questions series

Stephen K. Smith, with American Pacific Mortgage, has been a mortgage advisor for some 42 years.

“I’m helping people — that’s the thing I like the best,” said Smith.

Especially these days, with rates at historic lows.

“There’s a lot of folks getting lower interest rates that will save them a fortune, quite honestly,” he said. “I’m really enjoying that part of it.”

1. What was your first job?

Selling Grit newspapers.

2. What job would you like to try/not try?

Try: Cruise ship band member on the Holland America Line. It’s a real class act.

Not try: Dairy farmer.

3. How did you get into the mortgage industry?

My uncle had a mortgage company out of San Jose doing strictly hard money loans.

4. What is the biggest challenge your industry has faced?

Increased compliance regulations since 2008.

5. If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be?

Excessive documentation.

6. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?

Help more people achieve homeownership.

7. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?

I am in a cowboy band called Passing Through. The cowboy tunes we (play) are old Western stuff. We have played all over, as far as Sacramento and Vacaville. Most of the time we’re in the valley.

8. What instrument do you play?

I play the guitar but mostly the upright bass.

9. What was your childhood ambition?

Be a cowboy. I actually accomplished that from ‘76 to ‘78. I was a cowboy in Lassen County. And a horseshoer.

10. Do the jobs of cowboy and mortgage advisor have anything in common?

I’d say discipline. When you’re a cowboy if you don’t do things just right it’s death defying. When you are a mortgage person, if you don’t have the discipline you either starve or you’re out of the business real quick.


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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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