Our wonderful maintenance man Juan is here fixing our broken lights today. I guess the Bosses had been trying to save money by making us all work in the dark for a while, but enough is enough, people. Online Dater Mortgage Banker Jason Bates is trying to loiter underneath Juan in hopes of having a drill dropped on his head so he can sue the building. “Then we’d change the name of this place from Midtown Plaza to Bates Plaza!” Jason hissed as he tried to weasel his way beneath Juan’s ladder.

Jason and Juan

A few people have been asking me if the ole Bosses were really going to take me down had I not delivered 50 readers to the Save the Blog party. Even my brother thought I was going to get fired. I have to say, I think it would have been totally hilarious if only 49 of you showed up, and then the Bosses could have dramatically pulled the plug on my laptop and shooed me out of the bar. Then y’all could have booed me and threw your free beers at my back as I slunk to my car…

But y’all, come on. Isn’t it obvious who runs this show? (That would be me.) I’ve got these ole Bosses eating out of my hand. I say jump and they say, well, they say something to the extent of “I seriously can’t believe you’re still here. Did you ever figure out how to use the copy machine?” And I’m like, “Not really.”

Speaking of jumping, the Bosses took us on a bowling excursion last week (most of us jumped up and down upon not landing gutter balls). Some of us handled ourselves nicely. Some drank shots of tequila upon arrival. I’m not saying who’s who.

Below, Spanish-Speaking Richard (he also speaks English, by the way) after nailing three pins. I don’t know why he always wears a nametag, but he’s so nice I feel like I shouldn’t make fun of him even though the nametag thing is a make-fun-of-worthy characteristic:


Online Dater Jason tried to teach Sandra to bowl. I think Sandra is better off ignoring Jason.

Pick up that Ball

But I can't see

Throw it!

Straight-Shooter Shane ended up winning. I can’t say we’re not nervous about Shane having yet another reason to gloat.

Shane the Winner

The bowling deal was spun as a team-building gig. Team building my eye, I say. An hour into it, the ole Boss Chad pulled me aside, in a bowling alley, to tell me how he didn’t like one of my recent posts. I squinted my eyes at him and asked, “Why are you telling me this in a bowling alley? On a team building event. You sure aren’t very buildy, Chad.”

Just So John wasn’t at the bowling soiree (and good thing since Chad was so rude). Instead, he was lounging on a Hawaiian beach. He’s back now (in a Hawaiian shirt). Said Just So John: “Do you think it’d be too gross to put my sunburned belly in your newsletter?”

Yes, John. Yes it would. And it’s a blog, not a newsletter. Get back to your loans.

Just So Hawaiian John

Okay folks, I’m out of here before Jason gets hit by a screwdriver, Chad tries to “build me up” again, or Just So John tries to give me any more ideas for my newsletter.

Things Fall Apart (Seriously)

I came in the office today and walked directly over to Online Dater Jason to inquire about his love life. Instead of finding a smiling, noisy Jason like usual, I found a gloomy Jason all hunched over his desk wearing a visor and glasses (he doesn’t wear glasses). Here’s the thing. Jason woke up in the middle of the night with his allergies going haywire and eyes itching galore. Two hours later he woke again, scratching at his eyes like a wildcat. And this morning when he finally got up, the guy was nearly blind. “Jason,” I said, “I think our readers need to know what you’re going through.”

“I don’t think so,” he said.

“You above sympathy loans?” I offered.

Not above sympathy loans, after all.

Not above sympathy loans, after all.

That got me thinking, maybe I could play up everybody’s ailments here. I passed Hottest Mortgage Banker in Texas Hayley’s cube. “Got any ailments?”

She thought for a while, and then lit up. “I bumped my hand on the door!”


Please send us loans.

Please send us loans.

After seeing the attention everyone else was getting, V-Shaped Mortgage Banker Will offered to drum up a flesh wound by smashing his head into his desk.

Ailing Will

Okay, y’all, I’m not even kidding about this next part. As I was prancing around the office asking people for their ailments – “Anybody got any bursitis?” – the ole Boss James walked in. He’d been at the doctor. An orthopedic surgeon. And he was wearing this giant leg cast! I may have physically pushed Jason to the side when I saw James’ ailment. “Sorry Jason. You just got upstaged, buddy.”

Thankfully, James isn’t above trying to score a few sympathy mortgages either.

Help this man. Send mortgages.

Help this man. Send mortgages.

Turns out, James has been experiencing mystery foot pain that resembles, as he says, “someone shoving a knitting needle into my ankle.” (I’ve not had that experience so I’m not sure what’s going on with the ole feet.) He’ll be in the boot for three weeks, and after that, well, we really don’t know. I’ll keep you posted.


What the heck is going on? Y’all, I know I stretch stuff here, but I am not making this up. Just So John just showed up. Half his face is swollen – he just had a tooth pulled! He said the dentist offered him laughing gas for $130 but he said he’d rather buy a new mermaid shirt with that money because it’d make him happier in the long run.

Here’s John demonstrating how he can slap his face and not even feel it.

Help a guy out, y'all.

Vicodin rocks


Jason is back from the optometrist. Poor guy has an ulcer. On his eyeball. Caused from contacts or something.

It’s official. Jason wins. Jason has the worst ailments. Send him the loans.

Okay readers,  please remember to tune in to 700AM in Houston tomorrow evening at 6:00 and listen for my breathing in the background of the finance show (because that’s cool, right? Listening to AM radio on Friday nights?).

Now, I’m out of here before one of my co-workers drops dead. Have a great weekend!

Loans for the Loaded

I have a nun reader. A real live nun – reading my blog! I’ve never met a nun before, so I feel like the blog is really special now, like it’s holy.

Now if you would all bow your heads with me…

The nun is the aunt of one of our new team members. Sandra (the nun’s niece) said her aunt, Sister P, is an avid reader. I’m thankful Sandra passed it along because now when everybody in the office asks why I have such a big head, I can blame her and her aunt and the Catholic Church.

Hey – are any of you rich? Not the nun – I don’t think nuns are allowed to be rich, but is anybody else rich out there? Because if so, Envoy’s jumbo loan rates are stinking low right now.

V-Shaped Mortgage Banker Will just stood up from his cube and said, “Jason, have you seen our jumbo rates?”

Will and the Jumbo

Jason Jumbo

See, our mortgage bankers don’t just choose what rates are. Envoy Mortgage tells these guys what the rates are, and today Envoy  Mortgage tells them the rates on jumbo loans are stinking low, especially when compared to the janky Big Box Banks’. Compared to them I think we have, like, the lowest rates in the universe.

And just so you’ll sound savvy and with it at a dinner party this weekend, a jumbo loan is a home loan for more than $417,000. No clue how that number is chosen. They don’t tell me these things, so unfortunately this is where you’ll stop sounding savvy at the dinner party.

Speaking of sounding savvy, I just overheard one of our new guys, Richard, on the phone, and did y’all know this guy speaks Spanish?

Richard Speaks Spanish

Finally, if you will remember (and if you don’t, it means you are a normal person not addicted to a mortgage blog), I am renting out my former house and am now a landlady. Turns out, being a landlady is a wee more tricky than I’d hoped. Our renters (lovely renters) moved in last Tuesday, the same day as the fridge went out. And over the weekend Houston performed this dazzling little hail storm which resulted in rain streaming through the ceiling of the rental house. Charming, really.

One final note – remember Hayley watched her neighbor’s car being robbed? Well the next night the robber came back and stole the whole car!

Alright folks, while you all lock your car doors and check your bank accounts to see if you can swing a jumbo loan, I’m off to find my nun and confess that I am now a slumlord.

It’s Just Time…What the Heck is APR?

First of all, the caption contest is still going strong! Enter your caption for last week’s post for your chance to win a fancy Just the Assistant t-shirt. Winner will be chosen by the funny police on Friday.


Did you know it’s possible to sleep standing up?  It just happened to me in the middle of a MANDATORY meeting James called in which he and Chad went over Good Faith Estimates (remember that’s the document I never learned ?). They also discussed MI (I know that one – mortgage insurance) and APR (no clue).

Now that our branch has grown so much, there’s not enough room for all of us to sit in the conference room; that’s why I was standing.

I realize it’s tacky to up and leave meetings, and I normally wouldn’t recommend it. But y’all, it was so boring. I’m sure it was important information to know, but I just couldn’t hang. I up and left the meeting. Just walked right out.

Now that I’m out, I thought it’s time we all figured out what the heck APR really is. James started to tell me one time, but them rubbed his forehead and was like, “Can we do this some other time?”

But n0w that I get to write about the whole office, I’ve lassoed Jason and Will in to give me the scoop.

What the heck is APR

An Interview with Mortgage Banker and Online Dater Jason Bates and Mortgage Banker and V-shaped gambler Will Zugheri

APR Buddies


Just the Assistant: Jason, I’ve been working in the mortgage industry for 6 ½ years now. Tell me, what the heck is APR?

Nikki (popping head over cube): None of us really know!

Jason: Here’s what happened. Investors needed a way to compare certain loans, so they took the base rate of a loan and took certain costs of that loan (origination, prepaid interest, notary fees, etc.) and calculated what those fees would represent as an annual percentage. It’s basically a finance whiz’s way of comparing loans to each other.

JTA stares blankly.

Jason: But here’s the thing – not all companies include the same fees within that APR. So borrowers shouldn’t just compare one APR to another APR. What borrowers should do is compare everything within a quote – the interest rate, processing fees, closings costs, discount points – the entire picture.

Coming from a large bank, I know this from experience. Large banks often charge anywhere from $1000 – $1400 in extra fees on top of every loan. So you can’t just compare rates.

Will (rolling chair over): This all came about during the savings and loan days.

JTA: What’s that? What are the savings and loan days? Like the good ole days?

Will: Yeah they were! It was back when mortgage bankers could do anything. What happened was back in the eighties some folks were saying, “We only charge 3% interest!” while every other bank was charging 18%. It was a way for credit unions to compete with big banks. But, they were charging all sorts of fees that made that 3% not be what it seemed. So investors created APR to try to compare what the rates really were.

JTA: You guys weren’t doing that though, right?

Jason and Will (talking over each other): No! We were riding skateboards in the eighties!

Just the Assistant: Okay thanks guys. I still don’t really know what APR is, but I appreciate your time.

Jason: Just make sure clients know that it’s one part of a big picture. And if they have any specific questions, call me! And check me out on

[He didn’t say the thing but I think it’s funny.]

If you’d like to know more about APR, get gambling tips from Will or dating advice from Jason (or a loan from either one of them because they’re both awesome), give us a call today!

And enter my caption contest so my mom will think people read my blog.