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Michelle Dugan, Broker Owner, MS Lending LLC

Michelle Dugan

Michelle Dugan’s expertise over the past 15 years has not only established her as one of the premier mortgage brokers in the country but also one of the leading business people in the State of Mississippi. Her accomplishments are top numerous but with such accolades, as being recognized as one of Yahoo’s Finance Top 20 Mortgage Professionals in 2020 we know even greater things are ahead.   
What interested you in starting a career in the mortgage industry? 
I started out as a real estate paralegal and was headed to law school with dreams of opening my own real estate law practice. A local mortgage broker encouraged me to get into the mortgage industry and I fell in love with it!  
What’s a career highlight you’re most proud of? 
The highlight of my career thus far has been opening my own mortgage brokerage. It is very empowering to be a female broker owner under the age of 40. I now have two offices in the state and the sky is the limit for the future!  
What’s unique about your business? 
I go above and beyond to make all of my customers feel like friends and family. Each borrower we work with is special and appreciated and my entire team knows that I want every single one of them to feel this way.  
What’s the biggest risk you’ve faced in your career? 
The biggest risk I have faced was going all-in as a solo, female broker owner. I went all-in with no backup plan. It was to sink or swim and failure was not an option. I had to overcome many stereotypes along the way but I viewed them all as a challenge, not a roadblock.  
What is your business philosophy? 
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.  
What are the biggest challenges facing mortgage brokers and what’s your advice for overcoming them? 
Historically mortgage brokers have been on a bit of an island by themselves. They had to figure most things out on their own through trial and error. Now, with the help of organizations like AIME and the connections through social media, brokers have more support than ever. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Someone has been where you are or in the situation, you are in and they will help you. There are mentors and people willing to help everywhere. All you have to do is ask!  
Why do you believe that brokers are better for consumers? 
I believe that brokers are the best place for consumers because we have options. We aren’t restricted to one lender, one set of guidelines, or one rate sheet. Brokers are better!  
If you could go back to your first day in the industry, what advice would you give yourself? 
The stress of this industry can eat you alive if you let it. Give yourself grace when you mess up because you will. Learn from your mistakes but don’t dwell on them. What we do is very important but it isn’t life or death and no one is dying. When things get tough, take a deep breath, step away for a bit if needed, then get back to it and keep going!