Tupelo mortgage company named top in state for USDA program

Gum Tree Mortgage recognized for its commitment to helping homebuyers achieve the American Dream

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – When Kenneth McNeal helped start Gum Tree Mortgage 21 years ago, there weren’t a lot of lenders making USDA loans, so McNeal and co-founder Jim Shirley went to work, focusing on those who thought they might not qualify for a home loan.

“Walking those clients through that first-time home buying process is always rewarding to me,” McNeal said.

That commitment has paid off. Gum Tree Mortgage was named the number one USDA Single Family Guaranteed Home Loan Program Lender in the state. Gum Tree also came in second place nationally in the USDA 2024 Top State Lender Champion category.

“Our goal and our mission is to make homeownership affordable and accessible to everyone, regardless of where they live and the USDA home loan program is a great fit for that,” McNeal said.

Gum Tree Mortgage has offices in Mississippi, Alabama and Montana.

Like Tupelo, Bozeman, Montana is considered by the USDA to have too many people to take part in the home loan program.   So Shirley is using his expertise to help potential homebuyers take advantage of the USDA loans in other regions of Montana.

“When we first started using the USDA loan, I remember going into the office in Oxford, they did only a handful of these a year,  we ramped it up in that market and in a lot of the markets in Mississippi and hoping to do the same thing in a lot of the markets here in Montana,” Shirley said.

Achieving these top honors won’t change things at Gum Tree Mortgage.  McNeal and Shirley say whether it is Mississippi, Alabama or Montana, Gum Tree Mortgage will continue to offer excellent customer service, one loan at a time.

The Gum Tree Mortgage office in Columbus was named the best mortgage company in the recent WCBI Viewer’s Choice Awards.

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