Photos courtesy of Mario Trotta
A longtime loan officer from Westchester creates social-media branding content for industry colleagues, attracting nearly 25,000 Instagram followers with his on-point, no-nonsense posts.
He’s been a stockbroker, meat distributor, Hollywood film promoter, and gym owner, but for the past 15 years, Mario Trotta of Eastchester has been a mortgage loan officer, assisting clients with the biggest purchases they are likely ever to make. “I love being part of one of the most important milestones in someone’s life,” he says.
Over the years, Trotta has done what he loves at small mortgage companies and large banks, like Wells Fargo and Citizens Bank in White Plains, where he’s worked for the past two years. And he’s not too shy to admit: “I know my stuff very well, and I’m comfortable with it.”
In his spare time and strictly for fun, he’d play around with graphic design. “This was for me,” he explains. “I never did it for anyone else, and I didn’t ever feel I was creative.” Yet, he began to view this pastime as a passion during a “spiritual journey of self-improvement,” which involved the teachings of a Buddhist monk “for my softer side,” he says, and a Shaolin monk “for my ghetto side,” on Instagram.
Always more of “a player, not a spectator,” Trotta himself began posting regularly on Instagram (@themariotrotta), offering tools-of-his-trade tips and tell-it-like-it-is business advice buoyed by attention-grabbing graphics. In effect, he was creating quick, to-the-point posts that fellow loan officers and real estate agents could repost and use to market their services. Topics have covered everything from “8 Mistakes Home-sellers Make” to “How to Improve Your Credit Score in 5 Ways.”
As things tend to go with social media, his followers grew. Before long, they were calling him the Mortgage Monk, he says, incredulously. “Nobody knew my name.”
“Let people know what you do and show a side that people can connect with. If you play it safe, no one will love you, and no one will hate you, and you will have nothing.”
– Mario Trotta
Then COVID hit, and “everyone turned to social media.” From that perspective, Trotta says, “The pandemic was the best thing that ever happened to me.” He went from a respectable 5,000 Insta-followers to a lofty 20,000 in just three months, prompting him to turn his hobby into a legit side business in which he offers customizable personal-branding content packages via a monthly subscription plan.
A year-plus in, Trotta boasts 70 subscribers across the country and 24,800 Instagram followers and counting. “I figured out the perfect product for my people,” he says.
Known now as simply the Monk, he guides his followers to “be vulnerable” (despite the inner struggle to be universally liked), just as he is each time he clicks “share” on a post. “Let people know what you do and show a side that people can connect with,” he says. “If you play it safe, no one will love you, and no one will hate you, and you will have nothing.”
Although he rarely unplugs, Trotta still secures loans for prospective homebuyers and aims to inspire both online and offline clients with his chant-like mantra: “You can create any life for yourself, and you can pivot at any time toward happiness.”