MReport September 2020

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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34 | M R EP O RT Laura Escobar President, Eagle Home Mortgage In 2002, Laura Escobar joined Eagle Home Mortgage, the lending subsidiary of homebuilder Lennar Corporation, as a Branch Manager. She worked her way up over the years to become Eagle's President in 2018. Today, she leads a team of more than 1,100 associates working in 54 locations across 26 states. By fostering a culture that embraces change and rapid adoption, Eagle transformed into a digital-first organization, lowering of origination costs by more than $2,000 per loan while increasing customer satisfaction scores and production by double digits. She credits this success to her two-pronged "Principles for Transformation": 1) Simplify and Question Everything: "It doesn't matter if you are an intern or an executive," Escobar explained. "Everyone is expected to identify ways that we can simplify to remove friction for our business and our customers ." 2) Cross-Functional Collaboration: "As technol- ogy automates functions, cross-training allowed us to empower our talent to do more in new and exciting ways," she said. Escobar currently sits on multiple advisory boards and committees including the TransUnion Mortgage Advisory Board, Fannie Mae's Affordable Housing Advisory Council, and the Ellie Mae Executive Advisory Board. Escobar told MReport "As I reflect on the past few months, I realize that we've approached culture with a new intention and reinvigorated energy, which has led to a workforce that is remote but deeply connected. The events of 2020 have reminded us that culture is not your fancy office space, free meals, and happy hours. Culture is the collective consciousness of your associates. Our collective values of inclusivity, passion, and service are clear to me when I see the resilience of our associates, which is demonstrated in their agility to shift to a new reality and their commitment to deliver with excellence day in and day out." Sarah Gonzalez COO, First Guaranty Mortgage Corp Sarah Gonzalez's 16-year mortgage career has taken her through Countrywide Financial, Bank of America, Citi, Nationstar Mortgage, and Stearns Lending before she arrived at First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation (FGMC) in April 2018. Gonzalez has managed profits and losses for all areas of FGMC and is credited with increasing operational efficiencies by 50%. Her key accomplishments within the company include her ability to build effective teams, implement business process outsourcing plans, drive large technology initiatives, and lead the development of the branding for their proprietary non-QM product line, Maverick Solutions. She has also been instrumental in creating a company culture that inspires others to be a "Mortgage Maverick," which means thinking outside of the box, being respectful and kind to others, and never settling for just good enough. "This award represents the strong, people-first culture we are building at FGMC," Gonzalez said. "Culture to me is something you live and breathe every day, and I want to lead a team of people who feel empowered, cared for and appreciated." This year, in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, Gonzalez led the firm through with compassion and direct action. She oversaw the credit risk teams that were reevaluating the turmoil created by pandemic and was able to pivot the company through safe and responsible lending guidelines. Additionally, she led the development of a communications and marketing strategy to help keep employees, borrowers, and corporate partners informed while steering through the abrupt changes that shook the industry. "I want to be a part of something much bigger than what is going on now," she said. "The people in our firm mean so much to me, and I can't wait to help usher in the next generation of leaders for our industry." The CULTURAL LEADER Award Honoring industry leaders who have successfully fostered forward-thinking company cultures and workplaces through corporate strategies and initiatives that have led to tangible, positive outcomes for colleagues companywide and beyond (minimum 10 years' consecutive industry experience). Finalists An MReport Issue Featuring Five Star Conference's Keystone Awards Finalists

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