MReport January 2022

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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14 | M R EP O RT COVER STORY company with our partners, the McCarthy Group, which is a private equity firm. We've had profitable growth every year since then. Together, we weathered the financial crisis of 2007. Then, during the pandemic, we took the company public. So, it's been a challenging and rewarding career. // You mentioned going from managing seven people to 90. Is that something you took to naturally? What was that change like? MCGARRY // I took to it natu- rally. There were a lot of issues in the Servicing division that I iden- tified while I was in Auditing, so when I took over, I focused on those challenges. I'm very competitive, and I knew what needed to be fixed. I just dove right in, found great people in the company, hired some new people, and started fixing all the issues that existed. My goal was just to make it the best scalable servicing platform in the industry. // What were some of the core challenges you were at- tempting to tackle at that time? MCGARRY // I'm not sure there was a vision at the time of helping our clients through every cycle of the loan and serving each client in the portfolio. But the major thing was, we needed to scale, and we needed more controls. The company needed to improve its internal controls, and the mortgage industry was chang- ing. It was evolving, and a lot of products that we were servicing weren't implemented correctly, like foreclosures and Ginnie Mae securities. I managed to imple- ment new controls and systems to make for a more efficient, scalable process. // Could you talk about some of the most significant ways you've seen the industry change over the decades? How different is the landscape in 2021, heading into 2022, than it was when you started in the mid '80s? MCGARRY // It's interesting because the fundamentals are the same. People want to own their home; it's the American Dream. We provide access to home- ownership. We help strengthen financial positions, communities, and neighborhoods. What has changed is the ongoing evolution around technology platforms. Today, we have a digital mort- gage. We have artificial intelli- gence and robotics. There are a lot of enhancements and knowledge that you can get instantaneously with the push of a button. What hasn't changed is that buying a home is still an emo- tional experience. It's one of the largest transactions people will have in their life. They want to do business with someone they trust and someone that has the expertise to guide them into the best product and do what's right for them. I think that's where Guild stands out. We haven't lost focus on what's important: know- ing, understanding our clients and their expectations, and helping them get the right product for their needs. Finding the right balance and blend between technology and people and personalized experi- ence is the key. And it's different for everyone. Some people never want to talk to you. They just want to go on the computer and figure it all out. But the bulk of people really want personalized, hands-on service to help them understand what they're doing in this huge financial transaction. They want to be able to trust the company they're working with. // How do you navigate that? What are the keys to keep- ing pace with innovation and changing customer needs while also ensuring the human touch isn't lost? MCGARRY // It's the culture you build within the company and ensuring that you have strong core values. Our core value, first and foremost, is customer service. "People first" is how we always look at building relationships, getting to know the people first. There are relationships at all levels of mortgage banking. It's a people business. We have referral partners, investors, banks, Fannie, Freddie, Ginnie Mae. We need these different relationships to build a successful business. Technology is ever-changing, and you must stay on top of it. It's table stakes. I think the J.D. Power survey identified that all people, and especially young people, want to do business with someone they trust. They want a personalized experience, and they expect great technology. Ongoing innovation is critical, but you can't forget it's an emotional experience. There are people behind every transaction. We've always had a strong relationship with our investors, and we originate and service our loans, which is unusual for independent mortgage bankers. We have a proprietary platform for origination and servicing. Most of our competitors outsource the servicing. Our clients are all our people: it's all one system, one database, and we've been doing it this way for decades. We are successful in all kinds of markets because we're here to serve. We've been instrumental with our investors in creating pilot programs to help people get into homes. We believe access to homeownership is critical, especially for first-time homebuy- ers. They need a lot of education, and you want to keep them safe, so it's not too much for them to handle, financially. We have good, solid programs "Finding the right balance and blend between technology and people and personalized experience is the key."

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