MReport January 2022

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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Page 17 of 67

16 | M R EP O RT COVER STORY demic. We focused on the safety of our employees and clients first. There was a lot of fear. Borrowers didn't know if they were going to have a job. The investors, govern- ment agencies, economists, and others were trying to figure it out. The key lesson we all learned was the importance of communication. All of our teams were in constant communication with everyone internally and our clients, whether via the internet or messages on the phone, or videos, or through our loan officers. Communication was critical. A lot of our clients would call their loan officer. We were prepared to help, share what we knew, and told them not to be scared, that people weren't going to have their credit compromised. We said, "Don't worry. We're working with our investors and government agencies to explore all options for keeping you in your home. We don't know what's going on, it's the pandemic. It's no one's fault." We kept communicat- ing ongoing changes and what to expect. Together, we got the word out to our clients, and we helped calm everyone down. We had the technology and systems, so we went to a remote work environ- ment immediately, before the fed- eral and states agencies started to shut down most of the country. We delivered on our promise of service, making sure everyone had the information they needed. // How much of that remote work model is Guild carrying forward? What are the benefits of that versus maintaining an in- person office culture? MCGARRY // We've had many discussions about that, because some types of jobs are condu- cive to being in a remote work environment, such as finance, ac- counting, and legal. But what's so great about Guild is our culture. We've talked about different ver- sions of the hybrid model where you come in three days and are remote a couple of days, or you might have team meetings and require everyone to come in for those. Or you continue to have special events or dinners or com- munity activities so that you can make sure everyone is still work- ing in a collaborative environment that doesn't go away over time because we're at home. I like people to feel connected and not think they're just a free agent and can go anywhere because it's just a job. It should be more than a job. You should feel part of something bigger. The workplace is going to evolve, and as long as you're aware of the environment and you make sure you keep people engaged and connected, and don't lose contact with your employees, then you don't have to be in the office. We will have to constantly reengi- neer the way we lead in a hybrid or remote situation. And every manager is going to have it a little different, depending on the type of work they manage. // Guild recently re- ceived the highest rating for Customer Satisfaction as part of the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study. What did that mean to you, and what factors do you think contributed to Guild securing that recognition? MCGARRY // I think it speaks to our culture and how well our company did during the pandemic. Our core values came through with customer service and respect and trust among all of us. As mentioned, it reflects the commitment to communication, to helping our clients through a scary time. We were able to get information to them quickly and calm their fears and work with each other. I am extremely proud of our people. We've always had that culture, and we've been ranked very high in the past and even tied one year for number one. We analyze the data from these surveys and work on where we can improve. We've made some updates to the system and training processes that really helped us improve in many areas of the business. Plus, all our sales- people, they're so competitive and want to succeed. They always do what's right by our clients. They're great. // Could you expand on some of those changes you implemented based on the feedback from past J.D. Power surveys? MCGARRY // There was clos- ing, going over the fees and all the documents at closing and making sure the client understood everything. We did some tighten- ing up, making sure we don't ask for the same document twice, and automated more processes. We live our values at all times and take care of people. Our clients can feel that, and it's reflected in those surveys. // The mortgage industry, in particular the servicing side, sometimes has a reputation for being slow to innovate and evolve. Do you find that to be true, and regardless, where should the industry be focused when it comes to innovation? MCGARRY // I have a little dif- ferent take on that. The industry is filled with creative people who are committed to helping families gain access to financing and build their future. But it's always chang- ing. It doesn't fit into a box. You need innovation and to create a balance between technology and people. The industry is embracing robotics and artificial intelligence, especially in servicing and the digital mortgage. There's a focus on speed, but speed isn't always what the client wants when they're buying a house. Speed is important when there are multiple buyers and no inven- tory, so you need to close quickly. Other times the client may want more time. Every situation is dif- ferent. I think we've done a good job using technology to enhance client service. There's a lot more "I like people to feel connected and not think they're just a free agent and can go anywhere because it's just a job. It should be more than a job. You should feel part of something bigger."

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