The Sweet Spot by David H. Stevens, CMB

I have spent almost four decades in the mortgage and real estate business. My career began as a loan officer, but ultimately led to senior positions as a US Assistant Secretary of Housing, the CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, the president of Long and Foster, SVP and head of single family lending at Freddie Mac, and EVP at Wells Fargo.

Recently, I added the role of advisor to the Board of Directors of George Mason Mortgage. Many have asked me why I took this role. Here is my answer.

George Mason is the perfect blend that brings an understanding of the consumers needs, product innovation, and capital together to create the perfect institution to serve its communities in the greater mid-Atlantic region. The model of George Mason fills all of the key components needed to be an attractive mortgage company for consumers and new employees alike.

Unlike other business models in the mortgage business which includes large national diversified banks, mortgage broker companies, independent mortgage bankers with no bank relationship, or smaller depositories who do mortgages, GMM brings the value of a bank parent and its balance sheet but the specialty and focus of an truly responsive IMB all under one roof. And, while I have been impressed with GMM’s leadership, I view this company as one that will have the staying power for the long run combined with the tenacity of a great consumer savvy lender.

What the large national banks bring with capital, they may lack in local understanding and the ability to be responsive. Where IMB’s may bring that tenacity described above they may lack the capital backstop to sustain and innovate over the long run. Brokers may represent multiple product lines from wholesale lenders but lack control of the process and decision making when the challenging transaction needs to be the priority. Some models are mono line, representing only their own execution paths. Some are multi line in product options but lack control of the decision.

The GMM model brings the strength of United Bank with the local focused expertise of a long standing mortgage banker to its marketplace.

It’s truly a unique model and one that I find really interesting. So when Bill Landon, the GMM CEO, reached out to ask me to join in as an advisor my answer was immediate and affirmative.

For those in the industry working at GMM, you are in a great spot. For those looking for the perfect fit, I would be hard pressed to find a better business model. Loan Officers that chase rates or comp plans will find ultimate frustration – its the business model and culture that make the real difference. The key here is to find commitment, competence, and capital all wrapped under a strong leadership team.

This is why I made the decision to join in as an advisor. It just looked too good and frankly too exciting to not be part of it.

David H. Stevens CMB, (Dave) is the CEO of Mountain Lake Consulting, Inc. Dave is a 36 year veteran of the Mortgage Banking industry.

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