Celebrating 25 Years in the Mortgage Business

2021 is a big year for all of us at Michigan Mortgage, but even more so for our fearless leaders, Dave Lehner and Rob Garrison.

For Dave and Rob, 2021 celebrates their 25th year working together in the mortgage business. That’s a huge feat! And it’s one that we are so incredibly proud of.

To celebrate this honor, we sat down with Dave and Rob to talk all things mortgage. We talked about what has (and has not) changed and why our commitment to our customers is still the most important thing. Enjoy!

Michigan Mortgage: You’ve been a Mortgage Loan Officer for 25 years. How has the business changed?

Rob: The biggest change I’ve noticed is the accessibility of financing for more people at more consistent and transparent fees. When we started 25 years ago, it was the Wild West. Lenders were charging outrageous fees and rates for people that had less than perfect credit or low down payments. Government regulation and accessibility to more programs has allowed more people to realize the American dream with more consistent, transparent and more reasonable terms.

Dave: The business is much faster paced, but we also have more technology, systems, and programs to help our clients and staff. With our new Pro Snap App people can apply on their cell or computer and we can work through the process almost entirely paperless. Fifteen years ago, this would never have been possible, let alone 25 years ago. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the education and communication that we give our clients so they understand their options and what programs are available to them.

MM: By the sounds of it, the industry has changed for the better. More people are able to achieve the American Dream using a much more efficient process. Technology is key here. Tell me about the technology you used in 1994 and how it compares to the technology available to you in 2021.

Rob: The biggest change in the last 25 years has been with technology. Back in the day, everything was hand written and wet signed. We collected all documentation, made photo copies, snail mailed everything to an underwriter and received an approval back by fax. Today, most everything can be handled with an app or computer. While there has been some personal touch lost, the convenience for clients is undeniable.

Dave: Technology is a huge factor in today’s business. We have systems in place which give us notices on rate updates so we can lock rates before they go up. We have Pro Snap so clients can just click to sign their loan documents from their cell phones or laptop instead of printing or coming into the office to sign.  We have office computer systems to help the staff process the loan faster and to be more efficient. The only technology I had when I started in my basement was a pager, cell phone, computer, printer and a fax machine. I would have to print all the loan documents, meet the client at the Realtor’s office to have them sign, then go to Staples to make a copy and overnight them to the underwriter and wait 3 to 5 days to get a faxed approval.

MM: Wow. It sounds like so much has changed! Let’s close with this. What’s the most important or most memorable thing you’ve learned over the past 25 years?

Rob: The mortgage business is about serving people with trustworthy reliable advice and execution. Consumers want a fair deal, great communication and an easy process. They want to be able to trust the lender they are working; trust that the lender has their best interest in mind and trust that the lender is capable and competent in what they are doing. Systems and processes are extremely important to deliver the service levels that clients expect but it is still about relationships with people.

Dave: This is a high pressure, fast paced business. I have dealt with a lot of people over the years between Realtors, buyers, sellers, appraisers, title companies, inspectors and many other individuals that are related to the real estate industry. There are so many different personalities, deadlines, and pressures to make the contract close date and it takes all of us working together to help the clients achieve their goals of home ownership. One thing I know for sure is that I’m the same kind and humble person who loves working with my clients and staff every day.

We plan to celebrate our 25th Anniversary all year long, so stay tuned for more content (and even a few flashback photos) to commemorate Dave and Rob’s journey in the business. Cheers!

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