Tag Archive for: Cheers to 25 Years!

Old Technology

An Employee’s Perspective: Then vs. Now

Reflecting back on technology sometimes shows our age more clearly than wrinkles themselves. To hear someone talk about tech from back in the day gives you more insight into their age than if you had a copy of their actual birth certificate (think Atari video game systems, televisions without remotes and rotary dial phones).

As we celebrate the 25th year of Rob and Dave’s partnership in the mortgage business, let’s take a moment to reflect (and laugh) about how the changes in technology have impacted the mortgage industry.

Michigan Mortgage is currently a leader in cutting-edge technology in the mortgage industry.

One of our biggest strengths, especially with the pandemic we’re still surviving, is our mobility, both for clients and staff. When COVID hit, we didn’t miss a beat with getting our employees the tech to work remotely and changing to virtual appointments with clients and our teams via Zoom.

Our app, Pro Snap, has helped keep us connected with realtors wanting to run proposed housing payments, and clients being able to electronically sign application forms, and upload documents from their phones.

However, such conveniences have not always existed for us. I’ve been working for Rob and Dave for 19 years. When I started, our office was downtown Muskegon in the Noble Building. The tech set up we had there was already a vast improvement from the first few years Rob and Dave worked together, at which time they each had a home phone, a computer, and a fax machine in their basement home offices.

We each had a desktop computer, since back then laptops were a luxury item, and we worked with single monitors (which I shudder to think about). The monitors also took up more space on our desks than was reasonable — no flat screens back then!

The phone system…well, I don’t believe we can call three cordless handsets on one desk a phone ‘system’. To transfer calls to each other literally meant walking the phone down the hallway. There were no voicemails either. Messages were relayed via pink message pads, or after hours via a call-in pager number.

We thought we were so cool when we upgraded to Nextel cell phones. Ignore that they were each the size of a brick. And the constant two-way chirping did get old after a while.

Our many repeat clients have probably noticed improvements in our technology over the years as well. The biggest difference has been going paperless. Instead of having literally hundreds of pages to print for the clients to sign at application and closing, we’ve converted to almost all electronic signatures.

We’ve probably saved more than just a few trees by going paperless. We used to make physical copies of all signed documents, plus all of the borrower documents, appraisals, title commitments, etc. We then had to retain those records for years after closing, so we had a whole room that used to house just our closed files, that we later were able to convert into two office spaces.

Going paperless didn’t affect just us either — the entire industry shifted how we delivered documents to one another. When I started, we had an appraisal company we worked with regularly who had a staff member whose main job it was to drive his motorcycle around West Michigan and deliver physical copies of appraisal reports. Title companies would do the same-drop off copies of commitments to our office. And submitting files to underwriting back then meant we had to either overnight or fax 100+ page loan packages in for review.

All in all, the advances in technology these past two decades has translated to cost savings and more importantly, time savings. Instead of making copies, handwriting loan applications, and juggling up to five physical phones on one desk, we’re now able to focus more attention and service to our clients and realtors.

— Sarah Beahan, Loan Processor

New Employee Collage

Meet the New Faces at Michigan Mortgage

2020 was a wild year. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we do business and forced our team to learn new skills.

Historically low interest rates, as well as increased home values, brought new challenges and opportunity. To meet the increased market demand, we added six incredible people to our team.

We’ve introduced them before, but want to make sure they get the recognition they deserve. All six have bright futures at Michigan Mortgage!

Photo of Molly

Molly Fazakerley

Molly joined Team Garrison as a Loan Officer Assistant and assists with purchase and refinance pre-approvals. She came to us with years of customer service experience and a personality that brings so much joy to our office.

Molly is very passionate about lending and helping families achieve their home-buying dreams. She lives for making people smile and laugh and feel loved. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and being a mom to two of the sweetest boys!

Abbi McIntyre

Abbi joined our team as a Closing Assistant and hit the ground running! Her previous experience in customer service and real estate allowed for a smooth transition.

Abbi graduated from Indiana Wesleyan with a degree in Social Studies Education, but realized she loved helping people through some of the craziest times of their lives and started working with real estate and lending. She is so excited to call Michigan Mortgage home!

Photo of RoseRose Engel

Rose joined our Holland Team as a Loan Officer Assistant after purchasing a new home with one of our talented Loan Officers.

“Michigan Mortgage made the purchasing process so easy and seamless that I knew that joining this team was the perfect opportunity for me,” she said.

She’s brand new to the industry but is eager to learn and loves being able to help people and make sure that they have what they need to be successful.

Jason Horton

Jason joined Team Lehner as a Loan Officer Assistant and hopes to use his customer service skills to guide our customers home. He’s a go-getter!

Jason’s motivation is his incredible family (Kristie, Kennedy and Hudson). He loves playing sports and appreciates the friendships he’s gained through them. Jason has always enjoyed helping people achieve their goals.

“I look forward to helping as many people as possible achieve their home ownership needs,” he said.

Photo of DavidDavid Onofrio

David joined Team Garrison as a Loan Officer Assistant and helps our customers achieve the American Dream. His previous experience, and finance degree from Hope College, brings a much-desired skill set to our team.

David’s greatest passion in life is helping and connecting with people. He enjoys spending time with family and friends and exploring the great outdoors.

“I am very excited to serve my community here at Michigan Mortgage,” David said.

Photo of RoseRose Orleskie

Rose joined Michigan Mortgage as a Processor in 2020.  She enjoys being part of Team Lehner and serving the community through building lasting relationships with clients while making their home-buying experiences enjoyable.

She is a West Michigan native who enjoys running, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Photo of HannahHannah Moss

Hannah joined our Processing Team and works diligently to get our customers to the closing table.

She came to us with prior experience in banking and was excited to transition into the mortgage industry. Outside of work, Hannah and her fiancé, Zach, are huge hockey and baseball fans and enjoy traveling. Their goal is to travel to all 30 MLB stadiums. They’ve been to 12!

“I remember how exciting it was to be a first-time homebuyer so to be able to share that same excitement with borrowers is really cool,” she said.

We can’t wait to see what our team can accomplish in 2021!

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!