With The Holidays Here, Industry Leaders Share What They Are Grateful For


Industry leaders are sharing their thoughts as 2022 winds down and they are expressing gratitude despite challenges in the current market.

Bill Banfield, EVP of Capital Markets at Rocket Mortgage in Detroit, Michigan, said he appreciates the mental stimulation of navigating a tough market because people are forced to get creative in finding solutions for customers.

“Your company, your teams, you get to try to figure out how you can help people or how you can improve your company. It’s actually a much more fascinating time than when you’re in a super boom and all you can do is talk about rates and payments,” Banfield said.

Banfield had just sat down with The Mortgage Note to talk about a conventional loan program Rocket Mortgage recently introduced for people who are interested in purchasing or refinancing a manufactured home.

Rocket also has an Inflation Buster program which gives homebuyers a reprieve by reducing their monthly mortgage payment by one percentage point for the first year of their loan.

“The creativity comes out in these times so that’s the thing I think is something to be thankful for,” Banfield said.

Michael Isaacs, Chief Executive Officer at GO Mortgage, LLC, in Columbus, Ohio, also said he is grateful for the creativity of his team members.

“As we enjoy a bountiful season of Thanksgiving, I am extremely grateful for the confidence placed in GO Mortgage by an increasing number of customers for their home financing needs during this difficult time, and for the tireless efforts of our GO team to fill those needs with uncommonly good solutions not commonly found elsewhere,” Isaacs said.

Big Purple Dot’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Roxana Davidoff, mentioned her team and their “never-ending innovation.”

The Irvine, California, company provides real estate management software for lenders and realtors, using automation to foster personal relationships.

“I’m thankful for our team that continuously puts our clients first,” Davidoff said.

Agustin Del Rio, Founder and CEO at Gallus Insights in Chicago, Illinois, was at this year’s Mortgage Bankers Association Acc. & Fin. Management Conference. His company is an advanced analytics firm helping companies make better decisions by fully leveraging the power of data.

“Gallus appreciates the opportunity to help its clients in this tough market. We are all holding hands in these challenging times and it is remarkable to witness lenders adopt new technologies to make better and faster decisions. It is our privilege to help bring data into actionable insights,” Del Rio said in a statement for The Mortgage Note.

Despite news of cutbacks at many companies, Buck Rogers, Vice President of Sales at TalentWoo in Phoenix, Arizona, said they have experienced a whirlwind of hiring activity.

“It’s been interesting seeing such dynamic market variables in play and yet through it all, our lending and loan servicing clients have significantly impacted individuals and families by helping them realize the American Dream of home ownership. We want to express our gratitude to our customers for the impact they make in the lives of others, and to our loyal TalentWoo team for putting so many Americans back to work,” Rogers said.

Rogers said their seasoned real estate recruiters have outperformed expectations under tight deadlines and aggressive goals to deliver outsized growth to mortgage origination, servicing, and workout departments across the country. 

“It’s humbling to be part of such an organization,” Rogers said.

Florida experienced a real estate boom during the pandemic as people moved to the state for warmer weather and looser COVID restrictions.

Home values in the state continued to climb last month, according to a report by Zillow.

The report says that all four of the major markets with the greatest year-over-year home value appreciation are in Florida with Miami (23.3%), Tampa (21.2%), Orlando (20.9%), and Jacksonville (19.8%). 

Realtor John Alestra with Agile Group Realty in Tampa Bay said answering the question about what he is grateful for is difficult because he has many blessings in his life to be thankful for.

“I’d have to say that I am most thankful for my family, friends, and colleagues who all provide me with so much support and positivity toward me reaching my goals. I have a wonderful mother and sister who are my cheerleaders, and my best friend is one of the co-founders of Agile Group and my mentor in real estate. Without their support, in particular, I wouldn’t be nearly as happy and successful as I am,” Alestra said.

Kelly Smallridge is President and CEO of Palm Beach County’s public/private economic development agency, the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, where she has worked for 34 years.

Under Smallridge’s leadership, the development board has transformed the economy of Palm Beach County. They have received numerous state and national awards for recruiting and expanding companies. 

“I’m most grateful to be in an elite position for bringing good quality jobs to our residents,” Smallridge said. “In many different communities you see a lot of infighting and you see politics, and disagreements, and I would say here in Palm Beach County, I work in a community where we all get along and we are doing a beautiful thing for our residents.”

Smallbridge is credited with leading the Wall Street South initiative which has led to the expansion of over 100 financial service firms from the Northeast to Palm Beach County including New Day USA, Millenium Asset Management, Point72, RiverNorth, Sanders Capital, and Siris Capital.

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