Recognizing The 40 Under 40 Making Their Mark

National Mortgage Professional salutes the mortgage industry’s rising stars

40 Under 40 2022 — Guiseppe Lucido
40 Under 40 honoree Giuseppe Lucido, SVP, Operations, United Wholesale Mortgage

In every profession, the future is written by the next generation. They bring fresh perspectives and new energy. The young deliver a point of view unhindered by dogma nor constrained by convention.

We all know young leaders inspiring others through their professionalism and accomplishments. NMP asked for your nominations and you came through with a diverse and talented selection of 40 people truly making their mark.

Honorees were selected based on their industry contributions and impact.Some are already top executives while others should quickly see their careers headed there.

Congratulations to our NMP’s 40 under 40 winners for 2022. We know you will be impressed with these young professionals as we were.

Margie Ambrosio

Margie Ambrosio

38
SVP, Information Systems
George Mason Mortgage

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

Never allow yourself to become stagnant. In this industry, there is always something new to learn or upgrade or modernize. Seize those opportunities when you can. I would also strongly suggest that someone new to mortgage find a mentor sooner rather than later. The right mentor can make a huge difference by cutting your learning curve, helping you navigate challenging situations and guiding you in ways you might not even know you need.

Mortgage is a roller coaster. Keep your sense of humor and wear your seatbelt.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a mortgage professional?

Fintech has historically been male-dominated. Early in my career, I looked to the first few women who had earned a seat at the mortgage table and saw the possibility of someday being there myself. Their presence allowed me to visualize my own opportunities. Today, some of those women have grown to be highly respected members of our industry, driving change and innovation in a variety of areas. I grew in my career, and more women began to find their place in our industry as well. I’ve been proud to add my voice to the collective voice and encourage other women to grow into their own strong leadership roles. My success is sweeter when I am able to use it to help elevate others. 


Fred Assini

Fred Assini

31
President
Hartford Funding, Ltd.

From Fred’s nomination

Industry Contributions:

  • Over the past six years, has led company growth of 6x the size in originations and employees.
  • Leading our New Generation of Mortgage Bankers with innovative technology implementations
  • Active member of The Mortgage Collaborative and MBA Events
  • Added 15+ Investors since becoming President
  • Maintain Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae and Fannie Mae Agency Approvals

Short Bio:

Fred has been the president of Hartford Funding since 2015 with the vision of being a company that embraces technology to improve client satisfaction and streamline the lending process, enabling his team to spend more time forming relationships. With this goal in mind, Fred has continuously implemented many new technology pieces built around the needs of each department and the optimal borrower loan experience.

Area of Expertise

Originations (Volume or unique approach)

Technology

Industry Participation 


Imran Bagwan

Imran Bagwan

39
President and CEO
United 1 Mortgage

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

Being a mortgage professional is not just a job; it’s a profession. Give yourself time to learn and work with the experienced before going off on your own. Connect with Realtors, title agents, attorneys, and so on. Build relationships with them early so that you can help each other grow.

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

Joining the mortgage industry changed my perception of thinking it was very difficult to become a homeowner. Once I understood how simple it could be and the options available, it made me passionate about helping others as a guide to clients and as a mentor to budding mortgage professionals.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

The mortgage process can be made even simpler for home buyers. I hope to see as well as contribute ways in which we can make it an easier and smoother process as the industry grows.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a mortgage professional?

My biggest accomplishment is having created my company and being in a position to help so many families and individuals achieve the huge milestone of owning a home, as well as providing a space where budding mortgage professionals can come to learn and earn experience that will help build their careers.


Meg Bennett

Meg Bennett

33
VP of Partnerships
Insellerate

What makes the mortgage industry exciting and fun?

Hands down the people — we have an amazing network of talented leaders and everyday is an opportunity to learn something new!

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

For those of you just getting started, remember you’re the future. Take time to truly learn the industry, get involved at your local MBA chapter/ NAMBA, find mentors, ask questions, and dive deep. The MBA also has a ton of educational courses/ classes/ committees.

Most importantly, have fun and be an advocate for the future generation.

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

Tech BOOM … Automation! Increased awareness of important tools like: D1C, CU, DU, VOI/E/A, API’s which will continue to create greater experiences for all parties involved and most importantly our home buyers.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

Higher adoption with modern technology to close more loans seamlessly and decrease the cost to originate loans. Which will hopefully help create affordable housing for first time home buyers.


Gareth Borcherds

Gareth Borcherds

37
EVP and Founder
Ascent Software Group LLC

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

When you are just getting started, don’t be afraid of the chaos that appears at times. Especially now with the market where it is, there are always opportunities in front of you. You should spend the time to learn the real problems that need to be solved and find the best solutions.

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

Since I joined, the biggest change revolves around technology and how it is becoming the focus of the industry. Technology’s presence has significantly increased over the years and we are continuously improving how we talk about the digital borrower experience.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

As far as change from the mortgage industry goes, we need to turn the digital borrower experience into a cost saver for the borrower. I would love to see us take the leap and to really invest in true end-to-end technology that creates great experiences and reduces the cost.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a mortgage professional?

My biggest accomplishment has been bringing about a technology platform that connects lenders back to their vendors in a positive way. Often, vendors are left to deal with the painful delivery process. Launching a platform that benefits both sides is very rewarding.


James Braxton

James Braxton

36
Vice President of Customer Care and Collections
The Money Source

What makes the mortgage industry exciting and fun?

The landscape in the mortgage industry is always changing and evolving. It’s a balancing act to stay in compliance with regulations while also maintaining a high level of innovation and continuing to deliver a best-in-class customer experience. While challenging, there is a level beauty in the process of trying to thread the needle with all of these. It takes my best skills and the cooperation and collaboration with the people around me in a team effort to be successful.

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

Playing sports my whole life, I used always to attack things from a competitive mindset. As I have evolved in this industry, I have developed a lot mentally in what my motivation is daily. Instead of looking for ways I can compete with someone, I look for ways where I can cooperate with someone so that together we can make an impact on someone else. Every day I ask myself “Who can I help be just a little bit better”? Now, I’ve accepted the fact I am naturally competitive and that will never go away, but today I use that energy differently. I want my energy to help create an atmosphere that pushes everyone around me to be the best versions of themselves and ultimately translate into the best experience for our customers.


Tyler Brown

Tyler Brown

35
Alliance Manager
Equifax Workforce Solutions

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

The mortgage industry is nuanced, and there is a lot to learn for those just starting out. Never be afraid to ask questions, and seek understanding with a curious mind. I believe that the best way to learn is to jump in at the ground level and immerse yourself in your role. As you learn and grow, keep your customers and the consumers in mind. There are ways that we in the mortgage industry can directly impact the mortgage process for both lenders and consumers. If we all work toward the goal of improving the loan process, then we can make a large impact in the quality of the lending system for all.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a mortgage professional?

I am proud that I have been able to help Equifax meet its cloud transformation imperatives. I am also proud of helping evolve how mortgage customers utilize The Work Number in the originations space by leveraging application programming interfaces and technology platforms to automate and streamline the delivery of income and employment verifications. I work with a fantastic team that delivers value-based solutions to mortgage lenders across the country, fueling the opportunity for consumers to live their financial best. As a team, we are helping to broaden opportunities for home ownership by showing lenders the value of income and employment verifications even in a volatile market.


Kelly Connelly

Kelly Connelly

32
FVP — Director of Mortgage Lending
North Brookfield Savings Bank

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

Right before Dodd-Frank passed, I started in banking in collections so my lens on lending was always risk focused. Lenders were terrified to write bad loans after the impact of the Great Recession and homeowners were harmed by the actions of predatory lenders. Now on the origination and operational side, I am seeing how lenders are committed to providing an educational and thoughtful experience to borrowers. Compliance and business development are not mutually exclusive. By having lending practices that keep the borrower’s best interest as the top priority, this allows lenders to provide an informed financing experience which reduces risk. Effective lenders now recognize that knowledge is power for homebuyers. If we can play a role in that knowledge building through active participation in financial literacy and counseling for the communities we serve, there are more wins to be had than losses.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

Regulatory support of e-closings and e-notary services is critical. Some states are not progressing with the way many lenders are doing business, nor are they meeting the needs of what their constituents want. Regulations [that] require lenders to still have in-person closing with large paper files … can make it challenging for financial institutions to have a very efficient process and meet the digitized desires of their customers.


Steven Cooley

Steven Cooley

40
Founder
Art Vs. Math LLC

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

I would like to see mortgage lenders get more competitive. I want technology to not bend to legacy technology and be the innovator that they are. I want more services and technology to use resources to target smaller to medium size mortgage lenders, so they can have an opportunity to innovate.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a mortgage professional?

www.mortgageadvisortools.com. There is a massive disconnect between technology and most mortgage lenders. When I worked at Finance of America, we had solicitation Friday and would let any tech vendor pitch us. We entertained pitches from VC-backed companies (some most know today), to a couple of guys building something in their basement. We thought about building a platform where all mortgage technology could be listed, ranked, reviewed, and easily discovered. Mortgage Advisor Tools is that platform. Mortgage banks have called and thanked me, telling me they built their entire tech stack by leveraging the information. The industry’s support has been amazing. I believe in the years to come every lender will use Mortgage Advisor Tools when considering a technology purchase. I am grateful for the opportunity to be in this industry and help people. Mortgage Advisor Tools allows me to help both tech and lenders find new customers and resources to grow their businesses. It’s been an amazing journey and I’m grateful for every opportunity.


John Faheem

John Faheem

33
National Executive
Granite Risk Management & Altisource

From John’s Nomination:

John Faheem is an executive leader, educator, and expert in financial solutions, construction lending solutions, risk mitigation, compliance, operational management, mortgage lending, asset growth, and several other multifaceted areas in the Real Estate and Mortgage industry. Mr. Faheem currently serves as the national executive for Granite Risk Management, an Altisource Business unit where he has entrenched the rigorous continual increase of efficiency and growth, concurrently retaining unwavering adherence to the company’s core values, mission, and objectives. Mr. Faheem is immersed in the trends changing the industry—a hallmark feature of his diametrically shaped track record. As a California native and education enthusiast, Mr. Faheem currently holds multiple degrees and certifications; JD, MBA, BSc, edX. He is an active educator and has leveraged his achievements in multiple industries acting as an expert speaker and panelist in several different disciplines.

Significant Industry Contributions:

Mr. Faheem has been an integral part in product development and creation in the Construction and Renovation lending space, streamlining activities and processes for hundreds of lenders. His deep understanding of these products has allowed him to re-engineer policies and procedures for new acquisitions and ground-up construction across the nation. This has eliminated the friction between capital providers, lenders, and investors, when developing streamlined funding programs in the construction and renovation space.


Marie Gonzalez

Marie Gonzalez

36
Strategic Account Executive
SimpleNexus

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

Find a mentor and stay hungry for new ideas, constructive feedback, and opportunities to step outside your comfort zone. Don’t hesitate to ask for guidance.

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

Confidence in the health of our housing economy is nearing its lowest point since 2008. While I understand the cyclical nature of housing markets, I have been seeking advice and reassurance from others in the industry who have overcome challenges like these before. They tell me precisely what I understood to be true: this will pass. By remaining focused on what can be controlled, I know myself and the lenders I support will emerge from this market slump even stronger than we were before.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

As a minority, I want the industry to focus on helping the Hispanic community build generational wealth through homeownership. In particular, I’d love to see the industry embrace solutions that support a home buying experience in Spanish to make homeownership more accessible to the Spanish-speaking communities. Purchasing a home is the largest financial transaction that most consumers will ever make. Regardless of their native tongue, every person deserves to feel comfortable and in control of their homebuying experience.


Justin Grant

Justin Grant

39
Sr. Director, Head of Investor Services
MCT Trading

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

At MCT ever since we created the industry’s first open loan exchange with BAM Marketplace it’s been our mission to be able to price every loan to every investor. We’ve made some great strides over the last few years to bring the industry closer to this and I’m confident we’ll be even closer in 2023 with the recent investments and advancements we’ve made. We truly believe transparency is a good thing for markets and that is the standard that will continue to drive our innovations.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a mortgage professional?

Having started in the industry in 2006 we’ve seen a fair amount of financial shocks to the system which made for some extremely volatile times. Between the financial crisis of 2008 and the Fed’s ensuing QE programs, the Taper Tantrum of 2013, COVID, and now the Fed’s QT mission, lenders have had to endure through some very tough periods. Having been entrusted by many lenders to guide them through these historical events and making it out on the other side has been deeply rewarding. Being able to quickly bring BAM Marketplace to market when COVID first hit meant providing critical liquidity that in many cases was the difference between certain lenders staying in business or not. I’m extremely proud of how we’ve been able to respond in those challenging markets.


Lawson Hardwick

Lawson Hardwick

34
VP, Onboarding & Expansion
Churchill Mortgage

What makes the mortgage industry exciting and fun?

It’s an ever-evolving industry that can completely shift course overnight. This has never been more evident than in 2022. Helping to build a company that is solid and able to withstand the ups and downs is an interesting challenge.

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

Be hungry and humble. Recognize that the moment you walk in the door everyone from the receptionist to the CEO knows more than you do. Early on it is wise to use your ears more than your tongue!

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

I would like to continue to see technology add more and more value to the process. While the industry has seen some interesting tools come into play over the past several years it still lags far behind others. That is frankly unacceptable and is a key issue that the leadership team here at Churchill is working to solve for our employees and customers.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a mortgage professional?

Serving my team well. I would be lying if I said any success that I have seen had nearly as much to do with me as it did with the team I have the honor or working alongside every day. They are truly an amazing group.


Danny Helms

Danny Helms

30
President
BNT of Texas, Inc.

What makes the mortgage industry exciting and fun?

The most rewarding part is building close relationships with other local people in the housing industry. It all comes down to who you know. When you put time and effort into cultivating relationships, people will refer you and support your company, and enjoy seeing you win. This is often a cutthroat industry, but these kinds of connections make it special.

I also get excited by unexpected wins. You can pursue an opportunity for months before it comes to fruition, and then other times you meet someone once, really connect on a personal level, and start bringing in business right away.

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

Look in your inner circle and your own backyard first. You’ll be surprised at how many people from your childhood, your high school or your neighborhood are in a position to send referrals your way. You will be surprised how many referrals and how much positive support you’ll receive from your current contacts. Following this strategy can get your business rolling right away.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a mortgage professional?

Being named President of BNT of Texas is definitely my biggest achievement. Earning the position, and having the opportunity to stretch and grow, have been very rewarding. I have a whole new level of confidence to push my own limits and am excited about the future.


Caleb Hiester

Caleb Hiester

28
Branch Manager
Direct Mortgage Loans

What makes the mortgage industry exciting and fun?

There are four specifics about the mortgage industry worthy of noting:

  • First you reap what you sow. The more you put into this career, the more you benefit.
  • Results from working harder or implementing new strategies can be evident in a short 60-90 days.
  • The opportunity to partner with Realtors. These relationships helped shape my perspective and has changed my personal and career goals.
  • Perhaps most important is the ability to impact the lives of clients who in some cases were turned down elsewhere, or feared the process.

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

I learned to become a resource in the industry, not just a contributor. The more information and experience I absorb, the more I can squeeze out information that is useful to both realtors, clients, and other loan officers.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a mortgage professional?

I moved a thousand miles to a new state with no clients and no knowledge of the industry at 22, and in a few short years have become a producing loan officer and branch manager. I now have the privilege to tutor several new loan officers who I recruited. I am thrilled to see them grow their base and assist them in avoiding some of the pitfalls I had to learn first-hand.


Renee L. Hinojosa

Renee L. Hinojosa

39
Sr. Loan Officer
Primary Residential Mortgage

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

Don’t give up! Also, don’t “fake it til you make it.” I have found success in learning my market and marketing in a true, personal way. Instead of pretending to know things I don’t and over promising, I remain who I am and deliver when I say I will. Most people are intimidated by the process, so I try to be as approachable and personable as I can be so buyers can feel comfortable.

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

I have seen the biggest changes in the technology that is available to us as originators. Everything from application to processing and closing is much more streamlined than it used to be.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

I would like to see the appraiser industry open up and remove the barriers associated with entering the field. We would be able to have faster turn times and hopefully in turn a little more regulation for appraisers.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a mortgage professional?

I consider the creation of my team of 4 forward thinking, successful, independent women my biggest success and contribution to the mortgage industry. Our team works extremely hard; we lead each file with honesty and a passion to deliver outstanding service to every client.


Doug Kennedy

Doug Kennedy

37
SVP, Client Success
Candor Technology

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

What’s changed most has been the number of long lasting relationships I’ve developed over the years. Networking is great, but I’m referring to those folks that you’ve worked so hard with on a daily basis for so many years, they are like an extension of your family.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

I would like to see our industry embrace technology more. Adapting and adopting new technology will help prevent the constant staffing up and down issues all lenders experience when the market changes. With technology, you can right size your staff and lean on technology to eliminate the constant staffing changes.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a mortgage professional?

My biggest accomplishment has been the help I’ve been able to provide others. From the borrowers to my staff, seeing the good that this industry can bring is very rewarding. It’s not an award or a monetary achievement that I am most proud of; it’s the impact on other people’s lives.

For borrowers, helping them accomplish their goal of homeownership is an absolute pleasure.

For staff, I was able to take folks that had little to no mortgage experience, and help them develop into highly successful mortgage professionals. Watching these young and hard-working individuals build long-lasting careers in this industry is something I am very proud of.


Matthew Khan

Matthew Khan

38
SVP, Capital Markets & Product Development
Newfi Lending

What makes the mortgage industry exciting and fun?

The best part about working in the mortgage industry is that it never gets boring. You cannot get complacent. The fast-paced environment makes sure that you always have an opportunity to learn and grow.

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

Don’t get discouraged. Every failure is a learning opportunity — don’t let it stop you. Keep going and you will be better for it.

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

Before I joined the industry, I had no prior knowledge of the complexities of this business. Over the years with the influence of several important mentors I have changed into a better, more well-rounded professional. I owe much of my success to the industry veterans who took me under their wing and challenged me.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

What everyone is searching for is stability in the market. I’m hoping to see more innovation and creativity as we all navigate these changing conditions.


Shane Kidwell

Shane Kidwell

40
Founder, Coach
Next Level Loan Officers

From Shane’s nomination:

Shane Kidwell is a top 1% originator who created a full-time mortgage business while also working as a full-time fireman at one of the busiest stations on the west coast. With a back injury slowing him down, he took an early retirement in 2016 and with the help of three friends in the mortgage industry, started Next Level Loan Officers.

He is a full-time producing loan officer, branch manager and runs several other successful complementary businesses.

Significant Industry Contributions

Top 1% Loan Officer 6+ years in a row

Founder/Coach for Next Level.

Next Level Loan Officers is now one of the largest mortgage coaching companies in the industry and recently launched their new digital community exclusive to the mortgage industry which has over 500 paid members.

Shane also helped create and launch Certified Mortgage Advisors in partnership with MBS Highway and has been a speaker at many industry events.

Why does this person deserve to be recognized as one of this year’s 40 Under 40?

Shane is an incredibly generous person. He gives everything he has to the mortgage community day in and day out. His transparent, direct, honest approach to coaching and leading has helped thousands of originators all across the U.S.

He is passionate about our industry, seeing it through any crisis or downturn and loves helping others.


Giuseppe Lucido

Giuseppe Lucido

32
SVP, Operations
United Wholesale Mortgage

What makes the mortgage industry exciting and fun?

What makes the mortgage industry exciting for me is that it is constantly changing! There is so much room for improvement to the way mortgages are originated, and because of UWM I get to be at the forefront of innovation in the space.

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

The industry can be cyclical, but success in it doesn’t need to be. Individuals and companies who dedicate themselves to constantly learning in the pursuit of delivering a better product or service can grow and have success in any market cycle.

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

I would like to see the industry put a bigger emphasis on making the mortgage process better for the consumer. There are still some major components of the consumer experience that are time consuming, confusing and often expensive, and I’d like to see some more disruption to some of those “norms”.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a mortgage professional?

Finding a good balance between work and being present with my wife and kids has definitely been the biggest accomplishment of my career. It’s easy to get lost in work, but finding a healthy balance has been important for me to perform my best in a sustainable way.


Danny Meier

Danny Meier

37
Area Manager
Academy Mortgage Corporation

From his nomination:

You won’t find a next-generation originator as powerful, influential, yet humble like Academy Mortgage Area Manager Danny Meier. In his few years with Academy, Danny has challenged his team to find innovative ways to work more efficiently, while constantly looking to shave time off the process — matching speed with superior customer service. His philosophies shine through his remarkable success, hitting just under $800 million in total volume in 2021. Danny is incredibly hardworking, yet kind and generous — he is truly one to emulate.

Significant Industry Contributions:

In a few short years, Danny Meier has become a standout. With his natural leadership skills and razor-sharp understanding of the business, Danny often finds himself as a mentor, not only to his fellow team members, but to originators across the country. He is always willing to spread his knowledge to help others succeed by sharing the tools he uses to build excitement and gain the interest of his partners.

Danny possesses an ability to see the big picture, think outside the box and encourages others to do the same. He is constantly looking for different ways to drive his business and has the ability to pivot to what works. He doesn’t fear rejection and understands that following up and being consistent with his customers and partners are the key to success. He helps others to believe that anything is possible and is willing to put in the work to show that to others.


Gregory Meola

Gregory Meola

38
Managing Director
Acra Lending

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

The best advice I could give is to be patient and learn. Each role or market will present a new challenge and that creates an opportunity to develop yourself. At the same time, you have to be patient, this is an easy business to jump in during the high times and jump out during the low times. I had my first taste of the mortgage industry as an intern in the early 2000’s during the refi boom. I had my first job in the mortgage industry in the crash of ’08. More elements of my career were established in challenging times. Finally, as you work your way up the ladder remember to “show up.” Think about the role in the industry that is the brass ring for you and think in that mindset every day.

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

Products and technology have changed the most. Since I have been in the industry there have been a lot of products that have come and gone or have been recycled into a variation of its predecessor. I remember taking paper loan applications, using a courier to send docs, and actually stacking files, and I’m not that old! It has been interesting to see so many organizations attempt to build a better mouse trap in a highly regulated environment.


Lauren Moore

Lauren Moore

33
Client Success Executive
Mortgage Cadence

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

1. Be inquisitive and curious — If you don’t inquire and understand the why, you are limiting your worth, both in the short and long term.

2. Set short and long-term career goals — The long-term goals will feel so farfetched at the start of your career, but trust me when I say, it’s worth it and so humbling to sit back and reflect on how far you’ve come.

3. Seek feedback from colleagues and superiors — While soliciting feedback can feel intimidating at first, it’s extremely valuable. Whether you work for a company with a formal system allowing you to request feedback or you have to go about it “manually,” just do it. The more you make a habit of this, the more organic it will feel.

4. Join a mentoring program — I remember my very first professional mentor (Brenda King, previous sr. manager of credit policy at Genworth Mortgage Insurance), who is still a huge part of my life. From sitting at her desk reviewing guidelines to helping me prepare for interviews and, most importantly, just giving me life advice, I’ll never forget all that she taught me and the impact she has had on my career. And remember, mentoring is a two-way street. Every person has some value to add, and if done well, a mentor/mentee partnership brings fruit to both sides of the desk or Zoom call.


Christopher Naylor

Christopher Naylor

37
Chief Revenue Officer
Direct Mortgage Loans

What makes the mortgage industry exciting and fun?

The fast pace and ever-changing nature of the mortgage industry are what keeps things exciting for me. Getting to celebrate our employee’s success is what makes it fun.

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

You will need to unlock a new gear of toughness and perseverance that you didn’t realize you had, do right by your clients, and work hard. The rest will take care of itself.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

The mortgage industry significantly trails other financial service industries regarding technology adoption and process efficiencies. I would like to see the industry continue to build on the progress we were forced to make during the pandemic. Things like e-notes, automated property valuations, digital documentation, and virtual settlements should be the norm, not the exception.

Overall, I am optimistic about our industry in 2023. The short-term outlook doesn’t appear to be attractive, but there is nothing wrong with a course correction. The market was unfairly stacked against buyers in 2020 and 2021, which needed to change.


Alishea Pipkin

Alishea Pipkin

40
Retail Branch Manager
Planet Home Lending

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

Instead of focusing only on the money you earn, focus on the people you serve. I like making money as much as the next MLO, but it’s not the main reason I’m in this business. I got into the mortgage industry because I believed I could create a better customer experience for homebuyers and homeowners. That motivation continues to drive my career many years later.

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

The most significant change since I joined in 2006 is technology advances, especially AI and data analytics. From there, technology continues to influence the customer experience. There’s automated communication during the customer journey, including speedy turn times powered by AI and remote online notary.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

I’m seeing a significant commitment from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to broaden their programs to include more low- and moderate-income borrowers. The housing market is cooling off, so I expect to see more home sellers and builders offering sales concessions, like rate buydowns and mortgage insurance buyouts.


Kevin Randolph

Kevin Randolph

38
Senior Vice President, Client Experience Operations
Rocket Pro TPO

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

Don’t treat this as a job, treat this as a career. With that perspective you will see every day as an opportunity to hone your craft. One quote I love is, “to become interesting, become interested.” Right now is a great time to be getting into the mortgage industry and be a sponge to learn as much as you can. Relationships are key now more than ever. Take every opportunity to walk through the front door of your business. As an Operations leader, it’s imperative for me to understand the partners’ and the clients’ experience.

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

My first year in the mortgage industry was the last year the bank where I was working was using paper files — and change has been the only constant since. For me, the biggest change has been from the opportunities I have had to develop my skills.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

Like anything else, it is hard to predict the future, but ultimately, I would like to see digital enhancements made for a clear and streamlined process. Seeing more adoption of digital advancements like eClosings, Remote Online Notarizations, as well as more opportunities to import data and rely less on requesting documentation from clients.


Danny Rivera

Danny Rivera

39
Head of Marketing Technology and Information Technology
Geneva Financial Home Loans

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

What has changed the most was my mindset and how I visualized how we can utilize technology throughout our process. Upon coming onboard in 2019, I was tasked with ensuring that the workforce at Geneva always had the latest and greatest.

It is not uncommon in this industry for technology to completely take over. It’s always been extremely important for me to ensure that our systems are engaged as powerful aides, seamlessly integrating with our other tech, and allowing the loan officer more time to focus on the human element.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

Being in tech, it is so easy to hyperfocus on the mechanics and the efficiency of it all you miss how much people contribute to the process. I hope, after all that we have gone through over the past few years, that in 2023 that is brought back into perspective.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a mortgage professional?

Since onboarding with Geneva, I have been able to focus solely on growth for the company and finding new and exciting ways to engage with consumers and recruits. We’ve shifted the mindset of the workforce, utilizing technology as an aide to allow for top-notch white glove service. This has been a pivotal part of my work.


Kassy Scarcia

Kassy Scarcia

33
Team Manager, Customer Success
Sales Boomerang and Mortgage Coach

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

Learn as much as you can, but give yourself some grace because you are bound to make mistakes. Put yourself in situations where you can have new experiences and gain insight into different facets of the industry. Always be willing to help your peers — professional relationships go a long way. Finally, remember that you are helping people make one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives. Never take that responsibility lightly.

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

Since kick starting my career in the mortgage industry, I have realized just how much a mortgage can mean. Homeownership can offer lifelong financial security and freedom when leveraged properly. Witnessing these benefits and their impact on real families has bolstered my commitment to helping lenders share the enormous value of this investment with even more consumers.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

Lenders and consumers alike benefit when the home financing experience is relationship-focused rather than transactional, so I would love to see the mortgage industry make borrower retention a greater priority by empowering lenders to become long-term financial friends to their borrowers. That means not only reaching out to borrowers when there is clear potential for a sale but also helping them make the most of their investment.


Vola Siwakoti

Vola Siwakoti

40
Team Leader & Sr. Loan Officer
Nationwide Mortgage Bankers Inc.

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

The mortgage industry is never a career for many out there. The combination of good education, awesome judgment, including due diligence, and the ability to take an extra amount of stress-hassle are the most to bring success in this industry.

It is not easy to understand the mortgage consumption process. I would shadow someone who knows the industry well to learn the science of the business or have better skin in the game.

If you are educated, capable, and knowledgeable in this industry, you are in the career to never look back, make a lot of money, and enjoy the blooms.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

Income calculation has very many variances and disparities — especially with the shift in the economy after covid19; there are many borrowers sadly unable to buy their primary residence. Consumer-friendly income calculation guidelines are one thing I am into for good.

Unanimous reporting ability to the NMLS or the regulators about fraud activities would help control many industry malpractices - I wish to see this for safer industry practice.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a mortgage professional?

Mortgage knowledge gained from the employer’s university backed by the ability to help as many clients as possible to change their life.


Nomi Smith

Nomi Smith

37
CEO
PMI Rate Pro

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

The mortgage industry is a very lucrative industry. Whether your job is a mortgage lender, processor or underwriter — Invest time into learning everything you can about the entire industry. Always be looking for the inefficiencies in your day-to-day tasks and look for technology solutions to help you become more efficient. If the technology doesn’t exist to make your job easier, invent it! Get really good at solving problems and that will make you very valuable in the industry! Don’t be afraid of the ups and downs, know that it’s a cyclical industry. As long as you have made yourself valuable, you will succeed in this awesome industry!

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

The mortgage industry has really helped me become creative. As a previous mortgage lender, I learned to think differently about financial strategies. In order to stay competitive as a mortgage lender, I had to learn to differentiate myself from the pack. The only way to do that was to become really good at offering creative solutions in a transparent way to gain the trust of the borrower. Not only did I learn creative financial strategies, I have learned to pick out inefficiencies in our job that we have always accepted and I have learned that it’s actually possible to fix most problems with technology!


Dan Smokoska

Dan Smokoska

36
Director of Marketing
Inlanta Mortgage

What makes the mortgage industry exciting and fun?

Hands down, the people in our industry. I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the most fun, hardworking, and talented professionals in the business. Working with the right people can make the most difficult parts of a job enjoyable.

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

Work hard, buckle up, and enjoy the ride. Commit to learning every detail of your position, take advantage of training opportunities, and be open to constructive feedback. Most importantly, do it all with a smile - it goes a long way.

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

Technology. When I entered the industry, mortgage tech was significantly behind in regards to innovation and software offerings. Fast forward to today, we have access to game-changing technology that both enhances the borrower’s experience and helps our originators bring in more loans.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

At this point, I’d just like to see interest rates go back down!


Jarrett Stanley

Jarrett Stanley

35
Chief Marketing Officer
Southern Trust Mortgage

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

Focus on what you can control. There are so many outside factors that move markets that are well outside of our ability to influence them. It’s easy to let the things you can’t control dictate your mood or motivation. Resist this.

Make adjustments and view changing conditions as advantages for you to gain market share. It will give you the courage to push forward while others retreat.

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

The biggest change is the focus on leveraging technology to create a premium user experience. At the end of the day, no consumer wants a mortgage. They want a home for their family and a process that doesn’t overwhelm or confuse them. Homebuyers want a clear path from application to moving day.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

This industry is making great strides in the credit and equal opportunity spaces. I would like to see a continued effort in helping renters become homeowners through more common sense considerations in regard to rental history and employment. I’d also love to see more first-time buyer programs for underprivileged and overlooked communities. Homeownership has been the most accessible form of wealth generation and we should use every tool at our disposal to make it available to as many families as we can.


Danielle Susini

Daniele Susini

39
Vice President, Wholesale and Correspondent
On Q Financial

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

I entered the industry back in 2001 where we sat by the fax machine waiting on packages/conditions to come in or everyday at 2 p.m. we saw AE’s rush through the doors to get their packages in before the cutoff time. We didn’t have AUS or credit re-issues. It was all paper files, no automation and DOS based software. Now, paper files are unheard of, technology has advanced tremendously and there is AI technology to solve for so many aspects of the transaction. It’s astonishing to see how much has changed over the years.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

Balance — within the past two years we have gone from all-time low interest rates to historically high interest rate hikes to counter inflation. The market is unprecedented. I would like my crystal ball.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a mortgage professional?

Opening up On Q Financial’s TPO division! Back in 2020, I was recruited to start a TPO division from scratch in the middle of the pandemic. There were no system rules, portal, and only limited policies and procedures. Within 60 days we opened wholesale, 90 days non-delegated and within 120 we had transitioned all delegated clients to our TPO platform and system. By the end of our first year operating we did over $2 billion in fundings.


Mitchell Swanson

Mitchell Swanson

32
Director of Digital Services
OpenClose Mortgage Technologies

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

I believe the mortgage industry has greatly improved my ability to problem solve. The French philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes once said, “Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it.” This has held true through each of my different positions within the industry. Being able to stop, dissect, evaluate, and plan for each adversity faced has led to countless successes.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a mortgage professional?

I have been involved in numerous projects that have directly improved the borrower’s mortgage experience. For example, I have implemented functionality to automatically copy borrower data from a previous application to a new one in an effort to reduce the amount of keystrokes needed. I have also worked on decision engines that have automatically created conditions for the borrower based on AUS findings. This has saved countless hours of Underwriters creating conditions for each attribute. This has also resulted in a decrease in turn time of applications. Furthermore, I lead the creation of a three-tiered pre-approval process based on confidence levels calculated with inputs from third-party verification services. This process has the ability to generate pre-approvals without contact with the lender. This will dramatically improve a buyer’s chance at securing a property to purchase while reducing the amount of resources required to generate the pre-approval letter.


Joseph (JT) Ticchione

Joseph (JT) Ticchione

39
Vice President, Financial Planning and Analysis
ServiceLink

From His Nomination:

Joseph Ticchione is vice president, financial planning and analysis at ServiceLink, supporting the default services division. Ticchione previously served as assistant vice president and financial lead at ServiceLink, where he was responsible for building and managing a financial planning and analysis team, supporting the field services division. He holds a bachelor’s in accounting and business administration from the University of Mount Union and a master’s in finance and strategic management from Case Western Reserve University.

Significant Industry Contributions:

Complex challenges do not intimidate Joseph Ticchione; they energize him. Never one to take financial processes and procedures at face value Ticchione, instead, dives in, analyzes the process, collaborates with key stakeholders and makes sound recommendations on how to make the process better and more streamlined — all backed by his own research and market analyses. As an inquisitive, action-oriented and forward-thinking leader, his impact on the ServiceLink organization has been immeasurable.

Why does this person deserve to be recognized as one of this year’s 40 Under 40?

Joseph Ticchione played an instrumental support and advisory role as we navigated through another year of monumental change. Joseph focused his efforts on the most imperative business objectives while striking the right balance between short-term needs and long-term strategy.


Marshal Trainer

Marshal Trainer

40
VP/Branch Manager
CLM Mortgage

From his nomination:

Marshal Trainer is a natural leader with a unique desire to recruit, develop and retain top young talent with little or no prior mortgage experience. He believes the future of our industry is being created by the young people hired today. His current team consists of 8 people who all have less than 2 years mortgage experience and will produce over $100 million in 2021.

Short Bio:

Marshal is a vice president of CLM Mortgage and runs two branches in Houston, Texas. He joined the mortgage industry in early 2017 with no prior experience. He went on to spend the next three years helping over 650 families obtain the dream of homeownership and worked his way up to become a top producer/manager. Marshal is a family man at heart, with a wife and daughter, and brings that culture into the team he leads.

Area of Expertise:

  • Originations (Volume or unique approach)
  • Technology

Industry Participation


Will Tullos

Will Tullos

38
Founder & President
Reliant Mortgage

What makes the mortgage industry exciting and fun?

The people that you meet are one of a kind. It’s hard to find so many self-motivated individuals in one industry. The ever-changing of the day also allows for problem-solving opportunities amongst team members and partners. It’s one of the few places you can work remotely but feel like you have your team by your side.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

I would like to see the industry stop overhiring and being more conservative and strategic about their plans when they anticipate a surge in business. It’s tough to see all the members in the industry who are unfortunately out of a position due to over hiring by giving out large bonuses and overpaying their team members knowing once a refi boom is done, they would plan to relieve them of this position. I think if companies could come together and create a true pay scale for positions recognizing that even if things slow down, you can maintain the positions until it grows again would be better for the people in the long term rather than creating an instant gratification and false promises. Our company can say that even though our business has dropped a good percentage at its peak, we have been able to maintain our operations and doing everything possible to do so.


Domingo Vinoya III

Domingo Vinoya III

28
Lead Developer
QC Ally

What makes the mortgage industry exciting and fun?

The mortgage industry is complex and dynamic. As the market cycle continues to change, there are new opportunities within each passing year. As the industry continues to modernize, technology is taking a bigger role in automating processes and assisting a simpler experience for the homeowner. With all of these advancements, one must always be ready to pivot in case something unexpected comes up.

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

Being a younger tech professional means you will discover a lot of new terms. Don’t let the language of the mortgage industry distract your goals. You don’t have to understand all the mortgage terminologies, but you can learn the big picture and work your way down.

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

I learned early on that Information Security is vital. With the large amount of data, PII and information being gathered throughout the loan process, it is paramount data is stored securely. In this age of information, securing data and implementing proper access control are an utmost priority.


Chuck Walker

Chuck Walker

40
Senior Vice President
Fannie Mae

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

Be interested. My colleagues at Fannie Mae and partners across the industry have been invaluable and inexhaustible sources of learning. Showing genuine interest in learning more about a product, process, or policy has helped me grow professionally. In learning from others, you create mutual benefit for your teachers by bringing your own perspectives and experiences to bear to evolve the industry for the future.

What significant changes would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2023?

Increased adoption of technology. Many great technologies exist to improve outcomes for consumers and lenders alike. The coming year is likely to be challenging across the industry, given the phase of our economic cycle. However, scarcity often breeds innovation, so there is potential for a silver lining. What’s critical is new technologies are created and adopted with people and processes at their core to achieve their full impact.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a mortgage professional?

My biggest accomplishment has been seeing others I’ve coached or mentored achieve success, be it a successful launch of a new product, a new partnership, or even a promotion. I know that my own success has been a direct result of the investments others have made in me, and as a leader, there is no better accomplishment than being able to pay that forward and support others in achieving their goals.


Oliver White

Oliver White

31
Producing Branch Manager
Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation

What makes the mortgage industry exciting and fun?

Each day is different—presents it’s own challenges. Learn new things, daily.

What advice would you give to those just getting started in the mortgage industry?

Create a consistent schedule of networking activities and stick to it. Consistency is key to “success.”

What’s changed for you the most since you joined the mortgage industry?

Ability to serve and help others

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a mortgage professional?

Sharing the daily trials and successes with my Fairway teammates.

From Oliver’s nomination:

Oliver may be a young professional, but Oliver likes to keep it old school. Oliver prefers high-touch customer service. At Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, customer service is a way of life, not a borrower turnstile.

Oliver acts as a trusted advisor, providing highly personalized service and helping homebuyers through every step of the loan process. From application to closing and beyond, Oliver’s business methods are all designed to exceed expectations, provide satisfaction and earn trust.

This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine December 2022 issue.
Published on
Nov 30, 2022
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