The Fairway Way: This Independent Mortgage Company Didn't Invent the Key to Success-It Just Mastered Its Execution. A 24/7 Focus on Communication, Company Culture and Customer Service Has Put Fairway Independent Mortgage on the Map
Lutz, Warren, Mortgage Banking
For a company many employees liken to a family, it's not surprising that Sun Prairie, Wisconsin--based Fairway Independent Mortgage began with a family event. Soon after founding the company in 1996, Chief Executive Officer Steve Jacobson received a call that his father was ill, and moved from Dallas back to his home state while his brother-in-law, Dean Anderson, left Minneapolis to move to Madison, Wisconsin, to help out. After spending the past 12 years in the Southwest, Jacobson says, "I never thought I'd go back there." He adds, "We had all these plans to start the company in Texas. But once you make those plans, the man upstairs, sometimes he laughs at you."
To this day, Fairway Independent Mortgage has two homes: Sun Prairie, where the company's administrative offices are located; and Dallas, where its mortgage operations are based.
But while this arrangement may seem to pose a challenge, Fairway has suffered no ill effects from it--in fact, quite the opposite. Within five years of inception, this full-service mortgage banker produced more than $1 billion in closed annual loans. Since then, Fairway has grown to 85 branches serving markets in 42 states and now originates more than $3 billion in loans. The company is steadily rising up the ranks of the nation's top lenders in spite of the real estate market's recent struggles. And it has emerged relatively unscathed from the mortgage market meltdown. Like most lenders, Fairway was forced to scale down its jumbo loan activity due to a lack of available product. But in 2005, Fairway's origination volume was $1.47 billion, and that number has increased every year since.
But for Jacobson, there's no time to pat oneself on the back. "In this business, you're only as good as your last performance--it's all about what you do today," he says. "The big picture is we've been very fortunate and lucky in lots of ways."
The thrill of competition
Some might argue Fairway's recent success has been more than just a matter of good luck. For those who know him, there's little doubt Jacobson chose the right career path.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW--Madison), where he was on the basketball team for four years on his way to earning a management degree, Jacobson moved to Arizona, where his parents were living, and started weighing his options. A neighbor across the street--since-retired commercial mortgage banker Art Peil--encouraged him to look into the industry. Jacobson followed Peil's advice, and soon discovered a number of similarities between the …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: The Fairway Way: This Independent Mortgage Company Didn't Invent the Key to Success-It Just Mastered Its Execution. A 24/7 Focus on Communication, Company Culture and Customer Service Has Put Fairway Independent Mortgage on the Map. Contributors: Lutz, Warren - Author. Magazine title: Mortgage Banking. Volume: 70. Issue: 10 Publication date: July 2010. Page number: 46+. © 2009 Mortgage Bankers Association of America. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.