Magazine article American Banker

HomeBanc of Atlanta Hires Exec to Add Marketing Fizz

Magazine article American Banker

HomeBanc of Atlanta Hires Exec to Add Marketing Fizz

Article excerpt

HomeBanc Mortgage Corp. of Atlanta has hired Michael Steele, a former director of marketing for Coca-Cola Co.

Mr. Steele, who coordinated brand-building initiatives and sports marketing at Coca-Cola, will examine the Atlanta-based mortgage company's marketing and revise its strategy.

The hiring comes as the mortgage industry hustles to customize mortgage products and streamline the lending process to attract borrowers. Mortgage companies are also drawing on the Internet and other technological innovations to expand their business with consumers and corporate clients.

Reflective of the same trend, secondary market giant Fannie Mae has embarked on a strategy of customization, coming up with products that expand the market and fit the consumer. One new product is a mortgage designed for people who buy energy-efficient homes; others in development would give borrowers the financial flexibility to meet educational expenses or plan for retirement.

But such creative marketing has been largely absent from the mortgage banking business, said Patrick S. Flood, president of HomeBanc. Hiring Mr. Steele presents "an opportunity to break some of the old trends," he said.

The banking and financial services industry is a "new frontier" for marketing, Mr. Steele said, adding that he hopes consumers will learn to recognize mortgage brands just as they know what varieties of Coke they can choose.

"People in this industry generally remember the mortgage company and not brands," he said. …

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