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Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation


Speed, Support and Sincerity Offer

for Originators in a



By Jennifer Hadley

Midwesterners are often referred to as “Salt of the Earth” people, in reference to their reputation for being consummate neighbors, and hard working by nature. Sun Prairie, Wisconsin based Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation embraces this reputation, though its reach extends far beyond the Midwest with more than 100 branches nationwide. The core convictions that are the foundation of this more than ten year old mortgage banker/broker are homogenous from coast to coast, making Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation an example of a 1

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company who says what they mean, and mean what they say. With a company philosophy that declares, “We are only as good as our last loan,” Fairway has demonstrated time and again, that its three strongest virtues; support, sincerity and swiftness are a winning combination for originators and consumers alike. SUPPORT: IT’S A TEAM EFFORT No one understands better than Steve Jacobson, President of Fairway Independent Mortgage, that without sincere support from the entire team, consumers won’t receive the swift service that they deserve. A former Univer-


one of Fairway’s six internal Core Convictions is to

“Work For The Benefit All Employees, Customers, Vendors – Not Selected Groups.”

sity of Wisconsin basketball player and co-captain, Steve founded Fairway with the best interests of the entire team in mind. “We’re a complete team; Fairway, the investor, and the customer. We work together to make the dream of owning a home a reality,” he says. But in order to make these dreams a reality for clients, the branches of Fairway need strong support from Fairway’s corporate office, which the team duly provides, with no exceptions. In fact, one of Fairway’s six internal Core Convictions is, “Work For The Benefit of All Employees, Customers, Vendors-Not Selected Groups.” In order to satisfy this conviction, Fairway has an entire department devoted to supporting its branches, so that the individual branches can then provide the service their customers deserve. In fact, according to Steve, “The success of our branches is so important to the success of our organization that we’ve created a branch support system whose sole purpose is to assist our branches with anything they need to transact a loan; from investor log-ins, through post closing.” Continuing, he says, “Our branch support team is comprised of dedicated individuals who each specialize in various areas of the business. With this team effort, we’re able to assist our branches with loan placement, file issues, or with anything to help ensure their success.” At the helm of this branch support system is Chris Janssen, Senior Vice President-Branch Support, who concisely sums up the role of his corporate team at Fairway, by stating simply. “Our branches don’t work for us. We work for them.” That means the support is provided in not only the areas of human resources, payroll, accounting, training and compliance, but in marketing, technology, accessibility to hundreds of lenders, and hands on support with individual loans, when necessary. In terms of marketing support, Fairway’s biggest strength is, quite frankly, its reputation. In 2006, word of mouth referrals alone accounted for more than 50% of Fairway’s total volume Continued on Page 3

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Pictured above from left to right: Laurel Meyer SVP Operations, Gary Nelson Vice President/National Sales, Chris Janssen Sr. VP Branch Support, Wendy Werner VP Branch Development, Len Krupinski CFO, Steve Probst National Sales Manager, Steve Jacobson President

production of 1.6 Billion. However, in order to keep those past client referrals coming, Fairway’s corporate team supports all of its branches by providing a wide variety of marketing tools. Fairway provides marketing support to branches through the use of such marketing systems and programs as Turning Points CRM, Loan Toolbox Platinum Plus Marketing programs, and custom email campaigns. “One particularly unique tool is a powerful post-close follow up system, explains Kathy Bultman, Marketing Director.”

solutions to branches, rather than having to wait for paper documents. However, all of the cutting edge technology in the world won’t make a mortgage close, if the support team doesn’t have hands on experience originating and closing their own loans. Fairway stands apart yet again, in that all of the members of the branch support team are experienced in either processing, underwriting or origination. “Unlike some huge companies, where the people who are making the decisions have never done a loan themselves; at Fairway, we all know how to support our branches, because we’ve all originated loans,” Chris explains.


Support to branches also comes in the form of cutting edge technology. Encompass software has been incredibly well received by more than 90% of Fairway’s branches. “We’ve implemented Encompass to enable our branches to originate and process paperless files, which provide both speed and efficiency to not only our branches, but also to the customers and clients our branches serve,” says Brad DeBroux, Encompass Systems Administrator.



Encompass has been particularly useful in helping Fairway satisfy another of their internal Core Convictions, which states that, “Everyone Must Be Willing To Serve.” Because Encompass is web based, the branch support team can literally log in and view a file in just minutes, thereby providing speedy 3

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Finally, support to branches is provided via accessibility to the outstanding relationships Fairway has forged with its lenders. Since lenders make up 1/3 of the team that Fairway has worked so diligently to build, they receive the same support, courtesy, and professionalism that the branches and customers receive. SINCERITY: STRAIGHT SHOOTING SCORES BIG At a time when the integrity of some mortgage companies has been challenged, either for their advocacy of exotic loans, or third party originations; Fairway is really an old fashioned,


Pictured Left: Fairway Branch Support Team Members: Aimee Curtis, Jen Schultz, Laurel Meyer, Teresa Cornell, Nicole Ganser, and Ashley Breneman

Pictured Below: Fairway Corporate Members: Liz Steinhaus, Wendy Werner, and Michelle Polich

Pictured Right: Fairway Corporate Accounting Team: Sorphea Pho, Dean Anderson, Brit Kramer and Len Krupinski

Pictured Left: National Sales Manager Steve Probst with Motivational Speaker Steve Harney

common sense mortgage company. The most obvious reason Fairway has been spared these damaging accusations can be traced to the company’s foremost Core Conviction; “Truth Must Be The Basis For Everything We Do, And Must Not Be Compromised.” Just for good measure, they followed this up with their 2nd Core Conviction which declares that, “No One Should Benefit At The Expense Of Others.” These convictions -which leave little room for interpretations, may very well have helped the Fairway team avoid the hardships that other branch companies are currently facing. To this day, Fairway maintains that more than 90% of their production, which comes from 47 states, falls into the category of conventional A-paper residential mortgages. The decision to stay on the proverbial “straight and narrow” path of mortgage lending continues to pay off for Fairway. They have realized respectable, steady growth since their incorporation in 1996. But more importantly, they were able to utilize the time when many other companies were scrambling to provide every loan product on the market to clients, to focus instead on delivering superior customer service. After all, a 3rd Core Conviction demands it; by stating that, “Everyone Deserves To Be Treated With Respect.” SPEED: THE NAME OF THE GAME According to Steve, “We recognize that all loan-level issues

require a fast response. Our team has a sense of urgency and a commitment to excellent service. We provide the systems and the culture that enables each of our branches to grow. Speed and efficiency are integral to that success.” There’s no disputing that Fairway’s size plays a key role in the ability of its branches to close loans with remarkable speed. “Part of the benefit of being such a large lender is that we can leverage our size to offer our branches the fastest turnaround times for getting files through underwriting, closing and funding,” say’s Steve. Moreover he continues, “We frequently receive calls from branches that have received loans that have fallen through with another lender. In most cases, we have been able to close those same loans within 24 hours; assisting customers in obtaining their dream of home ownership.” But, to Fairway, speed is nothing without service, and to that end, they place the utmost importance on making certain that the customer is receiving exceptional service, from start to finish. One such way they work to put customers at ease is by reducing the possibility of last minute complications. This is made possible due to the best practices of having closing docs ready as early as possible. “We routinely have the papers to the closing agent one or two days before the closing,” Steve explains. Continued on Page 5 Volume 113, 2007 | BrokerBanker



STABILITY WINS EVERY TIME Fairway’s speed, size and the sincerity of their branch support has provided more than 500 employees with professional stability. They’ve also capitalized on their strengths to build lasting relationships with lenders who value the professional courtesy that Fairway’s loan officers and originators exude. And for the more than 10,000 consumers who funded a loan with Fairway Mortgage in 2007, The Independent company provided quick turnaround and superior service, despite the increasingly tumultuous market. Steve, for his part, couldn’t be more proud.

Pictured Right: Vickki Marconi & Steve Jacobson

Pictured Left: Fairway 2006 Partnership

“As a lender, my goal was to build relationships, offering quick turnaround time and fast response to my clients. In regards to Fairway as a whole, our objective has always been to provide an atmosphere in which each branch could create the Fairway Experience, to be exactly what they wanted it to be for themselves and their families. The strength of our company is our people,” he says.

Hall of Fame Recipient Dawn Rivera of MGIC

Pictured Right: Fairway 2006 Partnership Hall of Fame Recipient

Any way you slice it, the individuals who collectively comprise Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation have created a company that is deserving of its reputation for being a branch company which provides stability for employees, exceptional service for customers and professional courtesy to its lenders. “There’s an intrinsic reward system based on how you take care of people,” says Steve. “And our job is to take care of them better than anyone else.”

Dennis Schwartz of Schwartz & Associates

Pictured Left: Cindy Porterfield-AVP Warehouse Lending


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And for all of the people who make up the branch and corporate team, Fairway promises in its final Core Conviction that, “Our Culture Will Always Be One Where We Encourage People To Grow And Develop.” But, ever cautious of making sure the entire team benefits, Steve says of the future of Fairway that, “Our main objective has always been to support and serve our branch network. Because of our commitment in this area, we’re not going to grow at the expense of neglecting our current branches. If adding more branches will benefit the existing ones, then we’ll continue to strive for that.”

Clearly the Fairway team is excelling at that job, by proving time and again, that they are a company of professionals who are indisputably worth their salt. CONTACT: Steve Jacobson, President Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation 866-912-4800