How Building Trust and Keeping an Open Mind is Critical to Success
I can’t believe how quickly 20 years has gone by. As I think back to when we first opened our doors at Plaza Home Mortgage, I had no idea that when we started as a small government shop we’d end up where we are today – an industry leader in wholesale and correspondent. It’s an amazing story.
We Knew Who We Wanted to Be
There are always a lot of twists and turns with a start-up, but one thing that was crystal clear from Day One for Kevin Parra and myself was the type of company we wanted to be. It sounds simple, but we wanted to build a company that would foster collaboration and be all about our clients. With a flat management structure and a hands-on approach. A place where there would be truly open communications.
When associates joined Plaza, they knew that Kevin and I came up as LOs and that they’d be working with as well as learning from us—not as corporate decision-makers who may have never originated a loan. Plaza’s culture has been carefully maintained over the years and has helped us to attract and retain our dedicated associates who have been critical in helping Plaza grow to what it is today.
Having the Right Mindset
Back in 2000 as we were finding our way, I think one of our best strategic moves was our openness toward all aspects of the industry. We evaluated and measured the market continually – and stayed nimble enough to take advantage of changing market conditions and opportunities. It was this open-minded attitude and looking to follow the market that took us from a small retail government shop to a full-fledged third-party originator within the first six months of starting the business.
I think it’s this same nimbleness that helped us through some of the toughest moments of the industry. Of course, the financial crisis and recession of 2008 was one of the biggest. Although navigating those waters was extremely challenging, we had the grit and guts to keep the team and culture together, and we emerged on the other side of the crisis when many other lenders weren’t able to do so. In fact, I think Plaza is one of the very few originators still in business from before the meltdown.
It Takes Trust, and a Great Team
Success never really comes overnight – it comes from determination and hard work (and a little bit of luck!) And that’s what has brought us to where we are today. I’m so proud of the hard work we’ve done as a team, what we’ve accomplished, the business we have now and the opportunities that we’ve been able to provide for our associates.
We stayed true to our vision and have built and maintained great relationships, and most importantly trust. Trust from our clients, our borrowers, our partners and of course, our associates. It’s not easy to do, and I’m happy to look back today at the past 20 years and say that we have done just that. Working with Kevin, Mike and all of our amazing associates to create Plaza’s story has been the most rewarding part of it all, and I’m looking forward to celebrating many more anniversaries with our clients and the Plaza family.