What do you get when you combine top-producing mortgage innovators with a team of rock-solid process and customer experience experts? You get a little company called Guild Mortgage Inlanta GR that’s tripled the number of families it has helped since 2018.
Housed in the historic Grange Hall in Ada, the company’s style is as eclectic as the former community center and design studio. Guild Mortgage Inlanta specializes in FHA and VA home loans, as well as Conventional, Home Renovation, and a full lineup of innovative mortgage products. However, it’s the process — not the just product — that sets Guild Mortgage apart.
“We don’t peddle mortgage products – we create personalized strategies to help well-informed clients optimize their financial health. In short, we teach people how to ‘think outside the bank,” says Jonathan Arnold, branch manager, team leader and mortgage maverick.
At Home at the Grange
Jon and his wife Michelle purchased the Grange Hall in the spring of 2018. It was a familiar landmark for them en route to Forest Hills Eastern, where daughter Bella and son Jackson attended school. Today, the fully renovated hall houses 11 team members, occasional canines in the pet-friendly workplace, and seminar space for educational events.
Jon’s decidedly different leadership in lending fueled the team’s growth. In 2014, he opened the Inlanta branch at Celedon after inspiration from his mentor, Inlanta president Nick DelTorto. Brian Ferrick was the first loan originator to join him, followed by Stephanie Wood and Lindsay Vipond. Together, they got “S.M.A.R.T.”
The Making of the S.M.A.R.T. Mortgage
Jon had seen the results of the cutthroat lending environment prior to the 2008 market collapse. Too many times he saw ill-informed people end up underwater or under-leveraged. Each case produced a failure to thrive financially. The industry was rife with problems, ranging from a lack of due diligence via thin process teams to a lack of education about available options when loan officers just wanted to push a deal.
“In the mortgage industry, consumer knowledge is power. We want our clients to be powerful!” he said.
Client education is meaningless without a strategy and a process that produces results. Enter the “S.M.A.R.T.” mortgage process, that’s Strategic, Mindful, Authentic, Results-oriented, and Timely.
Deep listening and personalized strategic planning help find the right fit. Rock-solid due diligence on the front end and refusing to start deals that won’t finish helps clients win bids and experience smooth closings.
“Our team is cut from the same cloth – we have heart and advocate daily for our clients. We stick by what we say we’re going to do, we admit when we’re wrong, and we always try to make it fun.”
The work hard/play hard team attitude and devotion to empowering clients has won Inlanta a burgeoning clientele that includes real estate investors.
Educate to Innovate
Many assumptions about mortgages are handed down generationally or created from generic articles in the blogosphere. Arnold admits it can be uncomfortable to challenge your understanding of everything financial that touches a mortgage. It’s not unlike a “boot camp” workout – vigorous but rewarding. That’s because going through the process invariably leads to finding the options for strategic solutions, where the “magic lives.”
“Most bankers just sit back and take the order and set the deal in motion. The problem with that is that the client doesn’t really know all the factors that play into their scenarios – and if you don’t know all the options, how do you know the best scenario?”
Currently, there are abundant opportunities to leverage assets and, as Jon puts it, “think outside the bank.”
“You could not have a better time to reevaluate your strategy than right now.”