Lending More Than a Hand

Staff members Jennifer Bock, Mark Birtles, Nancy Oyler, Andy Shelby and Jamie Crawford. Not pictured: Michael Roane, Dave Daley, Bill Applegate and Laura Wren.

Guaranteed Rate Mortgage offers a different loan experience while making a difference in the community

By Lisa Hornung

Photos by Andrea Hutchinson

It’s easy to think that all mortgage companies are alike, but one mortgage company, Guaranteed Rate Mortgage, stands out among the rest. Team members prioritize offering diverse products, hiring experienced individuals and most importantly, giving back to the community.

Nancy Oyler, vice president and branch manager of the Louisville office, went to work at Guaranteed Rate one year ago after 35 years in the mortgage industry. The company was ranked No. 3 in the country in 2017 for total retail volume by the Scotsman Guide, the leading resource for mortgage industry, she related, and U.S. News & World Report listed Guaranteed Rate as the Best Mortgage Lender of 2018 and the Best Lender for Online Services in 2018. Additionally, it was the first company to offer an online loan application.

While the majority of the company’s loans, about 70 percent, are done entirely online, there are still some customers who like a more personal interaction.

Nancy Oyler.

“I met with a guy last week who is a first-time homebuyer, and he just wanted to come in and meet face to face and make sure that he asks all the right questions,” Oyler said. “Actually, for someone who has not been through the process before, I think that’s a really smart idea. There’s so many things that they don’t even know to ask. So being in with somebody, sitting face to face and doing a thorough job of explaining things is critical to that buying segment.”

Technology has had a dramatic effect on the mortgage industry. “I started in this business when loan applications were taken by hand and then typed manually on an IBM Selectric typewriter,” she recalls. Today, if you have a cell phone or internet, you can apply, upload documentation, e-sign all paperwork and be pre-approved within minutes.

“Although my preference is to meet with my clients face to face, I see that happening less and less. I think the most important thing when offering loan options to a borrower is to fully understand their current financial picture and what their long-term financial goals are.”

According to Oyler, another unique aspect of Guaranteed Rate’s business is the variety of loan products they offer. Traditional banks have just a few options for their customers to choose from. But Guaranteed Rate has a variety of products that can help meet the needs of almost any customer. First-time homebuyers, for example, might need help with their down payment, and Guaranteed Rate has options to assist them. There are products for those who are self-employed and write off most of their expenses, leaving them with a low taxable income. The company offers jumbo transactions for those buying more expensive homes and might need a lower payment at first but plan to pay the home off within a few years. Oyler said Guaranteed Rate just rolled out a 40-year mortgage with a 10-year interest-only payment.

The Louisville office has seven loan originators and does all of its processing locally. There is even a loan specialist who focuses solely on renovation mortgages.

“Other lenders have renovation products, but this individual is dedicated only to renovation,” Oyler said. “Right now, the housing market is very hot. A seller is likely to have several offers, and the home might sell for well over the list price. A seller might have a nice house, but they would like to do some upgrades to the home before putting it on the market. We could do a renovation and include the cost of upgrading bathrooms, kitchens and whatever. That’s become a really good part of our business here.”

Oyler said customers shopping for a mortgage should consider choosing Guaranteed Rate because of the variety of loans offered but also the extensive experience in the office. “We have a very seasoned group,” she said. “I’m talking about people who have been in the business 20, 25, 30 years. I think that you can’t replace the experience and the knowledge that our people have.”

Oyler, who worked at a bank for the past 17 years before joining Guaranteed Rate, said what values most about the company over a traditional bank is its willingness to give back. Prioritizing the needs of customers is part of their core value system but so is helping others in the communities they serve. The Guaranteed Rate Foundation has given back more than $300,000 to domestic violence survivors in 2018, and the office recently gave more than 1,000 items to a local school supply drive.

“It’s not just about the money we make; it’s about our ability to give back,” Oyler said. “We do great things when we give people money, but it’s the other great things that Guaranteed Rate stands for that I feel are really important.” VT

Guaranteed Rate Mortgage

9300 Shelbyville Road, Suite 350