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4 non-monetary ways we measure our success as a mortgage lender

Bethany RamosAbout Cornerstone, First-Time Homebuyer, Getting Prequalified, Home Buying, Homeowners, Industry Professionals, Loan Officers

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Succeeding as a mortgage lender is about much more than money. It’s also about more than following the golden rule. In our 30 years of service as the number one non-bank lender in Texas (along with the 39 other states we lend in), we’ve come to adopt a higher standard in every loan we write. While following the golden rule in the lending industry is important — treating others the way you want to be treated — we use the platinum rule instead. We treat our borrowers the way they want to be treated.

The Cornerstone Purpose: There’s a better way to mortgage

For our borrowers and our team members, the simplicity of our company’s mission statement speaks volumes:
  • To transform individual lives through home lending.

Cornerstone Home Lending’s four Core Values — which you’ll find out more about below — are what the foundations of our company are built upon. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t start by introducing Cornerstone’s key purpose first. If we had to sum it all up into one concept, it would boil down to how we use the practice of lending to change people’s lives. People are always better off after we connect and work with them. Every team member, whether a loan officer, an underwriter, a processor, or a marketing specialist, walks into work each day knowing we make the difference.

The science, likewise, supports the power of sticking to our simplicity of purpose. In 2017, researchers from the University of Sussex discovered that team members in the workplace are happier and more productive when they see commitment, vision, and strong morals in their leadership.

Under Cornerstone’s roofs — with lending offices in 40 states — this commitment to integrity goes beyond empathy, Jay Crowell, CMP, Senior Vice President at Cornerstone Home Lending, says. “All of our team members seek to first identify the client’s needs before providing them with service. As loan officers, we are often guilty of losing sight of how complex mortgage jargon can be. Not unlike a doctor communicating with a patient in medical jargon. To stay true to our purpose, we have to go back daily and check if we are really in the client’s shoes. We talk to the borrower like a person. We meet the borrower where they’re at so we can interact with their reality.”

Become an expert on your mortgage. You can find our most common mortgage FAQs here.

4 Cornerstone Core Values that make mortgage fast, friendly, and easy

Financial success can be used to measure our growth, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle.

In fact, financial gain doesn’t even register among our company’s Four Core Values that we use as a barometer of our health, progress, and longevity:

Cornerstone Core Value #1: Maintaining a servant’s heart.

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It’s a common conundrum in the mortgage industry, one which we touched on above. Working with mortgage, numbers, and figures each day, it’s easy for a loan officer at any mortgage company to lose sight of the forest for the trees. It’s easy for a loan officer to forget how important it is to both educate and communicate to any borrower they interact with. A borrower making the biggest financial decision of their lives wants to know that they’re in good hands.

We demonstrate our trustworthiness in a complex and ever-changing mortgage industry by working with a servant’s heart from our very first meeting. A Cornerstone loan officer will:
  • Show the borrower how each step of the mortgage process works.
  • Explain mortgage and different loan products in a way that the borrower can understand.
  • Use their extensive industry knowledge to make mortgage sound easy.
  • Put the needs of the borrower before their own, treating them as a person instead of a number.
  • Remember that the borrower knows what they need most: The borrower is always right.

In order to lead with a servant’s heart, our team members must work in that sweet spot where intelligence and compassion meet. In 2013, Rice University researchers discovered that those who were most conscientious were most likely to provide good customer service.

Cornerstone Core Value #2: Passionately driving to be the best.

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Here our loan officers utilize another principle that most of us are familiar with. We passionately drive to be the best in our industry — and in all customer-driven industries — by going the extra mile in each client interaction. Internally, this looks like bringing out the shining star in all of our team members. Externally, this manifests as using the talents of our exceptional team members to better identify and meet the needs of our borrowers.

A loan officer, processor, or originator who goes the extra mile for a borrower will:
  • Take the time to provide a highly detailed total cost analysis.
  • Address financial and mortgage-related fears by troubleshooting potential problems that could arise.
  • View each paper file passed through the underwriter as a real person.
  • Learn to navigate the high-speed real estate market quickly to provide on-time closings.
  • Always remain available to borrowers in need or who have questions, even after hours.

“We’re all busy,” Crowell says. “And getting a mortgage feels like a job. I often tell our loan officers that it helps to think of our role as the ‘mortgage concierge.’ We are available to our borrowers anytime, anywhere. Just like a hotel concierge would be for its valued guests. A loan officer acting as a mortgage concierge may bend over backward, in many cases. They always provide borrowers with quick yet thorough responses.”

Cornerstone Core Value #3: Creating a family-at-work environment.

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Our borrowers are so much more than a file, and so are our team members. It’s at the heart of our company to balance the well-being of the individual with that of the franchise. For both the client and the loan officer. We provide even better customer service by recruiting and retaining great talent; we also train and develop our future leaders from within. Each member of our work-family is treated with respect, which overflows into the respect we give to our borrowers.

To ensure an exceptional work culture, we:
  • Use our internal Cornerstone Care Fund to offer help to team members experiencing hardship, like those recently affected by flooding from Hurricane Harvey.
  • Strive to maintain our ranking as a Top Workplace for eight years in a row in The Houston Chronicle.
  • Foster an entrepreneurial spirit in all team members.
  • Promote trust, loyalty, and fun in the workplace.
  • Provide extensive benefits to our team members, including competitive pay, 401(k) retirement options, home loan discounts, paid vacation, annual performance-based bonuses, and comprehensive medical, dental, and vision plans, among others.

Our family-like work atmosphere has tapped a potential for internal growth we never knew possible. Penn State researchers solidified this connection in 2016 when they discovered that having fun at work can help to promote informal learning, allowing team members to gain hands-on knowledge that could improve their job performance.

Great talent like you deserves a great opportunity. Find out more about joining the Cornerstone team.

Cornerstone Core Value #4: Doing whatever it takes to “get it done.”

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We saved one of our most powerful Core Values for last as it caps off this list beautifully. Our loan officers go the extra mile with every mortgage. We also keep our eyes on the prize, embracing the attitude that we will do whatever it takes to get things done. In a perfect world, this would look like getting every detail in a home loan right the first time. And this is what we aim for. But our loan officers are as honest as they are oriented to detail; a Cornerstone loan officer will make things better immediately in the event they make a mistake.

To get a mortgage processed quickly and accurately, a loan officer will:
  • Set reasonable expectations — refusing to overpromise on a mortgage.
  • Tell the truth right away and say no when necessary.
  • Say what they mean at the first meeting and deliver on their word.
  • Utilize mortgage technology to make getting prequalified and closing faster and easier, like our free LoanFly app that allows a borrower to manage their mortgage on their terms and on their timeframe.
  • Make a home loan “doable” again, eliminating waste and cutting through red tape created by the recession.

Sick of the waiting game? We are too. Download LoanFly to fly into your mortgage.

Finally, Crowell reminds us that the word hospitality is derived from the Latin word hospes. Meaning “host” or “guest” and related to “hospital.” It’s this idea of hospitality that brings us back to the servant’s heart from which our company operates. When a road-weary traveler knocks on the door of an inn, they’re hoping a friendly face will be there to greet them. When a borrower comes into our offices, we want to provide them with the same sense of safety amidst the confusion.

For educational purposes only. Please contact your qualified professional for specific guidance.

Sources are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

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