Eric Portnoy, VP Eastern Regional Sales Manager, based out of our Reading, MA branch, is December’s Employee Spotlight! Let’s get to know him.
Eric at Work
In 1997, Eric worked for the Massachusetts Highway Department and purchased two multi-family properties. When refinancing the second property, he noticed how much the mortgage broker was paid, and at that point, he decided to consider a new career. “I’m dating myself here – old HUDs had mortgage brokers’ commissions listed on them,” joked Eric.
By coincidence, the very next week, Eric was told he was being moved to nights on a bridge job over the water in February. “I kindly told the foreman he would never see me again,” shared Eric. “I’ll never forget his words. He said, ‘Nobody quits a state job. You will be back.’ For the first five years, I was a full-time mortgage originator. I sent the foreman a pic of my w-2 and would only write, ‘I told you so!‘”
Eric considers himself lucky to have been taught the business by a small two-man broker shop. “Don Cardelle and Scott Weiberg treated me like family, held my hand, and taught me the business,” shared Eric. “After ten years, we merged with Omega Mortgage. After another ten years and a few more mergers, Omega Mortgage became Sage Bank. Throughout this time, Brian, Jim Jr., and I would constantly speak, and I always told the D’Amico’s that when the time was right, I would join NewFed and bring my team if I felt it was the right fit. When Sage Bank decided to merge with Salem Five in 2018, I called Jim and Brian and joined NewFed, hoping to bring over my group. Within 60-90 days, we had 14 employees join NewFed from Sage. Christine Seremet and Nolis Espinal were the first two employees to join me and were essential in letting the others know how great of a company NewFed was and how special a person Brian is.”
When asked what Eric’s favorite success story is, he shared this: “I come from Chelsea, Massachusetts. It’s a very urban city 5 minutes north of Boston. The city is less than 2 miles but has roughly 500,000 residents. If you are from Chelsea, you are part of a special fraternity that only people who grew up in the inner city understand. In fact, I force my 14-year-old daughter to have dinner with me in Chelsea as often as possible because I want her to experience life outside her bubble.
While at dinner, there was a booth of DPW workers, some I knew and some I didn’t, that said hello to me. When the server brought my bill over, she said the group of gentlemen paid our bill. When I went over to thank them, I introduced my daughter and two of the men said she should be proud that I’m her dad because I never forgot where I came from and that I help everyone I can. They said that if it weren’t for me coaching them through their credit issues, neither would have the homes they own today. When we got into the car, my daughter said, ‘ Dad, you should feel proud!’ And I sure did.“
When asked what motivates him in this role, he shared: “Until a few years ago, I was motivated by money. But at 50 years old, I understand more than ever that if you love what you do and the people you do it with, the money will follow.
I’m a problem solver and truly understand my staff’s needs. The most rewarding part of my job is helping work through issues that benefit both the company and the employees. When I first got to NewFed, Brian would always talk about the “NewFed Culture,” I would always smirk, thinking to myself, ‘culture smulture – just don’t let my checks bounce!’ Today, after Brian’s accident and all the growth and changes, I hope to help keep the “NewFed Culture” alive.”
Jim Janczy, NewFed Mortgage President, adds, “Eric is a true facilitator of people. He couldn’t be more deserving of this spotlight as we wrap up what most would consider a pretty crazy year. He has played an integral role in helping NewFed navigate the last year and a half of changes and growing pains. He couldn’t be more supportive of the team and Brian’s vision for this company.”
Behind the Scenes
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
LOYAL, fun, ballbreaker.
What’s your personal mantra/life motto, and where did it come from?
‘Be a leader, not a follower.” My dad instilled this in me.
Hobbies? Talents? Aspirations?
I love to travel and spend as much time in the sun and in/on the water as possible. My true aspiration is to be a better me than I was yesterday. For those who know me best, I truly live one day at a time.
What’s the last book you read or podcast you listened to?
Book: Ambassador Of Hope by Andre Norman
Podcast: Kelce Brothers podcast New Heights
What did you want to be as a kid?
Tall. I’m still hoping it will happen someday…
What’s something we should know about you?
My word is my bond, and if I consider you a friend, you are my family!!