Gwen Fay, Branch Manager, and Lori Austin, Loan Processor, based out of our Bryan, Texas office, are September’s Employee Spotlights! Let’s get to know them.
The Lending Team
Gwen started her career as a CPA and had an accounting practice for several years. Gwen’s practice focused on small companies, primarily builders, and she was quickly introduced to the lending industry. Gwen expanded her expertise to include a mortgage loan officer license in 2008. It was then that she discovered how much she favored lending after all.
About 21 years ago, Lori relocated from VA to TX and was looking for a new job. Her cousin happened to be a processor and convinced Lori to try it. After three days of training, Lori was thrown into a whole pipeline and quickly figured it out. She loved the challenge and never looked back.
Both Gwen and Lori have been with NewFed for just over six months. Gwen initially found NewFed Mortgage through a longtime broker partner. When she decided to make the move earlier this year, she brought Lori along with her! “We came as a team, understanding that our clients are best served by our joint efforts,” said Gwen.
Why mortgages? What’s the most rewarding part?
“I have been both a loan officer and a processor,” shared Lori. “So, from both aspects, the most rewarding part is building the bonds with our clients and agents. Notable success stories that come to mind are the first-time homebuyers who have no idea what they’re getting into. They’re nervous-nellies; we just try to ease their mind and walk them through it. Seeing them succeed is the best part, every time.”
“I agree. Lori and I complement each other very well, and it shows in how effortless we’re able to make the process for our clients,” added Gwen. “They interact with the two of us from beginning to end and they know they’re in good hands.”
“If you don’t enjoy what you do and who you do it with, there’s no motivation,” shared Gwen. “While we are passionate about helping people with what feels like one of the most daunting investments, we thoroughly enjoy working together as well. But we are not just teammates, we are friends there to support and encourage each other. I think of Lori as my sister.”
“I agree,” added Lori.
Give us a little more insight into your team dynamic – how do you feel you have a different approach than other originator/processor duos?
The Women Behind the Loans
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
What’s your mantra/life motto, and where did it come from?
Hobbies? Talents? Aspirations?
Gwen: “Honestly, all we do is work and care for our families. My kids are pretty much my world – they’re 24 and 26. Being a part of their life is everything. I also like crafts like sewing and cross-stitching. And I love my dogs! For aspirations, I want to continue to be a good mom – and a good grandma when that opportunity comes.”
Lori: “I do look forward to the day of being a grandmother myself.”
What’s the last book you read or podcast you listened to?
Gwen: “My personal trainer has a podcast about keeping your mind healthy outside the gym. It’s really entertaining how he brings your spiritual life, your financial life, and your health into one conversation.”
Lori: “I’m not the biggest reader, and podcasts aren’t really my thing. I do, however, enjoy a good Netflix binge!”
What did you want to be as a kid?
Lori: “I wanted to be an actress, and I was able to do a couple of commercials for Walmart years ago.“
Gwen: “Until my 20s, I wanted to be a Navy SEAL. Completely by coincidence, I once joined a group of SEALs running on a beach in San Diego. It was the coolest experience, but I wound up in restricted territory without knowing – sirens went off and everything.”
What’s something we should know about you/your team?
“We recognize that the mortgage process involves a ton of emotion,” shared Gwen. “You’re dealing with people’s largest asset and largest liability. In most cases, they purchase property maybe a couple of times in their life. We don’t take their decision to work with us lightly. They’re more than clients – they are friends we check in on holidays, friends that FaceTime us to show us their newly painted nursery. The relationships we build come from being real and personal with our clients, which works well for all parties involved.”