Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, a top nationwide mortgage lender, announced that it now employs more than 10,000 team members, including almost 3,000 producers in over 800 branches nationwide. This week, the company celebrates 25 years since it was founded by CEO Steve Jacobson.
In 2020, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation funded over $65.8 billion, a record year for the company. The company ranked number three in purchase loan originations in the U.S. in 2020. Also, as of mid-April, locks were up 37 percent over the same time period in 2020. In addition, 2021 volume stands at $22.7 billion year-to-date compared to $12.19 billion in the same time period in 2020, an increase of 86 percent.
“We started Fairway 25 years ago as a broker,” Jacobson said. “As our needs grew, the company evolved also. Helping families and our own teammates has always been our main focus. We are grateful for the opportunities and people we have met over those 25 years. Our objective is to take the challenges on daily——helping, supporting and serving others one day at a time.”
“In 2013, Fairway made a decision to really ramp up its business,” said Julie Fry, chief human resources officer. “We put our foot on the gas pedal that year and added approximately 70 new branches,” Fry said. “From 2013, when Fairway employed 1,300 team members, to 2018, the company added roughly 1,000 employees a year,” Fry noted. “As business expanded, we stepped up the pace of hiring, particularly in 2020. In the past year, from April 2020 to today, we’ve added 2,500 employees and now have 10,054 staff members.
“The hires in the past year have been across the board and throughout the country, and include loan officers, corporate professionals and operations staff, including underwriters, processors and closers,” Fry said. “As we add more loan officers, we take into consideration the operations staff needed to support sales so we can continue to deliver superior customer service and quick closing times to our borrowers.”
Fairway is dedicated to offering borrowers a wide variety of mortgage options to help put more families in homes. The company is known for some of the fastest turnaround times in the mortgage industry. “Hands down, the feedback we hear from newer employees is ‘I’m just sorry I didn’t join Fairway sooner.’”
Fry added: “We encourage our teammates to make volunteering and community service a regular part of their routines, whether through our non-profit foundations Fairway Cares and American Warrior Initiative (AWI), or through charitable organizations of their choice. At Fairway, people are at the heart of what we do.”
The company shows its support to its employees in myriad ways. When people began working remotely at the start of the pandemic in 2020, Fairway spent $16.3 million to ensure employees had workout equipment to exercise at home as part of its robust wellness initiative. “This is one of the main reasons we stay private, so we can give back to employees,” Fry said. Fairway is the largest privately held mortgage company in the country to offer its staff members equity in the form of employee stock option plans (ESOP).
Employees give Fairway top marks for leadership, competitive benefits and a family-oriented work culture. “This company was built on a very strong foundation, with an emphasis on integrity, humility and the love of competition,” said Diane Fry, branch manager in Lawrence, Kansas. “That vision starts at the top of the house with CEO Steve Jacobson and flows throughout the entire organization. At its core, Fairway has always been about the customer. There is not a department head at this company that will not take the time to answer their phone to give advice, offer help or a solution. Steve Jacobson will even answer his phone on a Saturday morning when a loan officer calls.”
“At Fairway, we are dedicated to the success of each employee,” Jacobson said. We give them the support they need in reaching their career goals and empower them to be creative, make decisions and most of all, enjoy their work here.”