By Charity Ohlund, Director of Business Development
“Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.” Bob Burg & John David Mann, The Go Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea
Prior to 2016, I’ll admit I put mortgage lenders in the same trust and likability basket as used car dealers and ambulance-chasing lawyers. When I wanted to buy a new home that year, I steeled myself to make the calls for a loan. As my grandfather used to say, “I’d rather take a beating than shop for a used car.” That’s how I felt about interviewing lenders. I knew they would all smell fresh meat and see how high they could push the rate without scaring me off.
No one is more surprised than me that not only did I find a mortgage company that smashed all my stereotypes, I also joined the company just a few months later.
There was something radically different about Fountain Mortgage. And none of the things that impressed me had anything at all to do with mortgages (but of course, they are excellent at those, too). What most set the company apart is that it operates on the philosophy that giving much more to its clients than it expects to ever receive in return is the right way to do things.
This is evident in the emphasis we place on free financial education, credit counseling, timing strategy, and the hours and hours of phone calls and emails that are exchanged with potential clients without the assurance that they’ll even choose us in the end. And that’s just the routine stuff. On many occasions, I’ve also seen loan officers high fiving first-time home buyers and comforting teary-eyed empty nesters or widowers.
That said, it’s not really a big surprise that Fountain Mortgage launched a charitable giving program this month. It’s a natural extension of our company’s “give more in value than you take in payment” philosophy. But to our little team, it’s a pretty big deal.
Lots of companies have started giving a portion of their profits to causes and organizations they care about. It’s part of the social responsibility movement, and it’s proof that the world is not as terrible as 24-hour news would have us believe.
When our ownership team decided to start the Fountain Mortgage Gives Back program to donate $50 to a non-profit after every loan closing, they wanted to know what their employees cared about. Our small team of about 20 people were able to choose 10 incredible organizations that have all played a meaningful role in our lives and in the lives of our families, friends, and clients.
We chose the March of Dimes because our colleague had a premature son and the March of Dimes was there with resources, comfort, and companionship during a scary and heart-wrenching NICU stay. We chose the KU Cancer Center because another colleague has a mom fighting for her life and the team of specialists have made the unimaginable somehow manageable. We chose the Veterans Community Project because we help hundreds of veterans through the process of buying a home with a VA loan, and this organization is working on providing that same housing stability for every homeless man and woman who took the oath for our country.
Each of our borrowers gets to choose from these 3 charities and 7 others where the $50 donation will go, and it has been so gratifying to receive their responses. One woman wrote, “Another reason why you guys are awesome! Thank you! We would like to select KU Cancer Center not only in memory of my own mother who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2014 but for others still fighting.”
Eighteen months after joining Fountain Mortgage, I can say what I never thought I would. I am incredibly proud to be in the mortgage lending industry. As part of a small, locally-owned company that gives in this way and in so many other ways, I know I’m where I should be.
To learn more about the Fountain Gives Back program and to see full list of organizations we support, please visit our website.