“A family serving families” probably isn’t an intuitive description for a financial institution, but it was Continental Mortgage and Loan Company’s dedication to family, community and ethical practices that allowed it to thrive as one of the Pacific Northwest’s largest independent sources of mortgage funds.
Continental, founded by W. Walter Williams in 1921, survived the Great Depression, recessions, world wars, and a complete economic and technological reinvention of what U.S. finance and mortgage lending looks like. It is the oldest customer for Fannie Mae, which began accepting Continental mortgages in 1938. The sales to Fannie Mae allowed Continental to pay its first dividends in a decade and revive the local economy during the Great Depression.
Today known as HomeStreet Bank, this Seattle-based bank is thriving on the same principles on which it was founded: honest, practical and diverse mortgage lending services. The bank’s services have expanded well beyond home loans, but it’s still a mortgage banker at heart, with the largest division of the bank dedicated to lending on single-family homes to customers along the West Coast and within the Hawaiian Islands.
“HomeStreet Bank wouldn’t be where it is today without great people,” says Mark Mason, HomeStreet Bank’s CEO. “Our history is testament to the tenacity and authenticity of our business model, and we’re continuously looking ahead at how we can better serve our loan officers and customers using these same values of honesty, integrity and banking innovation.”
With more than 110 branches across the western U.S. and Hawaii, HomeStreet has experienced rapid growth. Recently, assets have grown to $7 billion, and HomeStreet now employs more than 1,200 talented mortgage employees looking to further their careers and assist homebuyers through various mortgages with a personal touch every step of the way.
HomeStreet claimed the No. 1 market share for purchase-loan volume in the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Idaho, and Oregon) and Napa, California, for 2017, according to publicly recorded data. This is one of many recent accomplishments, including being rated in Scotsman Guide as the 13th largest retail mortgage lender nationally in 2017, and recently being named by Fortune as one of the fastest-growth companies.
However, HomeStreet recognizes you can’t prosper alone. Remaining true to its community ties and philanthropic nature, HomeStreet donated more than $1 million to local nonprofits in 2017 alone, and employees collectively donated more than 20,000 hours of volunteer time.
While HomeStreet offers a breadth of traditional banking services, it prides itself on an extraordinary array of loan types. HomeStreet specializes in opening up homeownership to more people, but doing so responsibly and ethically. Its customer base includes self-employed buyers, buyers with small down payments, veterans and first-time homebuyers.
HomeStreet strives to make everyone’s homeownership dream a reality through home purchase, refinance, renovation and HELOC options. HomeStreet’s executive leadership team is as strong and diverse as its history and product offerings, with centuries of combined banking leadership experience.
CEO Mark Mason joined HomeStreet in 2009. HomeStreet was the first bank adversely affected by the 2008 collapse to recapitalize through IPO rather than being sold — an accomplishment due almost exclusively to Mason’s expertise and resilience.
Since its IPO in 2012, total assets have grown from $2.4 billion to $7 billion, a compounded annual growth rate of 19.5%, and HomeStreet’s stock price has appreciated 168%.
“HomeStreet has seen it all and survived one of the most economically challenging times in our nation’s history,” says Mason. “This isn’t luck — it’s responsible, ethical lending practices and solid leadership that’s moved us forward during trying times. This same resilience and sound thinking is what we bring to every transaction with our customers.”
Rose Marie David, senior executive vice president of HomeStreet’s mortgage lending division, also is no stranger to adversity. In her early years as a professional ballet dancer, David learned what it meant to be committed and tenacious amid competition and high standards.
Today, David oversees all aspects of HomeStreet’s mortgage lending division, ensuring not only that the large salesforce is meeting its goals, but also, that each qualified customer is met with the highest standards of service and presented with relevant loan offerings. Since taking her leadership role in 2012, HomeStreet’s mortgage lending division has overcome increasingly challenging housing market trends and grown over 400% in mortgage banking volume.
“With nearly a century in mortgage lending, HomeStreet Bank does home loans exceptionally well,” says David. “This expertise is married with a culture that has an incredible spirit to serve. Our company’s dedication to do the right thing, financially transform our customers’ lives and contribute to the communities we serve is refreshing in a time when that’s not how all financial institutions behave.”
Looking ahead, HomeStreet plans to not only grow its services for employees, customers and community, but also tap into critical technology that adds a layer of convenience to already exceptional service.
Through mobile device capabilities that alleviate the burdens of travel time and location, HomeStreet aims to provide its famous personal touches while staying on top of technology.
“A successful business can only grow if it evolves with shifting customer needs, and we’ve identified those here at HomeStreet,” says Mason. “That means advanced mobile banking technology. One of our continued initiatives in 2019 is to advance our digital service offerings. We have a rich history—but our eyes are always forward.”
Learn more about HomeStreet Bank’s services at homestreet.com