The Journey – A History of NFM Lending

(uplifting music) – We’re gonna head down to Baltimore City, to where it all started
at 104 Water Street. Today’s a pretty big day. After almost 20 years, we’re moving into our very own building, so I kinda wanted to go back
and walk through the history and maybe gain a little extra appreciation for where we’ve come. You’ll get an idea of the journey. (uplifting music) The year was 1998. My girlfriend at the
time, now wife, Sandy, was a loan officer. I was in another industry, so we decided to open our
own mortgage brokerage shop. So we started with just Sandy and myself, her sister. I didn’t know anything about
the mortgage industries. And then once I started
to learn the business, it became really really clear that you are so reliant, as a broker, on all these other companies. Like very quickly the vision changed to, well, I’d like to see this
company be vertically integrated. But when I go back and I think about how far this company has
come, and how long it’s been, it’s a pretty big deal. So hey, we’re pulling up right now to our old space, 104 Water Street, which is now right here, this green door. (upbeat music) I actually have, like,
goosebumps a little bit. So this is 104 Water Street here. This was our very first
space that we moved into. Really had no clue where we
were gonna go from there. We just, you know, we’re
happy to have space here. This was no elevator, 64 steps. This was an exciting time when we were, you know,
we were lean and mean and never really thought about the fact that we’d one day be doing, you know, 700 loans in a month or have 450 employees. – We’ve all built it together. There’s not one individual
that is more important than the next, and I
think that’s so critical, and I think that really speaks to where we are today as a company. – I have seen the company change from a fundamental standpoint, which is from a refinance company to a purchase company. When you’re doing a lot of refinances, you’re only as good as the previous month. But when we turned the
corner and became a company built on relationships, so much changed. – So we’re going to 1111 Light Street. This was like, this was
the big step for NFM. It was in, you know, the
heart of Federal Hill. What a great place to
recruit young people. We very quickly grew from doing 30 to 50 loans a month to doing 100 to 150 loans a month. My favorite movie back
then was Field of Dreams and there’s a famous quote. It says, “If you build
it, they will come.” But that was essentially the mindset was let’s just, let’s just build it out, let’s take a shot, let’s really just go all in on this thing. (upbeat music) So this is 1111 Light Street. This was our first, really, like, big move where we stepped out and took a real shot and this was amazing for us. This was chopped-up space but altogether was
about 15,000 square feet and we really grew to the next level here. It was a super young company back then. It was here that I really developed a strong relationship with Jan, ’cause Jan was an account rep with WMC and he used to walk in here everyday and just write down on
little pieces of paper on a napkin like pre-quals for people and we developed a
really great relationship and, you know, here he is now. He’s the president of the company. – What Dave has always wanted to build was something that could serve the consumer on a high level, and offer the employee a safe environment where they can grow and become successful. We always talk about the NFM culture but for me, it was about
serving other people so that we could put out a great product for the consumer. And so, I’ve always had that passion. What’s changed in the mortgage industry has been astronomical. You don’t get through that by luck. You get through that because
you have the right people in a company, grinding
and getting through it. (upbeat music) – 505 Progress Drive
was a dream come true. I mean, it was all in the name, you know. Progress Drive, we made a lot
of progress during that time. That was like the first time we could piece together all the steps
of the mortgage process and say, how would we really like, you know, an office to flow? We really flourished. I mean, no way we make
it through the crisis without being in a space like that. And we had a vision, and the vision was that somebody’s gotta be left when the crumbling stops, because you know, the American dream is still home ownership. So this is 505 Progress Drive. This space here was an
absolute game changer, just from the way the space was laid out. The way that we’re able to be able to have everybody see each other and
communicate with each other, and with the crash, and with moving from
refinance to purchase, this space was really
integral for us to do that. We’re on to our fourth space in 20 years and the one constant has been our people. Our people are over the
top, just incredibly loyal and leaders amongst themselves. I mean, they’re the ones that have made so many process changes
within their department. I think one of the
things I’m most proud of with NFM is that we’ve been able to grow at least at a pace where
people have an opportunity to grow within the company
and not have to leave and it’s been a joy to
watch people come up and move from one position to another, one opportunity to a bigger opportunity. – I’ve seen this company
change in some tremendous ways, both from a personnel standpoint, in terms of the caliber of
people that are now here, just the level of
expertise across the board. Just from all the years of evolving. – I think the quality of people that we’ve brought in is just unbelievable and it continues to get better and better. (upbeat music) – So now we’re headed to 1190 Winterson, the building that we purchased, which you know, I never really
thought that we would do. It’s an upgraded space. It’s an opportunity to now
take everything we learned from 505 Progress, from 1111 Light Street and 104 Water Street and you know, take it to the next level and build it out the way
we want to build it out. – It’s more than just a milestone. It really is a place for the employees to be proud of, a place that the employees really earned. And they deserve, really, the finest spot that we could pick out. – Anytime you put people
in a nice environment that they’re proud of,
they hold themselves a little bit higher of a level. I think that everyone
takes a little more pride in the work they do. – Given the fact that we’re
getting more technological and we’re doing some
different things with media, this space has a lot of opportunity to do some new things for us. So, from communication
to opportunity to do much more robust video, not just for our company but for our referral partners and for our business partners, I think that’s just gonna open up a whole nother world for NFM. Okay, so here we are. I mean, this is it. This is 1190 Winterson Road and you know, this is a building that I just didn’t, I never
even pictured that we would own a building like this. And when you look up
and you see, you know, that sign, and I’m
excited to check it out. 20 years. And so, you know, let’s go see it. – Hey.
– Hey. – What’s going on?
– How you doing, Buddy? – And here it is. Look at this front desk. Unbelievable, isn’t it? – Beautiful. – [Jan] When we designed the building, the one thing we wanted to do was we wanted something where people could feel relaxed,
people could feel comfortable and people could feel like they’re working in a fresh space. And that’s really what we went after. What are kind of some of the cool things that we could do for the employees? – I think it’s really a
culmination of a lot of hard work and it sets a tone of a brand
that we’re trying to be. It gives a sense of ownership in something you’re proud in, and you can really see it in the people as you walk around everyday. – So it’s very hard to forecast what the future holds, but there’s one thing that’s true and that you can be sure of. That if you treat your people well, if you do honest business, you’re gonna be around
for a really long time. – It’s never a beginning or a start. It’s a next generation. So if I were to tell you where is NFM, I’d tell you we’re on Gen 6. We’re in generation six in our evolution. Where are we going? I don’t know where we’re going, but I do know this. If we have the right people with us on our journey, we’re gonna go exactly where we want to go. – It kinda takes you back when you have this little company. It’s just, you know, you and a few people when you start out and all of a sudden,
now you look up at this 70,000 square foot building and your name is up in lights. It’s just, I mean, it’s
very grateful, really, is the word that comes to mind. (uplifting music)

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