Keen focus pays off

Her focus was keen: “I learned my banking role, but also learned what mortgages were. Mortgages 40 years ago were very different from what they are today. It was an evolving business when I started in 1982. Mortgage rates were 16%, so people complaining about 7% should not complain. I have been in my 40 years in this business through many different rate environments, and have always been able to thrive.”

As she learned more about the business, she began her corporate ascent: “When CitiBank then decided to create mortgage centers where they had a mortgage expert for each area, I became a mortgage expert for the 10 branches on the upper West Side of Manhattan, and worked with developers to sell them bulk commitments to developers.” For that latter, she would help secure financing for the condominium craze of the 1980s, she added.

She would catch the eye of a marketing and sales company for which she would help launch Mortgage Placements Inc.  Once recruited she would help “turn a call center into a profit center,” as company officials said to her.  Every buyer of a condo would have to make an application through the company’s offices so they knew they had a legitimate buyer, she said, noting the role contributed to development of the wholesale mortgage brokerage world of which she considers herself something of a pioneer.

Overcoming obstacles

Nine months in, she would become the victim of her own success as company executives informed her she was making way too much money in commissions and would eliminate her base salary – all $25,000 of it, she recalled.

She decided to venture out on her own. “I realized the idea of what they started as a call center that I turned into a profitable center was something that I could do independently and I could offer it to all real estate brokers and their buyers,” she said. “So I found an office space on Park Avenue, took my credit card out, went to Crate and Barrel, got two desks and four chairs and started the Manhattan Mortgage Co.”