His skill at adaptation served him well as the housing industry collapsed around him: “I was a call center loan officer in 2004 to about 2009,” he recalled, “and then moved into the retail world in 2009. By 2010, I was one of the top 10 loan officers in the country because I just hunkered down and refused to give up and took an ever-changing market and adjusted to it. And then I spent a number of years – a long time, actually – on the retail side, working for a couple of different companies but most notably spending about six years at Guaranteed Rate and then about three years at Loan Depot. I was a really, really heavy purchase originator for a long time and got to know the CEOs of those companies really well and was one of the top 20 guys in the county for about a decade.”

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Suddenly an epiphany emerged, mirroring a current trend: He decided to go from retail to wholesale. “In about 2019, I kind of had my eyes opened a little bit,” Decker recalled. “A good friend of mine had opened up an independent mortgage broker shop and had taken a client from me – and we were good buddies! He was, like: ‘Hey, man. I’m not trying to take a client from you but your rates are like three quarters of a percent higher than mine, man. They’re my neighbor. Are you sure you can’t do any better than that?”

His inquisitive nature took over after that incident: “I get paid the same amount of money no matter what rate I give a client,” he recalled telling his friend. “There’s no way I can do that. It kind of opened up my eyes, and I asked him: What bank are you using, by the way? He said ‘I’m using UWM [United Wholesale Mortgage]’. I knew who they were, but I didn’t, like, really know. So I looked and started to kind of investigate. Oh my gosh! There was a substantial difference in interest rates. So I ended up joining and decided to open my own mortgage bank. I was the first big retail loan officer in the industry to make the move from retail to wholesale because at that time, of the top 25 loan officers in the country, they were all retail.”

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