These days, Shaun Hamman
is a partner at one of the nation’s top mortgage lenders. But he started out in a very different kind of job – one that required a uniform
Shaun Hamman took a roundabout route to the mortgage industry. Today he’s the senior vice president of American Financial Resources/ eLEND’s residential mortgage division and a partner in the company. But after graduating high school, Hamman did a very different kind of job – one that required a uniform.
“I was in the Marine Corps prior to getting into the finance industry,” Hamman says. “I was in military intelligence for four years. I made the decision to serve my country after getting out of high school. I did it to kind of ground myself and get a little direction. It’s one of the things, I think, that makes me who I am today.
“There’s something to be said for not only the discipline, but just the overall life experience that you get within the military,” he adds. “I think it makes you an overall better-rounded individual.” While Hamman’s military experience wasn’t finance-related, he says his time in the Marines prepared him to succeed in the business world.
“There wasn’t that direct correlation with the military. But the discipline – being self-directed and being able to stay on task – works will within the finance industry,” he says. “Taking the path to the mortgage industry was just what I happened to do. But I think being a self-motivated person with an entrepreneurial spirit was instilled by the military. It helps you reach your goals and continue to strive to be better.”
JOINING THE INDUSTRY
After his military experience, Hamman joined the mortgage industry as a loan officer.
“I worked initially for Champion Mortgage, which was a local lender here in northern New Jersey. I migrated through two or three small companies, then ultimately made the decision to make a career with American Financial Resources,” he says. “Ultimately I started a division, became a partner in the company and continued to grow that division. That led me to where I am today.”
As someone who’s always been fascinated with finance, Hamman found the mortgage industry to be the perfect fit. And in AFR, he discovered a company he could grow with.
“Initially when I started at the company, American Financial was much smaller,” he says. “One of my partners, who I still work with today, followed a similar path. He and I both started a small retail division with a few loan officers under us, then continued to build out that model. Ultimately, to protect my interest in the growth of the company, I looked to become a partner. The great partners that we have in the company continue to build it into what it is today – but it didn’t happen overnight. It was a slow progression of just continuing to do the right thing every time.”
DO THE RIGHT THING
And it’s that simple philosophy – do the right thing – that Hamman says has turned AFR/eLEND into one of the country’s top lenders.
“One of the things that I really correlate to American Financial Resources/eLEND in our growth story is that we continued to do the right thing all the time, through the ups and downs in the industry,” he says. “We’ve seen some great days in the industry, and we’ve seen some really difficult times, but as the market has changed, we’ve continued to march forward on the right path. Ultimately, if you continue to do the right thing, you’re going to have your tough days, and you’re going to have your really great days – but you’re always going in the right direction. That’s really our company’s story, if you look at it – we’ve just slowly built on a good foundation, and it’s allowed us to have the right model.”
And “do the right thing” also means having satisfied employees and a united vision, Hamman says.
“I think we attempt to have a fun working environment, and an environment where people feel they have the opportunity to move and grow within the company. We hire from within a very, very large percentage of the time,” he says. “On the sales side, all of my middle management continues to originate or was an originator at one point. Even myself, coming up as a loan officer – I’ve taken 1003s, and I’ve worked with clients. I think that’s part of the culture of who we are – understanding that the entire company is built around sales. Without sales, it doesn’t matter how great your processing staff is. And the processors understand that their jobs reflect on sales too. The entire company understands that we’re only as good as our last loan, and it’s really just a matter of continuing to keep that high standard.”
So for a military veteran who’s been there for the growth of one of the country’s top mortgage companies, what’s left to be excited about? For Hamman, it’s the growing acceptance of technology within the industry.
“We’ve just started to turn that corner in the last few years,” he says. “Consumers are continuing to get more and more comfortable dealing with large financial transactions through an iPad app or something along those lines. And the idea that you can really revolutionize that experience for the consumer is exciting. The idea that we can continue to do more of the process in a timely fashion, and much more efficiently, by leveraging technology – and ultimately creating a better experience for the client – is what’s exciting right now. And that’s really the essence of eLEND. One of the reasons why we rebranded is that we wanted to encapsulate the idea that we want to leverage technology to simplify things for the customer.
“The finance industry is difficult and cumbersome,” he adds. “If we can make that process smoother and simpler for them, we consider that a win.”
This feature is from Mortgage Professional America issue #8.05. Please download the issue to read more.