Anny Havland: ‘If we have success, it’s important to give back’

by Ryan Smith06 Dec 2013
Since founding Neighborhood Mortgage in 2004, Anny Havland and her husband, Bill, have grown the company from a kitchen table operation to a multimillion-dollar business. But Havland didn’t rest on her laurels once she’d built her company into one of the most successful businesses in Bellingham, Wash. The host of a popular local internet television show, Havland is using the profits from Neighborhood Mortgage to change lives – and she still finds time to originate loans.

Havland credited her firm’s rapid growth to a drive to succeed and a business plan that focused first and foremost on being a good neighbor.

“I’ve always had passion. When you want something badly enough, you work at it -- but it’s not really work,” she said. “It was something I just wanted so badly, and I literally just threw my entire self into it. I also think we grew so fast because at that time, there was a big difference between bankers and brokers. I felt there was a bad stigma against brokers – but they also had a lot of options that bankers didn’t.

“I wanted to form something in the middle that had all the positives. We wanted to change that stigma,” she said. “We really focused on making a solid reputation as being people of our words and just giving the best customer service we could possibly give.”

Showing the community the falsehood of that anti-broker stigma paid off.

“From there we kept growing and growing. Bankers wanted to come work for us, brokers wanted to come work for us,” she said. “We grew overnight because we stuck to our plan. We are a mortgage brokerage firm and a banker now too, because we have our own correspondent line that we started about a year ago. We did it all ourselves; we were never a branch of anybody. And that’s pretty big in our small town.”

But despite Neighborhood Mortgage’s prominence, Havland is even better known in the Bellingham area as the creator and host of Talk It Up TV, a popular Internet television show that spreads positive news and brings attention to worthy causes.

“You’d hear all these stories about people losing their homes or their jobs. You’d hear all this doom and gloom on the news, and it really tugged at my heart,” she said. “I was like, what if I just start my own show? I had no idea what I was doing. But I thought, ‘What we’ll do is start highlighting local heroes and positive stories.’ We give positive messages and demonstrate those through random acts of kindness.”

Talk It Up TV has partnered with local organizations and celebrities -- like Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and comedian Ryan Stiles -- to help out worthy causes in the area.

“I take the money I earn from Neighborhood Mortgage and use it to fund Talk It Up TV. It’s my way of giving back – we try to change people’s life for the better,” Havland said. “A lot of people in the mortgage industry are able to make a fair living at what they do, and if we have success at what we do, I think it’s important to give back.”

The success of the show has also given her a unique insight into the mortgage industry.

“I’ve been able to help a lot of my peers in the industry get into video marketing, and I’ve gone all over the US to speak on it,” she said.

“I actually won the media award through the Washington Association of Mortgage Professionals because of Talk It Up TV.”

Havland’s success in the mortgage and media arenas has fulfilled another of her ambitions – to provide an example of responsible entrepreneurship.

“Doing things to try to take my success and be a real-life role model is very important in my life,” she said. “…These young girls are coming to me and saying, ‘I want to do what you’re doing.’ It’s pretty neat.”

Anny Havland is one of MPA’s Hot 100 – the movers and shakers who are making waves in the mortgage industry. To find out who else made the list, check out the latest issue of MPA Magazine.