Why one young originator decided to open a branch of her own

by David Kitai17 Feb 2021

After earning a reputation as a star loan officer with Guaranteed Rate in Massachusetts, Cape Cod native Annmarie Edwards (pictured) has taken the next step in her career, becoming a branch manager with CrossCountry Mortgage. Edwards told MPA that she made the step to follow a vision she had for her own business, with the opportunities and challenges presented enabling her to better capture her local market and make a bigger difference in her local community. She noted, too, that her journey represents one of the many paths originators can take in shaping a lifestyle and a career they love.

“I always danced to the beat of my own drum, so this was an opportunity for me to do that in my business,” Edwards said. “I wanted to be able to run the branch and my own team here on the Cape. It’s a different market here, and I know everybody says that [about their market] but anyone who’s from here or lives here knows that. I really believe that running the branch with people that are local and actually understand our world down here will allow us all to grow.”

Edwards attributes her current position and past success to lessons she learned at Guaranteed Rate. She’ll readily admit that she went into that role thinking she knew everything there was to know about mortgages. She very quickly learned different. In her years with Guaranteed Rate she also learned more about who she was as a person and an originator. Those lessons informed her drive to move to the branch model, opening a storefront on main street and helping her community. That’s a model that Guaranteed Rate doesn’t have, but one she could find at CrossCountry.

Edwards is also starting her new business at a fascinating time for Cape Cod. The local market, once largely driven by vacation properties, has taken off as remote workers from Boston and New York flock to the picturesque peninsula, turning seaside homes into primary residences. This new demand has seen the market heat up, with dozens of properties moving before they even get listed. Edwards thinks she has a unique advantage in this market, as a born and bred islander she knows who’s selling and when, and has deep established connections with local realtors that no big-name wholesaler can match. In a community and housing market as tight-knit as Cape Cod, she believes the local touch will drive her success.

Edwards also wants to use her position to give back to her community. A passionate advocate for financial literacy, one of her key goals is improving access to financial education in her area. She sees so many people living paycheck to paycheck without any education in what even a small amount of savings can do for your overall financial picture. She wants to serve as an advisor to her community and help them improve their financial statuses as they secure home loans.

This new role is a change that’s not without its challenges. Edwards explained that simply adjusting to new processes comes with difficulty. With that, she’s trusting in technology and her team of young, hardworking loan officers to ensure that they stay as efficient and communicative as possible through the same tech tools that are driving her local market’s recent boom.

As excited as she is at the start of a new journey in the mortgage industry, Edwards put her new role in the context of a wider career and many roles. She explained that any originator, whether or not they know where they want to end up, should be taking every day as a chance to learn a bit more about the industry and a bit more about themselves.

“You have to take every piece as it comes,” Edwards said. “You have to learn, you have to take criticisms, you have to learn from everywhere you can. I worked for the number one originator in the country in my first big origination job, and I learned from him every single day. I’ve taken a little bit of every stop I’ve made and taken what I always thought were the best practices for me and plugged that into how I do business. You can never stop learning.”