Top Originator: Matt Oliver's family-first approach

by Kasi Johnston05 May 2020

When Matt Oliver met his future wife Lisa Lund, they would often have a friendly debate over big banks versus independent brokerages. Oliver was working for Chase doing home equity loans at the time, while Lisa was working at Lund Mortgage, a family-owned and operated brokerage founded by her father, Stan Lund.

It’s clear who had the final word in that debate, as Oliver is now rounding out 13 years at Lund Mortgage, after moving over in 2007 to help scale the business. Today, he makes up half the leadership team with his wife, where they continue to reach new levels of success every year. In 2019, Oliver doubled his volume from $75 million in 2018 to $155 million.

While market conditions and refinance booms certainly contributed to this jump in business, Oliver said a cohesive team and the foundations and values of a local, family-run business are the largest factors when it comes to the sustained success at Lund Mortgage.

“You can be a good running back, but if you don’t have a good offensive line, it’s worthless,” he said. Most of the team at Lund Mortgage have been working together for over 10 years. Much like a family, they each know their role and can communicate without words, which results in a synchronicity that’s hard to find at other brokerages where turnover is high. 

Oliver’s approach with clients is also deeply grounded in creating that family feel. He’s there at the start of every deal, going over the numbers, doing the math and making sure to ask the questions to best understand the client’s goals and find ways to help them achieve them.

“It’s not just a transaction. We ask how the kids are doing, we make sure to note that last time we spoke, your son won the little league championship. We take the time to make the relationship personal, and clients feel good about that,” he said.

His life partner also being his business partner has been a great strength as well. During the busy times, Oliver says it can be easy lose sight of growing the business, but he commended Lisa for always keeping the company running at its best, while he focused on sales and bringing in the business.

Lund Mortgage also benefits from a marketing plan that is very consumer direct. The brokerage started doing radio ads in 2001 when the Arizona Diamondbacks won the World Series and have been on there ever since. While this continues to be a huge source of new business for the brokerage, Oliver said he’s been spending any spare time over the years developing their database. In the beginning, there wasn’t a huge focus on keeping records because leads from the radio ads always kept him busy, but without tapping into past clients, he realized there was a whole new side of the business they weren’t utilizing. He attests a lot of the new growth to keeping a well-maintained database and utilizing the technologies that are available to brokers today, and credited United Wholesale Mortgages (UWM) for their platform and leadership in providing technology and services to help brokers grow their business.

Oliver also strongly advises brokers to get involved in their community as well as local trade associations. Oliver, his wife Lisa, and her father Stan have all at one point served as president of the Arizona Association of Mortgage Professionals.

“We strive to keep the industry in line and the best it can be,” he said. “It’s important to be involved, but also contribute financially because our voices won’t be heard in D.C. if we don’t have enough money to legislate the way we want. It’s a big part of pushing the industry forward.” Lund Mortgage is also part of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) and the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts (AIME).

He is also a huge support of encouraging a new generation of mortgage brokers. While a career in mortgage is no walk in the park, Oliver says it’s rewarding beyond measure.

“The job is incredibly stimulating from doing the math behind each scenario to finding ways to work within underwriting guidelines; it keeps you on your toes,” he said. “The money is good too, but there’s no greater joy than telling someone they’ve been approved for their dream home.”

While he’s clearly switched sides and is now batting for local brokerages versus big banks, Oliver still encourages newcomers to start at a larger corporation. The training that those companies offer are immeasurable, according to Oliver, and his experience at Chase was a huge benefit to him moving into the brokerage world.

“Everyone wants to come in and be a loan officer, but starting from the bottom as a processor, loan assistant or underwriter will set the foundation for a successful career in mortgage.”