Joanne Johansen entered the mortgage industry 27 years ago knowing full well that it would take all she had in terms of grit and determination to succeed in a male-dominated industry. Her dedication to customer service and commitment to always putting her clients first has allowed her to launch an impressive brand in the wholesale channel as a broker owner.
What interested you in starting a career in the mortgage industry?
I love to talk to clients and putting together pieces of clients’ financial puzzles. The harder I work, the greater the reward.
What’s a career highlight you’re most proud of?
I’m most proud of starting my own broker shop and teaching two young adults a career in the mortgage business.
What’s unique about your business?
I strive to always give my client exceptional customer service, making sure that my client completely understands the mortgage process from start to finish.
What has been the most impactful change you’ve made over the course of your career?
Being very involved in my community has been the most impactful thing for my career and it has come back to me in a very positive way. Also, hiring and watching my employees grow into exceptional professionals in the industry has been a highlight of my career.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned during your time in the mortgage industry?
Your reputation, Integrity, and your word is everything in this business.
How do you approach mentorship with members of your team?
Everything we do, we do it as a team — whether it is a community event or a “lunch and learn” session with agents. I ask everyone on my team to follow my lead. We have an open-door policy, so any questions, comments, or concerns that come up, we do not let them sit and fester. We deal with it head-on.
What is your business goal for the future?
To be able to maintain the same level of great customer service, compliance, and volume all while growing my staff.
What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve faced in your career?
Starting over after 2008 was a big obstacle in my career, which I overcame with hard work and determination. I focused on getting my business back and working hard and giving back to my community.
What is your business philosophy?
Always do what is right, even when it’s hard.
What are the biggest challenges facing mortgage brokers and what’s your advice for overcoming them?
Ever-changing guidelines. The way I have overcome that challenge is by working with lenders that are your true partners and account executives that know their product inside and out.
Why have you stayed in the mortgage industry as long as you have?
This is easy — I love what I do, I love the customers and owning my own broker shop.
How do you see the mortgage industry evolving in the future?
Technology will make the loan process easier, but I do not believe that brokers will ever not be needed. Clients like dealing with a real person on the biggest purchase in their lives and the personal touch goes a long way.
If you could go back to your first day in the industry, what advice would you give yourself?
Keep a great database — it is the most valuable information you will ever possess.