Caring for your team is caring for your company. With that perspective, the customer wins in the end because when people are happy, that resonates with your whole organization as well. Founder of Stearns Lending, Glenn Stearns, proves this to us. In this conversation with Jen Du Plessis, he dives into personal and professional success despite challenging starts in life. He went back to his roots in mortgage banking and visualized the next evolution of wholesale mortgage lending by focusing on building a company around its people. He explains how Stearns Lending grew to be the fifth largest privately held company. He also shares his Undercover Billionaire show, where he establishes a small business from scratch. Glenn also explains how he motivates a sales team into achieving organizational goals for business growth. Tune into this episode if you are a loan officer, branch manager, broker, or start-up entrepreneur who wants to learn and needs great advice in your professional journey!
Looking for some help? Jen is seeking individuals who would like to be featured as a panelist on the show for her Mortgage Lending Mastery Mastermind Series.
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Motivating And Building Great Relationships For Sustainable Growth With Glenn Stearns
I’m delighted to have a very special guest with me, Mr. Glenn Stearns. Glenn, welcome to the show.
Jen, how are you doing?
I have already done the introductions so everybody knows who you are. Let’s dive into some questions. We are both from the same area. You grew up in Washington DC, I live in Virginia. We are in the same neck of the woods, which is cool. I’m originally from there. I want to talk about going way back and what brought you into the mortgage space because that’s where you started and where you are still at now. You had some extra little things that you have done in life that are pretty great. Bring us to how you’ve got in the mortgage space. Were you a loan officer or were you more of an entrepreneur?
I grew up in Maryland and graduated college at Towson near Baltimore. Right after school, my buddy and I packed up the car and we drove to California without a job and an idea, just go out and visit the West. After a couple of weeks, I decided to stay, he decided to leave and I thought, “What am I going to do with an Econ degree?” I ended up finding a job as a loan officer for a mortgage broker and worked at that not having a clue, not having anybody to help or guide me. I did it for ten months and started my own company is bliss, as they say. I worked for the next five years doing home loans for people, even though it was my own company still as a loan officer. I loved it.
How far back was that?
I started in 1988 and started with the company in 1989.
You have come a long way in a short time. It makes all of us wonder what we have been doing. I don’t think there’s anybody in our industry who gets in because they went to school to be a mortgage loan officer. That’s the saying that we all say, those of us that are the veterans in the industry say that all the time. My degree was in Architecture and I couldn’t find a job because it was too hard for women. It still is now for men and women in architecture. I go to this mortgage thing. Rates are 18.5% but I didn’t even know what percent was at the time. That was back in 1981. It’s amazing how you’ve got into the industry. You started as a broker and you grew from there.
How did you get connected to go into what we all know as Stearns Lending? You assigned it off in 2012 and it’s the fifth-largest privately held company back then. How did you grow that? Many loan officers, branch managers and brokers read this and say, “How do I scale? What is preventing me from scaling?” You’ve got a magic ingredient or a secret to helping people scale.
It’s interesting because I try to help a lot of loan officers myself and it doesn’t happen overnight, this is a long process. In my case, I remember as a loan officer and then owner, I kept thinking, “How can I get a little bit more of a pie?” I’m a mortgage broker. What can I do next? Maybe I could get the escrow business because I’m already bringing that in. I could become a mortgage banker. I kept asking, “What’s next? How can I grow to take on more of that income and revenue in a loan process?”
I went out to my bank and I said, “Can you give me a line of credit? I would like to become a mortgage banker. I need to get a $1 million credit line so I can start funding loans and then selling them.” They told me no. I said, “We are making a lot of money and doing a lot of loans, why?” They said, “You are spending it all, Glenn.” I said, “What do you mean? It’s my money.” They said, “No, you haven’t heard of retained earnings?” I was like, “No, what’s that?” I didn’t understand the process of investing in the company. Making the company the asset, making banks, other creditors and people comfortable with your company. The only way to make people comfortable with your company is to build the net worth and show that you are equally as invested in that company’s success.
The next year we had grown our net worth, retained our earnings and I went back. We ended up getting a $6 million credit line, which at the time for me was like, “That’s a lot of money.” We started being mortgage bankers and that was the beginning of cutting our teeth learning. That was hard because that didn’t happen overnight. When you are a brand-new mortgage banker and you go out to try to do a wholesale business, you are going to only get the trashy loans because who’s going to give you a business? It was a hard process.
Over time, it paid off. When you think back on the early stages of focusing on retained earnings so that you could have a higher profit line and net worth, and you’ve got through that, what do you think attributed then to the sustainability of the company moving it on for year after year? Some people become a broker to make a ton of money and then they are gone. What was it about your company either from a tactical or from a mindset perspective that gave you the longevity that it has?The only way to make people comfortable with your company is to build the net worth and show you're equally invested in its success. Click To Tweet
I had a partner. At the time when I did, I said, “I will be the outside guy. I will go bring the business in and you are the inside guy, you take care of all the operations and everything.” He was a wonderful person but he had a big heart. When times get tough and the business goes down, he did not have it in him to lay people off. It was difficult. I understand that but my mindset was I need to worry about the whole. Everybody from the receptionist to the funder and the underwriters if we have to lay off 15%, 20% of our staff because business has gone down, I want to protect the other people. When we’ve got into this crossroads, he didn’t have that mindset. We struggled with that and went negative. We were upside down. The bank would call and you have checks coming in. He never bounced a check but we come close.
The stress of years of writing right on the rail of going under continued to wear on me. Finally, I went to him and I said, “I can’t do it anymore. I would like to get out. Here’s a deal.” I showed him a piece of paper and I said, “Buy me out.” He said, “I will but are you going to sign a non-compete?” I said, “No, I want to go across the street and I’m going to open my own but I can’t live every day worrying about if the check comes in and it’s going to bounce.” He turned the paper around on me and he said, “Buy me out. Same deal.” I did. Little more to that story, I had an escrow company and I did the same thing. I bought him out six months earlier then I ended up being the largest HUD contractor in the country because we grew these HUD contracts. We had a lot going on.
Now, I have become the owner of this mortgage company 100% because I turned the paper around on me and I bought him out. What I didn’t want to do is ever go back to that place of worrying about payroll every two weeks. I did a deal with my title escrow company and I put in all that money into the mortgage company. I said, “I want this thing to sustain itself and grow.” From that point on when it was mine, it became about retained earnings and keeping the money in the company. That whole evolution of growth in the beginning, skating down that thin line, and then going to a place where I never want to look back and have those worries taught me a lot about delayed gratification.
That’s a very key thing. It’s funny you say that because we use it with our grandkids. Patience, you don’t need to spend that money, it’s burning a hole in your pocket. That’s what we tend to do. When we have that windfall, as business owners, “Now I can hire all those people, get the fancy things and the software that I need.” Make that pendulum go the opposite way. It’s one or the other. It’s feast or famine. I love that story that he had the fortitude to turn it around and that you said, “Yes, I’m going to do it.” That brings me then to the tug and pull that I have witnessed with a couple of companies that I coach, the company and the sales managers, the pole that they have, especially when COVID came in. Everybody was frustrated, they weren’t sure they were going to be in the business and then COVID came, they thought it would be worse, it got well but no one was prepared.
They didn’t have their systems in place and a good sound solid foundation. What ended up happening is that they were losing loan officers left and right because the system wasn’t in place. They were losing loan officers thinking that somebody else would have a solid system and they weren’t prepared either. Now, we are in this situation where there has been a little softening in the market. The word that I have heard with the people I’m coaching for whatever reason is that, “People are in a funk.” I feel that it’s the body stays in motion. They were in so much motion of getting the approval, sit around with the file, babysit the file, don’t go out and talk to people, and don’t bring the business in because it was falling from the sky now that there’s a void.
What do you suggest these companies and loan officers do when they are in a situation where there’s a lull, a softness and they are thinking, “Are we going to have to pull back a little bit?” How do you deal with that? I know you have a big heart. I have watched you on Undercover Billionaire. I watched the whole season and I love the new show that I saw coming out with a few little tidbits of you helping other people. How do you weigh that? How do you balance yourself as an individual and saying, “Is this situation coming? How do I prepare for it so that I don’t go back into that world?
Having had a career, you have had it even longer than I. I started in ‘88. You were back in the early ‘80s. We have seen cycles. They happen over and over again. I went through a few cycles I thought I was outright dead, take the sign down, lock the door a couple of times, put all my net worth in, refinance the house and do whatever it took. I have done that a couple of times. I’ve got to a point where after I sold the last time, I sold to Blackstone and then I have set out because I had little cancer. That, by the way, will take you and put you in a different headspace as far as what’s important, what’s an emergency and what isn’t.
Having now be armed with a different mindset, I would tell people that when you get ready and you feel the funk, you feel that you are going through it again. It’s part of the cycle. When you are on fire and you can’t do it anymore, it’s part of the cycle. It is never going to last. This isn’t lasting. You’ve just got to understand where you are and plan for the next part. When we did get crazy busy, is it the time to go by the Bentley? No, I don’t think so. Obviously, when you get slow, it’s either time to give it back like a lot of people have to do.
The point being is you’ve got to get to a place where you realize you are going to work. If you are a loan officer, that’s one thing but if you are an owner of a company, in other words, you’ve got to invest in the company. Keep investing in the company and get to a place where you finally feel comfortable enough where you can have some liquidity event. Take some off.
During those times, when we had our best years, I never took a lot of money at the company, I paid myself a salary. I lived within my means and then the rest group. If you are a loan officer, you live within your means. If you are an owner, you live within your means and when you do get a little extra, maybe you do go splurge if you want to do that, that’s fine but never get to a point where if it does flip because it will flip that you become too over-leveraged or whatever is going to happen. My answer in real short is, no matter what situation you are in, it will not last. This too shall pass. The good times and the bad times are both going to pass and it’s part of this circle. Get ready, hold on and wait for the next swing, whichever way it’s going.
It’s buy low, sell high. It is that way. When you are in the low part, buy, invest and put more money in. At the beginning of COVID, I kept saying to everyone, “It’s a short-term gain for long-term pain if you don’t create a good solid foundation now. Now is the time to be doing that.” Now here we are experiencing this. How do you motivate a sales team?
In the case of what we have done in the past, authenticity is very important. What I have noticed is, a lot of people start getting some confidence and then say, “I’m going to be the hard charger, the techno prisoner, whatever.” I tell people, “Be who you are.” If that’s your nature, more power to you. If you are kind and someone who doesn’t need to act like who you are, be who you are. When you get there, realize a couple of things. One thing is money, it’s one form of currency. It’s not the currency. There are many other types of currency out there including your health, kindness and happiness, there are other things. Who are you? What are you going to be?Keep investing in the company and get to a place where you finally feel comfortable enough to have a liquidity event. Click To Tweet
Build your Army, team and tribe around you with that type and style with what you are. What we have done is have built people knowing that this is a long-term play. If you are here just to make money, maybe you shouldn’t be here. If you are here to have a lifestyle that you feel good about, you have confidence, you are happy and you laugh. In our company, Kind Lending. We’ve got our portal for the broker side called The Kwikie. We have happy beginnings and happy endings. We have all these fine things. People are like, “Did you say that? You are supposed to be a mortgage banker with a tie and tighten up.” No, let’s have fun. Let’s relax. It’s not rocket science.
We are here to help individuals change their lives and give an experience to a homeowner that they can rest easy that the loan is going to close and the rest we can be our ourselves. We don’t have to be people we are not. Attracting good loan officers, empower them, let them do their thing and then try to helpfully, get them to a place where they can thrive because they become better human beings. That’s the style that we have had. It’s attracted a lot of people that want more than just money.
It’s beautiful when I was talking to your wife she said, “It’s called Kind Lending.” I said, “It’s so funny.” She gave me a hard time because before I knew that, I signed all of my emails kindly. She gave me such a hard time about it. I do believe in that. When I think back on my career, I was a broker as well for some time, it was never the head bubble. It was always the heart bubble. Even now, the way that I approach my coaching, it’s all the heart bubble, not the head bubble. That was something that was ingrained years ago in the industry. It’s changed.
Some people haven’t followed along. With that said, let’s talk about the future. What do you see going forward in the future? What are you all looking at? What do you see externally that you are concerned or excited about? Share with us a little bit on some forecasting that you see, not so much in rates but the industry as a whole.
When I look back having a fairly long career, the mortgage banking world was a world of really close people. There weren’t a lot of infighting. A lot of the owners knew each other. We were all one against the banks. When the banks, after you think about Basel III and Dodd-Frank and everybody where they said, “We are going to shut our servicing,” then you saw the independent bankers start to take over, it created a different type of culture within our whole organization. This was then more, “If you come work here and you leave, you are not going to get paid on any commissions. We keep your pipeline. Any loan and any customer you have had is now ours.” That type of mentality has been difficult. “If you leave or if you come over, we will give you this huge signing bonus but then we’ve got you locked in for two years, a year or whatever.”
It’s a very scary world of like, “You can’t get out and If you do, we are going to sue you.” I purposely called the company Kind Lending because I have never believed in that. I can tell, Jen, you don’t believe in that. People should be looked at not as this, “What can you do for me now? When you are gone, you are my enemy.” They are valuable human beings that have hearts.
We take people and I say, “If you come to our organization, if you feel it’s not working and you have to leave, A) Your pipelines is yours, B) The past clients you have had is yours. The team you brought is yours. They are going to go anyway.” We can play the fake game, put up an ad over there, they are all going to go anyway. “If I can’t keep you happy, I’m not mad at you, I’m mad at me. Why can’t I figure it out? I will not punish you. If you do leave and you go, I’m going to celebrate the fact that you want to go to a place maybe you are going to become an EVP or something I couldn’t, at the time, provide for you. I’m happy for you. I also want you to know the door is always open.” We are not closing it and slamming it like some of these guys.
The world has gotten harder on almost like Wall Street-ish. I see it changing a little bit and we are trying to help do that. Someone had called me, “Glenn, another mortgage company is coming out a kindness officer, how do you feel about that?” I said, “Good. I’m happy. I hope everybody comes out with people that are focusing internally on their own staff. Making sure they are the first people we care about.” We call it servant leadership. I work for the people that put in all their time and effort into our lives to help make this company better. I want to make their life better. If I can do that, the customer wins in the end because people are proud and happy to be there.
A company that I was with had a CXO, a Customer Experience Officer because we moved from customer service into the customer experience. We all can provide service. We all go through the same line everybody gets a mortgage the same way. Every step has to be taken but it’s how the client feels after having worked with you that will create the revolving door that comes back over and over. That’s where sustainability is in the long haul. What you are talking about is 21st-century leadership, which unfortunately is only showing up in the ‘20s, in the 2nd or 3rd decade. We are in the 3rd technically. It’s now showing up this type of leadership.
Let’s talk about leadership because I know you do this. I’m happy to say is because I have been around in this industry for so long. A lot of people that are in leadership positions in the mortgage industry are in leadership positions through attrition. Saturation, I’m going to go start my own business. You and I were talking about Dave Stevens in the green room. When I was back with Dave Stevens when we were working at World Mortgage, we had management training. We were trained managers. What are your thoughts about moving forward as far as leadership goes, as we continue to go into what I consider to be our soaring ‘20s?
I have always believed in empowering and growing people from within. I try to get people that come in that can be very new, maybe not so new but haven’t gone up the corporate ladder as far as or they don’t think they can go that far. You also speak on glass ceilings and talk about people that say, “I’m here and that’s as far as I can go.” I have never believed that. Since I was a little kid, luckily, I had a couple of people in the weirdest of times come to me and say, “You’ve got something special, Glenn. You are going to do something great with your life.” I was a mixed-up kid. I failed fourth grade, I had a child at fourteen, not the greatest start.
These people said that I thought I was embarrassed, “Don’t say that.” In the back of my mind, there was a seed that was planted, “I don’t want to let them down. I want to prove that they are right.” For whatever reason, when I have seen people who are competent, who have integrity, who are hardworking said, “You’ve got it. You’ve got something special and I want to watch you thrive.” I let them have opportunities and watched them get this pride in that they will do it. I love it. I love watching them grow. If you give people the ability to show their own potential, there are no stopping people.As a leader, authenticity is very important when motivating your team. Click To Tweet
That’s what we have done. Our president here now, Yvonne, an Account Executive, in the beginning, showed leadership. She went up and ran all of our AEs, ran the wholesale and grew for many years. It’s the same thing with many of the people in here that have been with us forever. The one thing I will tell you about because I think about leadership and a company when you have a revolving door, it’s very hard because then you go, “Let me get someone from outside to come in who doesn’t know the culture and understand what we are about.” The culture changes a little to what they are about, how they drive and shift.
When I had sold the company back in 2014, 2015, I remember that year, we had 6 people leave out of 2,000 something people. That was it. I knew their names, that was in the whole company. A few years later, we had this massive growth but we had a 38% attrition and we kept going to the media. It stopped. We had over a thousand people leave in a year. It’s like, “How do we get back this corporate culture?” It’s different. I wasn’t a part of the company anymore. They did what they wanted to do. They did fairly well. They sold at a guaranteed rate here. They operated the way they want it to but it’s different than a culture where you care, thrive and grow. It’s a different mentality.
It’s changing. I’m feeling the change even from an outsider lending and my husband is still a lender. I hear about his company, how they are reacting and the good old boy network that still exists in some companies that are dying on the vine nowadays. Let’s talk about your glass ceilings a little bit here too because everybody does. Glass ceilings aren’t women and money. We are all hitting glass ceilings all the time. I’m tapping on one now. I was telling my coach, “I’m not able to burst through. I feel like I’m a little minor up there tapping in this one area I’m working on now.” Let’s talk about some of the glass ceilings that you have broken.
You were approached by Discovery and said, “What do you think about this Undercover Billionaire?” What glass ceilings did you break as you went into that, that you discovered personally? We all know the show. We can watch the show. If you haven’t, you are crazy, you’ve got to watch it. You were open in that show. I imagine there are some things that you are thinking about at night and going, “I can’t believe that that happened. I can’t believe the growth that I’ve got from doing that.” Can you share with us a little bit of what you experienced?
Having an exit in the mortgage business, was pretty public and it was a big one for the industry at the time. Having what other people would classify as a lot of success in that area, why then would I go out and do a show where I’m stripped of everything? I have nothing. I have to build back in 90 days, a business worth a million dollars with no context, no money, no nothing. What can I gain from it? That’s what John Elway and Richard Branson said to me, “Glenn, I would not do it.” They were on the show. They didn’t even put them in. They didn’t even add them to the show. The difference that I have between those two guys especially is I said, “I went through cancer.” When I was in the middle of cancer, I used to say, “I never would want to go through 2007 and 2008 again.” What happened with the financial crisis and the company? It was horrible. I’ve got through it.
When I went to cancer I said, “What I would do to go back to how I live?” I fought against those Wall Street guys. It was like problem-solving all the time. It’s the movement. You are thinking, working and living. Now here’s the show and some good buddies of mine that have made it huge. They said, “No way in hell I would ever want to do that.” I’m like, “All you are going to do is look foolish in front of the whole world.” I thought about it and this is what it’s all about for me, going out there and living again. Putting it on the line and feeling alive.
If I fall, if I fail, if any of those things happen, I’m going to be okay. It’s not cancer and my health. I wanted to feel it. I also wanted to show my kids and other people that when you get in a hole when you were down and feeling like you want to give up, that’s when you shine. You can shine. That’s when you can be. That who are you is not when you have all the money and made it, then let me show you how I’m philanthropic. Who are you when they take everything away from you? I said, “I’m going to do the show.” I went out there and won it. About halfway through did I realize, “I made a mistake. I’m in too deep, they were right, I’m going to fail. My kids are going to see daddy as a guy that can’t figure his way out of a problem. The world is going to be embarrassing. Maybe I can figure out a way to sabotage this so it doesn’t air. I can quit now.”
All those things that go on in our lives, not just mine, quit, run, I can see myself in that show staring up at the RibFest going, “How do I get myself out of this problem?” Obviously, I pulled out of it. I did something that I’m extremely proud of. That’s what life is about. Don’t give up, stick with it, gather people around you, communicate, be as authentic as you can be and then the good things will happen. What came out of that show, I am so grateful for the opportunity and feel that fear, pain again, and come out of it in pretty good shape.
When was the point during the show because I’m curious, was it when you were doing that big vending thing? It was such a disaster, the first day, it was total chaos. That was the first one. The second one would have been when you lost your facility, you had to find another place quickly.
Both of those happen. It was even worse than what it looked like on the television. I was ready to go in and we were going to move in that weekend and then the guy changed his mind on me. He didn’t have the most morals or whatever because he understood there’s a TV show there. He needs more money so it helped me up. I went out and luckily, I found this other place. People are like, “Glenn, there was not a pink building that you’ve got to paint. That’s all TV there at you.” That building had been sitting there for years. Pink and everything about it, it was so lucky that we found this. They are now thriving and everything is great.
I have read about that and saw that, too. It was a great show. It was fantastic to watch. Personally, I loved it because I can relate to someone who is in the mortgage business. I had that connection with you of that. What’s ahead now? Kind Lending is going well, you have done that. What is the next ceiling that you are gazing at and saying, “I’ve got that, I’m going there?”
I love the mortgage space and I’m happy to be back in it. I’m not interested in going public and in some spec coming along. I don’t want all those kinds of things. For me, I’m glad those guys all last. You’ve got to ring the bell and got to see their dream become a reality of going, “Other people believe in me, too.” I can understand that mentality. I don’t want to do that. If half of your business is focused on keeping other people happy, meaning investors and all those people, I want to focus on changing the mortgage landscape.When you’re down, don’t give up because that’s the best time for you to shine. Click To Tweet
I want to keep this world that we live in so that it becomes more where people are fulfilled, happy and it’s not all about money. If I can continue to make an influence in our business, not in a financial way, I don’t care to sell, I don’t have a 10-year or a 5-year plan that I’m going to get at. No, I want to do it until I’m too old to do it. I don’t want to think of a plan. I don’t think I need one. What’s your exit strategy?
I set a pine box and they are like, “That’s morbid, Glenn.” I don’t want an exit strategy. I want to focus on making sure that when you look back you go, “That helped our industry.” I like being involved in change and making a difference. I know this space fairly well so I like to live in it. Discovery asked me to do some more TV stuff so I might do that with them. Live, thrive and grow.
You already know this but I want you to know you have already made an impact and I love that you are trying to do more of it. I want to make sure that I said it so that it wasn’t assumptive that you know you have made an impact in this industry quite tremendously. Last question for you. What advice would you give to a loan officer now who’s come off of COVID, the best year they have ever had? Everyone says it and I’m not trying to discredit it. If it was given to them but the best year they have ever had. If you were in their shoes now, not tomorrow, not next year, we will try it. I will wait and see. What would you be doing?
What I would be doing and what I did before was always focus on purchase business, relationships and on the sticky things that can continue. Refinances are wonderful if they fall in your lap, it’s great. If you have a career if that’s what you want to have and it’s all about relationships. Usually, the relationships that seem to work best are ones involving purchase transactions. For me, that’s what has been. I would go out and look at, whether you are interested in how you grow your business if it can be with builders, with other joint venture partners or if it can be something that gets you in a relationship that is much bigger than the next loan. I always thought about that like, “I’m only as good as the loan I did. What’s going to happen next?” If you have a partnership and you are good to your partner, it can last and make your life a lot easier. We announced a very big partnership with eXp Realty. They can do 350,000.
I’m doing the GPN program with eXp. I’m creating some of the curricula for the training and stuff, the coaching.
We are their lender partner now.
That’s a lender I can put me behind for that part of it.
It’s called Success Lending. They own Success Magazine so it fits well. I was with Glenn Sanford on his boat. Creating those relationships. When did they start asking me, “What’s your role, Glenn? What are you going to be?” I go, “I’m going to be out recruiting the best loan officers I can find because this partnership is a wonderful way with a sticky business that if I can help bring in these great loan officers and they can service your real estate agents, we are all going to win. Everybody wins in this. My role is to make sure that we get great talent in to make this successful. Even if we did 10% of their business, you can look at it two ways. Ten percent of 35,000 transactions, not bad. There’s still 90% of that business. That’s out there 315,000 transactions for the rest of the world.” They go, “Glenn, you are cutting the purchase business out of them.” I go, “We are only going to hopefully take 10% of their business.” It’s good for everybody.
It’s a great platform. My husband got his license in it, too, so that I can be part of it and do some recruiting. We are involved with eXp and doing some training with them. I’m excited about that. We are done, that’s all I needed to know. We are going to be working parallel somewhere in that. You have had some of your health issues. I’m so thankful that you are feeling better. I’m so glad that you are here to share your wisdom with us.
I’m so grateful for your wife, she’s adorable. We chatted for I don’t know how long. I would like to get her on the show as well because she’s got some fun stories that she could be telling, too, that aren’t related to you. Thank you for the contribution that you have made in our industry and that you continue to make. I look forward to seeing all the wonderful things that you do in the future. It has been an absolute blessing to have you on the show.
Thank you, Jen. I appreciate it. I love talking with you.
Thank you so much. Everybody, thank you for joining us. If you stumbled upon us, thank you for being here. Hopefully, you loved this interview that we have had. If you have been a constant reader, thank you for all of that patronage and support. Continue to play it forward to all other loan officers and real estate agents in your community so they can learn from wonderful people like Mr. Glenn Stearns. Last but not the least, don’t forget to go and write us a great review and give us a five-star rating so that we can continue to give you the best of the best. We will catch you next time.
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About Glenn Stearns
At 25, after working as a loan officer for 10 months, Glenn formed his own mortgage company Stearns Lending LLC. In 2002, Glenn’s business acumen was honored with Ernst & Young’s prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year Award. By 2010, Stearns Lending LLC reached nearly $1 billion in monthly funded loan volume while experiencing record growth. Stearns not only survived the 2007 mortgage-lending crisis, it emerged as one of the top lenders in the country. Glenn attributes his resilience to putting “people before profit” and having transparent integrity in lending standards. Since 2010, Stearns Lending LLC has funded over 30-billion dollars in loans, making the corporate America’s #1 Wholesale Lender in 2013 for two years in a row. But Glenn’s life course has not been all about exceeding expectations and building a successful business. His unusual climb to the top has also led him to profound experiences and life lessons outside of the board room. Many have compared his journey to the fictional character Forrest Gump. Glenn’s adventures range from being in the courtroom the day of the OJ Simpson murder case closing arguments (“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”); traveling with astronauts and Vice Presidents; competing and winning the reality TV show “Gilligan’s Island”; to owning a Montana ranch with John Elway and a private Caribbean island with Sir Richard Branson. In 2011, Glenn was the youngest member ever inducted into The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. The Award is given to select Americans, many historical and global change-makers, in recognition of personal and professional success despite challenging starts in life. Members must have also made giving back to others an imperative cornerstone of their success. Horatio Alger Members personally fund and award $9 million dollars annually in college scholarships to thousands of young students who demonstrate strength in the face of adversity, using their extreme hardships as motivators for achievement. In 2013, Glenn became the youngest member elected to the Association’s prestigious Board of Directors.
A two-time cancer survivor, Glenn sold Stearns Lending prior to embarking on a multi-year sabbatical with his family. Upon his return, Glenn starred in a reality show, Undercover Billionaire, on the Discovery Channel. Equipped with nothing more than $100, an old pick-up truck, and a cellphone, Glenn was charged to anonymously build a business valued at $1 million in 90 days. This project led to the creation of Underdog BBQ, a restaurant that is still in business today, located in Erie, Pennsylvania.
He went back to his roots in mortgage banking and visualized the next evolution wholesale mortgage lending by focusing on building a company around its people who were seasoned veterans in the industry, passionate about helping others, and who were essentially kind at heart. From this vision, Kind Lending was born.
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