Guardian Mortgage Executive Vice President Marcus McCue is a lot like any other dad. He enjoys watching his kids play hockey, as well as participating in 5Ks and fun runs with them. And like most dads, McCue understands that being active in his kids’ lives and being there to celebrate moments big and small is crucial.
As we celebrate dads across the world on Father’s Day this weekend, we wanted to take a moment to chat with McCue about how leadership doesn’t end at the office, and how being a role model in the ever-changing mortgage business has led to a deeper relationship not only with his clients, but with his community, too. “With four children, our schedule can get hectic with athletics, extracurricular activities and just the social life of young teenagers,” McCue said. With the help of his family and community, he makes it work.
Read on to find out more about McCue, this month’s Guardian Angel.
Candy’sDirt: Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting you has no doubt discovered your passion for teaching and building relationships (both with customers as well as with your team). You are so passionate about it that you were named to the Board of Directors on the Texas Council on Economic Education. Where does this passion come from and why is it a platform?
Marcus McCue: I believe education is the key to success — whether it is to further one’s career or to finance a home. I have always enjoyed the opportunity to help others grow and achieve more in their personal and professional lives.
CD: We know you and your kids are very active in both watching and participating in hockey. What other kinds of activities do you enjoy participating in with your kids in the Dallas area?
McCue: I enjoy getting my kids off their electronics and doing something active. I have always been interested in fitness and being active. Because most of my day is spent in an office atmosphere, I crave the activity. My kids and I have participated in 5K events together and enjoy sports like tennis and golf. Now that the kids are getting older, they have asked about participating in more 5K events like the Hot Chocolate 5K, The Color Run, and The Glow Run.
CD: How do you balance being a dad and playing such a pivotal role in your company at the same time? Are there any secrets to making it all work?
McCue: It is certainly a challenge to balance the activities and responsibilities of a personal and professional life. With four children, our schedule can get hectic with athletics, extracurricular activities and just the social life of young teenagers. Having an up-to-date calendar and getting help from family and other parents is crucial. I am fortunate to have family living close by, so we often divide and conquer when we have activities that overlap. Most importantly, we have learned to look at the value of all the activities and choose those that further the most important goals for us personally and professionally. With the kids, this means we limit the number of activities to those they are committed to and truly enjoy.
CD: You’ve been at Guardian for some time now. What keeps you excited and passionate about the work you do, even after all these years?
McCue: I enjoy working for Guardian as much today as when I first started. My roles and responsibilities to the company have continued to increase, which provides new and interesting challenges. We have remained true to our founder’s commitment to “serve the customer.” Because our colleagues focus on the long-term relationships with borrowers, not just the transaction, we have created a business model that serves generations of loyal clients. That is a culture that everyone at Guardian is excited about, and I get up every morning excited about making a personal contribution to this mission and culture.
CD: 2015 is being called “The Year of the Return of the First-Time Homebuyer.” What advice do you offer any potential first-time homebuyers?
McCue: Today’s mortgage transaction is much different than the transaction from just a few years ago. My advice is to understand that homeownership is a privilege, not a right. Therefore, potential homebuyers “earn” the opportunity to become a homeowner by ensuring they save for a reasonable down payment; manage their credit responsibly; plan for the home purchase by establishing a budget for the new home payment; and engage a trusted lender early to understand the loan program eligibility requirements, loan terms, and steps of the loan process.
CD: What do you think mortgage lenders can do to better serve their customers? Are there steps a lender or loan officer can take to strengthen that relationship?
McCue: We believe in offering personalized customer service through effective communication, common courtesy, and empathy. Providing the borrower with options for communication (not just automated updates); using effective questioning strategies to uncover their concerns, fears, and pain; and treating them with the courtesy and respect they deserve goes a long way in establishing long-term relationships that result in additional referrals. Our mortgage process becomes more automated each day as additional technological tools are added to the mortgage lender toolbox. However, we view technology as a tool for personalized service and not a replacement for personal communication and impactful touch points, such as a handwritten thank you note, a brief phone call to celebrate loan approval, or the loan officer attending the loan closing.
CD: In your mind, how does Guardian stand out from other home lending options out there? Is there something that sets you apart?
McCue: What sets Guardian Mortgage apart is using automation as a tool, not a replacement for personal interaction, and making sure we treat clients with empathy to understand the stress and confusion that can arise from the mortgage loan process. For over 50 years, Guardian Mortgage has approached each transaction to “serve the customer” in a way that compels them to refer their friends, family members, and coworkers for their mortgage needs. Each Guardian Mortgage colleague is committed to this type of customer experience, from the loan officer and processor to the customer service and servicing representatives. We’re real. We’re personal. We’re a hard-working team focused on the customer. We take care of our customers—it’s just that simple.
CD: What does the future of housing look like in the coming years, particularly in Dallas and North Texas?
McCue: The housing future is bright. Home prices are rising, which is great for those sellers seeking the equity they desire to move on to the next home, but they are still at reasonable levels to allow most buyers the opportunity to purchase. In addition, although rates have increased slightly from historic lows, they are still low and provide a great opportunity for buyers to secure financing at rates we may not see again for decades. Loan underwriting guidelines are more conservative than prior to the recession, but they are flexible enough to allow responsible borrowers who have set aside cash down payments of 5.00% or less the opportunity to secure financing.
In North Texas, the housing opportunities are very bright. With the relocation of numerous corporate headquarters to North Dallas over the next 10 years and the employment opportunities that come with these companies, reasonable home prices, builder activity and an attractive cost of living, the economic future and housing future in this market is one of the hottest in the country. Homebuyers, sellers, and mortgage professionals in North Texas are fortunate to live in such a dynamic economic environment.