Focusing on the customer

Josh Connor and Rhonda Stickney are the faces behind Guild Mortgage, which recently opened an office in Newport at 305 NW Coast St. Connor is an originating loan partner, and Stickney is the branch manager. She also manages branch offices in Eugene and Coos Bay. (Photo by Steve Card)

Guild Mortgage opens Newport office

For Rhonda Stickney, helping people achieve the American dream of owning their own home is one of the best things about her job. Originally working in the banking industry, she decided 12 years ago to open her own mortgage company, and for the past eight years, she has been affiliated with Guild Mortgage, a national, privately held mortgage lender.

Stickney has offices in Eugene and Coos Bay, and in August, she opened a third office in the Nye Beach area of Newport, at 305 NW Coast St. She and her husband own a home in Newport, and they’ve been spending weekends here for the past seven years.

“I have just naturally developed some relationships and bumped into people, Realtors, that type of thing, and I’ve been doing quite a few loans over here,” said Stickney. “So rather than working every weekend when I’m trying to escape for the weekend, I saw a need that we actually could support an office here.”

But she said opening the Newport office depended on finding the right person to run it. “My thought was if I had the right person that I would be willing to open up an office. I needed an anchor person, and so I just kind of put that word out that I was looking for that person because I think our company is built on people.”

A couple of people encouraged her to talk with Josh Connor. “If Josh was the right guy, I was going to open an office,” Stickney said. “We build our offices around people, we don’t build an office and then fill it with people, and Josh is a longtime Newport resident — that was important to me.”

Stickney said with Connor, a fifth-generation Newport resident, she found the fit she was looking for. “His integrity matched the integrity of Guild. We’re very customer-focused, and our company is very employee focused, as well. I just felt it was a fit.”

Connor got licensed and now serves as an originating loan partner.

“My role is to partner with Realtors and banks and title companies to gain clients that we can lend to, get people into houses,” Connor said. “I develop those relationships, and then I help to process the loans, too, to some degree. And I have a really good support team in Eugene.”

Stickney added, “Josh and I work together. I’m the branch manager. I also have an office in Eugene and Coos Bay, so I go back and forth between those offices. Most of the time it’s Josh running the show.”

Guild Mortgage provides residential lending, which is up to four units. They deal mostly with single-family residences, but it could be condos, duplexes, anything up to a four-plex, said Stickney. And they can be owner occupied or investment properties.

“Investment property is a rental property, non-owner occupied,” she said. “Owner occupied is a primary or second home. People think that a second home is not owner occupied, but we consider it owner occupied.”

And Guild Mortgage can assist the purchaser with a vast array of loan options and down payment options.

“One of the nice things about Guild is, being 58 years old, we are also a servicer of our loans,” said Stickney. “We’re direct sellers to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which means we hold our own servicing. That’s a big deal, and very few companies across the nation do that. It’s a big deal because if you’ve ever had a mortgage, you know that your loan gets sold. With Guild, it won’t. Keeping your loan at one place is a welcome feature to a lot of people.

“And we have a few nice features in that we can always make a principal reduction,” she added. “We’ll actually recast the payment for you. Most services will not do that, but we do, and there’s no charge to do that.”

Through her three offices, Stickney said she serves all of Oregon, “but this office specifically was meant to serve Lincoln County. The process would be that if someone is looking to purchase a home, we would pre-qualify them so they can go out and shop with confidence and know that when they find that house, we’ll be able to send a letter of pre-approval to the Realtor to accompany their offer.”

Stickney said some people are reluctant to talk with a mortgage company because perhaps they have credit issues or have had a financial crisis in their life like a bankruptcy or foreclosure, “and so they tend to kind of hide under a rock. Come and talk to us. We can go through that process with you and at least give you the steps to get to the point where it is going to be a yes.

“Owning your own home is the American dream,” she said. “We want to help people get there. I’d like to help people that are renters become homeowners. A lot of people that are renting don’t realize how close they are to being able to buy a home.”

By being customer-focused, Stickney says she not trying to fit people into a box. “I want to hear what they are looking for, what they’re afraid of, how can we help them and if it’s not a yes for them now, I want to help them get there.

“I’m in it for the journey with them,” she added, “not just trying to get them into a loan. So if we want to talk about where they want to go and how they want to get there, that’s kind of what we’re looking to do.”

Guild Mortgage is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. More information is available by calling 541-264-7123.

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