How I built a talent-first mortgage bank to win the hearts of employees and veterans
Bill Lyons, EO San Diego, is founder and CEO of Griffin Funding, a regional boutique mortgage bank that helps veterans, active-duty military and the self-employed achieve and maintain the American dream of homeownership. Griffin Funding ranked among the highest-scoring businesses on Inc. Magazine’s annual list of Best Workplaces for 2021 and was listed as No. 2,471 on the 2021 Inc. 5000 list of North America’s fastest-growing privately held companies. We asked Bill how he built such a unique mortgage banking business. Here’s what he shared.
Your company focuses on serving veterans through both its home mortgage products and community impact. What led you to this niche?
In 2013, when I started the company, I wanted to focus on a niche instead of being all things to all people. I wanted the company to be different. When you operate in a niche, you can specialize in it and become experts in it.
I chose VA loans because it allowed us to specialize and help active-duty military and veterans—who have served our country—achieve and maintain the American dream of homeownership. VA loans are a type of mortgage offered through the US Department of Veterans Affairs program. Having expertise in VA loans allows our loan officers to be advisors and consultants rather than salespeople just selling a mortgage. Most mortgage companies don’t know all of the ins and outs of VA loans and what you can and cannot do. Focusing on VA loans allows us to provide the most value to our clients.
Because we work so closely with veterans, getting involved in a great program like Shelter to Soldier was a no-brainer. Shelter to Soldier is a non-profit that brings combat veterans together with rescue dogs—essentially helping two lives recover and move forward together. We’ve seen the positive impact that offering the right loan that fits veterans’ needs makes on these heroes who have done so much for our country. When we learned about a non-profit that connects rescue dogs with veterans, we wanted to be a part of it and further our positive impact on the local veteran community.