Defying Gravity and the Odds - Guaranteed Rate Makes Crain's Fast FiftyAug 3 2010
Defying Gravity and the Odds - Guaranteed Rate Makes Crain's Fast Fifty
Founded in 2000 by President and CEO Victor Ciardelli III, Guaranteed Rate has zoomed in the past decade to rank among the top five independent mortgage bankers in the nation. Despite the mortgage banking market throughout last couple of years, Guaranteed Rate has continued to expand and grow. The company has doubled its office network to 50 branches, entering markets such as San Diego, Las Vegas and St. Louis. In the beginning, the company had 15 employees working in a single Chicago office; today there are nearly 900 employees in 44 states.
“Until 36 months ago, we were a Chicago-based lender. Now we’re expanding nationally,” says Ciardelli. Guaranteed Rate aims to offer the lowest possible mortgage rates compared to its competitors. “We do that by cutting our overhead and cutting our profit margins lower than anybody else,” he says.
Marvin Stockert, executive director of the Illinois Assn. of Mortgage Professionals in Lombard, says the recession has cut loose good mortgage sales talent at failing firms. “Along with a few other opportunistic bankers, Guaranteed Rate has picked up some of these loan originators,” he says. “The company doesn’t need to acquire other firms, which don’t have much value. It only wants their best loan officers.”
Ciardelli expects to open another 25 offices in 2010 and raise loan volume over $6 billion. “While everybody else is pulling back, we have our foot on the gas,” he says. That has allowed him to put off plans for a public stock offering. “The goal now is to just see how long we can keep growing like this without having to go public,” he says.