Technology & Easy Doc Uploads Does Not A Mortgage Make

More than ever, lenders are introducing and touting new technology and client interfaces as huge breakthroughs and the solutions to all mortgage problems. One of our competitors recently spent $80 million on new technology, leaving us to wonder … how? and on what? We too are on the technology bandwagon and are in fact getting […]Read More

JVM’s Book and Podcast “Club” – Books/Podcasts We Love & Recommend

We encourage everyone at JVM to read, listen and learn as much as humanly possible b/c (1) it helps our team with their personal and professional growth; (2) it helps our clients, as better informed people provide better service; and (3) it helps JVM, as we hugely benefit from when our team members grow personally […]Read More

Hire Lucky People; Be Lucky

Tony Hsieh is a Harvard educated serial entrepreneur and author who co-founded and runs the online shoe and apparel company, Zappos. The man is considered a management guru b/c of his many successes, his exceptional brainpower and the extraordinary culture he created at Zappos. One of our favorite pieces of advice from Mr. Hsieh is […]Read More

Lessons for My 22 Year Old Self

I have endured some stunningly dull college commencement speeches, most recently at Columbia University for Heejin’s niece. At most of the ceremonies, administrators give the speeches, exhorting the kids to go forth and administrate :). OK – it is not quite that bad, but I often think about what I would say to make the […]Read More

Just Make Biscuits

I was listening to The Investors Podcast recently when I heard an investment guru give excellent advice in response to a question about how people should act in the face of so much potential trouble in the world. The guru advises people to be like a biscuit maker in Portugal, who only focuses on making […]Read More

Hire “Brains and Character” Over Experience; Avoid “Crisis Hiring”

Today we welcome three new hires to the JVM team! We preach this often, but always think it bears repeating. We have discovered over much trial and error that it is almost always better to hire “brains and character” over experience. By using a strong screening process and our training program, we figured out how […]Read More

Biggest Management Mistake We Made? Making Team Compete

We love illuminating our many mistakes over the years b/c they are both amusing and great learning lessons. Our costly mistakes include relying too heavily on the advice of business coaches, not properly vetting business partners, not doing thorough background checks on employees, not getting basic agreements in writing, hiring managers from outside of JVM, […]Read More

Most Powerful Inspiration In All of Business: In-N-Out Burger!

Some people watch movies for inspiration, some read biographies, and some watch TED Talks and videos. Heejin and I go to In-N-Out Burger. Really, we do. The place is an amazing example of focus, efficiency, teamwork and the benefits of systematizing. We recently went to the one in Santa Barbara to pay homage (and to […]Read More

Why We Hire Brains & Character Over Experience

Last I week I blogged about our office manager who embezzled $200,000, and how she was a result of a “panic hire.” We needed help so badly that we hired the first person we found with experience. As we started to grow, we frequently turned to applicants with experience to fill slots even when we […]Read More

Retaining Talent – Culture & Profit Sharing; Not About The Money

Recruiters from other mortgage companies constantly call our team members to lure them to their firms… and it always elicits chuckles across our office b/c the recruiters are so clueless. They don’t understand our model or why our top performers stay. Heejin and I used to be even more clueless when it came to retention […]Read More

How To Hire Great People; Horror Story

It was June of 2011 when Heejin noticed one of our deposits was smaller than it was supposed to be. So Heejin dug a little deeper and found a bunch of accounting irregularities. She then got very worried, continued to dig and discovered over $200,000 had been embezzled from our accounts. Our officer manager was […]Read More

Beware “The Happiness Bubble”; Scrum

On June 1st, when I walked into our office, everyone was silent, focused and intensely working. Also on June 1st, we had a one-hour meeting at 2 PM to go over our systems, processes and training to fix everything that needed improvement, like we do every week. I point this out b/c May was an […]Read More

What’re You Reading? Real Education After Formal Education

I loved college and was an excellent student who tried to learn as much as I could during my academic years. My problem was that after law school, I stopped learning the things I needed to learn. I didn’t realize that my real education only started after my formal education. I continued to voraciously read […]Read More

Know Your “Why” For More Business and More Fun

I exchanged emails with an extremely successful friend in the mortgage business over the weekend. He was having his best month ever, but was nevertheless feeling very down. The constant grind of the business had gotten to him. His focus is on awesome customer service and on growing a great business, but he doesn’t have […]Read More

When Technology Fails…Somebody Actually Has To Think

It took me two and half hours to take an Uber from Manhattan to JFK airport last week. The reason? My Uber driver had moved to NYC four days earlier and he relied entirely on his Waze app to navigate. And Waze does NOT work in Manhattan (too much traffic and too much data, and […]Read More

Team Building – Freedom, Profits AND CLIENT EXPERIENCE; Awesome Testimonial

We constantly tout the need for effective team building as a necessity for all leaders and business owners. Hiring team members to do every task better than you can is the only way to expand free time and profits and to enhance service levels. In fact, we are planning a huge Lunch & Learn in […]Read More

200 Yelps! Vodka, Tequila, Deducting Interest For Taxes

JVM has 200 Five Star Yelp reviews, as of this morning!! This is a milestone we’ve been shooting for for some time now, and it is no small feat given how many of our reviews get filtered. We still love Yelp though b/c the reviews are 100% authentic and can’t be edited. A few very […]Read More

YPN Event Tonight! Stats & Market Trends; Reality vs. Psychology

We would like to invite everyone to tonight’s YPN Event in Oakland at Tertulia Coffee at 1951 Telegraph, at 5:30 PM. The topic tonight is “Statistics and Market Trends.” Danny Winkler and I will be on the panel. At JVM, we love this topic b/c we rely so heavily on data! We zealously monitor our […]Read More

Why We (& Everyone Should) Pay Employees Above Market Wages

In another excellent James Altucher Podcast, the founder of WordPress (Matt Mullenweg) told some great stories about compensation. First, when Matt was only 19, he got a job in San Francisco that paid more than his father’s, even though his father had worked for the same company for 27 years. Making matters worse, his father […]Read More

College Is Hardly Necessary For Success; Calling Listing Agents

After sending out Monday’s Comments discussing how we use college as a screening tool at JVM, I received the following comical email: “None of these dudes qualify to work at JVM??”   Richard Branson – CEO of Virgin Group… Bill Gates – Former Microsoft CEO… Micky Arison – CEO of Carnival… Mark Zuckerberg – CEO […]Read More

College vs. No College; Hiring & Interviewing Tips; “Give A Damn & Empathy”

James Altucher recently had Ryan Deiss (the young founder of a huge digital marketing firm) on an excellent podcast. They both strongly advocated not going to college, despite the fact that both are highly educated college grads themselves. They think college is far too expensive and too vague for young people with no clue what […]Read More

Rules & Too Much Rigidity; Piling on United; Employees Afraid To Yell “Wrong”

Last week at a staff meeting, several team members called me out for being blatantly wrong about a major decision (my expansion plans were not practicable). Calling me out is common and encouraged at JVM, and it is another reason why we perform so well. I thought of this when I read a recent WSJ […]Read More

Four Habits That Guarantee Success; Hire People With Habits Ingrained

Dan Sullivan is our favorite business coach and podcaster b/c of his straight forward advice and hugely successful track record. We’ve been implementing his ideas for years and we highly recommend his very short and excellent podcasts. He often talks about the “four referability habits” that will virtually guarantee success. Everyone thinks they practice these […]Read More

Who’s Your Inner Circle? Perspective & Decisions

I’ve blogged a few times about losing $3 million as a result of bad investments and stupid decisions. One of the many huge mistakes I made prior to my colossal losses was never building an inner circle of advisors. Management and self-help books always talked about this necessity but I never took it seriously until […]Read More

Lose Your Temper, Lose Your Business; Successful People Control Emotions – Always.

I lost my temper with a borrower last night … and I thought of my Dad, whose business empire fell apart largely b/c he couldn’t control his temper. He burned all of his bridges with employees, customers and business contacts. I also thought about all the rock star mortgage brokers and Realtors I have known over the years […]Read More

Need Assembly Line for Effective Team; Bottlenecks Alleviated

This was a “Kudos” sent to our entire office last week: “We are so lucky to have Beau as our appraisal manager. Besides ordering and reviewing appraisals and conditions, he also communicates with the realtors when there are issues. This releases so much burden from the processing team. Our Closing Specialists therefore get more time […]Read More

Tutorials = Path to Freedom & Lifeblood of Business

Heejin was at a Strategic Coach event in Toronto last week among a large number of extremely successful entrepreneurs. She was amazed to see how many of them were glued to their phones and very stressed out, despite their seven figure incomes and high net worths. What all of them lacked was a trained support […]Read More

JVM’s Show Travels; Geography-Jeopardy

We received the below email from a Realtor on Tuesday: Thank you once again for the amazing service and communication as we worked together this second time. I am consistently impressed by your team and will continue to recommend you to clients in the future. It’s wonderful to have a partner that makes the process […]Read More

UGG Boots Sold Only 28 Pairs In Entire First Year! Motivating Podcasts!

UGG’s founder, Brian Smith, was an accountant who emigrated from Australia in the late 1970s with an awesome idea of selling sheepskin boots to the masses. He did his market research, got really excited, raised tons of money, imported hundreds of pairs of boots… and sold only 28 pairs in his entire first year of […]Read More

Success = Experimentation

“Today’s most successful companies, the ones that are “crushing it,” started as a series of crazy ideas, followed by experiments to test just how viable those ideas might be.” The above quote is from Peter Diamondis – famous author, futurist and optimist. Here is his excellent blog about it: Realtors and loan officers come […]Read More

Team Building Done Right; Safety, Purpose, Fun, and Tahoe

We take enormous pride in our team building at JVM, and it is one of the reasons our service levels are extraordinary. Everyone backs each other up, and nobody gets stuck in their “silos.” Internally, we do this by making sure everyone knows JVM’s primary purpose – closing loans as efficiently and friendly as possible. […]Read More

Best Business Book Ever For Us: Emyth. Hands Down.

I was perusing Derek Sivers excellent website recently when I came across his rave review of the famous book Emyth by Michael Gerber. Heejin pretty much forced me to read this book in 2008 and it completely changed our approach to business. Sivers says “Absolutely everyone who is an entrepreneur or wants to be […]Read More

Building Teams, Profits and Free Time by Letting Go; NFL Lesson Again

We love sharing team building tips b/c so many readers are trying to expand and build teams themselves, and b/c the tips work so well for us – increasing our profits and, equally important, our free time. Even though I don’t watch NFL football, I love the lessons it provides b/c the competition is so […]Read More

Beware of Coaches… Could They Do It Now?

Several years ago, Heejin and I were in Las Vegas at a huge mortgage event listening to the usual array of celebrity speakers and industry experts. Several of the most prominent speakers were coaches who were selling their systems or services for large dollar amounts. All of them of course would mention their own track […]Read More

Evidence of Success! FHA MI; Extra CO/Smoke Detectors; Local Escrow

One of our former business coaches used to make us mail out “Evidence of Success” postcards every few months illuminating one of our success stories. We stopped the postcards, so here’s one for the blog: On a recent Saturday, a Realtor introduced her client to JVM. Our “Mortgage Analyst On Call” contacted the client and […]Read More

DISC Tests; Right People for the Right Jobs

Erin Piper is one of the best people I know. She is accountable, skilled, congenial, fun to be around, smart and humble (she will hate this blog). She is universally loved and respected, and she is also one of the most talented team members we have – she is a fantastic Mortgage Analyst and Processor […]Read More

Sears – How to Destroy a Business, Department Store and Name

This is a fascinating article from Business Insider about the demise of Sears. I highly recommend it b/c it is so interesting and b/c there are so many great lessons about how NOT to run a business. Sears is fascinating in general b/c it was such an iconic brand and department store for so long – over 100 years – […]Read More

Heidi Saves the Thompsons! Right Before Baby Arrives! JVM’s Video

Several months ago, Nicholas, from our office, suggested that we create a video that explains the unique JVM Process to new Realtors and borrowers. We thought it was a great idea and have been nursing it along for a while now. I wrote the original script and it read like a “how to manual” for […]Read More

Why JVM Had an Enormous Stake in College Football Championship

 JVM had an enormous stake in the College Football National Championship Game. An aside for our Oakland/Berkeley readers: “Football” is an American game involving an oblong leather ball that is moved up and down the field, usually by large men… (kidding :)). For our AZ readers:  “College” is an institution for advanced learning that people attend […]Read More

FHA MI Down; Thumbtack; Contacting JVM; Calling Listing Agents; Weekends

A few facts, tips and reminders: 1. FHA MI dropped from 0.85% to 0.60% for most loans, making FHA that much more attractive with its low rates and flexibility. 2. We have been using Thumbtack for a variety of services from repairs to marketing, and it has worked surprisingly well. We recommend it. 3. The […]Read More

How Do We Build & Maintain Culture? Don’t Hire Jay & Heejin

We constantly tout JVM’s “Super Culture” as our secret sauce in our blogs, website and conversations. In response to a blog last week, several people asked what we do to cultivate our culture. We do far more than just talk about it. It starts with the interview process. We make it very clear how our […]Read More

How Our Culture Obsession Helps Everyone

“Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast.” We feature this quote by Peter Drucker on our website’s career page b/c we know it is true. Our internal culture of psychological safety, communication, congeniality, openness and inclusion is JVM’s secret sauce. We never lose focus on it. Last week a team member sent this email to the entire […]Read More

Happy New Year! Thanks For Our Best Year!

2016 was the best year ever for JVM Lending and we would like to take this opportunity to thank our many very supportive referral partners, vendors and borrowers. We remain ever appreciative. We are looking forward to an even better 2017, as we have many significant changes on the horizon that will further improve the […]Read More

Mortgage Process About Experience, Not Just Closing; Need Pandas!

Please read the below email we received from a borrower yesterday. It is unedited, unsolicited, and not unusual. We get emails like this every day. At JVM, we market our speed so much that we sometimes forget to highlight the fact that we also foster the best “experience” in the industry with our systems, responsiveness, […]Read More

Basketball’s Larry Bird – Hard Work Trumps Tech & Environment

Every Friday, the WSJ has a wonderful feature called “House Call” about a celebrity and the home he or she grew up in. The articles are fascinating b/c the celebrities share insights about their childhoods that we’d otherwise never see. The basketball great Larry Bird was featured recently, and the article did not disappoint. Mr. […]Read More

Companies Boom When They Eliminate FRICTION; We All Need To

This excellent quote is from our favorite blogger/commentator/NYU Professor, Scott Galloway. “Apple and Uber created more shareholder value (since ’08) than any public/private firm(s) The key to their success was the iPhone and GPS ordering/tracking, right? Wrong. The secret sauce was … reduced friction. It’s not the GPS tracking illuminating where Javier and his Lincoln […]Read More

I Made the FedEx Lady Cry Yesterday…

I made the FedEx lady cry yesterday. All I did was say “Happy Holidays…” This is what happened. I work from home most mornings, and yesterday was no exception. Around mid-morning, my “associates” started to bark like crazy, so I went outside to see what the commotion was. Anyway, the FedEx lady was outside trying […]Read More

Mark Cuban: Share Success w/ Employees; Fear; Luck; and Selling

Mark Cuban is the sometimes obnoxious billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of the TV show Shark Tank. He made his fortune selling his dotcom company to Yahoo at the peak of the dotcom frenzy. Mr. Cuban was on the most recent “How I Built This” podcast (our new favorite podcast by far). […]Read More

Self-Awareness Is Key Attribute In Successful People; Practice It

Stephen Dubner (of “Freakonomics” fame) was recently on James Altucher’s podcast discussing self-awareness. He quoted Angela Duckworth (author of “Grit”) who said that most successful people have an exceptional appetite for self-examination. To become self-aware, Dubner suggests setting aside an hour every week to examine wins and losses and figure out exactly where you (not […]Read More