More than a mortgage lender: 4 radical ways we care for our borrowers

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Forget about the golden rule. To connect deeply with our borrowers, the platinum rule has served us better.

This simply means that in every loan we write, we treat borrowers like friends; we put ourselves in their shoes so we can treat them the way they want to be treated.

Here’s more on how that’s done.

4 Cornerstone Commitments that set us apart

Transforming individual lives through lending? That’s been our mission for over 30 years.

Each day, we’re still putting it into practice:

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Commitment #1: Mortgage is about the people.

Getting our borrowers exactly what they want – like getting into a new home quickly and easily — hinges on our ability to work with numbers and figures. But these numbers aren’t what makes us successful as a lender.

A little backstory:

  • Cornerstone Home Lending, Inc., was founded by seasoned mortgage professionals who wanted to break away from the profit-first mindset.
  • Co-CEOs Marc Laird and Judy Belanger started Cornerstone in 1988 and, after serving more than 300,000 borrowers in over three decades, still retain ownership.
  • For 32 years, we’ve stayed true to our founding mission: We exist to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

People-first lending at Cornerstone looks like walking a borrower through each step of the mortgage process, breaking down and explaining the pros and cons of different loan products.

It also looks like placing the needs of a borrower before our own, treating them like a unique person. “I’ve been through the home purchase process at least a half dozen times. If you want a great professional and personable experience, so you don’t feel like just a number, then you won’t regret going with Cornerstone,” borrower Scott W. says.


Commitment #2: We craft a culture of caring.

It’s a balancing act, one that’s worth our time and energy. Not only do we put our people first — our borrowers, our partners, and our team members — we do this without losing sight of our families and our local communities.

Home lending is our platform to enrich our clients’ lives:

  • Each mortgage helps one of our borrowers to achieve their biggest goals through responsible, long-term homeownership.
  • We change the perception of getting a mortgage from a scary, overwhelming ordeal into an amazing, achievable milestone worth celebrating.
  • Having this heart for service has helped us successfully navigate five previous industry downturns and our current COVID crisis.

Our culture of caring trickles down from the top, starting with Marc and Judy who aim to lead with a servant’s heart. “As a CEO, you have to be humble. I’m not the smartest guy in the room, but I know we have some pretty smart people. We’re always better together than as individuals,” Marc says.

Leadership uplifts our team members so they can better care for our borrowers. “Management values the people that work here,” a Cornerstone senior loan officer says. “Their actions speak volumes. This is something that sets CHL apart from its competition.”

Click here to join the work-family that cares.


Commitment #3: Our convictions guide us every day.

We conduct ourselves with honesty and integrity in each interaction, no matter what the cost. “Here’s the thing,” Marc says. “We will lose money to do the right thing.”

This informs how we serve our borrowers:

  • Our loan officers take the time to listen to our clients and offer guidance and loan products that meet a borrower’s individual financial needs (and not our bottom line).
  • We have a 100-percent on-time closing commitment, meaning we do whatever it takes to meet a client’s agreed-upon closing date. Our well-oiled in-house operations and stellar loan officer support ratios enable us to close loans quickly.
  • This approach of combining best-in-class remote mortgage technology with personalized, high-trust service empowers our clients: They have control over their mortgage process, know exactly what’s going on at every step, and can connect with their loan officer instantly.

The way we view mortgage is not transactional. It’s about creating relationships that last beyond the closing table.

Mortgages are long-term, and so is our commitment to our borrowers. A Cornerstone client is a client for life: We strive to remain a trusted resource for our borrowers, now and in the years  ahead. From annual mortgage reviews to home health reminders to relevant industry updates, we stay in touch and are always available to answer any questions.

Our Core Convictions also lay the foundation for a strong work-family:

  • We respect and care for our people. Cornerstone creates a supportive, happy workplace – evidenced by our consistent Top Workplace winnings based on our team members’ positive feedback.
  • There are no “employees” at Cornerstone. Marc made this declaration several years ago and has continued to use the term “team member” to signify the importance of our work-family ever since.
  • An open-door policy establishes trust. Team members can voice questions and concerns and talk freely with their managers. Sharing input and creative ideas are encouraged.
  • We recognize accomplishments, while also taking care to extend a hand to team members in times of crisis. Prayer requests are frequently circulated, and support is given for loss, illness, and the effects of natural disasters.

Celebrating our team is an everyday thing: work anniversary and birthday cards, monthly gift card drawings with rewards based on tenure, appreciation events, and our Caught in the Act campaign, where team members can “tell on” each other’s good deeds, are just a few examples.


Commitment #4: We have a passion for excellence.

Cornerstone loan officers go the extra mile for every borrower — and we go the extra mile for our team too. “It’s not about volume,” Marc says. “It’s about excellence.”

As a result:

  • Our work-family is growing steadily because of the care we take in only hiring the best people.
  • We continue to find ways to make mortgage faster, easier, and friendlier at each step for literally everyone involved in the process — our clients, our partners, and our team members.
  • To support success, we invest in not only the latest technology but also in the talent. Our loan officers benefit from the fact that we have the highest support team ratios in the industry, helping to free up time for exceptional client care.

“Cornerstone promotes a well-rounded culture of success! They support sales to succeed, equip ops to perform, and encourage all sides to maintain a healthy work/life balance,” a Cornerstone loan officer says.

We have yet to rest easy. Today, and going forward, we’re making good on our word by continuing to seek out new ways to improve upon our systems that are already working. Our team members and our borrowers can always expect new innovations, designed to speed up the loan process without sacrificing the strength of our client connections.

It’s not just about the numbers for us

It’s about spreading joy and helping others achieve their lifelong goals — whether it’s by providing a dream home loan, offering a position on our team, or lending a helping hand to those in need. Take a look at our latest job openings.

For educational purposes only. Please contact your qualified professional for specific guidance.

Sources are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

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