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Inside the Lenders Studio: Andy Zemon | Waterstone Mortgage

Mar 15, 2021

Welcome to another installment of Inside the Lenders’ Studio, where we get to know top-producing lenders from their start in the industry through their rise to the top.

Our latest guest is Andy Zemon, a sales manager at Waterstone Mortgage. A Wisconsin-based lender, Waterstone Mortgage has helped families across the nation achieve their homeownership dreams for more than 20 years.

Top of Mind Networks:

How did you get started in mortgage banking?

Andy Zemon:

In college, I interned with a small mortgage company making copy packages. Credit reports had just begun, and there was a big refinance boom. The company was so overwhelmed with the volume, they started handing me loans. I made more money in three months than I’d ever made in my life. Then I finished college at Ohio State University and moved to DC to begin my career in sales at a staffing company. Luckily, I was a victim of the dot-com bust and lost my job. So I decided to give mortgage lending a try, and here I am 20 years later.

Top of Mind Networks:

What motivates you?

AZ:

Fear is my ultimate motivator. I’m constantly afraid of not being able to provide for my family, and I’ve come to realize that’s okay. When I look back at my career, I find I’ve intentionally put myself in certain situations because I respond so well to fear. I know it’s a strong motivator for me.

Top of Mind Networks:

Who is your digital mentor?

AZ:

It’s hard to name one person or entity that I can say is my absolute end-all, be-all mentor, but someone’s content I enjoy is Jeremy Forcier. He’s extremely authentic, and it’s not always about mortgage. I think he’s a great person to learn from and follow.

Top of Mind Networks:

What is your top marketing trick?

AZ:

My top marketing trick is actually not a trick at all, it’s to be as genuine as possible. I like to figure out what someone’s objections are, what’s stopping them from engaging, so I can remove that barrier to entry. I figure out what the consumer wants and how I can deliver it in a genuine and efficient manner.

Top of Mind Networks:

What is an on-the-job experience that made you especially proud?

AZ:

The first story that comes to mind is a loan I recently did for a nice family. They had a lot of hardships throughout the loan process — they made a mistake and dropped their credit score, they lost a family member from COVID, just one hardship after another. They didn’t think the loan was going to be approved. When I called the client the day before closing, she was overwhelmed with emotion. She felt like God had placed me in her life. It’s these types of client experiences that make me proud to be able to help.

Top of Mind Networks:

Where would you go on your dream vacation?

AZ:

My wife and I are very consistent. We have two dream vacations we make a priority to take every year. The first is Disney World with our kids and the second is St. John in the Virgin Islands. We’re extremely blessed to be able to go on these vacations every year.

Top of Mind Networks:

Show us your most treasured possession.

AZ:

I’d say the coolest things in my office are my four Mickey Mouse paintings. They’re all original and limited edition, number 49 out of a hundred. Each painting represents one of the parks: Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom.

Top of Mind Networks:

Who’s the most famous or interesting person you’ve ever met?

AZ:

In high school, I was a golf cart attendant at my local course. One day, I got to play. My stepfather and I were paired up with a movie star, Lee Ermey who was the drill instructor from Full Metal Jacket. He was just like the movie, smoking a huge cigar. I don’t remember the golf that day, I just remember listening and talking to him in between holes. It was one of the coolest experiences and one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.

Top of Mind Networks:

If you weren’t a mortgage banker, what is another profession would you like to attempt?

AZ:

I’ve always said I’d be a fighter pilot if I wasn’t a mortgage banker. But if money were not an issue, I would create some type of kids program. I think children are great for the soul, and I love spending time with them.

Top of Mind Networks:

You’ve just won an Oscar. Give us your top-3 acceptance speech shoutouts. 

AZ:

My first shout-out would definitely be to my wife and my family. They keep me motivated. I’d also thank Eric Egenhoefer, the former CEO of Waterstone Mortgage. He’s a phenomenal guy and gave me the opportunity to work for this wonderful company. And thank you to Mr. Dave Savage with Mortgage Coach. I’ve used Mortgage Coach for most of my career. Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

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