Lifting Up Our Operations Team

posted Katie Hansen 8/24/2020 in Mortgage

Today, it is our pleasure to share the immense pride we’ve celebrated within our Mortgage Operations Department. Through some extreme circumstances, the champions who make up this team have helped our organization continue to soar by lifting the company’s bottom line, and helping Iowans get into homes. These home purchases and refinances have enabled hundreds of Iowans to save valuable funds through record-low rates and volume.

Mike Schick, Director of Sales, has seen an immense amount of growth within LSB’s Mortgage Team over the years. Filled with pride and humbled by the actions of his team, Mike shared the appreciation he has for LSB’s growing Mortgage Operations department.

“I’ve always thought we had an outstanding mortgage operations team; however, you never really know how good a team is until you’re faced with an immense set of challenges,” Mike commented. “This year, our mortgage operations team has faced not one but two major challenges in the ongoing pandemic and subsequent rate-drop. Without a doubt, this team has overcome those challenges. They have put their heads down and worked long hours, including weekends, since early March. This team’s work effort, determination, and grit has been evident each step of the way. I couldn’t be prouder of the mortgage operations team members and the accomplishments they have achieved in these challenging times; my hat goes off to each of them.”

When difficult times arise, it becomes the consistent actions taken by a small group of individuals that truly impact a community. The Mortgage Operations team at LSB has quietly been making a difference in the lives of hundreds of Iowans amidst the ongoing pandemic.

Erik Skovgard, CEO, describes it best. “Every great team has quiet heroes. Heroes who show up early, work hard, and leave late with no fanfare, headlines, or time in the spotlight,” he said. “Our Mortgage Operations team are those quiet heroes. The trait that impresses me most about this group is their ‘why.’ When you ask them why they take such pride in their work, their answer is their customers. They can’t imagine letting their customers down.”  

Below are the amazing individuals who have gone above and beyond in their call to duty for Iowa homebuyers this year. Please join us in celebrating these team members and all that they do to continue to support our customers throughout this global crisis.

Mortgage Operations Team Members

Chelle Adkins, Senior Mortgage Processor
“Both Chelle and Carissa do an outstanding job taking care of me. I am not the busiest LO, but both still help me to take things forward.” Matt Rieff, Mortgage Lender, NMLS #717981

"She goes above and beyond to keep it smooth sailing. We've more than doubled our volume in 2020 yet I've never heard Chelle complain about the extra workload. She responds quickly to emails. I truly appreciate her. Without Chelle we would not be able to do what we do on our end." Jenn Oliver, Mortgage Lender NMLS #640565

"Chelle is amazing at what she does. She is always on top of my files and making sure they are moving along to a smooth closing. She loves a challenge and makes sure she solves any issues that come up, so I don't need to bother clients and chase things down." Christine Rolf, Mortgage Lender NMLS #1801698

Nancy Foemmel, Senior Mortgage Processor
“Nancy Foemmel is working calmly and efficiently in this environment. I don’t know how she does it!” Heidi Swenson, Senior Mortgage Lender, NMLS #400170

"It's a pleasure working with Nancy. She is always on top of the files and items needed." Nathan Olson, Mortgage Lender NMLS #51315

"The things I like best about working with her are; she takes care of things right away, she doesn't just sit on conditions, and if I have a question she will work on getting it answered as soon as she can." Tracy Frette, Mortgage Lender #488049

Ashli Bentley, Mortgage Loan Processor
“Ashli is the best! She is so easy to work with.” Tonya Spencer, Loan Coordinator, NMLS #1365221

“I just wanted everyone to know that Ashli is an amazing person. I have no idea how she keeps all the files straight, but she does. Ashli not only does a fantastic job keeping the files straight, she makes sure the underwriter only needs to look at the file twice. A big shout out to Ashli, thanks for all you do.” Matt Nolan, Mortgage Lender, NMLS #834192

“Ashli has been handling 100 percent of Adel, so that can’t be easy. We appreciate her efforts, and all the other people in ops.” Tim Bohlen, Mortgage Lender, NMLS #5140 and Tim Canney, Mortgage Lender, NMLS #5167

Denise Ritzman, Senior Mortgage Underwriter
“To all the underwriters, Denise, Heather, and Vicky - Thanks for going above and beyond to make it happen for our borrowers. Without you and your hard work, loans would not get to closing on time.” Bobby Burgett, Mortgage Lender, NMLS #501467

“Since the start of ‘the great loan tsunami,’ Denise has always kept an upbeat attitude in such a stressful time. Not only that but, she has also been willing to help walk me through the ever-changing guidelines. Thank you, Denise!” Dominic Black, Mortgage Sales Manager, NMLS #101586

“She is extremely knowledgeable with a genuine desire to make a loan approvable. She will offer suggestions and look for ways to make a loan work. She also courageously makes suggestions on how we can do a better job of presenting a loan to make the approval process smoother, I appreciate that.” Dorothy Mathis, Mortgage Lender, NMLS #335124

Heather Engel, Mortgage Underwriter
“To all the underwriters, Denise, Heather, and Vicky - Thanks for going above and beyond to make it happen for our borrowers. Without you and your hard work, loans would not get to closing on time.” Bobby Burgett, Mortgage Lender, NMLS #501467

“She works tirelessly to help the mortgage loan officers move their loans forward through the approval process.” Dorothy Mathis, Mortgage Lender, NMLS #335124

Vicky Block, Mortgage Underwriter
“To all the underwriters, Denise, Heather, and Vicky - Thanks for going above and beyond to make it happen for our borrowers. Without you and your hard work, loans would not get to closing on time.” Bobby Burgett, Mortgage Lender, NMLS #501467

“She is super great to work with, very friendly, professional and helpful.” Dorothy Mathis, Mortgage Lender, NMLS #335124

Amy LeRoy, Mortgage Loan Processor
“Amy LeRoy, Chris Benning, and Cathy Kuhrt quietly tackle their stack of closings and get through each day without going crazy, even with so much craziness around us all.” Heidi Swenson, Senior Mortgage Lender, NMLS #400170

“Amy and Chris in closing- I know they want to put their heads in a pillow and scream, but these two are awesome! They are fantastic and should be a compliance officer’s dream. I am used to having to go through a closing disclosure and docs with a fine-tooth comb before closing, knowing there was always something wrong. They have a tough job that is always last minute lately and they pull through every time and do it so well.” Sheena Cook, Mortgage Lender, NMLS #478071

Cathy Kurt, Mortgage Loan Specialist
“Cathy Kuhrt has been awesome to work with on closings.  She is always positive in her emails and quick to respond. I love her team attitude!” Amber Lampe NMLS #408908

“Amy LeRoy, Chris Benning, and Cathy Kuhrt quietly tackle their stack of closings and get through each day without going crazy, even with so much craziness around us all.” Heidi Swenson, Senior Mortgage Lender, NMLS #400170

Chris Benning, Mortgage Loan Processor
“Amy LeRoy, Chris Benning, and Cathy Kuhrt quietly tackle their stack of closings and get through each day without going crazy, even with so much craziness around us all.” Heidi Swenson, Senior Mortgage Lender, NMLS #400170

“Amy and Chris in closing- I know they want to put their heads in a pillow and scream, but these two are awesome! They are fantastic and should be a compliance officer’s dream. I am used to having to go through a closing disclosure and docs with a fine-tooth comb before closing, knowing there was always something wrong. They have a tough job that is always last minute lately and they pull through every time and do it so well.” Sheena Cook, Mortgage Lender, NMLS #478071

Judy Burggraf, Mortgage Loan Processor
“Working from home, it is hard when clients close out of office or documents need sent to them. She always steps up and takes the extra step I need to get the customers what they need. She always is willing to make sure that my customers have what they need in a timely manner! She goes above and beyond her title.” -Christine Rolf, Mortgage Lender, NMLS #1801698

“I would like to give my shout out to the Gretchen Baker and Judy Burggraf. These two ladies have been the backbone of keeping us making money, selling the loans we complete. Judy is here many times on the weekends. She is excellent at checking in our closing packages and catching inaccuracies or signature/date issues. And Gretchen has been instrumental in training all the new temp hires in post-close. We’ve gone through a few of them, and she’s stepped up each time to help train more.  These ladies have consistently sold about 50-60 loans every week for the last 3 months.” Gretchen Meints, Mortgage Operations Manager.

Gretchen Baker, Mortgage Quality Control Post Close Specialist
“When she asks for something, she does it so kindly and politely that I want to drop everything and get her what she needs. It’s very refreshing to work with such a friendly person. She never fails to express appreciation and that makes me very happy to have gotten her what she needed.” Dorothy Mathis, Mortgage Lender, NMLS #335124

“I would like to give my shout out to the Gretchen Baker and Judy Burggraf. These two ladies have been the backbone of keeping us making money, selling the loans we complete. Judy is here many times on the weekends. She is excellent at checking in our closing packages and catching inaccuracies or signature/date issues. And Gretchen has been instrumental in training all the new temp hires in post-close. We’ve gone through a few of them, and she’s stepped up each time to help train more.  These ladies have consistently sold about 50-60 loans every week for the last 3 months.” Gretchen Meints, Mortgage Operations Manager.

Mark Krug, Mortgage Closer
“The backbone of ops, Mark keeps everything flowing from locks, file access, Encompass fixes, appraisal backups and compliance tracking. The guy is so professionally-competent and handles all his duties with the most polite, persistent and efficient manner- AND he can be fun at the same time! Love working with him and the confidence he adds to my duties.” Dorothy Mathis, Mortgage Lender, NMLS #335124

Dee Lockhart, Senior Loan Servicing Specialist
“Dee Lockhart is the biggest unsung hero of the ENTIRE Mortgage Department. Without Dee, we wouldn’t be able to fund any loans. She works tirelessly on getting the wires out timely to the title company, sometimes on very tight deadlines. That part of her job alone has multiplied many times over the past several months with the volume that mortgage has been experiencing. It’s our unsung heroes like Dee in the Mortgage Department that keep doing what they do under crazy and unprecedented amount of volume that makes this Mortgage Team one of the best that I have ever worked with. Thank you, Dee, for all that you do. Your hard work does not go unnoticed!” Diane Pike, AVP of Mortgage Compliance

Barb Steere, Mortgage Processor
“We are thrilled to have a new processor on the team.  We’ve been wanting that for a long time.  We appreciate her willingness to jump right in and help.” Gretchen Meints, Mortgage Operations Manager

Pratibha Jadhav & Victoria Fredrickson, Contracted Mortgage Team Support
“I just want to sing the praises of Pratibha and Victoria—they are both doing an amazing job! Our combined total so far today is 20 loans sent to investors, which is the most I think I’ve seen in one day. After only 2 weeks on the job, I think that’s quite the amount! Besides stacking all those, they’re catching errors to get fixed before we send the docs, plus they’re keeping up with purchased loans and any new training I decide to throw at them. I’m extremely glad they’re here!” Gretchen Baker, Mortgage Quality Control Post Closing Specialist

Nicoll Carson & Chandra Harper, Contracted Mortgage Team Support
“Chandra and Nicoll have been a godsend during this refi boom! Chandra & Nicoll have invested so much time in learning the industry and allowing her to take on a pipeline to help the team. We are so lucky to have Nicoll! Chandra fills our office with joy and sunshine at a time we desperately need it. She has been a wonderful addition, working extra hours and being patient with the situation as we slowly transitioned her out of post-close and over to processing.” Gretchen Meints, Mortgage Operations Manager

Gretchen Meints, Mortgage Operations Manager
“Gretchen Meints is always positive in a storm of negativity.  I don’t know how she can be so kind when there is so much around us that is unkind!” Heidi Swenson, NMLS #400170

“Gretchen though, oh my goodness. What a gem LSB has with her. She is such an amazing person.  I cannot believe her wealth of knowledge and willingness to help even with record volume. Despite being exhausted from working all the time and being a mom and wife, I feel like she always has a smile on her face through her emails. That is a hard thing to do when you are exhausted.” Sheena Cook, NMLS #478071

Kevin Hron, Secondary Markets & System Administrator
“Kevin has been a key cornerstone of LSB’s mortgage department as he manages the lock desk, investor relations, contracts, and system admin responsibilities of multiple platforms- all while being the “go-to guy” for almost any questions or issue that may arise. For me personally, Kevin’s knowledge, sound logic and healthy skepticism makes him my personal sounding board for many thoughts, ideas, brainstorms and simply problem-solving issues. Thank you, Kevin, for your dedication and contributions to LSB and our customers.” Jordan Schick, Head of Mortgage

Praise for the Entire Mortgage Operations Team

“The Ops Team is unbeatable, the intense workload the last few months has been unpresented & they have risen to the challenge like no other on this planet. I have the utmost respect for their unwavering work ethic & the support they render to us in the Mortgage Department,” Jenny Greene, Senior Mortgage Lender, MLO NMLS #29442

“I am proud to say I work for an extraordinary company with an operations team that is hard to beat.  They are dedicated, efficient, knowledgeable and know how to get loans closed promptly, making it a seamless process for clients. Thank you to such an incredible ops team!  They deserve all the credit,” Jenn Oliver, NMLS #640565

“Working with a great group of Operations, they will work their tails off to make sure the sales staff and clients have the best experience with their mortgage loan. They go out of their way to make sure every file is treated with all the care in the world. They treat me like family and truly care that I am working with customers. I know they are behind the scenes, but it is their hard work that is making our department look great with the customers! I could not do it without them all!” Christine Rolf, NMLS #1801698

“Honestly I cannot say enough about how thrilled I am with everyone in ops. I have never had such a wonderful group of people to work with. I really hate to isolate and just recognize a few because everyone is so good at what they do. I never wanted to be a “team” player, but when I came here, I realized that is because I never knew was being on a “team” was like.” Sheena Cook, NMLS #478071

At Lincoln Savings Bank, our entire organization continues to cheer on the Mortgage Operations team, encouraging their efforts, and lifting up these incredible people who show us each day what Lincoln Love is truly about.

Dana Uhlenhopp, LSB’s Chief Banking Officer, is honored to lead this a compelling team, and is amazed by all the effort displayed throughout the Mortgage Department during this historical time. After thirty plus years in banking, Dana has never seen the mortgage industry catapulted to this volume for such an extended period.

“With record-setting low interest rates, our mortgage lenders have been busy getting deals done on both the purchase and refinance side of things,” Dana elaborated. “With that being said, the mortgage ops members have had to spend a huge amount of overtime hours just keeping up with the volume of business that is coming through this department. Everyone needs to be commended for the great job they are doing and all of us at LSB appreciate their efforts. You are making a huge difference to the entire organization this year with record numbers and profitability. Great job once again and please know that your work has been noticed by all.”

Upon joining LSB as the Chief Operations Officer, Lil Vukmirovic worked alongside Gretchen Meints, Mortgage Operations Manager, to create new processes and procedures to better assist the Mortgage Operations department as it continues to grow and expand. Throughout her time with LSB, Lil has been astounded by the efforts of the entire Mortgage Ops team and is thankful to be a part of such as passionate and persevering team of individuals.

“When faced with an unprecedented pipeline and a pandemic, our Mortgage Operations team has not only demonstrated discipline and loyalty toward the organization, but toward our customers and each other as a team,” commented Lil. “They have proven that communication, being adaptable, and demonstrating willingness amongst each other can get them through anything. Their leader, Gretchen Meints, has demonstrated what’s possible by rolling up her sleeves and working alongside her team. We sincerely appreciate all their hard work and dedication.”

While the future is unknown, we know one thing remains certain; whatever chaos 2020 continues to create, the LSB Mortgage Operations team will continue to press onward and find a way to help Iowans.

Lincoln Savings Bank. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. NMLS #480330.

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