When Mike Maier was ready to run his own mortgage lending branch, he had one goal.
“Finding a lender who had superior operational capacity was the most important thing to me,” said Maier. “A lender who can do things others can’t. Fairway met those criteria.”
Maier has now been a branch manager with Fairway Independent Mortgage for over five years, and he believes the company continues to outpace its competitors.
Full list of Top Workplaces 2022 winners
Other members of the Fairway family echoed Maier’s enthusiasm, earning the company its spot in The Oregonian/OregonLive’s Top Workplaces 2022 competition. Now in its 11th year, the competition awards companies the Top Workplaces distinction based on anonymous employee feedback collected by a third party. This is the second time Fairway Independent Mortgage has received the Top Workplaces award in Oregon; the company has received the honor 34 times in other markets nationwide.
“We have been fortunate to win numerous Top Workplace awards. We are very pleased that our employees responded so positively,” said Kathy Bultman, vice president of corporate communication. “It is all due to them.”
In his 18 years in the industry, Maier knows that speed and efficiency are critical in the world of mortgage lending, but that he also needs support. He ultimately joined Fairway because he knew they could offer him the right framework for success.
“They are really fantastic at providing the tools we need to move quickly,” said Maier, who now works with his own team of 12 at his Portland-based branch. In fact, one of the 10 values of Fairway Independent Mortgage is “Speed to Respond.” Other core values of the company, launched in 2016, include “Humility First,” “Committed to Serve,” and “Consistent, Honest Communication.”
Maier saw the company’s core values at play when he once missed a critical window to file important paperwork late on a Friday afternoon. When he realized the error the next day, he immediately reached out to the corporate team. Although it was Saturday morning, he asked what it would take to get the job done. Maier heard back from their team immediately, including the CEO himself.
“Within an hour, we got responses from all the departments,” Maier said. “One was at a kid’s baseball game. The closing manager was putting groceries away. By noon that day, it was done.”
Maier was moved by the dedication of everyone involved.
“It was really, really cool,” he said. “I don’t make those kinds of mistakes often, but I acknowledge when I do. It’s nice to know that if something goes wrong and you have to put the gears in motion to get something done, it will happen.”
Started in 1996, Fairway Independent Mortgage operates over 750 branches and satellites across the country, with more than 9,000 team members nationwide. Headquartered in Wisconsin, there are more than 25 branches in Oregon and southwest Washington.
Maier adds that each branch is given autonomy, allowing for some variation between branches. That freedom is what led Maier to orchestrate a charity event planned for 2023, when he hopes to have up to 88 people rappel off of one of the tallest buildings in Portland. Each successful rappel will raise $2,000 for different charities. One of them will be the American Warrior Initiative, which trains and provides service dogs to veterans. It is one of the non-profit fairway backs.
Overall, Maier says that Fairway produces a culture that really focuses on employees excelling at their jobs. “I’ve worked at several places in my career,” he says, “This is hands-down the best.”