22 Feb, 2021

SAM VERMA: An Altruistic Leader in the Ever-Challenging Mortgage Industry

SAM-VERMA-An-altruistic-leader-in-the-ever-challenging-mortgage-industry

While the ultimate goal of a leader is to lead by example, their style is influenced by the industry sectors they work in. From routine operational challenges to adapting to unforeseen changes, a leader needs to navigate through a lot of challenges. How a leader operates in the healthcare, won’t be the same as a leader in the retail industry. Among various industrial sectors, the Mortgage Industry in the US is a testing ground for several leaders. The Mortgage Industry is a significant component of the overall economy representing about 20% of the US GDP. It is influenced by global events, government regulations, and several other factors. It works using diverse programs to foster mortgage lending, construction, and encouraging home-ownership.

To grow in this segment requires strong and strategic personas with 5 key competencies:

1) Understanding  regulatory compliances,

2) Decision making with an analytical approach,

3) Passion for efficiency,

4) Ability to accommodate and utilize emerging technologies and finally

5) An ability to maneuver through changing and unpredictable market conditions.

Sam Verma, CEO of Peoples Processing Inc., is an exceptionally accomplished professional displaying and executing on all of the above skills. Peoples Processing Inc. specializes in delivering mortgage origination, servicing, and title solutions. Its solutions optimize their client’s efficiency and capacity, as well as delivering high customer satisfaction while decreasing operational costs and cycle times.

 

INCEPTION STORY

Sam and Mridhul Prakash (Managing Director) co-founded Peoples Processing, Inc. an Austin, TX based company that provides mortgage solutions.  Sam has worked in the mortgage industry for over 20 years prior to this venture. In addition to Peoples Processing, she is a board member of several financial industry ventures including Nexus Capital and Button Finance. Mridhul’s expertise encompasses various business facets, from financial technology to business consulting and development and cross-border experience with prominence in global delivery models. He was a key member of Deloitte’s technology media and telecommunications practice before moving to the financial services industry.

Having worked in the industry, and through long time interactions, the pair identified the pain points of mortgage lenders and brokers in processing loan files, managing compliance, and scaling operations to meet demands. “We had a good understanding of the process, and we believed that those processes could easily be replicated and done remotely. People can be trained over time to meet all the requirements of end-to-end mortgage fulfillment”asserts Sam. Within a few months, the company started getting licensed in select states in the US, as a contract mortgage processing company.

Nonetheless, the focus was always on residential mortgage processing. Peoples Processing was born to address the prevailing challenges amongst lenders and brokers through tailored solutions. Several small lenders and brokers were facing huge challenges processing loans. The process was time-consuming and expensive with the end-result being unexpectedly high cycle times. Peoples Processing offered lenders and brokers the option to increase their process efficiency and cost by partnering with Peoples Processing and leveraging its global presence. Over time the company has championed several new operational strategies in residential mortgage and amassed tools and technologies to process loans faster and more accurately.

 

WELL-ORIENTED OPERATIONAL FRAMEWORK

“As a company, we have always believed in ‘customer first’ as an approach”, declares Mridhul. Procuring value for customers makes a company preferable especially when there are so many companies out there vying for the attention of customers. This philosophy has supported the growth of Peoples Processing. To deliver value in every solution, they keep a focus on changes in the industry and challenges faced by customers. The company has marshaled a team of experts, whose knowledge contributes to product development and delivery to a diverse client base. Every individual is well versed in his and her responsibilities which keeps them sensitized of their work and helps them deliver a difference.

Peoples Processing has embraced technology which it uses to monitor quality, deliver customized solutions and ensure timely internal development. In mortgage fulfillment, closing time, origination costs and compliance are very important.  Cycle times are very important as they relate to customer retention and application pull-through. Compliance costs have also led to an increase in the cost to originate a mortgage. Using a partner like People Processing with proven workflows and offshore operational capability helps lenders greatly reduce cost and shorten closing times.

 

TREATING EMPLOYEES LIKE CLIENTS

During her early years in the mortgage industry, Sam had the privilege of working under a strong and savvy woman CEO. ‘Mentorship’, was an ambiguous word in that era. But Sam’s boss helped her navigate through the landscape, which helped her become who she is now as a leader. Today Sam utilizes her experience to blur the boundaries of gender – and work towards a more ”equal world”.

Her mentorship approach has created a very inclusive work culture at Peoples Processing. At Peoples it is always ‘customers first’ and then employees. Profits and traditional company performance metrics come next as the founders believe that if customers and employees are taken care of, profits and growth will come automatically. These values keep the leaders tuned into the requirements of clients as well as employees. Team members carry a sense of responsibility and ownership of their tasks. To monitor and nurture their growth, the Company has process metrics that defines performance standards constantly and the Company celebrates top performers frequently. The framework further motivates others to strive for better performance and be the next awardees.

Sam is focused on “paying it back” with her mentorship abilities so that she is able to give back to society what she had received as a budding professional. She is on LinkedIn support groups to support entrepreneurs in general and women entrepreneurs in particular. In the US, Sam is a member of NAMMBA (National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America), which has the goal of placing 50,000 students in the Mortgage industry by 2025. She volunteers her time for this cause to bring awareness to a larger group – who are the future of the industry

 

PROACTIVE TO COVID-19

An entity that can integrate ingenuity and innovation quickly while adapting to challenges will survive any uncertainties. In India, Peoples Processing took proactive steps to survive COVID and ensure business continuity. The IT and HR departments worked against time to implement its Business Continuity plan, which involved the logistics of procuring hardware and software and complex coordination between various teams. All individuals were assigned to work from home and were quickly issued computers, dual monitors and internet dongles, etc., required to continue their work effectively. The coordination was key and helped the team pull off this herculean task. The lockdown period was quite a challenge for the team, as they were stuck in a new city. Nevertheless, the executive team left no stone unturned to ensure the comfort and safety of their team members.

On the business front, COVID-19 has helped them grow. Mortgage rates dropped to their lowest levels and the refinance boom started.  In a way, this acted as an opportunity for Peoples Processing, as lenders needed help to process their volumes but lacked the staff and expertise. With its teams available remotely, Peoples Processing was able to take on these challenges and provide appropriate solutions to their customers.

 

AN EVENTFUL BUSINESS VOYAGE

Peoples Processing has become a well-respected organization, and its excellence is underlined with notes of appreciation and positive testimonials from customers. The company celebrates ‘customer success’ based upon different milestones it helps them achieve. They are currently working on several technology developments that will be released in the near future.

Peoples Processing also helps title agents in processing title reports, tax reports and overall title production. Over the years its services have expanded bringing several mid to large-sized lenders on as clients. The focus has always been on ensuring faster and more reliable solutions. For the next milestone, Peoples Processing aims to bring tech-powered solutions to its customers and the industry.

 

This interview was published here: https://innovativezoneindia.com/sam-verma/


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