Most recently, Thomson-Zurita was invited to Washington D.C. for an Emergency Meeting of the Business Advisory Council last month to discuss tax relief for minority businesses, energy costs and conservation, and the new immigration bill being proposed by President Bush.
Mixing mortgages and politics is nothing new for one branch manager who has spent years offering her view on government policies and mortgage regulation.
In between writing loans and managing the Tucson, Ariz.-based Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corp. branch, Rita Thomson-Zurita sits on the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Business Advisory Council sharing her opinions of the state of the nation with dignitaries from around the country.
Thomson-Zurita said she has been on the NRCC's board for three and a half years and in March 2003 was honored with the Arizona Business Woman of the Year award; the benefits of which included participation in the Congressional Tax Summit where she discussed RESPA issues and junk fees.
"We talked about the benefits of social security reform, savings plans, and streamlining the processes (i.e. licensing procedures) to use more of our own natural resources," Thomson-Zurita explained.
Thomson-Zurita also attended the President's dinner at the White House while in D.C.
"It was like being Cinderella," she said of the formal dinner event that featured beef tenderloin as the main entree. "They rolled out the red carpet; Bill Frist was there, Elizabeth Dole, high-ranking senators, the press was there, and of course Mr. Bush."
She said she will continue to share her views with the NRCC as needed and participates in various surveys and meetings while balancing her mortgage career.
With more than 20 years experience in the mortgage business the self-proclaimed staunch Republican has spent the last seven as branch manager for Allied. She said her mother taught her the commercial loan business at a young age and remembers constructing her first commercial loan when she was a senior in high school.
This year, Thomson-Zurita said, her branch is averaging about $1 million a month from her originations and that of another loan officer, and that her volume has doubled almost every year. "I love the mortgage business," she exclaimed. "All my business is from referrals -- I don't advertise at all."
Allied Home Mortgage says it offers a full range of loan products, and she said relationships with builders and Realtors help account for the purchase loans that make up about 85% of the company's volume.