Mortgage Daily

Published On: January 6, 2004
Best Mortgage Companies to Work For in 2003Edward Jones tops Fortune list in mortgage category

January 6, 2004


Fortune’s latest 100 Best Companies to Work For list included 12 mortgage-related entities.

After two years at No. 1, financial services provider Edward Jones, which owns Edward Jones Mortgage, took the No. 4 spot, making it the highest-ranking mortgage-related company on the list for 2004. Fortune said Edward hired 1,500 new employees (including 578 new brokers) in 2003, bringing its staff total to 27,092, and has not laid off anyone in 34 years.

Next, at No. 5 and moving up 12 spaces from the previous year, was Republic Bancorp, which says it engages primarily in retail mortgage banking, and commercial and retail banking. According to Fortune, mortgage loan officers hold the company’s most common professional job, average an annual salary of $150,000, and receive “incentives galore.” Last year, 300 mortgage sellers were awarded trips to Aruba, Cancun or the Dominican Republic. Fortune added that Republic’s stock has grown 1,700% since 1991, and that all employees receive stock options. Republic reported its mortgage lending division closed $1.22 billion in single-family residential loans during the third quarter of 2003.

Quicken Loans, a newcomer on the list, placed 13th. Quicken doubled its staff in the past year, amounting a total of 1,669 employees, making it the company with the biggest percentage of job growth — 96%, according to Fortune. Quicken’s most common professional job is Web Banker, and the company jetted 200 employees to the Bahamas as an incentive this past year.

Third Federal Savings and Loan was the 14th “Best,” climbing up from 23 the previous year. The savings and mortgage product provider, with branches in Florida and Ohio, employs 1,065 people and had revenues of $416 million in 2002, according to the magazine.

Several banking thrifts, which offer mortgage products, filled spots in the 20 to 40 range. Synovus Financial Corp., which owns Synovus Mortgage, ranked 20, Sterling Bank placed 27th and at 36 was American Express, which originates home loans through PHH Mortgage.

Another newcomer and 39th on the list, was HomeBanc Mortgage, which estimated 2003 loan volume of over $6 billion. Out of the 100 competitors, HomeBanc placed third as the company with the largest job growth — 42%, and reportedly has 1,091 employees in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. Underwriters hold the most common professional job, while incentives at the mortgage company include classes in business, leadership, and finance at HomeBanc U. and $10,000 tuition to study elsewhere.

Mortgage giant Fannie Mae took spot No. 52, declining from its previous year’s 45 rank. The government-sponsored enterprise, which reported business volume of $75.2 billion in November and revenues of $53 billion in 2002, employed 5011 people, according to the magazine. Fannie’s Employer-Assisted Housing initiative offers employees assistance with a house downpayment.

Filling the 56th spot was financial thrift First Tennessee, which originated $14.6 billion in the third quarter of 2003 through its mortgage lending division, First Horizon Home Loans.

Washington Mutual, moved up from 97 last year to 92, and although it was nearly last on this list, the banking behemoth provided the top number of new jobs — 10,009 — this past year, said Fortune. The top number is offset by WaMu’s announcement in October that it planned to start laying off about 4,000 employees (1,500 of them in the home loan department) through this year.

At 95 was Principal Financial Services, which owns Principal Residential Mortgage, and reported revenues of $8.8 billion in 2002.

The companies placed on list according to what their employees said about them. According to Fortune, about 46,526 randomly selected employees from 304 candidate companies filled out an employee-opinion survey about their workplace and completed a questionnaire about their company’s people policies, practices and philosophies. Employee opinions were measured by the Great Place to Work for Trust Index and accounted for two-thirds of the total score.

Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for

email: [email protected]

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