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Austin Lampson

Austin Lampson: The Jewel with Resolute Leadership Acumen

The finance function is not what it used to be. In fact, it has changed considerably over the past five to ten years. Whereas finance professionals were once considered number crunchers, now, and regardless of their seniority, they’re important cogs in the business from a strategic standpoint.

Not only has this meant that the function has developed, but it has also meant that finance leaders have had to cater their skills to a new type of finance professional in order to get the best out of them. Finance leaders are apt at both setting targets and meeting them. Although the best finance leaders are results driven by nature, they understand the importance of the targets being measurable and achievable.

Today’s finance leader always has one eye on the future. They instill this vision into their workers and make sure they always work towards cementing the company’s long-term vision. The finance function is very much embedded within the strategic endeavors of a company, so it’s vital that forecasts are accurate, and that planning is thorough.

Standing out as an apt leader in the dynamic business arena with resolute leadership acumen and an exemplary skillset, Austin Lampson implements immersive strategies while working as a Branch Manager and Licensed Mortgage Professional at Homeowners Financial Group.

In an interview with Insights Success, Austin shares about her professional tenure and shares her journey so far in the finance and mortgage niche.

Below are the excerpts from the interview:

Austin, please briefly describe for our audience your professional journey up until now.

I started in lending when I was 18, with car title loans. They were for a 1-month period, and at 25% interest. It taught me the value of trading future value for today’s needs, people’s relationship with money, and the importance of knowing that you were responsible and that a client understood the opportunity and risk of debt.

It is different if you know you must make the phone call that their property will be repossessed when in default, versus selling something that you don’t have responsibility for down the line.

I moved into mortgage lending at the age of 22, and have been in it ever since -through company take overs, market crashes, and guideline changes that impact the lives of the people we serve. I truly believe that responsible lending is one of the highest forms of community service.

What challenges did you face along the way?

I learned early on that not every originator takes their role in their clients’ financial lives seriously. Many see this as just a job, or a way to pay the bills. I’ve had mentors stab me in the back, buyers be liars, realtors alter documents with my name on them, get used to help fix credit, prep for tax consultations and then be ditched for an internet lender.

Not to mention tumultuous markets – one day in April 2020 there were more than 19 price changes and 5 different investors completely got out of the market! The truth is the reason I get up & do this every day is to help someone else figure out how to have stability in homeownership and build wealth. It’s really about my relationship to my purpose, not just an end result.

What significant impact have you brought to the mortgage industry?

I can tell you I’ve heard people cry when I tell them a challenge is going to work out. I can tell you I lay my head down at night knowing I did my best, and my best is good enough.

What I think I am most proud of is using my position to help others truly gain. Whether it is through the non-profits we contribute to monthly that are nominated by our clients, volunteering as a team or the gratitude journals I print and send out for free – I believe that each one of us has to use our perspective and experience to serve in our unique way.

Tell us about Homeowners Financial Group and its foundation pillar.

When you visit our company website, the “About,” tab starts with: “We exist to improve the lives we touch.” I’ve never worked for another company that truly cares for its people – those we serve and those with whom we work, no matter their role. People are really the reason for everything we do, and you can tell this is the case with everyone with whom we interact.

How does Homeowners Financial Group promote workforce flexibility, and what is your role in it?

The structure of an office place has changed much in the past few years. HFG works to maintain the integrity of the culture and service that folks create by working shoulder to shoulder yet is open to ensuring needs and options are respected and considered for each employee.

My team is across several states. Though we are not always in the same place at the same time, we ensure we continue our culture through a daily gratitude practice, monthly lunches via Zoom, a book club and an annual retreat.

If someone needs to leave early to accommodate their child’s baseball game, we all adjust so they get that precious time and set expectations internally & externally for the next steps and service level commitments.

What is your take on technology’s importance, and how are you leveraging it?

In my opinion, technology is a tool to be leveraged, not a replacement for human interaction and collaboration. Whether it is via video, text, social media or AI analysis, we need to use technology as a resource to elevate our clients’ experience and options. There is always something new coming, so why not embrace it as an opportunity?

What will be the next significant change in the mortgage industry, and how are you preparing for it?

Oh, that’s a big question! Our country’s inability to produce enough affordable housing for its citizens to me can mean a widening of the gap between the rich and poor. The ability of AI to digest through guidelines, data, and “paperwork” can leverage our time for the better, though it can also create gaps of fraud and connection. Our industry got bloated in the past few years.

I feel a significant segment of the population should truly be able to “swipe right,” and get a loan – however, the importance of a true professional to oversee the individual circumstances of a home purchase or debt restructuring cannot be underscored enough. There is a difference between a professional and a paper-pusher.

What are your goals in the upcoming future?

My passion lies in helping people achieve their goals. I intend to continue to do so through a true team experience.

Collaboration is key, and the more we work together, the better balance we can all have. I intend on being a valued, appreciated, community-oriented, and fun confidant to my clients and partners.

What advice would you like to give the next generation of aspiring business leaders?

  • Be yourself only bolder.
  • Do it with passion or not at all.
  • Be curious, not judgmental.
  • Punch fear in the face and take the risk.
  • Bigger is not always better. Better is always best!