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“Another thing that stood out was how they were a large company, but it didn’t feel that way. It felt very close-knit like you weren’t just a cog in the wheels.”
Michael Landers, Branch Manager | Austin, TX | NMLS# 217124
“It was like a new adventure working for them, and everyone seemed to have a sense of urgency and passion for what they did. There seemed to be no wasted time – from the processor to the underwriter – it was all about closing on time with a customer-focused direction.”
Kim Ghanem, Branch Manager | Austin, TX | NMLS# 19113
life With Assurance Interview
MICHAEL LANDERS & KIM GHANEM
Branch Managers, Austin, Tx
Q: Where are you from and how did you get to Assurance Financial?

MICHAEL LANDERS: I grew up in Colorado, where I got my Bachelor’s and MBA in finance, specializing in public transportation. I’ve always enjoyed the finance industry, so I started working at a bank, then public transit agencies and small businesses. Eventually, I moved to New Orleans, LA, then Austin, TX – that’s where I met Kim.

 

KIM GHANEM: I’ve actually been in Texas for about 37 years. Graduated from Lamar University in Beaumont where I met my wife. I got into the mortgage industry about 16 years ago, working as a broker for a firm, until I ended up working at the same place as Michael.

Q: You both worked at the same company in the same industry – how’d you end up at Assurance Financial?

MICHAEL LANDERS: Kim and I worked together for a few years, then switched companies and ended up at the same place about 3 years after that. Roughly 5 years went by and then, last March, we were approached by Assurance Financial. Kim actually started speaking to them before me and then raved about it. He brought me into the Assurance Financial family so to speak.

 

KIM GHANEM: I was actually approached by an executive recruiter for a few companies; Assurance Financial was one of them. After I spoke to Paul Peters, I knew that was the way to go.

Q: How did you know it was the right decision?

KIM GHANEM: I really liked the culture; felt like it mixed well with mine. Michael and I spoke with Assurance Financial for many months, from everyone to Kenny Hodges, the CEO, to Scott Alexander, the Operations Manager. We met everyone and we were basically all on board from there. We had a lot of common ground, so we made the move, and here we are.

Q: What was the biggest draw to join?

KIM GHANEM: For me, specifically, I was looking for a more streamlined process and underwriting. I had been working in the industry for a while and was looking to operating with a one-kind-fits-all process that allows us to have more consistency in our work. I needed a system that lent itself to the way I wanted to market myself. Assurance Financial’s process, from A to Z, was really attractive paired with their culture. It was like a new adventure working for them, and everyone seemed to have a sense of urgency and passion for what they did. There seemed to be no wasted time – from the processor to the underwriter – it was all about closing on time with a customer-focused direction. In this industry, things can seem really separated, and I didn’t feel that with Assurance Financial.

 

MICHAEL LANDERS: I can piggyback off of that. I spent some time in Baton Rouge speaking to everyone and what impressed me the most is how knowledgeable everyone seemed. Everything seemed to run pretty smoothly and I just really enjoyed my time there. Another thing that stood out was how they were a large company, but it didn’t feel that way. It felt very close-knit like you weren’t just a cog in the wheels.

Q: How did Assurance Financial bring you both on board? What did they do to help you both out?

KIM GHANEM: Anything we needed really, regarding process, operations – anything. That whole process really proved that they listened to us and implemented things that made sense. The entire process of getting set up in Austin is and was very easy. To this day, it just amazes me that when something happens, I can always call anyone from operations to Kenny Hodges, the CEO, and discuss it. It’s a big company with big goals but still maintains that small-company feel where everyone’s opinion matters.

 

MICHAEL LANDERS: We were both just really impressed with all of the key people who were there that we met. It was a two-way street that made it really easy for us to open up the office here in Austin. We didn’t have to worry about office leases and printers – that sort of thing. They handled all of that very seamlessly and left the decisions of office location and space up to us. They trusted us to make a good decision and they were there to help us through it all.

Q: What do the next 5 or 10 years look like for Assurance Financial?

MICHAEL LANDERS: Honestly, if they just keep doing what they’re doing I think they’ll be in a really good place, growth-wise. The process is seamless, the people are great, and the tools are all there to help with closing and marketing. I wouldn’t change anything.

 

KIM GHANEM: I think Assurance Financial is going to have a more significant presence online. I think we can really bring the face-to-face, in-person on to a digital platform. We’re already working in that direction, but taking that same level of dedication and care involved in our process and infusing it into the digital space – I think we’re really going to grow in that respect, being where everyone is and helping them get to know us all better.

Q: Where are you from and how did you get to Assurance Financial?

MICHAEL LANDERS: I grew up in Colorado, where I got my Bachelor’s and MBA in finance, specializing in public transportation. I’ve always enjoyed the finance industry, so I started working at a bank, then public transit agencies and small businesses. Eventually, I moved to New Orleans, LA, then Austin, TX – that’s where I met Kim.

 

KIM GHANEM: I’ve actually been in Texas for about 37 years. Graduated from Lamar University in Beaumont where I met my wife. I got into the mortgage industry about 16 years ago, working as a broker for a firm, until I ended up working at the same place as Michael.

Q: You both worked at the same company in the same industry – how’d you end up at Assurance Financial?

MICHAEL LANDERS: Kim and I worked together for a few years, then switched companies and ended up at the same place about 3 years after that. Roughly 5 years went by and then, last March, we were approached by Assurance Financial. Kim actually started before me and then raved about it. He brought me into the Assurance Financial family so to speak.

 

KIM GHANEM: I was actually approached by an executive recruiter for a few companies; Assurance Financial was one of them. After I spoke to Paul Peters, I knew that was the way to go.

Q: How did you know it was the right decision?

KIM GHANEM: I really liked the culture; felt like it mixed well with mine. Michael and I spoke with Assurance Financial for many months, from everyone to Kenny Hodges, the CEO, to Scott Alexander, the Operations Manager. We met everyone and we were basically all on board from there. We had a lot of common ground, so we made the move, and here we are.

Q: What was the biggest draw to join?

KIM GHANEM: For me, specifically, I was looking for a more streamlined process and underwriting. I had been working in the industry for a while and was looking to operating with a one-kind-fits-all process that allows us to have more consistency in our work. I needed a system that lent itself to the way I wanted to market myself. Assurance Financial’s process, from A to Z, was really attractive paired with their culture. It was like a new adventure working for them, and everyone seemed to have a sense of urgency and passion for what they did. There seemed to be no wasted time – from the processor to the underwriter – it was all about closing on time with a customer-focused direction. In this industry, things can seem really separated, and I didn’t feel that with Assurance Financial.

 

MICHAEL LANDERS: I can piggyback off of that. I spent some time in Baton Rouge speaking to everyone and what impressed me the most is how knowledgeable everyone seemed. Everything seemed to run pretty smoothly and I just really enjoyed my time there. Another thing that stood out was how they were a large company, but it didn’t feel that way. It felt very close-knit like you weren’t just a cog in the wheels.

Q: How did Assurance Financial bring you both on board? What did they do to help you both out?

KIM GHANEM: Anything we needed really, regarding process, operations – anything. That whole process really proved that they listened to us and implemented things that made sense. The entire process of getting set up in Austin is and was very easy. To this day, it just amazes me that when something happens, I can always call anyone from operations to Kenny Hodges, the CEO, and discuss it. It’s a big company with big goals but still maintains that small-company feel where everyone’s opinion matters.

 

MICHAEL LANDERS: We were both just really impressed with all of the key people who were there that we met. It was a two-way street that made it really easy for us to open up the office here in Austin. We didn’t have to worry about office leases and printers – that sort of thing. They handled all of that very seamlessly and left the decisions of office location and space up to us. They trusted us to make a good decision and they were there to help us through it all.

Q: What do the next 5 or 10 years look like for Assurance Financial?

MICHAEL LANDERS: Honestly, if they just keep doing what they’re doing I think they’ll be in a really good place, growth-wise. The process is seamless, the people are great, and the tools are all there to help with closing and marketing. I wouldn’t change anything.

 

KIM GHANEM: I think Assurance Financial is going to have a more significant presence online. I think we can really bring the face-to-face, in-person on to a digital platform. We’re already working in that direction, but taking that same level of dedication and care involved in our process and infusing it into the digital space – I think we’re really going to grow in that respect, being where everyone is and helping them get to know us all better.

LIFE WITH ASSURANCE
SEE WHAT OUR LOAN OFFICERS AND BRANCH MANAGERS THINK!
There’s one thing in common among our loan officers and branch managers: they love working here.The opportunities. The compensation. The support. The products. The camaraderie. Working at Assurance Financial is second to none.

JAMIE TAYLOR

Senior Loan Officer, Baton Rouge, LA

“I’ve been here ten years, and I don’t even know what another company could say to recruit me away from Assurance. It’s a dream job in my opinion.”

ERIC KELLY

Branch Manager/Loan Officer, Birmingham, AL

“My job is to get business and not deal as much with the process. This ensures that my time isn’t tied down while the process is happening.”

SCOTT HINE

Branch Manager, Fredericksburg, VA

“I was looking for an environment where operations and sales understood that they were on the same team…I found that at Assurance Financial.”

TIM DUBNANSKY

Loan Officer, Baton Rouge, LA

“There is so much communication between management and operations; you feel you have co-workers who care about you and could be friends for life. There’s just not a lot of turnover either – both of these things are very rare in this industry.”

LIFE WITH ASSURANCE
SEE WHAT OUR LOAN OFFICERS AND BRANCH MANAGERS THINK!
There’s one thing in common among our loan officers and branch managers: they love working here. The opportunities. The compensation. The support. The products. The camaraderie. Working at Assurance Financial is second to none.

JAMIE TAYLOR

Senior Loan Officer, Baton Rouge, LA

“I’ve been here ten years, and I don’t even know what another company could say to recruit me away from Assurance. It’s a dream job in my opinion.”

ERIC KELLY

Branch Manager/Loan Officer, Birmingham, AL

“My job is to get business and not deal as much with the process. This ensures that my time isn’t tied down while the process is happening.”

SCOTT HINE

Branch Manager, Fredericksburg, VA

“I was looking for an environment where operations and sales understood that they were on the same team…I found that at Assurance Financial.”

TIM DUBNANSKY

Loan Officer, Baton Rouge, LA

“There is so much communication between management and operations; you feel you have co-workers who care about you and could be friends for life. There’s just not a lot of turnover either – both of these things are very rare in this industry.”