Helping homebuyers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Florida find the right mortgages
Jonathan Kraus is the president of Philadelphia Mortgage Advisors. For over a decade, Philadelphia Mortgage Advisors has provided mortgage financing, processing, underwriting, and closing for homebuyers throughout the Delaware Valley, South Jersey, and Delaware. Through a trilateral focus on rates, service, and advice, the company secures the best possible terms for every client.
EDWIN WARFIELD: How did you get your start in the mortgage industry?
JONATHAN KRAUS: I knew a long time ago that I wanted to be self-employed and own my own business or run my own business. Way back when, in the 1990s, I worked for a big national company. Going through some economic cycles with them—I actually had a boss that worked for me who I really looked up to, and he wound up losing his job when basically corporate America was cutting out that layer of management. I saw him struggle to find another job and I said, “You know what? I’m never going to get myself in that situation. I’m going to run my own company.” And I thought I could do it better. I’ve always had the vision to control my own destiny and to own a mortgage company, and to do it the way I thought was the right way to do it.
Q. You started the company in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis. How were you able to stay alive and keep growing through that?
A. While we were lucky to be able to start the company with a core group of very talented, very smart mortgage people. Basically, day one, it was Jill Quinn and myself—she’s the EVP of operations—and we were able to bring in key underwriters and some key salespeople. We started a modest office space in Plymouth Meeting—about 2,400 square feet, and we’ve grown that to almost 10,000 square feet toda—but just slow steady growth. The mortgage market, with financial crisis, imploded in 2008, so we were kind of starting the company at the best of times and the worst of times. The worst of times being that the real estate market was declining, but a lot of mortgage companies that were in business in ‘07 and ‘08 were in a lot of trouble for all the loans they had made in the previous three or five years. They were struggling with their legacy loans, where we had no legacy problems, where we were just looking forward. We were just dealing with the future, we didn’t have to deal with the past, so that was fortunate. The business changed rapidly, but since we were a new company, we were able to change quickly with it. We were nimble enough, we were small enough, to be able to keep up with the compliance and keep up with all the regulatory changes such as Dodd–Frank, the SAFE Act, all the new guidelines and oversight that they put in in the industry to try and make sure that that didn’t happen again.
We also were fortunate that we took on a partner, Fox Chase Bank, early on, and they were a wonderful partner for us for several years until their recent sale. Now, we are completely independent company with no bank partner.
You know, slow and steady growth. We stayed within our boundary. We didn’t try and do too much: just very focused on our market in Philadelphia, the Delaware Valley, South Jersey—which are still really the markets we serve today. We want to know our customer, we want to know our real estate, and just focus on what we do well, which is doing mortgages and doing them well.
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