Claire Mahoney, Broker Co-Owner, Mortgage First Corporation

Claire Mahoney inherited the broker owner gene from her father and a shared passion for the housing industry. The ability to control her own destiny and future was also something that has greatly contributed to Mahoney’s interest in joining the wholesale mortgage channel. The past eight years have proven that she made the right decision in becoming a mortgage broker and with the Mortgage First Corporation continuing to provide top of the line service to consumers, the future is almost certainly bright.  

What interested you in starting a career in the mortgage industry? 

I’m a second-generation broker, so I watched my dad in the industry since I was a little girl. A few years after I graduated from college, I stepped back and realized how my dad’s career gave him so much more control over his life and his financial future than the path that I was on. I primarily wanted more control over my schedule and was intrigued by higher earning potential. I also knew that I was similar enough to my dad, that I figured if he could succeed at it, I could too!  

What’s a career highlight you’re most proud of? 

For myself, I doubled my personal production two years in a row in 2019 and 2020 while running my brokerage and being a wife and mom to six kids. For my business, in 2020, I completely revamped our loan processing to an assembly line style in order to position ourselves to scale. It’s been a learning curve but it has allowed us to handle significant volume growth, close loans faster, and positioned ourselves to continue on a trajectory of growth.  

What’s unique about your business? 

I own the brokerage with my dad and am gradually taking over as he moves toward retirement. Our business has been around since 1989 and five of our employees have been with us for 20 years or more. I have added people to our team who were green to the mortgage industry. While that can certainly bring a tension of working styles, it has ultimately created an incredible blend of old and new, where iron sharpens iron. There is always an experienced person around to help with tough scenarios. Alternatively, there are also fresh sets of eyes who are hungry to find better ways to wow our clients to uphold the reputation that we’ve earned over the last 32 years.  

Where do you turn for leadership advice? 

I started coaching with Khai McBride in 2020, and it has been incredibly helpful for focusing my time and resources, bouncing around ideas, getting motivated, and hearing from other high producers who have tried and true strategies for every issue under the sun.  

What is your business philosophy? 

Have clear goals for myself and my business in the short-term and the long term. Make sure all of my decisions aim toward those goals. Even if it takes baby steps to get to those long-term goals, I am playing the long game — I have to consider the future even with the short-term solutions to issues in the here and now.  

What are the biggest challenges facing mortgage brokers and what’s your advice for overcoming them? 

One of the biggest challenges that brokers face is how easy it is to feel like an island. There is no built-in corporate support, training program, or blueprint for how to run a brokerage, or even for how to be a successful new loan officer. It is critical to plug into broker communities like AIME and the Brokers Are Better Facebook group to find other brokers that have businesses like yours, as well as brokers that have businesses that you want yours to someday grow to be. Surround yourself with positive voices, veteran brokers, and even new brokers. My brokerage would not be what it is today without the wealth of knowledge I’ve gained from connecting with other brokers and broker owners over the last few years.  

If you could go back to your first day in the industry, what advice would you give yourself? 

Track everything — dial in where the ROI is and go after those things hard. Create and invest in systems for yourself sooner rather than later.