From the desk of Apex CEO, Craig Strent
I remember Apex Home Loans’ humble beginnings in Greenbelt, MD. Our office was in a narrow hallway, our desks surrounded by filing cabinets and office supplies. I had just left my job at a mortgage company, along with my friend and co-worker, Eric Gates, to start Apex Home Loans. Stewart Zemil and Mike Parsons, who would later become Apex partners, were operating Nationwide Mortgage out of a loft area in a Gaithersburg condo. It was a risk, but we started this company because we believed that together we could create a lending institution with a strong foundation, better process, and remarkable customer experiences. Since our beginnings, our goals haven’t changed, but our size and strategy certainly have.
Today, Apex Home Loans announces the launch of our Northern VA branch, our sixth location. This is a momentous step forward for our company, and it is emblematic of a larger trend. Apex’s growth has progressed at a cautious, but high rate. In the last two years, our branch locations have doubled. Since 2014, our staff has grown 41 percent. Our services are becoming more accessible, our process more refined, and our community involvement more frequent and organized. Through it all, one theme has remained constant: our commitment to continuous improvement.
The launch of our Northern Virginia branch is an important stride in our company’s commitment to improvement. Located in Herndon, VA, this new Apex site will allow us to create a better process for our Virginia borrowers, expand our network, and bring on exceptional industry leaders. Jennifer Du Plessis, a nationally-renowned mortgage originator, speaker, and trainer will be joining Apex to lead the origination initiatives in the region. Brian Du Plessis, a seasoned mortgage banker in his own right, will join Apex as the branch’s manager. As a whole, the Du Plessis’ bring to our company deep relationships with the community, a wealth of expertise, and I believe their impact will reach beyond the confines of Virginia and improve our company at large.
In the spirit of improvement, I often cite one important theme when speaking to Apex employees at our annual roadmap meetings. Kaizen, the Japanese principle of changing for the better, is a pillar of the Apex business model. We want our customers to look at our company at any point in the ever-changing lending environment and say to themselves, “that’s the best place to get my mortgage.” Part of this effort revolves around adapting to changes in the industry, and part of it hinges upon leading the industry by innovating.
Our growth and the acquisition of exceptional talent is just one part of our efforts to change for the better. Perhaps at the forefront of our efforts innovate is our relentless pursuit of a better borrowing experience, an effort led by our new Chief eXperience Officer (CXO) Steve Dorfman. Steve is truly disrupting the status quo in what customers have come to expect from the mortgage process by finding ways to inspire even more delight, engagement and loyalty through the Apex journey. Where our focus was once on how willing our customers were to recommend our services based on their experiences, we are now aiming our attention at customers’ complete voice through every stage of their interactions with us on personal, technological, and business levels. Our goal isn’t to keep doing things right, but to do them better.
In sum, from our humble beginnings, Apex has come a long way: we are now the largest independent mortgage banker headquartered in Montgomery County—but our quest for continuous improvement isn’t ending as we grow.