Sharon Mistowski, Director of Business Development at Horizon Lending Services, found her sweet spot in the mortgage industry through her passion for service and love for people.
After giving it their best shot as mortgage bankers but feeling unfulfilled in their endeavors, Mistowski and her late husband founded Horizon Lending Services, a small broker shop based in Flint, Texas, in 2012. They knew they could offer better service than what they saw being provided elsewhere. Together they opened and operated three branches.
When her husband passed, she decided it was in the company’s best interest to downsize to one main branch. Horizon Lending Services now works with Fortune 500 companies and partners with numerous industry boards, which has inspired Mistowski to reconsider opening another branch to empower others to take ownership and find ways to improve the company’s service.
Navigating the Changing Industry Landscape
Since 2012, Mistowski has overcome her fair share of challenges, including shakeups resulting from industry and consumer shifts during the pandemic. The combined burden of student loan debt and unemployment created a conundrum for the lending industry. Feeling there was little she could do to help, Mistowski joined an industry advisory board to work with individuals seeking guidance navigating regulatory modifications.
How did Horizon Lending Services grow during the pandemic? Mistowski saw an opportunity in refinancing and ran with it; many of Horizon Lending Services’ customers are repeat clients. Mistowski credits this to her team’s dedication to customer service.
“The low-hanging fruit is no longer available. If you come from a place of integrity, people will trust you and stick with you.”
The Challenges and Rewards of Starting a Business
Throughout her career Mistowski has seen the ups and downs of the lending industry and ultimately struck the right balance of passion and grit. Mistowski says her 25-year-career in all aspects of lending enabled her to create long-lasting relationships not just in the industry but also in her community.
Mistowski considers her dedication to helping others to be the most rewarding work in an industry she says doesn’t always have the best reputation for its service. Her mission is to set Horizon Lending Services apart through its dedication and passion for helping others.
“Mortgages and credit is our business,” she says. “Changing people’s lives is our passion.”
Advice for Mortgage Entrepreneurs
Mistowski overcame the lending industry’s reputation for “lousy communication” by dedicating long after-work hours to her clients. She often works from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and makes herself available to clients via phone until 9 p.m. She encourages those looking to enter the industry to be prepared to work after standard hours and have a solid support system at work and at home.
“You have to be in it for the right reasons.”
The business has also adopted two key software packages to maximize their workflows: Floify, which improved the team’s productivity by integrating applications and documents into their systems, and Tabrasa, which offers the team fresh mortgage industry insights.
Horizon Lending Services and SuretyBonds.com
Mistowski found SuretyBonds.com when pursuing her mortgage license with the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) where obtaining a surety bond is a licensing requirement. Mistowski was not familiar with the bonding process before getting licensed, so she searched Google for bond services and contacted multiple providers.
After speaking with the SuretyBonds.com team, Mistowski was impressed by how easy, fast, and friendly their service was. She felt comfortable talking with the company’s representatives and did not feel taken advantage of like she did with other bond providers.
“Regulation in this industry is unnecessarily complicated, and SuretyBonds.com helped take off some of the added stress.”
Horizon Lending Services is currently licensed in Arkansas, California, and Texas and anticipates expanding their licensing to Missouri and Oklahoma soon. Mistowski says she’ll look no further than SuretyBonds.com for all of her bonding needs.