Rob Posner, CEO NewDay USA
Rob Posner, CEO NewDay USA
Rob founded NewDay USA to serve veterans and their families by helping them achieve financial stability and fulfill the dream of home ownership. He is a serial entrepreneur, starting his first company while in college at the University of Maryland. Rob is the driving force behind NewDay’s information technology and analytics strategy, as well as its training and development capabilities delivered though NewDay USA University.
NewDay USA is growing quickly, hiring around 300 people a year. What advice do you have for managing the selection process of a growing company?
In my view selection is everything. We put a tremendous focus on selection because NewDay can’t be successful unless every member of the team–from the person who first reaches out to the veteran to the person who calls to congratulate them on closing–is 100% invested in giving the customer the best product and service possible. The mortgage industry is complicated. Did you know that the average age of a mortgage underwriter in this country is over 50 and there are not nearly enough to serve the growing market? We train our underwriters. In fact, our goal is to train not only our underwriters, but also the next generation of underwriters servicing America. Customer-facing positions also require years of training. Our associates have to understand every aspect of the process before they can help others. It takes about three years to train young men and young women to work in the mortgage industry and it’s a huge investment so we have to be very careful about who we bring in. One way we do this by looking for high achievers—young men and women who work while in college and take on leadership positions in sports and clubs. Another way we do it is though our college internship program where we provide leadership training and introduce potential recruits to the NewDay culture. And, this is really important, senior leadership still carries out the final interviews for every person that joins NewDay USA. Our Executive Chairman Admiral Lynch (US Navy, ret.) meets every person we bring in. This is all incredibly time consuming and expensive but we know that if we invest the time up front we’ll continue to build a winning team.
Given that unemployment is low, most college grads have pretty good prospects for finding a job. What would you tell students who are considering their first job?
Selection works both ways. This is really important. You need to know what a company going to invest in you. Your first job coming out of school is hard. There is a lot to learn and if you want to excel you are going to work lots of hours before you grasp your role and contribute to the company’s success. What does that company invest in training you to give you the absolutely best chance for success? Do they encourage team-based collaboration? What is the path for leadership and being able to ask for responsibility? In the military, young men and women often take on incredibly difficult leadership challenges at young ages. You want to be really clear about the culture of the company and especially about the culture of its leadership. Along with Admiral Lynch, one of my most important jobs as CEO is to make sure that our culture exemplifies ship, shipmate, self –that means that our priority is to make sure every teammate at NewDay is in an environment that supports success, that we are paying close attention to one another’s needs and helping one another out, and that we constantly engage in self-reflection and awareness. And, yes, that absolutely means taking vacations and breaks. We have to take good care of ourselves to take good care of others.
Growing companies such as NewDay have a tremendously beneficial impact on the local and state economy. What is a current challenge you see regarding the growth of the mortgage industry?
America is the greatest country in the world and part of its greatness comes from diversity. We have people from over 50 countries working at New Day. The vast majority of immigrants contribute so much to America through their grit, talent, and focus on building a good life for themselves and their families. Immigrants are huge homebuyers. Over 50% of people born outside this county own homes and it’s growing every year. One great moment for NewDay was working with Nassim, an Afghani-born American who joined the US Army. Nassim is a proud veteran and NewDay had the honor of helping him buy a home. Seeing his joy the day he closed was tremendously moving and rewarding for me and for everyone in this company. We want to be very careful about becoming isolated from the world and restricting immigration, not just because it’s good for the health of the mortgage industry. Diversity has always been America’s competitive advantage and is fundamental to our success as the most entrepreneurial and innovative county in the world.