Amplify Stories is an ongoing series that highlights some of the fantastic people behind the scenes at Amplify Credit Union.
This month we’re showcasing Kristin Keller, VP of Real Estate Lending. Amplify has set multiple historical records for mortgage lending this year, and with the strength of our Real Estate team, we’re looking forward to many more!
Kristin Keller’s career in mortgage spans an impressive 27 years. She has worked her way through every role and aspect of real estate lending, including many senior management roles: VP of Risk Management, VP of Real Estate Operations, and her current position as VP of Real Estate Lending for Amplify, to name a few. “Kristin is a great leader and a mortgage guru. Her real-world experience working in several operations roles really makes her exceptional,” said Yazmin Palacios, AVP of Real Estate Operations.
Kristin’s experience within the mortgage lending world drives her to support and uplift her team. Barbara Santner, Underwriting Manager for Amplify, said “Kristin has experience with nearly every phase of mortgage banking, so she understands what everyone is going through at any given time. It makes her a better, more compassionate manager. She jumps in and helps when needed, and that makes everyone want to work even harder for her.”
It’s this real-world experience that has led Kristin to build the exceptional real estate team we have today. Along with her commitment to problem-solving and critical analysis, her skills and in-depth understanding of real estate lending, operations, and risk management are invaluable. We spoke with Kristin about her career and her experience with Amplify.
Why did you choose your profession?
I kind of fell into real estate. I was working in retail as a regional customer service coordinator/floating manager and my father was refinancing a property he had. The company he was working with needed a receptionist/junior processor. He told me I should apply, and I did.
Describe your career journey.
I have performed all duties related to property financing, from origination through final documents and interim servicing. One of my favorite jobs was being the assistant to our EVP of Real Estate Production and getting to travel. This is how I got into an operations manager role, which eventually led me to underwriting, regional management, and on from there!
What made you choose Amplify Credit Union?
I was living in Florida and my parents had retired to the Austin area. They had been out of the country for most of my adult life and had really wanted to have their kids nearby. I saw the job posting for Amplify and knew it would be the perfect fit, and applied that day.
What do you love most about what you do?
As corny as it sounds, I like helping our members achieve their “American dream” of homeownership and helping others better their financial positions through refinancing, etc. It’s been something I have been passionate about for many years.
Tell us about a professional success here at Amplify that you’re proud of.
When I started at Amplify, I was employee number 12 (I think) in the mortgage department. We have grown to almost 60 employees now. The team is amazing and one of the best that I have worked with.
What do you think is the key for success in a role like yours?
Perseverance and determination to be the best I can be.
“Don’t be afraid to speak up.”
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t be afraid to speak up. Follow your effort. Be willing to go outside of your comfort zone.
Have you encountered any unique situations during your career in real estate?
Actually, a lot of my experience has included unique or very specific lending situations. I’ve spent a lot of time working with new products and emerging markets, including low-to-moderate income borrowers, non-permanent resident and foreign borrower programs, Sharia-compliant home loans, and high-end portfolio lending. All of these experiences have strengthened my ability to think outside of the box and find creative solutions.
What are some of your big wins as a real estate team this year?
We have produced record-setting volume this year, and the team has done a great job of staying on top of the growing pipeline. It’s been amazing to watch everything come together.
Is there a core value that your team is built around?
Teamwork – teamwork makes the dream work!
How do you choose the loan originators on your team?
1) Cultural fit 2) Motivation 3) Industry knowledge
Why would someone choose Amplify, versus another lender?
We are more nimble than other lenders. We care about doing the right thing for our members and borrowers, and we don’t price gouge our borrowers.
We’re constantly analyzing our products and services so we can serve our members better. We’re data nerds! We’re listening to our community, and we’re adapting to changes in the world around us.
Future-Focused and Growing
As we continue to grow as a financial institution, we’re staying focused on the future, constantly looking for better ways to serve our community. As Kristin said above, we care about doing the right thing—for all of our members.
We can’t wait to see what’s next for Amplify. Whether you’re a business partner, one of our members, or someone looking for a new credit union—we’re here for you.