Andres Munar and Megan E. Marsh
Always willing to go the extra mile for clients, mortgage specialist Andres Munar finds joy in helping people achieve their dreams of home ownership. Throughout his 20-year career in customer service—including 14 in the mortgage industry—the multimillion-dollar producer has consistently generated extraordinary results. In addition to being named an Originator of the Year finalist, a Top 100 Originator, and a Lighthouse Award winner, Andres has been listed among the Top 100 in Real Estate, the Top 20 Mortgage Professionals in 2020, the 40 Most Influential Mortgage Professionals Under 40, the 50 Most Connected Mortgage Professionals, Foremost Under 40, and the Top 100 People.
A real estate investor and entrepreneur, Megan E. Marsh boasts a distinguished 16-year career in the mortgage and finance industry. After earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business and accounting from The University of Connecticut, she began her career working for Ernst & Young in Manhattan. Since her very first year, Megan has been a consistent multimillion-dollar and top-producing mortgage loan originator. In 2020, she was named an Entrepreneur of Impact by The HatchTribe and listed among the Women Worth Watching by The Diversity Journal. Megan is also a contributing author and has been published in Nextdoor and Scotsman Guide.
In July 2016, Andres and Megan co-founded Keystone Alliance—a privately owned, multimillion-dollar mortgage broker company based in PA with offices in Erie, Meadville, Harrisburg, and State College. Named a Top 100 Organization, Keystone Alliance is Military Mortgage Boot Camp certified and specializes in serving self-employed business owners, investors, and other underserved buyers who have been turned down by previous lenders. In an industry that requires no advanced education, both founders and the entire leadership team hold either undergraduate or master’s degrees. Since its inception, the team has doubled in size, and the company has expanded into additional markets that include FL, OH, IL, and Puerto Rico. While Keystone Alliance offers a multitude of mortgage loans, including FHA, VA, USDA, conventional, renovation and more, its sister division, Keystone Alliance Capital, provides loans for the commercial industry.
In August 2020, Andres and Megan co-founded The CoLab Podcast—a step-by-step program designed to help the real estate and broker community avoid mistakes and reach success. Within its first nine episodes, CoLab was named one of the Top 25 Entrepreneur Podcasts and had more than 500 downloads. We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Andres and Megan to learn more about Keystone Alliance, CoLab, and their newest project—the Mortgage Broker Fast Track.
What led you to start Keystone Alliance?
Andres: I wanted to create a safe space where people could succeed without feeling forced or compelled to fit into a gender-based, cultural, or aesthetic mold that so many businesses pre-define as “successful people.” I’ve worked for employers who never invested in me, so I wanted to create a mortgage company where people could have a voice and be themselves without feeling micromanaged. We value diversity within our staff, and we want to be able to provide resources, tools, and opportunities to help everyone succeed.
How is Keystone different from other mortgage companies?
Megan: We are a mortgage broker, which is different from a mortgage bank, retail lender, or traditional bank with checking and savings accounts. Those banks pick the programs they offer as well as the rules they put into place to protect themselves. As a mortgage broker, we choose the best lenders for our clients. Instead of making rules to protect ourselves, our objective is to help clients work around the rules, so they can find the best options available for buying their dream homes.
You just recently opened your newest location in Puerto Rico, and the response has been staggering. Tell us about this.
Andres: We opened in fall of 2020 as one of only two mortgage brokers serving the millions of residents in Puerto Rico. Originally, I hadn’t considered opening a location on the island, but I received so many requests, it became evident that there was a huge need. As soon as we opened shop, people started blowing through our doors, and we’re now starting to hire local staff. It’s been great to give back to people who have been through so much—hurricanes, earthquakes, and more. We saw this as an opportunity to contribute to homeownership and to the building of generational wealth so that more families can envision themselves owning a home one day. I love Puerto Rico—it’s given me a second chance at life.
What was the inspiration behind founding CoLab?
Megan: The Collaborating Community, or CoLab, is a brand we created for entrepreneurs and small business owners who want more out of life than to be chained to a business—those who are looking for support as well as ways to grow and scale. We wanted to try something new, so The CoLab Podcast came about as a way for us to connect to people going through the same challenges we have faced and continue to face. It also enables us to offer value to others—such as W2preneurs, freelancers, solopreneurs, and small business owners—who are looking to build a team and business beyond themselves. We discuss topics such as team building, financial literacy for business owners hiring, and the onboarding process.
Let’s end with the program you currently have in the works. Tell us a bit about the Mortgage Broker Fast Track.
Megan: It’s a combination of an online educational portal, one-on-one guidance, and group coaching. We used the resources and checklists we’ve accumulated over the past 15 years to develop the primary course. It consists of a 90-day roadmap that covers the steps of launching a brokerage without making a lot of mistakes. Participants also have the option to enroll in nine additional months to learn how to run a business effectively, profitably, and productively. The Fast Track will be especially beneficial to loan officers who have never worked for or with a brokerage. Those who join us will transition faster, put more loans in their pipeline, and be confident in their decision to run their own business.
We see new broker owners making mistakes that cost them hours of their time and thousands of dollars. Some are even forced to turn away buyers because they failed to complete a step or because they didn’t have the right lenders set up. FastTrack members won’t make these mistakes, nor will they spend time on things that don’t return value to their business. This is a great industry, but in order for the younger generation to succeed, they need to be trained by someone who knows what they’re doing. That’s us! We’re here for our clients and for our fellow brokers.
Andres J. Munar and Megan E. Marsh
Keystone Alliance Mortgage