Craig Ungaro successfully worked his way up at AnnieMac Home Mortgage, from a compliance officer to a vice president, to his current role as a chief operating officer.
Annie Mac is one of the one of the fastest-growing home lenders in the nation and offers a diverse range of mortgage products, including conventional, government, and non-conforming. All of the processing and underwriting services are completed in-house, which results in quick transactions and exceptional customer service.
Craig joined AnnieMac in 2005, shortly after graduating from Temple University with a BA in finance. He began his career in sales, working as a mortgage consultant but soon moved into a role as a compliance analyst, where he oversaw all activities for the retail platform of the residential mortgage lending division.
At the age of 31, Craig was named executive vice president of operations. In this role, he would leverage his compliance background to design workflows that ensure service levels would remain consistent, even after several new regulations were levied as a result of the 2009 Credit Crisis. To some, it was a surprise to see Craig offered this prominent role at such a young age, considering he had “no operations experience.” However, it proved to be an insightful decision by CEO, Joseph Panebianco. Not surprisingly, just a few years later, Craig was named COO, which added the elements of technology, vendor administration, and project management to his responsibilities. Craig elaborates, “At the time, there were definitely some people who didn’t understand the move or felt they were marginalized because they would now report to me but my approach to leadership has always been ‘to serve.’ With time, the employees experience this style of servant leadership and see that the organization’s goals remain the focus. Then, everything falls in place.”
Under Craig’s leadership, AnnieMac is developing innovative technological solutions that will improve efficiency, such as artificial intelligence that will help to transition from a document-based environment to a data driven organization. Craig believes that the true test of a mortgage lender is how well technology is leveraged to enhance the customer experience, while driving down the cost to originate. He adds, “Currently, the cost to originate is increasing but the customer experience hasn’t improved. Most lenders are focused on the wrong metrics to define customer experience. They are evaluating the speed of the application process, but we believe the customer deserves more than a mobile app and a quick decision.”
Craig believes that another part of AnnieMac’s success is their corporate culture. He is the chairman of the committee that organizes humanitarian efforts and employee activities, as well as their own charity, Freedom Service Dogs of America. FSD trains shelter dogs to be emotional support animals for veterans and other individuals in need. The team also volunteers at Cathedral Kitchen, in Camden NJ, once a month.
AnnieMac Home Mortgage has been formally recognized with the Smart CEO Corporate Culture Award and named among the Top 100 Mortgage Companies in America, the Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies, and The Best Workplace For Millennials. Craig himself, was named as one of the Top 40 Mortgage Professionals to Watch by National Mortgage Professional Magazine.
Chief Operating Officer
AnnieMac Home Mortgage
700 East Gate Drive, Suite 400
Mount Laurel, New Jersey 08054