Born and raised in Cleveland, Keith Abramo has spent his entire decade-long career serving his communities and neighbors as a loan officer, a leader, a friend, and a mentor. As a mortgage professional, he’s watched families grow, retire, flourish, relocate and return again to the town they call home—and he’s been with them through it all. Today, as the Cleveland market director for Union Savings Bank, it is precisely his unique brand of Midwestern attitude that is attracting a growing number of his hometown residents to USB’s inaugural Cleveland branch. And this is only the beginning.
Keith joined USB in March 2022 to establish and expand UBS’s well-known “care factor” across multiple Cleveland locations over the next few years. He brings with him nine years of experience as Rocket Mortgage’s former director of banking. He brings with him the insight of a leader who’s overseen nearly $3 billion in transactions and built award-winning, top-producing teams. Keith, himself, received recognition as a “top producer” for originating roughly $300 million in loans during his time as a loan originator. To his team of loan officers, he’s a teacher, coach, and mentor committed to maximizing their growth and potential. At the same time, he maintains personal and professional relationships to create the ultimate culture of success and supports USB’s nearly 120-year reputation as a community anchor that puts people first—both their clients and employees.
Founded in 1904, USB has been serving local communities by promoting responsible home ownership through prudent, personalized, and flexible lending. “By getting to personally know our clients, we’re able to meet, and often exceed, their financial goals and expectations when it comes to home lending,” Keith shares. “Our client service is priority number one, and we make sure our employees have an extremely high ‘care factor.’”
We spoke with Keith to learn more about his role and how USB’s "care factor” is transforming the idea of customer service from ordinary to extraordinary.
Let’s start with you, Keith. What are the most essential traits of a good leader and how do you embody them at USB?
You have to be a servant leader, doing whatever you can for your people and caring for them personally and professionally. No job is too small. It all comes down to a culture that instills trust, camaraderie, and the “we’re in this together” type of approach. Goes without saying but you also have to have fun! Compared to the rest of the industry, we have a high rate of employee retention because we not only nurture our clients, but every person on our team.
The “care factor” is a pillar of USB and one that differentiates it from other banks. What does this mean to you and to your clients?
Our clients are not faceless, nameless numbers or just another loan closed. They’re part of our extended Cleveland family, and we take care of them like our own. Empathy is crucial, especially from a financial standpoint. Not everyone is in situation they want to be in, and we’re here to help. Integrity and communication are essential, as is accountability, so that clients understand the process, and trust it. The biggest complaint people have about the loan process in general is the numbers changing or poor communication. Without those, the loan is going to fall through. We truly provide a personal touch. We give our cell phone numbers and meet clients in person. We don’t leave them on their own to fill out forms and get lost in a sea of red tape. We spend time to make sure they qualify so they know for certain the home they can get.
That “care factor” has been an important value throughout your own career, too. Tell us about this.
Yes, it has, and this is what drew me to USB, that we share this value. Some of my clients I’ve worked with for years, helping them with multiple home loans as their family expands, they relocate, buy their first homes, second homes, vacation homes, and downsize when they retire. I’ve seen just about every aspect of evolution, and I’ve been a part of their journey the entire way. While I continue to keep myself available to work with clients, my main focus is on helping my team grow personally and professionally so that they can help our clients achieve their goals.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
What I enjoy most is knowing that I’m having an impact for individual families as well as communities. When people buy a home, and they send a picture of them standing in front of it, that I’m a part of such a significant moment really motivates me. I’ve had great mentors, and I’m beyond grateful and humbled for the opportunities this path has provided me.
Director of Banking — Union Savings Bank
LinkedIn: Keith Abramo