As president of American Financial Resources, Inc., Laura Brandao is the embodiment of “good things happen to good people,” especially when they have the determination to build what has become a nationally recognized specialty wholesale lending division in the midst of the Great Recession. “You can build a successful business and team by being true to yourself and being a good human. It was a great thing we were able to accomplish,” she shares.
Laura joined AFR in 2007 as director of operations. When many mortgage companies were shutting their doors, Laura saw opportunity in the specialized niche of wholesale and correspondent lending, focusing primarily on construction and permanent one-time-close loans, and renovation loans. The division took off quickly, and AFR is now the fifth-largest manufactured home lender in the country. Having ascended to the role of president, she is now responsible for the company’s sales, strategy, culture, and day-to-day operations.
Laura is a humble leader with a genuine affinity for her clients and her team. “My position makes me no different than any other position. Every role is vital, every position is important, and every process is valuable. We have to be there to educate our clients, support them, and be there for them; and make sure we serve our clients to the best of our ability, because taking care of their families, takes care of my family,” she shares.
As a manager, Laura stays connected to her team, many of whom work remotely. “In 2018-2019, the financial sector was struggling. My VP said, ‘If they could see you or hear you, because you’re always so happy, everyone would know that everything is just great.’” The next day, Laura made it her mission to boost their spirits with daily video messages, which continue to this day.
She is also dedicated to empowering other women, and works with a number of women’s groups, both in and outside her industry. In fact, Laura has been spearheading the launch of the Women’s Mortgage Network since its inception, as part of AIME, the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts. She is also scheduled to moderate the first ever women’s event for the Mortgage Bankers Association of NJ.
“I decided a few years ago that I want anyone I come into contact with to feel better after talking to me. It’s free! If I can make someone happy for a moment, it is my gift.”
President — American Financial Resources, Inc.
9 Sylvan Way, Parsippany, NJ 07054
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