(IMB23) Winning with Purpose

(Casey Crawford speaks at MBA Independent Mortgage Bankers Conference & Expo.)

CORONADO, Calif.—Over his career, Casey Crawford has worn a lot of hats—a member of the 2003 Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers; entrepreneur; philanthropist; motivational speaker; and since 2008, founder and CEO of Movement Mortgage, Charlotte, N.C.

“These are tough times for us, but you are still here,” Crawford said here at the MBA Independent Mortgage Bankers Conference & Expo. “America needs you right now, and you are going to help lead us out of this. The pretenders are gone; the players are left.”

But mortgage lenders have a difficult relationship with the public, Crawford said. “It’s so important for us to communicate effectively with the American public, but we’re miscommunicating with the public in a way that’s making it difficult.”

Despite the mission of mortgage companies to help people into homeownership, Crawford said in many cases, the perception is just the opposite. “We need to find our purpose—our ‘why’—so that we can have a greater impact,” he said. “And that should not be our little secret—we all need to be ‘impact lenders,’ and we need to get our message out.”

Growing up, Crawford said his goal was to play in a Super Bowl. “And by age 24, I had done that,” he said. “And the day after we won, I started to think, ‘what’s next?’”

What’s next turned out to be retirement from football and, in 2007, entry into the mortgage market. “It was a weird time to get in the business,” he said. “Not long after I got into the mortgage industry, the Great Recession happened, and we played a major role in making that happen.”

Crawford realized that “impact lending” was an opportunity; he founded Movement Mortgage to create that impact. “Leading a life of impact is so significant that once you taste it, it changes you forever,” he said. “We are at an inflection point in which the entire nation is asking for more. We have to become the industry that people believe in most. We can do that; we need to do that.”

Crawford said bankers have the opportunity to increase wealth through homeownership and break down barriers to homeownership. “We are going to have to do that together,” he said. “This is our invitation; this is our opportunity to sell more than a rate and a product, but to have an impact on America.”