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As Chief Mortgage Advisor and President of Core Mortgage, Johnny Mateo brings much more than an entrepreneurial spirit and a penchant for delivering results to the mortgage industry. His clients and referral partners call him a “miracle worker,” whose team of professionals provide attentive service and continuously close the hardest transactions. It’s no surprise, then, that more than 98% of Johnny’s and Core Mortgage’s business comes from referrals. “It’s split 50-50 between real estate agents and past clients,” says Johnny, noting that agents appreciate his innovative approaches and clients value the low rates he finds them while educating them along the way.
As a correspondent lender, Core Mortgage has three brokerages, with its flagship branch located near Penn State University, plus one in Lock Haven, PA, and another in West Virginia. Johnny notes that business has grown organically. “I’m licensed in states where I spend time, like Delaware,” he says, mentioning his beach home on Rehoboth Beach, a dream he achieved after years of hard work. “I grew up in the Dominican Republic,” he says. “Being on or near the water is part of me.”
Johnny’s path to success in mortgages since 2002 has taken place with a great determination. He spent the early years of his career in the hospitality industry, beginning during college, and learned how much he enjoyed giving and serving others. “But anyone who’s worked in the restaurant industry knows it sucks the life out of you,” he says. After leaving that world, he spent a couple of years day-trading until the 2001 internet bubble. Then, five days after running into someone he knew when he stopped into a mortgage office one day, Johnny’s new path was paved. “Mortgages encompassed the things I was good at,” he says. “I was good at sales and I went to college for finance, which is also related.” Within six months, Johnny became a branch manager of that successful mortgage company and in 2014, he founded Core Mortgage.
Core Mortgage’s strong communication is deeply ingrained in all the company does and gets high marks from agents and borrowers. Not only does every loan officer commit to having their laptops available seven days a week for preapprovals, but they pride themselves on keeping everyone informed. “I’m a big tech guy, so Core has lots of technology for a small company.” Among those tech tools is Core’s CRM, which Johnny leverages to keep everyone, including the borrower and both agents, up-to-date on happenings with a loan before they ask. tech. “They get a constant flow of information every time something happens, from ordering the appraisal to the appraisal coming back to the loan going into process and so forth.” He’s even worked in video, which gets rave reviews. “For example, when the loan goes into process, the borrower gets a video of what is actually going to happen now, with clear, succinct explanations.”
His processes are so strong, in fact, that Johnny has no real reason to market his business beyond doing great work for borrowers and continuing to be dependable and closing on-time for agents. “They know they will get to close on time with no hassles, that they’ll know where we are in the transaction and that there won’t be anxiety,” he says. In the end, Johnny enjoys how happy people are at the closing table before moving into their new home. “I love saving people a bunch of money; we’re big on our low interest rates, due to the amount of volume we do.” And nothing is better than when clients tell their friends, and Johnny and team receive feedback about how well they treated people.
Passion for the industry has helped Johnny and countless borrowers and agents find success. And that passion is also fueling steady growth of Core Mortgage. While looking to add more loan offices and expand to new states, Johnny also enjoys educating real estate agents. “I love showing how agents can use mortgage professionals to build their business.” Key to success for Johnny is that he exudes passion, curiosity and interest in everyone and every new situation he encounters.