From Livonia, MI — 09/25/2008
I've been with Quicken Loans for just shy of five years. I do not work in Mortgage Banking, but I do have friends who are bankers, so I think I have a sense of what that side of the business is like as well.
Overall, I would say that despite a handful of complaints (and some of them may be legitimate) Quicken Loans is still an excellent place to work.
In general, I've found that people consistently treat each other with respect, the level of talent in the organization is extremely high (and admired widely outside the organization -- especially in the marketing, operations and technology areas) and most people seem to genuinely enjoy coming to work each day.
The past year, with all of the changes in the mortgage market, has certainly shook people up some. However, in comparison to almost every other mortgage company out there, Quicken Loans has managed to stay alive and carry on. There is very little of the "bunker mentality" that I've seen in other organizations that are caught in a market down-turn. Most people I encounter are optimistic, positive and think we'll make it through.
Again, I can't speak in depth to the Mortgage Banking side of things. That is a tough job, period. Some people just aren't cut out for it. Others seem to thrive on it. This is not unique to Quicken Loans. Most companies in nearly every industry are carried by their top 20 percent producers -- the "Eagles" as they are known. These are people who just have a knack for building rapport and getting the deal done. These people manage to remain successful at Quicken Loans, even as rates rise, property values decrease and guidelines tighten. It's not always easy for them, but they still manage to do it.
In other cases, some people are great at building rapport, but just can't finish it up. You kind of need both. In many cases, Quicken Loans has found other homes for these people within the organization. The company is filled with former mortgage bankers who had great attitudes, but maybe just weren't cut out for mortgage banking. So they do other things that are a better fit. In some cases, they leave, which is just part of finding what is right for you. Most go on to great things, and some others, unfortunately, dwell on the past.
In terms of the culture at Quicken Loans, saying it is "demanding" is probably an understatement. Expectations ARE high. If you think you are going to hide out in a cube, this won't be the place for you. You'll be pushed, prodded and challenged. The founder, Dan Gilbert, makes this pretty clear at each orientation he gives each new group of hires. It's actually quite remarkable that the Chairman of the company spends an entire day with every new hire group to outline the company philosophy and expectations. This is not common in most companies -- even those that are a third the size of Quicken Loans. To truly appreciate this, you need to have worked in a place where no one ever saw the CEO or chairman of the company -- maybe someplace like Ford or GM.
You will be expected to check voicemail and email regularly (and yes, that may include the evenings), but when you are in a customer-service type business that's just par for the course. Without our clients, we'd have no revenue, so returning calls and responsiveness is critical.
I was actually amazed when I joined to learn that the company had a "return all phone calls the same day" policy. In most companies, people hide behind email and voicemail with zero accountability. Here, you won't be able to do that. You either accept that or you don't. And if you don't, you'll have problems surviving.
The benefits here are very competitive, although as some people have pointed out, they have pared back a bit this year in response to the market. But then again, so has corporate travel, some of the superficial perks and some of the "free lunches" and dinners that we had before the market meltdown. I would be much more concerned if we weren't doing these things. It's fiscally responsible, and it's probably one of the reasons that Quicken Loans has managed to survive so far, without having to resort to the massive layoffs of other companies like Countrywide.
Compenstation/Growth: In terms of compensation, Quicken Loans certainly isn't a place where you are going to get rich ... at least not in the short term. But the company has been very generous when it could, and it definitely rewards performance over the long-term. The opportunities for professional and financial growth are very good and even when people come in on the low-end of their pay scale compared to other companies, they generally will catch up fairly quickly once they've proven themselves. People typically work here because they get a lot of freedom and autonomy, not because of the money ... even though that eventually comes.
Diversity: Quicken Loans is not the first place I've worked, and in comparison to other places, I would consider Quicken Loans to be one of the most diverse workplaces I've seen. There have been women in executive roles (remember Tammy Z, anyone?) and there are African-Americans and women in leadership roles within the company, as well as other races and ethnicities. The thing to understand is that a lot of decision making-power across the company is shifted-downward to team leaders and RVPs, so looking at the hierarchy alone is misleading. Titles alone don't really reflect the amount of influence people have on a daily basis. I can't speak to the dynamics in smaller, individual teams, but I've never seen race, gender or ethnicity hold someone back here overall.
Any company large or small will always have it's unhappy people and detractors. The larger you become, the more there will be, even in the best run organizations. Overall, I would say this is still an excellent place to work. It's not for everyone, but if you've been in place where you were disembowled by clueless executives, you'll truly appreciate it here.