The Vision Magazine - Power of Wisdom
Written by Leora Ruzin
There are many in the mortgage industry who consider their businesses to be a family affair. The power of family is so prevalent in mortgage, even the professional mortgage organizations embrace the culture of family and work side by side with family members. Family is integral to the story of David Muñoz, broker-owner at Home Lenders of Georgia. David’s upbringing was not exactly traditional, and it is because of this he welcomes family in his business. David truly lives by the philosophy of Carpe diem. He seizes every opportunity before him.
David was born in the remote mountains of Costa Rica and grew up tending to the dairy farms surrounding him. At the young age of 14, he journeyed alone to the United States to live with Methodist missionaries. After six months he returned to Costa Rica to obtain his student visa and returned to the US permanently when he was 15. As a teenage immigrant who knew little English, David could have fallen into the trap many do who emigrate and accepted the status quo society relegated him to. Not the life David envisioned. He stepped up to the challenge and embraced the task of ingratiating himself in his new home and culture. Along the way, he learned and mastered the drive that has brought him to where he is today. In 2004 David, now a husband and father, partnered with his wife Dawn, to start their business in the basement of their Georgia home. This came only a few years after making the decision to become loan officers. In their years in this industry, David and Dawn have weathered virtually every storm, including housing industry collapse and economic recovery. Today Home Lenders of Georgia is one of the top broker shops in the state. David, who had very little education and knew nothing about mortgages, made it his mission to help others learn how a mortgage can help them become financially free. As David stated, “I remember sitting at a client’s home looking at a Good Faith Estimate trying to understand the numbers and trying to explain and convince my civil engineer homeowners that refinancing their $550,000.00 fixed-rate mortgage into a six-month Libor ARM made perfect sense for their finances. Starting in this industry, it was just an opportunity, and I took advantage of it and I am still taking advantage of it as I develop as a leader.” David often leans on his strengths to run his business, and it is no surprise his greatest strength is the passion he has for the journey of becoming a homeowner. His drive powers his vision and he is keenly aware of the influence he can generate behind the vision by using the power of his Wisdom. David explains, “I have the ability to obtain the attention of those in my surroundings and I am able to influence my followers, like those in our sphere of influence, members of my company, or peers, to see what I see, to believe in what I believe.” David’s comments do not reflect bragging or overconfidence. Rather he understands how important his role is in the greater sense and does not waste any opportunity he has to educate others. He firmly lives by the motto, “for Wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.”
What drives David? What is his WHY? As David describes, “What drives me is the passion to be everything I can be. I want to leave everything exposed and on the table. I love progress and enjoy seeing the fruits and results, but even better the prestige of knowing I can do anything in life not for me only but most of it for others. To show someone else how to prosper. To teach someone else how to use their own individual smarts to reach goals and expand their horizons. I am driven to listen to nature and the natural law. I am driven to observe and analyze to find answers.”
As someone who is always looking for a win-win scenario, David reflects on his career, and what has made him successful in business. He understands the importance of being a leader who does not sit back and let others do the hard work. He is an active participant in the decision-making within his company and assumes full responsibility for the results. As he thinks back on his struggles as a leader, he acknowledges where he has fallen a bit short. “After the mortgage meltdown, “there was a fear within the mortgage broker industry that mortgage brokers were going to go away. I had multiple national lenders calling to advise me to join their institutions because there was no hope for us as brokers. Their advice had the opposite effect to what they wanted. Their words gave me the fuel to stay with my business. Looking back today, I believe I should have expanded my business even greater because I would have had my business in a much better position. Not that I am complaining where we are now, but I feel that I should have been more aggressive back then.” Because David chooses to take advantage of every opportunity, he has risen above the challenges to achieve true success. As someone who has fought hard to live the American Dream, he remembers well where he came from and wants to pay it forward to others who seek his counsel and guidance in their homeownership journey.
Throughout my many years in this county,” David shares, “I have had many successes and reached many personal and business milestones. My greatest success is a combination of personal and business success. My success has to do with taking advantage of the opportunities this life, this country, and my drive has given me.” David never slows down, regardless of the weather ahead and always strives to see the positive. “I am blessed to be in an industry that is versatile and offers opportunity for everyone,” he says. “Many opportunities are given to those who are willing. I believe, as a business owner and leader in our industry, I carry a visionary gift. I am passionate about providing opportunities for anyone I encounter and helping those who are willing to take advantage of the opportunity.” David is not one to shy away from speaking truth about the issues facing the mortgage industry. He knows as a leader his role is to effect positive change. As he looks to the future, he sees his company as a beacon for others. He fuels his personal drive and uses the experience and resources of his teams to make others successful. His personal goal is to take advantage of every opportunity before him. As one might expect, the goal of his company is similar. “What is our main goal?” he says, “to provide opportunities of self-development and financial development to the members of our company so they can thrive as true professionals and provide for their families. Equally important is to extend the opportunity of prosperity to our business partners and our clients. I think the wording of our company mission statement says it best, ‘Our desire is for the prosperity of all families in America.’” David identifies communication and collaboration, especially in our current market, as important traits to prosperity, saying, “Our industry will not survive unless we communicate well, unless we bring value, and unless we earn trust. These traits can’t be applied unless we build relationships, strong relationships. This is my favorite thing about our industry. Having honest relationships with our clients, business partners, and members of the company is a must.” TIPS FOR SUCCESS:
Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who have tremendous drive, passion for life, smarts, and passion to see beyond the natural world.
From the beginning, identify the main goal complementing the mission and understanding the steps to take to accomplish the goal.
Lean on the ones who have done it; the ones who will help you and advise you as to how to reach your main goal. Do not reinvent the wheel.
When David looks at his wife and two children, he sees the future. His passion to take advantage of every opportunity is instilled in everything he does, even outside of the office. Whether it is when he is coaching his son’s baseball team, working on his farm, or running the business with Dawn, he is cultivating opportunity. If he could go back in time, he would have told his younger self to “embrace and practice discipline and as that discipline is developed, to pause, to enjoy the place where you are in life, to enjoy the moment you are in, and to enjoy the relationships around you. You never know how long those moments or relationships will be present in your life.” When David was asked what his Vision for Success is, he reflected on his spiritual faith and the power of direction and Wisdom. As he says, “Vision for success is given by the one and only Wisdom who speaks every day early in the day. She will point out very clearly the path to take. Sometimes she will point out to an individual who will help you how to get there. Sometimes she will point out who to speak to or how to speak. Sometimes she will give you a whole plan or strategy as to how to create or resolve something. Sometimes she will let you see the complete vision for what you are doing or about to do. Sometimes she will give insight and counsel you on your vision.”
Next time you are in a room with David, perhaps you can ask him if he has time to tell you more about his story. The odds are he will make time for you, but if you want to sweeten the deal, tell him you will take him fishing. While sitting on the banks of a river, he can share his wisdom with you.