Best Places to Work 2022: In a cutthroat industry, Scottsdale-based VIP Mortgage inspires loyalty – The Business Journals

Later this year Scottsdale-based VIP Mortgage will celebrate 16 years in business and some of the firm’s first employees will be there to mark the occasion. 
The mortgage industry can be cutthroat, according to Chief Marketing Officer Carol Taylor, with people often jumping from company to company, but VIP has cultivated a culture that inspires people to stick around. 
“There’s a good amount of people that have been here from day one,” she said. 
VIP’s culture is so strong that it has been named one of the Phoenix Business Journal’s 2022 Best Places to Work. This marks the sixth year straight that VIP has been named among the winners.
“I’ve been running a little campaign called Sweet 16, where we did interviews with some of the employees who’ve been here since day one,” Taylor said.”They just still love being here and they tell the stories from the beginning. They see all the change at other mortgage companies, it’s just not like that here.”
The mortgage industry can be a tumultuous place to build a career as home prices and interest rates rise and fall. Earlier this year, several Valley brokerages had to lay off employees as interest rates climbed, including VIP which laid off 26 workers in August.
Taylor said the company has since hired 60 new loan officers since August, bringing its total headcount up to about 650 nationwide, 450 of which are in Arizona.
It’s tough in the housing market right now, Taylor said, but VIP team members understand that the market is cyclical.
“We have really, really good loan officers that continue to be positive, they continue to be optimistic, they continue to bring in business,” she said. “No one’s gonna lie and say, it’s not hard because it is hard right now. But I think there’s also a lot of gratitude, because the last two years were so crazy.”
Jay Barbour, VIP’s founder, sets the cultural tone at the company. Taylor said he is passionate about his employees — he is known for coming to tears during company-wide speeches — and that he works hard to be accessible to his employees.
Barbour also works with employees to make Arizona a better place to call home. He started the VIP Foundation during the Covid-19 pandemic as a way to give back to the community. Taylor said the foundation has now awarded more than $100,000 to local nonprofits based in part on employee input.
VIP Mortgage
Local leader: Jay Barbour, president
Headquarters: Scottsdale 
Number of employees: About 650 nationally, with 450 in Arizona 
Biggest perk: “We offer a really strong and dedicated work life balance. Covid changed everything, so most of us are on a hybrid schedule now, but there’s a lot of flexibility. I’m a mom, I’ve got three kids, and I understand the importance that that’s always going to come first. I think that that’s really company wide. We really offer a very strong work life balance that allows people to do their jobs, do them well, but also be treated like adults.”
Advice to other companies on how they can be a Best Place to Work: “It can’t just be lip service. You can’t just say we’re a family, we’re a culture and then not back it up… It’s throwing  little barbecues, it’s bringing an ice cream truck in the afternoon, it’s just keeping in touch with people. Little things like that, I think really helped keep us together.” — Carol Taylor
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