Editor's note: This Q and A appears in the September issue of DS News magazine, available here.
Bobbie Collins recently joined Colorado Springs-based Mortgage Solutions Financial as its Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel, bringing her extensive background in law, compliance, and management to the role. After a decade working at large national firms, she says Mortgage Solutions is a little different. A family-owned and operated business that has grown significantly in the past few years, Mortgage Solutions has managed to maintain a family-like atmosphere in its now 60 or so branches and among its 600 employees, she says. “We work hard and play hard together.” As important as anything, the company shares Collins’ passion for supporting military families, an interest born of personal experience, which resulted in her co-founding a nonprofit, the Council for Military Spouse Clubs. She spoke with DS News about passion projects, lessons learned during a pandemic, and the importance of a supportive work culture.
What drew you to the legal profession and working in the housing sector?
When I was in fifth grade, I joined a local historic preservation committee and learned to love the importance a piece of property could have on a community—a hundred years into the future even! What was once a home, apple orchard, stagecoach stop, and Civil War recruitment center had evolved over time into an outdoor archeology classroom, the location of HOA picnics, and even my own wedding’s portrait studio. In this regard, I enjoy the tangible and visible results associated with being a real estate attorney. My job is not about passing paper and moving money around, but rather building history for families and communities. It’s very consistent with our tagline: “Every home has a story. Let’s write yours.”
Can you tell our readers about your enthusiasm for helping military veterans and veterans’ families?
As an Air Force Spouse, I’ve seen first-hand the importance of supporting not only our troops, but also their families. When you’re PCS’d—moved—to a new duty base and don’t know anyone else in town, fellow military families become just as close as your biological family. My military spouse family encouraged me to take a second Bar exam in New Mexico (which, unfortunately, still does not have a military spouse attorney limited licensure accommodation) and saw me through a five-month stay in the NICU when my son was born prematurely. I can only hope to pass on this same type of support and encouragement to other military spouses so our spouses can stay focused and keep all of us safe at home. I felt right at home at Mortgage Solutions, knowing it was founded by a veteran, employs many veterans and spouses, and is one of the nation’s largest VA home lenders.
Could you discuss the nonprofit you formed?
One of the best ways I’ve learned to build resilience in tough times is to have a passion project to feed your energy into. My co-founding of the Council for Military Spouse Clubs is just this. It’s the product of a nearly four-year effort to draft a 60-page legal guide for charitable military spouse clubs with a fellow military spouse attorney who was based overseas. The “Council” was launched earlier this year with a more expanded scope and will serve as a resource for best practices for governance and operations of military spouse clubs. I can’t wait to see this passion project grow over time.
How does Mortgage Solutions support you in your endeavors?
The work culture here is significantly different than a law firm where billable hours reign as king. While I’ve only been with Mortgage Solutions a brief time, I already see I can count on our management’s support for good legal resources to help with (nerdy) professional goals like better contract management and knowledge management. At the same time, I can count on casual and frequent check-ins from my peers and our management on wholly unrelated personal endeavors, too.
The mortgage finance sector, as every other, has been through some things in the past year—what has it looked like for you, and what are your main focuses going to be through the rest of this year and into the future?
The pandemic has taught all industries the importance of efficient technology and agility. However, our company believes in being revolutionary—that is, the importance of the experience of the human element when then mortgage lending industry has chosen technology. Incorporating these values into our loan approval process has become all the more tantamount in light of ever-changing federal and state regulations which can often be more easily implemented with good technology. I’m looking forward to helping with big changes underway to provide an even better customer experience which is more efficient on our back-end.