2018 HW Vanguard: Al Velasco


Al Velasco is an industry veteran with more than 26 years of mortgage experience whose intangibles and strengths have contributed to PrimeLending’s success.

Under his watch, the company has been able to expand its presence rapidly. In 2018, Velasco led the company’s branch expansion initiative to open 31 Vanguard logobranches and add 250 producers.

Ali VafaiVelasco is all about building a top-quality team, unconcerned with being the smartest person in the room and wholly concerned with having the smartest people in the room pushing PrimeLending forward.

To that end, Velasco has retooled the hiring process for retail mortgage lenders at PrimeLending with a philosophy centered on growth and the desire to take initiative to pursue excellence.

Velasco cultivates an “owner” mentality in his team, pushing team members to leave complacency behind and take ownership of their futures and legacies along with the company’s success.

His methods get results, and under his watch, PrimeLending’s Pacific Northwest operations went from generating virtually no volume to $1 billion-plus per year.

Velasco’s efforts have also resulted in higher retention rates for employees and loan officers and nearly perfectly satisfied customers. Imbued with the mandate of ownership, Velasco’s team of go-getters has won the favor of its customers and earned a 96% customer satisfaction rating.

Velasco has created change at PrimeLending not through chest thumping, but by empowering his team to become stakeholders on a mission to chase excellence with everything they’ve got.

What has been your secret to success?

“Surround yourself with great people and let them do their jobs. I am not concerned about being the smartest person in the room, I am concerned about having the smartest people in the room. Leadership is about collaboration.”

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