Decisiveness is one of the 14 Leadership Traits of the Marine Corps, who are taught that when you are 70% sure of the outcome, it is time to take action. Making business decisions would certainly be a lot easier if we could be 100% sure of the outcome in advance. Of course, the problem is in waiting. If the business waits until it is 100% sure of the outcome, then it is taking no risk, and will obviously be far behind the marketplace which rewards creativity, entrepreneurship, and risk-taking.
We spent much of 2012 creating a modified business plan so that The Victory Bank could enter into the residential mortgage business. Many of you know that the mortgage business has been booming, as a result of low interest rates and refinancing, and fortunately for our nation, the purchase segment of that market is also improving. Home prices are noticeably up in most markets, and the trend-lines point to improvements in new construction as well. We are at least 70% sure that this is a sound business decision that will help the bank generate a substantial amount of revenue and serve our local markets in a positive way.
We are facing a big challenge right now in recruiting experienced, relationship driven mortgage originators to join the team. This bank was founded on only a couple of very straightforward ideas, the most important being that the quality of the team is the most important differentiating factor between a great bank and one that is mediocre. Our stated goal is to fill every position in the bank, now and forever, with individuals of high levels of talent, creativity, experience, and character. Obviously, this is not easy nor is it inexpensive, but we believe that operating in this fashion will build a sustainable competitive advantage regardless of market conditions. I am confident that we can do this, even though it may be a challenging task in the middle of a mortgage refinancing boom. My experience tells me that in any endeavor or vocation there exist individuals committed to doing things at a high level of quality. They believe that doing things better is an important reward, in and of itself. They find meaning in whatever work it is that they do, simply by doing it better, and to the very best of their own personal ability. They find joy and personal satisfaction in seeking excellence, and take pride in always learning and getting more proficient as time passes.
Right now one of my principal jobs is to find a select group of these individuals willing to join The Victory Bank, to help us create a retail mortgage business that creates a superior client experience and creates real value for our clients. It is a stimulating and intriguing challenge!