How Eric Zarazed Created His Own Path
Eric Zarared has worked hard and hustled for the American dream his entire adult life. Born in Union City, New Jersey, he came to Hialeah, Florida when he was still young, and became a state appraiser right out of high school. Eric loved being an appraiser and began to build his career on his passion for business. But then the 2008 market crash happened, grinding his career to a halt.
The same year, his son Angelo was born. Eric felt lost trying to support his new family during the market crash. He lost his house and business and began living off of credit cards just to provide for his family and newborn. Eric knew he needed to find another way to support his family and nearly joined the army when looking for his next step. It was actually a friend that stopped this trajectory and put him on a new path.
A Close Encounter
While eating dinner at a restaurant one night, he ran into an old friend who had been a Marine. Eric mentioned he was thinking about joining the army, and his friend told him it wasn’t for him. Eric was surprised the former Marine would say this and brought up that it was the same path they had taken. His friend told him that Eric was better than that, and meant for bigger things. His friend made the connection to get him a job the next morning, working for nuclear power plants.
Eric held his position at the power plants for seven years, doing incredibly dangerous work removing asbestos. The money was great and he was able to provide for his family, but after seven years, his daughter was born and changed his perspective. He wanted to find a safer job that wouldn’t wreck his body or health and missed working in the finance field that he was passionate about.
A New Beginning
He heard a lot of “no” when trying to re-enter the business. The market was still rough and no one wanted to take a chance on a guy who had been wearing a hard hat for seven years. One of the only places that called him back was Wells Fargo, and it was just a bank teller position. Eric knew he could prove himself if he just got a foot in the door, and leaped at the chance.
Eric quickly moved from teller to customer rep, to personal banker, and then loan officer in a matter of months. His district manager was surprised he wanted to be a loan officer since it was a commission-based role without a lot of repeat customers. Eric knew, however, that his love of the community would show through in this new role, building bigger and better things. Already as a personal banker, he accounted for over 80% of the mortgage referrals at the bank. He had a passion for the business and a love for his community that would serve him well. By his second month in, he was the top producer in his branch.
Things quickly pivoted when five months into his position, the company fired his boss and mentor. There was no manager or any sense of leadership, just a team of loan officers doing what they did day in and day out. One day, Eric came into work to find his tenured peers waiting for him at his desk. They wanted him to apply to be the new branch manager. He looked at them like they were crazy, he was still new, barely six months into the role. How could he lead this team that he relied on to answer his own questions? The tenured loan officers rallied around him. They respected his dedication and grind, and wanted that in their next branch manager.
Leading the Team
Eric applied for the role and sold the world’s biggest lender on the radical idea of teamwork. It wasn’t about Eric knowing all the answers, it was about leading a team with that knowledge, and utilizing everyone’s skillset. As branch manager, Eric cultivated a culture of servant leadership, where it was all hands on deck, and they won or lost as a team. He was incredibly proud to see tenured loan officers happily hunched over the same desk as newcomers, training and sharing ideas.
The culture Eric instilled in his branch saw their customer loyalty rate rise from just 23% to 83%. Every aspect of the business benefited from his leadership techniques, and production rose to an all-time high. Eric went on to be promoted to marketing manager for Wells Fargo, before deciding to create his own path as a loan officer.
Creating His Path
Eric wanted to work with a company that fostered community. He had stayed in Hialeah, and was passionate about helping the people in the Miami area purchase homes and experience the American dream. When Roundpoint Mortgage Miami offered him a role as branch manager, he knew he could plant roots there and create a culture of growth and giving back.
Eric now works with a team of loan officers that speak over 14 different languages, working with people of all backgrounds to help them purchase the home of their dreams. Since joining Roundpoint, their volume and team morale have been up. Eric was able to shape the culture of the business and rebuild their Miami branch.
A lot of people say the American dream of purchasing a home is dead, but Eric disagrees. His goal is to help everyone in his community understand the mortgage process and realize that their dream of owning a home is a reality. So what’s next for Eric Zarazed? If you ask him, he’s going to stay right where he is, bringing education and leadership to his community and business.