Humans of Embrace: Jeff Kraatz
On May 13, 2018, Embrace Home Loans celebrated its 35th birthday. To mark the occasion, we’ve collected a series of stories from Embrace employees to share our journey and culture with customers, partners, friends, and family.
Jeff Kraatz, Team Leader/VP
With Embrace since 1994
“Never could I imagine when I walked through the door of the modest East Providence office in February of ’94, that I would be reflecting back on nearly a quarter century (and counting) career at Embrace Home Loans, nee Advanced Financial Services.
From Day 1, there was no shortage of characters employed by the company. In ’94, many of these characters had long faces because business was tough and interest rates were rising rapidly. Those days were difficult for all in the business, let alone for a small sized, privately-held independent — we had 50 or so employees in total.
We would have to leave our hand-written applications at reception so they could pull credit. Then, we would scratch out our hand-written savings analysis, and do all we could to present something of benefit. We didn’t even have email yet! This was also long before exotic product offerings. Originations were few and far between, even for the most savvy veterans.
Some were saying I got into the business at the wrong time. Yet, we found a way to make it through. We even found ways to celebrate it. My first award ceremony was with a small group of people in a supply closet. The venue mattered not, as it was the spirit of the ceremony that carried us. We navigated through that challenging year, as well as many other challenging seasons, because we had great leadership at the helm.
While much has changed over the years, there is still no shortage of characters. I am happy to say many of those ’94 characters were far more than just co-workers — they’ve become life-long friends.”