Humans of Embrace: Kirk Hutchings
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.
Kirk Hutchings, Team Leader/VP
With Embrace since 1987
“When I first began at Embrace Home Loans, nearly 31 years ago, I was handed a phone book and told to find new customers. Because back then, Embrace — then still known as Advanced Financial Services — dealt almost exclusively in second mortgages, which typically came from either pool services or home improvement companies. And during the pre-Internet age, locating customers often required spending hours thumbing through the Yellow Pages.
During the early ’90s, AFS operated out of a strip mall located on the outskirts of East Providence. Our office was large and windowless, with a backdoor that we propped open for some much-needed fresh air on warmer days. And instead of cubicles, we worked on heavy metal desks.
AFS managed to thrive in these modest working conditions, and in only a few short years we went from having a handful of loan officers to around 40 or 50. But as the company continued to grow, Dennis (Hardiman) and Kurt (Noyce) knew that a culture shift needed to take place to ensure that our customers received the utmost care and attention. They decided that AFS had to abandon sales-centric culture in favor of a more customer-oriented approach, and that the best way to move the company in this direction was to structure salespeople into teams.
There were initially three teams of six or eight loan officers who pushed around their desks and sat together. Each team was overseen by one coach, who was involved in the front end of the sales process — which not only helped ensure optimal customer service, but also fostered a collaborative working environment.
I ran one of these three teams, and that was certainly a big change. Customer service became a top priority. And embracing that team aspect is what ultimately changed our company’s entire direction.”