Guaranteed Rate CEO Victor Ciardelli on why giving back helps define success

by James Risley
February 15, 2017

Victor Ciardelli helped reshape how people get mortgages. He founded Guaranteed Rate back in 2000 to offer homebuyers more flexibility in getting mortgages that fit their needs without tracking reams of paper. He’s served as the company's CEO ever since, helping it grow nationally and become a company intent on keeping employees happy.

We asked Ciardelli what his plans are as Guaranteed Rate nears two decades in business, what challenges he’s faced and what he loves about Chicago.

What are your big plans and expectations for 2017?

We had an amazing 2016: our revenue increased year over year by more than 60 percent and the amount in loans we funded increased over 25 percent. We also announced our partnership with the White Sox and the ballpark is now Guaranteed Rate Field, so we’re looking forward to the 2017 baseball season. As far as technology this year, as always, we’re working to make the lending process easier and more transparent for our customers. We were the first company to launch a Digital Mortgage and we’re constantly looking at ways to maximize its speed and efficiency. We’ve also expanded our loan origination training program called Liftoff. This is a great opportunity to get into the business and we are hiring for the program throughout the year.

How do you define success for your company?

Obviously growth is one measure and clearly we’ve been successful there. I personally also include giving back to others as an important element of success. The Guaranteed Rate Foundation, which we started in 2012, continues to grow in size and impact. Our big fundraising event is in June and last year we raised more than $260,000, and every single dollar raised goes back to help those in need. We also have a very strong culture that supports volunteerism throughout the year. That, to me, is another very important aspect of success.

What’s a major challenge you’ve faced as a leader, and what did you learn from it?

The mortgage industry and housing market has had its share of ups and downs since I started the company in 2000. We survived the biggest housing downturn in decades – and I learned Guaranteed Rate can persevere under tough circumstances. You don’t really know a company’s resilience without tough challenges along the way.

What’s your favorite part of the Chicago tech community?

I love that Chicago has become a tech hub and enjoy seeing so many tech companies being started here and thriving here. Chicago is a world-class city with tremendous people and resources. There is no reason Chicago can’t compete with places like Silicon Valley over the long haul.

Image via Guaranteed Rate

What other CEOs do you want to know? Let us know with a tip or a tweet @BuiltInChicago
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