Kevin Stitt was raised in Norman, Oklahoma and has lived in Oklahoma for over 39 years. He is a devoted husband to his wife of 19 years (Sarah), a proud father of 6 children and CEO of Gateway Mortgage Group (a company he founded in 2000).
Kevin grew up in church and is the son of a minister. This helped shape his strong faith and his core values and beliefs that carry him through every aspect of his life. Kevin credits his Grandparents for teaching him about work ethic, commitment, sacrifice and accomplishment at an early age. “My Granddad was a dairy farmer with an 8th grade education. He only knew one way to be successful and take care of his family; by working 7 days a week, 365 days per year. He and Grandmother both woke up at 3:50am to start milking cows at 4:00. After the morning milking, it was into the fields to raise alfalfa and maize all afternoon before the evening milking session started again at 4:00pm. This went on 7 days a week.”
Fast forward to Kevin attending college at Oklahoma State University, where he graduated with an Accounting degree. During the summer break between his Sophomore and Junior year Kevin accepted his first sales job… selling Student Handbooks door-to-door with the Southwestern Company. At the time, Kevin didn’t fully comprehend the level of sacrifice and commitment required, but he shook his Sales Manager’s hand and started his first business venture.
Naturally, as with most people starting a new business, Kevin wondered where his customers come from? Kevin reflected on the example his grandparents set for him, so he proceeded to work 13 hours a day, 6 days a week and attended sales meetings on Sunday. By the end of the summer Kevin was the number one first year salesperson in the 115-year history of this company. He would later recruit a team and teach them how to be successful doing the same things.
After college, Kevin landed in the financial services industry as a mortgage loan officer and quickly became a top producer. When the company he worked for was sold, he decided to start his own mortgage company. In 2000, Kevin founded Gateway Mortgage Group with “a thousand dollars and a computer” and it has now become one the nation’s largest privately held mortgage companies. However, like most success stories, this one continues to display the character of hard work, values and sacrifice.
One of Gateway’s, and Kevin’s, first obstacles was to get approved as a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Lender, but the company needed a net worth of $50,000. Kevin scraped together what he could and used the equity in his home to receive the approval needed to grow Gateway. In 2002, Gateway secured its first warehouse line, began obtaining licensing in other states besides Oklahoma, and started recruiting loan officers. By 2006, Gateway had over 400 employees.
When the mortgage crisis of 2007 hit, it was a pivotal time. While the industry and other mortgage companies began to implode, Kevin kept a strategic eye on the future of Gateway. Instead of abandoning the mortgage space, like many others, Kevin chose to hire more talent and continue expanding Gateway. During this time, Gateway obtained approval from Fannie Mae and Ginnie Mae to begin servicing mortgage loans and issuing securities.
Since that time, Gateway has grown to be a leading mortgage lending company that is both respected and admired within the industry. Since 2012, Gateway has been recognized 17 times for its success, growth and corporate culture. Gateway currently has about 1,100 team members in more than 145 locations across the country. The company estimates it will originate more than $6 billion in mortgage loans this year, while its servicing portfolio will eclipse $16 billion. This means approximately 100,000 customers are expected to receive mortgage services from Gateway Mortgage Group in 2017.
However, through all the success Gateway has accomplished, Kevin remains grounded in a core set of values like being passionate about strengthening families. This passion is carried through in Kevin’s commitment to honor the obligation to give back to those in need. In addition to regular contributions to churches and charitable organizations, Kevin has also committed to worthwhile organizations that meet the needs of others. In 2009, a donation from Gateway helped build the Gateway Christian School in a small village in Nigeria that educates more than 300 students a year. Gateway continues to make an annual donation to fund teachers’ salaries, provide school supplies, give scholarships, etc. In 2015, Kevin proceeded to help provide the financing to purchase 215 acres in Uganda to establish the Gateway Youth Ranch which will provide orphans with traditional schooling plus sustainability skills such as crop and fish farming, raising cattle and other skills that will enhance their lives.
And in 2017, Gateway announced a national partnership with Folds of Honor that will likely exceed $100,000 in donations annually. Folds of Honor is a 501(C)(3) that provides educational scholarships to families of military men and women who have fallen or been disabled while serving in the United States armed forces.
Kevin Stitt is a driven leader who is passionate about success, families and his community. Kevin believes that with hard work and enough of the right decisions, we can make anything happen!