Kevin Stitt was raised in Norman, Oklahoma and has lived in Oklahoma for over 39 years. He is a devoted husband to his wife (Sarah), a proud father of 6 children and Chairman of Gateway Mortgage Group, a company he founded in 2000.
Kevin grew up devoted to and involved in the 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 at an early age about work ethic, commitment, sacrifice and accomplishment. “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.”
Kevin attended college at Oklahoma State University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. 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. 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.
As Kevin began his new endeavor, he reflected on the example his grandparents set for him. He proceeded to work 13 hours a day, 6 days a week, and attended sales meetings on Sundays following church. Kevin ended the summer as the number one, first-year salesperson in the 115-year history of the company. He would later recruit a team and train them on how to be successful in sales by incorporating the skills he learned.
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 to allow customers a different experience. In 2000, Kevin founded Gateway Mortgage Group with “a thousand dollars and a computer.” Gateway has grown to become one the nation’s largest privately held mortgage companies. However, like most success stories, this one continues to model the character of hard work, values and sacrifice.
One of Gateway’s, and Kevin’s, first obstacles was getting approved as a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Lender. To apply, the company needed a net worth of $50,000. Kevin scraped together what he could and used the equity in his home to secure the funds and move forward with the approval needed to grow Gateway. In 2002, Gateway secured its first warehouse line, began obtaining licensing to originate loans in other states, and started recruiting loan officers and opening new branches. By 2006, Gateway had over 400 employees.
The mortgage crisis of 2007 was a pivotal time for the mortgage industry. While 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. 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 into a leading mortgage lending company that is both respected and admired within the industry. Since 2012, Gateway has been recognized 23 times for its success, growth, and corporate culture. The company currently employees more than 1,200 team members in more than 160 locations across the country. Gateway estimates it will originate more than $6 billion in mortgage loans this year, while its servicing portfolio will eclipse $19 billion. This means over 150,000 customers are expected to receive mortgage services from Gateway Mortgage Group in 2018.
Throughout all of Gateway’s success and accomplishments, Kevin remains grounded in the original core value of being passionate about strengthening families through home ownership. This passion is carried through in Kevin’s commitment to give back to those in need. In addition to regular contributions to churches and charitable organizations, Kevin also commits 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, and support the school. In 2015, Kevin helped 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. In 2017, Gateway announced a national partnership with Folds of Honor that is expected to 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, strengthening families and communities. Kevin believes that with hard work and quality decision making, we can make anything happen!