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Eddy Perez (Georgia State) has reached the pinnacle of the mortgage industry, gathering life lessons and leadership skills along the way that he strives to share with others.

His company, Equity Prime Mortgage, has grown from two employees in Atlanta, Ga., in 2005 to nearly 500 across all 50 states, landing a spot on Inc. magazine’s list of top-producing companies.

Perez found success in rejecting the “corner office” view of leadership in favor of serving from the “basement” of the organization.

“My belief is organization executives are the base and must work to raise everybody up,” he explains. “I tell people all the time I’m in the personal development business…that just happens to deal with mortgages.”

Perez has been in the finance and real estate sector for more than two decades and has learned to navigate the ebbs and flows effectively.

He worked through the stock market crash of 2001, the Great Recession in 2008, and has managed the ups and downs of the COVID pandemic for the past two years.

“When the 2001 crash happened, I was 24 years old,” Perez recalls of his first job after graduation. “There was a lot of [fallout] at that point…but where I am today is derived from that experience.”

The future for stockbrokers was bleak after the crash, so Perez pivoted to real estate. With his degree in finance and a family background in construction, he charted a new course as a mortgage lender.

His parents had immigrated from Cuba, and he watched as his father built a successful career in home construction from the ground up. An uncle was involved in the apartment building sector, so Perez grew up immersed in the world of real estate.

“I thought it was just a fabulous sector of the economy…and [once in] I wanted to stay in it,” he said.

After a few years of working for others, Perez opened his own company – Equity Prime Mortgage – in 2005, offering consumers the full spectrum of mortgage products.

The company was still in its early years when the Great Recession hit in 2008, tanking the housing market and forcing Perez to make difficult decisions to weather the storm.

He leaned on the lessons of resiliency instilled by his parents and went all in to keep his company afloat. It was a calculated risk, noting he had a young family at this point and a lot on the line.

“I'm not a gambler, but I have seen it done…and we literally took our chips and went all in,” Perez says.

He learned that jumping into the deep end of the pool takes faith and blind hope that things will work out.

“Being naive is sometimes powerful when you believe it’s going to be easier than you think,” Perez said. “At that point, you're in the struggle…and that's where real growth happens for leadership.”

Once the decision was made, failure was not an option. But he admits the next few years were rough. It was compounded by the loss of his father, who was his idol and role model.

“The year 2009 was brutal,” Perez admits. “I’m not going to lie…there were some scary times, and it was just tough.”

But he worked long hours, listened, learned, led…and success followed.

Over the next decade, he earned the prestigious Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB) designation, was recognized in National Mortgage Professionals Magazine’s as one of the “40 Most Influential Mortgage Professionals under 40,” currently serves on the board of governors for the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals and chairs the political action committee for the Mortgage Bankers Association representing the industry at the government level.

Getting through tough years, losing his father, and concerns about the future gave him a new perspective of maintaining his mental fitness.

“I focus on each day…giving my best today and trying to be a little bit better tomorrow.”

Making a Difference in the Community

Perez believes it’s not the bottom line that defines a company’s success. It’s the company’s positive impact on the community that matters. And it’s not simply giving back to the community; it’s paying it forward, he explains.

In 2020, Equity Prime Mortgage launched the “Choose Kindness” campaign, which donates a portion of every loan closed to a number of charities, including Leashes of Valor, which provides service dogs to veterans with PTSD, #StephensStrong Campaign to fund research for cancer, and Open Doors Foundation which provides mortgage and rent relief for families with sick children.

“We're building a brand focused on empowering people,” Perez said, explaining his goal is a hand up, not a handout. “I need to help show the way and turn the roads I paved into superhighways for others.”

The Strength of Brotherhood

Perez’s connection to his Sigma Nu brothers runs deep. For the past 17 years in a row, he gets together with a group of his brothers for a “guys trip” to reconnect and reminisce. He never misses it.

“I still consider [pledging Sigma Nu] the greatest decision of my life,” Perez said. “Without it, I wouldn't have met my wife…I wouldn't have met my dearest friends who were there for me when my father died.”

He served in nearly every officer position within the Fraternity, from Recruitment Chairman to Lt. Commander to Commander, and the ideals of Love, Truth, and Honor shape who he is today.

“Pledging Sigma Nu was a turning point in my life,” Perez said. “I’m proud that at 18 years old, I could make such a decision that would lay much of the foundation for the rest of my life.”

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Phone: (540) 463-1869 | Fax: (540) 463-1669 | Email: headquarters@sigmanu.org

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