Why start an industry group like PROGRESS in Lending Association? “Going forward, given the recent turmoil, the mortgage space is literally going to be transformed,” answered Tony Garritano. “I formed this association to ensure that this transformation is for the better and not for the worse. Technology is going to play a critical role in how mortgage lenders comply with new regulation, remain competitive, ensure profitability, and serve borrowers looking to get their piece of the American Dream. That’s why this association was formed.”

As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions.


In detailing the industry significance of PROGRESS in Lending Association, Roger Gudobba believes, “The mortgage industry has always lacked strategic thinking. It’s slow to embrace new ideas. PROGRESS in Lending Association provides a place for thoughts and ideas to flow freely. It’s easier to move things forward when you’re in a group. This association is a central place for industry participants to have discussions about how technology can improve the process.”

Roger has over 30 years of mortgage experience. Before retiring he was Vice President, Mortgage Markets at technology vendor Compliance Systems. He is a long-time advocate of data standardization and a more data-driven approach to mortgage lending. Roger was instrumental in forming the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization and an active participant for 17 years. He was the recipient of Mortgage Technology Magazine’s Steve Fraser Visionary Award in 2004, the Lasting Impact Award in 2008 and a Mortgage Banking Technology All-Star in 2005.


What can Progress in Lending Association do for the mortgage industry? Michael Hammond noted, “There currently is a void in the mortgage industry where technology and business discussions can openly and candidly take place to address industry problems. In the past year alone the mortgage industry has had to adapt to business-changing regulation like MDIA and RESPA, for example. Coming next year we’ll see the broadening of state licensing and TILA reform. All of these challenges call for automated solutions. I joined PROGRESS to be part of the solution.”

Michael is the founder and president of NexLevel Advisors. They provide solutions in business development, strategic selling, marketing, public relations and social media. He has close to two decades of leadership, management, marketing, sales and technical product experience. Michael held prior executive positions such as CEO, CMO, VP of Business Strategy, Director of Sales and Marketing and Director of Marketing for a number of leading companies. He is also only one of about 60 individuals to earn the Certified Mortgage Technologist (CMT) designation.


What’s the role of PROGRESS in Lending Association in the mortgage industry? The association is a network of knowledge, backed by industry professionals, Molly Dowdy affirms. “Having an organized way to exchange ideas about technology and innovation is critical. Sharing information and best practices is important in any industry, but especially in ours: it’s specialized and technical – but ultimately people-centered, so collaboration is key. PROGRESS is a great venue for collaborating with peers.”

Molly Dowdy has nearly 20 years experience marketing in the mortgage technology space and is the co-founder of NEXT, the mortgage technology conference for women executives. Prior, she was the Executive Vice President of Marketing for Mercury Network, the leading provider of technology and web solutions for lenders, AMCs, appraisers, agents, and inspectors. Molly has more than 15 years of experience in marketing to this industry, with specialized knowledge of marketing technology-based products and services.


What does Progress in Lending do for the Mortgage Industry? “In short it provides a forum for both technology and lender thought lenders to share, discuss, debate, and more importantly celebrate innovators that are dedicated to advancing an industry, that up until recently has been a “late bloomer” around technology,” answered Eric Kujala. “Like any chemical reaction, it requires a catalyst to get it going. Progress in Lending is that catalyst which bring both lender and partner together to solve real industry problems. What better way than a nonaffiliated association to help create an environment for these industry leaders to celebrate innovation and mutual admiration for the industry.”

Eric Kujala started at Flagstar Bank as a home loan advisor in 2002 with responsibility for originating new residential mortgage business for Flagstar Bank’s Direct Lending department. In 2003, he was named team leader in the department, and in 2004 he was appointed assistant vice president, responsible for the entire Direct Lending sales team. He was promoted to vice president in 2006. In 2008, he joined DocVelocity, the flagship product of Paperless Office Solutions, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Flagstar Bancorp, where in 2013 Flagstar Bank sold the subsidiary to its long term partner Capsilon Corporation where he is currently their Regional Manager – North Region. Eric has been an integral part of the Capsilon team which in 2016 led to Capsilon’s partnership with Francisco Partners, a growth equity firm in San Francisco, CA.


Kelli Himebaugh is the National Account Executive with VirPack, a leading provider of document management and delivery technology to the mortgage banking and financial services industries based in McLean, VA.  Kelli is a proven sales leader who brings more than 20 years of housing finance experience and 10 years of experience in mortgage technology to VirPack. Prior to joining VirPack in 2016, she served as vice president of customer experience with Altisource Origination Solutions. In this role, she was responsible for managing client relations and operations support across four business units. Prior to her work at Altisource, Ms. Himebaugh spent 8 years with Mortgage Builder, a loan origination solutions provider, where she served as corporate vice president overseeing business operations, client services and sales.  She was named in “the 50 Elite Women in Mortgage” by Mortgage Professional America magazine.


In detailing why PROGRESS in Lending Association is different and needed, Kelly Purcell said, “While associations are a great resource, they tend to be regulatory and education focused, which is their core competency. PROGRESS however is a nonaffiliated association, resulting in people freely expressing new ideas and behaviors. PROGRESS is built on thought leadership over bureaucracy. I am excited about working with people that have the same passion and commitment that I have to repairing credibility and respect in an industry that I’m proud to be a part of.”

Kelly is EVP of Marketing and Business Development at NotaryCam. Prior to joining NotaryCam she was co-founder of eSignSystems and has over 25 years of mortgage and technology experience. Kelly is recognized as an evangelist and advocate of e-signature and e-vaulting technology driving e-mortgage adoption. She held prior positions at GE Capital and Transamerica Financial Services. In 2009, eSignSystems was the recipient of Mortgage Technology Magazine’s Lasting Impact Award.