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Ending the Mortgage Industry Boys Club Mentality
COMMENTARY

February 15, 2022by Courtney Mattison, Co-founder, Girls Rock the Capitol
Ending the Mortgage Industry Boys Club Mentality

Workplace misconduct often takes place behind closed doors in secret. Or in some cases, in text messages and emails.

Take the case of former Las Vegas Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden, who was revealed to have shared misogynistic, homophobic and racist messages with other NFL team executives.

Although Gruden stepped down from his job, the NFL must own up to, and change, the culture that it cultivated to create an environment in which these comments were accepted.

This type of misogynistic behavior isn’t unique to the NFL, though. Even as women have made progress in boardrooms across America, this culture of toxic masculinity still exists.


The mortgage industry, for instance, is due for its own reckoning. It faced its own Jon Gruden — former leader of the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts Anthony Casa. And although the industry quickly sidelined him, he seems to be back in the mortgage business again.

In a recent Mortgage Professional America interview with Mike Cox, founder of Mortgage Nerds, Cox cites Casa as a positive professional influence for Cox’s company’s expansion. Cox credits Casa with helping him “make the plunge” into the world of wholesale.

As the founder of Girls Rock the Capitol, a group created to link young women interested in legislative affairs with female mentors to focus on positivity and model behavior — both professionally and personally — it was surprising that someone would consider Casa a mentor.

In August 2020, Anthony Casa sent repulsive video and text messages about the wife of Austin Niemic, a competitor, to some of his friends and to the competitor himself.

Not only were these remarks inappropriate, but they were also untrue.


Casa was widely criticized after the crude and misogynistic comments were revealed. He was forced to resign from AIME. And shortly thereafter, a leading industry magazine detailed the  “bro” culture Casa nurtured at the organization. 

Now, after some time in the wilderness, Casa has reemerged, heading up a new company in Philadelphia — UMortgage — with his friend Mat Ishbia at his side. Ishbia is the CEO of Michigan-based mortgage lender United Wholesale Mortgage, now UWM Holdings. 

For many seeking to build gender equality in business, Casa’s comeback may be concerning. 

Women make up just 20% of the highest level positions that have “profit-and-loss responsibility in American banking, insurance and mortgage companies,” according to a Harvard Business Review report. In the mortgage industry specifically, “women in the profession tend to voluntarily remove themselves from advancement,” the analysis found.

Unfortunately, the mortgage industry has been slow to evolve past its founding as a “boys club,” a problem that has been exacerbated by COVID-19. Lenders must work to include women in these opportunities and empower them to advance into leadership roles.

When founding Girls Rock the Capitol, I aimed to highlight successful women to serve as positive mentors for young girls seeking careers in politics. I hoped to provide an opportunity for young women to see that government was more than just a “boys club.”

There continues to be a disposition to de-emphasize sexism in the workplace. Casa’s reemergence and UMortgage’s nationwide efforts demonstrate that.


Perhaps this year leaders in both the mortgage lending world and politics can make and fulfill a new 2022 resolution to eliminate workplace sexual harassment in the industry.


Courtney Mattison is the co-founder of Girls Rock the Capitol and an advocate for workplace equality.

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Corrections

This article was corrected to say that Jon Gruden stepped down as coach from the Las Vegas Raiders football team. He resigned on Oct. 11, 2021, announcing his decision on Twitter. “I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” he said on Twitter in a statement issued by the team. “I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”

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