More than 28 years ago, Chuck Tonkin II and Chrissi Rhea shared a vision for what the home-buying experience should be. They believed loan officers needed resources, technology and support to be able to offer the best home financing solutions to borrowers. They recognized that each borrower had distinctive goals, and they understood the importance of delivering on the promises they made. They founded Mortgage Investors Group in 1989 with those goals in mind. Their blend of business savvy and desire to always do the right thing for their customers and employees has helped them cultivate relationships with borrowers, Realtors, investors and colleagues that have made MIG the leader it is today in the mortgage lending industry.
Chrissi has shaped MIG’s reputation for offering quality loan products at competitive prices. Through innovative thinking and team development, she tends to the daily operations of the firm’s retail branch network and its Direct Lending division. She manages every aspect of the business from loan origination to closing and program marketing and development. She also handles investor relations and oversees the company’s warehouse lines. Chrissi learned the mortgage lending business from the ground up, beginning her career as a loan officer in the early 1980s. She met Chuck early in her career and the two worked for the same mortgage lender until deciding to establish MIG in 1989. She has been a featured speaker and moderator at conferences hosted by the Mortgage Bankers Association. She has also championed MIG’s volunteer efforts in the communities in which they live and work.
Chuck’s keen eye for business opportunities has directed MIG’s growth over the past two decades. Whenever he sees an opportunity to partner with respected colleagues and reach new clients, he has led MIG into new markets. He also oversees sales within the firm’s retail branch network and Direct Lending division, strategizing with company leaders to reach goals within those operations. Chuck cut his teeth in the savings and loan industry in Florida, where he served as a loan officer and branch manager in the 1970s. After some time as a commercial mortgage broker and custom home builder, he relocated to Knoxville, Tenn., and met Chrissi. They worked together as loan officers for the same mortgage lending company until founding MIG in 1989. Each time MIG has opened or remodeled an office, Chuck has revisited his penchant for designing spaces, often drawing up the plans himself.
Steve manages all aspects of retail sales and production for MIG. Since joining the firm in 2005, he has spearheaded the company’s expansion efforts into Memphis, Cookeville and Sevierville and targeted new markets for future growth. Drawing on his background in direct lending, secondary marketing, construction lending and retail production management, Steve has fostered new relationships with preferred Realtors across Tennessee. He has also recruited new talent to MIG, promoting the growth of the company’s many branch locations. Steve brings more than three decades of industry experience to the table, having served as a member of Fannie Mae’s National Advisory Council and president of the Tennessee Mortgage Bankers Association. He is a master certified mortgage banker and an advisory member for the Tennessee Housing Development Agency’s (THDA) first-time homebuyer program. In 2016, Steve was honored by his peers, to be the third recipient of the Ernest P. Schumacher Lifetime Achievement Award. This award was presented by the Tennessee Mortgage Bankers Association for his long term service, leadership and advocacy on state and national issues.
As executive vice president of operations, Jesse works hand-in-hand with MIG’s division managers to improve efficiencies within their respective operations. His focus on team development and training touches all aspects of the business, ensuring a company-wide commitment to offering first-class customer service while addressing each division’s independent needs for growth. Under Jesse’s leadership, division managers have incorporated processes that allow them to measure progress and identify areas for improvement, including ways to use technology to its fullest potential. Jesse joined MIG in 2007, lending his experience as a mortgage loan trader to the company’s secondary marketing efforts. Today, MIG benefits from the nearly two decades of industry experience he relies on to strengthen the company’s business practices at every level.
As vice president, director of business development, Kevin helps the executive management team develop the vision for MIG's future. He also manages the marketing and branding of MIG, including the development of their social media strategy and radio campaign. Kevin joined MIG in 2001 as a loan officer assistant and quickly moved into the role of loan officer, where his accomplishments in closing loans were recognized by the Knoxville Mortgage Bankers Association (KMBA). MIG promoted him to business strategy coordinator in 2011. Kevin is a past president and board member of the KMBA. He also hosts “The Housing Hour,” a locally produced radio show focusing on housing trends that is sponsored by MIG. You can learn more about the show at www.thehousinghour.com . He may be reached at 865-691-8910 or Kevin.Rhea@migonline.com.
John Burns joined MIG in January 1998. John’s experience includes more than 20 years of outside sales and management. He manages all aspects of sales and production for the Direct Lending division. Direct Lending’s focus is the secondary market lending needs of community banks and credit unions. John’s responsibilities include staffing, product development, marketing, training, recruitment, and market expansion. In addition, John is a past president of the Knoxville Mortgage Bankers Association and has served as the East Tennessee advisory director for the Tennessee Mortgage Bankers Association.
Sharon has managed MIG’s closing operations since the company opened its doors in 1989. Relying on her experience as a loan processor and closer in the banking industry, she created MIG’s closing division from the ground up. She has also overseen MIG’s post-closing operations since 2006, handling warehouse lending, document imaging, electronic mortgage registrations, loan audits and government insuring. Her focus on staff training and team empowerment ensures a timely and worry-free closing experience for MIG’s clients. By using state-of-the-art technology and cultivating valued relationships with title companies, investors and warehouse banks, Sharon has helped MIG become an industry leader when it comes to closing loans quickly and efficiently.
Ed Sauer, a mortgage banking veteran, joined MIG as chief financial officer in 2007. He is responsible for financial and internal reporting, analytics and servicing. Prior to joining MIG, Ed held executive positions with successful mortgage banking operations. He started his career with Ernst and Young and then joined a large bank-owned client to become its chief financial officer. Subsequent to this large company experience, Ed held leadership roles with independent mortgage bankers, helping them upgrade their reporting and analytics, as well as their strategic planning initiatives. Ed is a former chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Financial Management Committee and served two terms as a board member for the MBA. He received a leadership certificate from the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School, sponsored by the MBA. After graduating with an undergraduate degree from Kean College, he received his MBA in professional accounting from Rutgers University. Ed is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
As senior vice president director of operations, Cathy leads both the underwriting and compliance teams for MIG. She collaborates with MIG’s experienced in-house underwriters to position the company to be able to offer customers a broad variety of loan programs that meet the local market’s housing finance needs. She also works with the firm’s mortgage loan originators, branch managers and other leaders to make sure they stay current with federal and state compliance guidelines regulating the mortgage lending industry. Cathy joined MIG in 2012 as vice president assistant director of operations before being promoted in February 2013 to her current role. In her 40-year career, she has gained first-hand experience in nearly every aspect of the home finance industry, including mortgage loan processing and originating, loan closings, underwriting and compliance. She also served as president of a title company while holding a title agent’s license. She is a past president of the Knoxville Mortgage Bankers Association and the Tennessee Mortgage Bankers Association. In addition, she served as chair of the TMBA’s Educational Trust Fund.
J.R. has recently joined MIG in 2016 to support and manage all aspects of retail sales and production. His background consists of 20+ years of sales production, sales management, and executive leadership for large Commercial Banks, a Community Bank, and an Independent Mortgage Company. He has led large production teams in multiple states including TN, OH, KY, GA, IN. J.R. looks to bring his success in recruiting, coaching, retaining, developing, and supporting talent to MIG to support their growing organization. He has held leadership positions as the Past President of the Greater Cincinnati Mortgage Bankers Association, as well as board positions with local Board of Realtors and Home Builders Associations.