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October 23, 2023   •   News  

SAFE Real Estate Expert Named Mortgage Professional of the Year

Folsom, Calif. – (Oct. 19, 2023) – Showcasing SAFE Credit Union’s unique partnership with area home builders, the North State Building Industry Association named SAFE Senior Mortgage Officer Brandi Schaefer as Mortgage Professional of the Year.

The nonprofit trade association – representing more than 530 companies in the Sacramento region – bestowed Schaefer the honor for the second time, having also given her the award in 2019. She was among four finalists for the honor that included two other SAFE senior mortgage officers: Damian Azimi and Ryan Smith.

Schaefer received the award at the association’s 47th annual Major Achievements in Marketing Excellence gala held in September. In April, the National Mortgage News also recognized Schaefer as the eighth top producer in the country, securing more than $202 million in sales.

“It’s a great honor,” says Schaefer, adding she has been very fortunate despite market pressures. “It was a fabulous year for me and our team.”

Brandi Schaefer photo SAFE Credit Union Senior Mortgage Officer Brandi Schaefer

Schaefer and her fellow finalists are part of SAFE’s mortgage team working with new-home builders in the Sacramento area to provide financing for homebuyers in new communities.

"Brandi’s work exemplifies SAFE’s commitment to the building industry and homebuyers,” says SAFE Credit Union Chief Lending Officer Tiffani Vargas, adding SAFE’s mortgage team focuses on providing exceptional operational support.

“Brandi, Damian, Ryan and SAFE’s entire home lending team proudly drive the industry and homeownership forward in our communities,” Vargas adds. “As one of the best ways to create generational wealth, advancing homeownership in our region is an important focus for SAFE.”

Schaefer began in the industry 26 years ago and has worked for the SAFE mortgage lending team for 12 years. A lifelong student of home building – her parents built custom homes in Placer County – Schaefer says her real estate acumen centers on seeking the best solutions for buyers and building clients by putting them first while staying present throughout the process.

“There’s no home file that is perfect,” she says of homebuying. “You have to let clients and builders know the challenges and the wins.”

Award winners and finalists are critiqued on demonstrating outstanding outreach efforts with home builders, home buyers and community members as well as cultivating a strong record of buyer satisfaction, excellent communication with builders and industry involvement, according to North State Building Industry Association Vice President of Member Services Angela Tsukiji.

The association also selected Azimi, Smith, along and Schaefer as finalists last year.

Damian Azimi photo SAFE Credit Union Senior Mortgage Officer Damian Azimi

Azimi has been with SAFE for six years and has 24 years of experience in the mortgage and real estate industry. “Brandi’s win is fantastic,” Azimi says. “Our SAFE team works hard to do what is best for our members and her win reinforces this dedication.”

Ryan Smith photo SAFE Credit Union Senior Mortgage Officer Ryan Smith

Smith, who has been with SAFE for nine years and has 33 years of experience in the mortgage industry, earned his bachelor’s degree in business from CSU Sacramento. He is a member of the Placer County Association of Realtors.

The North State Building Industry Association, under the umbrella of the National Association of Home Builders, is the voice of the housing industry in the Sacramento region. It was founded in 1944.

“They are such a great group,” Schaefer says of the association. “What they do inside our communities and for the building industry is phenomenal. It’s nice to see they are also working hard to get more and more people, and younger people, into the industry.”

Tiffani Vargas photo SAFE Credit Union Chief Lending Officer Tiffani Vargas


About SAFE

SAFE Credit Union has made members an integral part of its vision since 1940. Over the years the credit union has kept the focus on what really matters, putting members first, a formula that has seen SAFE grow into a leading financial institution in Northern California with $4.7 billion in assets and about 236,000 members. SAFE crafts every cutting-edge product and sterling service with members’ needs foremost in mind. In addition to banking services conveniently available through online, chat, mobile, or phone options, SAFE offers in-person services for members and small businesses at service centers across the Greater Sacramento region. SAFE is a not-for-profit, state-chartered credit union with membership open to businesses and individuals living or working in Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado, Sutter, Butte, Nevada, Solano, San Joaquin, Contra Costa, Yuba, Amador, and Alameda counties. Insured by NCUA.


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