Inzeo retires after over two decades at Wisconsin Mortgage Corporation

By Eileen Mozinski Schmidt - Special to Conley Media

Feb. 24, 2019

WAUKESHA — Early in his career, John Inzeo received some helpful advice.

“A good friend said years ago, ‘You should have your own personal board of directors,” Inzeo said. “Surround yourself with a group of would-be advisors and mentors.”

It was a tip that proved fruitful for Inzeo, a local business and community leader who colleagues say helped both grow the Wisconsin Mortgage Corporation and see the operation through challenges like the recent recession.

Inzeo retired last month from a successful career that included over two decades at Wisconsin Mortgage Corporation, where he served as vice president and general manager.

Inzeo, a Waukesha native, started his career in 1977 at Chicago Title and Trust. He moved into the banking side of the industry in 1984, working at Waukesha Savings and Loan and continuing on in the regional office when the organization morphed into First State Savings and then was purchased by First Financial Bank out of Stevens Point.

“That meant a bit of travel, but it was worth it,” said Inzeo, whose wife, Sue Inzeo, was then a teacher in the School District of Waukesha and also a longtime area resident.

John Inzeo went on to work for the local operations of TCF Bank, based in Minnesota, and then moved to the Wisconsin Mortgage Corporation.

“I really wanted to find a base here in this area, and was lucky to find the Wisconsin Mortgage Corporation,” he said.

Working in Waukesha was important, Inzeo said, because of deep family roots in the area as well as a wealth of family and community connections.

“Sue and I were lucky through the years to not only have a lot of close friends, but the opportunity to be involved in the community,” he said, adding that Waukesha continues to be “a real melting pot of opportunities for people,” noting the area’s various business associations and charitable groups.

A strong leader

Under Inzeo’s leadership, Wisconsin Mortgage Corporation grew to be one of “the leading mortgage loan processors and originators in Wisconsin,” according to a company press release.

John Horning, executive vice president of Shorewest Realtors, said Inzeo was a well-liked company leader who did a good job of not only running the mortgage arm of the business, but in developing relationships with Shorewest’s wealth of realtors and agents, who number over 900.

Inzeo was “very well liked. He led with a good sense of humor,” said Horning. “People looked up to him and respected his opinion.”

Inzeo was at the helm of the Wisconsin Mortgage Corporation for remarkable changes in the real estate business, including the technological boom.

“That’s, for the most part, been very positive. The challenge is to take that tech growth and blend it with the personal touch to make sure we’re still serving customers on a personal level,” Inzeo said.

Inzeo also noted economic changes over the years, like the record-high market rates in the early 1980s and the recent recession and housing market crisis.

“2008 to 2018, that’s a cycle that I will talk about for a long time. That 10-year period was a period of dramatic change,” he said. “The good news is the survivors are for the most part the good players and companies, whether it be independent mortgage bankers like us, or credit unions or banks, those were the people following the rules and doing things the right way.”

During those years, Horning said Inzeo made adjustments while also keeping the needs of staff in mind.

“That’s part of the culture of the company. We are a team. He really lived that out,” Horning said.

What the future holds

Inzeo was succeeded at Wisconsin Mortgage Corporation by Pat Gosa, also a Waukesha native. Inzeo said the pair worked on the transition for several months and by January, he was ready for the step into retirement.

“In my new world I’m going to be more of an observer,” Inzeo said, but added that he plans to continue some of his government affairs and association work and is also working on launching a consumer-oriented real estate blog.

In the next year, Inzeo projects a busy spring and summer for the real estate industry thanks to low interest rates with somewhat higher inventory rates presenting more opportunities for buyers.

“We can’t forecast much beyond that. There are so many things that affect consumer confidence or interest rates. We’re one big snowstorm away from things being a little bit slower,” he said.

He said his early advice, to have personal advisors to “bounce ideas off of or talk about your career and where you’re headed,” still holds true in today’s fast-paced world.

It “works very well if you can surround yourself with a group of people like that,” Inzeo said.

John Inzeo

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater. He was born and raised in Waukesha, where he married his wife, Sue. They have three adult children and three grandchildren.

Winner of the 2018 Wisconsin Mortgage Bankers Association Lifetime Achievement Award.

Active in The Realty Alliance, The Real Estate Services Providers Council, Inc., National Association of REALTORS® Mortgage Advisory Group and the Strategic Alliance of Mortgage Subsidiaries.

Served on many community boards and commissions including: United Way, Chamber of Commerce, Wisconsin REALTORS ® Association, Metropolitan Builders Association, Wisconsin Builders Association, Waukesha County REALTORS® Association, The Lyla Burton Trust, The Caring Place and the advisory board of The Bryon Reisch Paralysis Foundation.

Member of the School District of Waukesha Board of Education from 1979–1987, serving as School Board President for three years. He has also served on many municipal commissions and committees.