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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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.
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
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
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.