Austin Baker, Branch Manager, Loan Officer, Bonck And Baker Mortgage Group

by Kerrie Kennedy

Where did you grow up? I grew up in West University before moving to Lake City, Colorado in 7th grade. Moved back to Texas for my undergrad at The University of Texas (hook ‘em!)

What was your most interesting job before going into lending? Right after college, I got a job working on a ranch in west Texas for nine months. I helped oversee the construction of some new construction (log cabins) as I had some experience with that from my time in Colorado.

What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? Pray. Literally, when I feel stressed or anxious, I believe Jesus when he says to be “anxious for nothing”, so if things get stressful with loans, I take it to him first. You’d be surprised at how much he answers and pulls things through for us!

If you could meet any well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why? That’s tough. Any of the dudes on Mount Rushmore would be awesome to sit down with. I’m fascinated by presidential history, but more so in what shaped those men and how they overcame what seemed like impossible odds. Winston Churchill would probably be a close second to those guys for the same reasons.

What do you love most about the industry? I love that we get to help people. For most of our clients, we are dealing with their largest asset (equity in their home) and their largest liability (the mortgage on the home). That’s a lot of responsibility and I genuinely love helping people through that. For our realtors, I love being able to provide them with a service experience that they can trust. Getting the job done and getting it done fast is what we’re here for.

 What is the most difficult aspect of your job? Juggling all of the interruptions and multiple “top priorities.” Clients’ availabilities and when we get updates on loan files are always moving targets. I’m a big believer in time blocking but it can be darn near impossible some days in this industry.

 What are you binge-watching/reading/listening to lately? Binge watching: “The Chosen” and all of the Sean Connery classic Bond movies. Reading: “Gentle and Lowly” by Dane C. Ortlund, great book about the heart of Christ. Listening: to my co-workers, lol.

What’s your favorite meal in Houston? Oh, that’s not even fair — good grief! My wife and I really love State of Grace and any Hugo Ortegas restaurants.

Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Houston? I’ll go with a classic: Williams Tower.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you on the job? I used to joke that we should get our counseling licenses because of how people handle their money speaks a lot to what’s going on in their life. Needless to say, we’ve been caught in between some funny marital conversations.

 What’s one thing people might be surprised to learn about you? That I’m also a co-founder of an upcoming distillery, stay tuned on that front!

What’s your favorite vacation spot and why? My uncle’s ranch because the cell service is terrible! Seriously though, it’s quintessential Texas landscape — one of my favorite places on earth.

In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the lending industry? Get a coach.

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