About Us

GEM Mortgage, a division of Golden Empire Mortgage (GEM) is proud to hold ourselves as one of the most respected lenders in the mortgage industry for nearly 30 years. The GEM business philosophy holds true that all consumers deserve access to credit, where “our customers are our business” is the cornerstone for excellence.

Golden Empire Mortgage isn't just about mortgages and home lending - GEM is about people, and building lasting customer relationships.

At GEM we understand that the lending process can be intimidating, that’s why we ensure that all of our employees hold to the highest level of client satisfaction. We pride ourselves on integrity, knowledge and state of the art technology all in an effort to provide our customers with excellent customer service and the best rates possible.

Our Leadership Team

Howard Kootstra

Over 35 years in lending, Howard worked in a variety of positions which gave him the opportunity to learn every aspect of the mortgage industry, from retail branch operations, underwriting, business development, human resources and corporate administration, as well as secondary marketing and the bundling of loans. He was also a DRE approved instructor.

Joe Ewens

Throughout his 26 years in lending, Joe has developed a track record of success as a branch manager, regional account executive, and as a loan center manager. He has been responsible for loan production for over 60 retail branches, as well as, marketing, training, and recruiting loan officers and new branch managers.  Joe leads mortgage professionals from problem solvers to trusted advisors by focusing on value-based relationships with referral partners. Golden Empire Mortgage is has been a top-performing mortgage banker since 1987, and Joe will continue this legacy as well as looking to continue the development and expansion of new markets throughout the western United States.  Joe has been named one of the 100 Most Influential Mortgage Executives in America by Mortgage Executive Magazine.

Rebecca Wegman

Rebecca truly worked her way up and through the mortgage industry over the last 32 years as a processor, loan officer, underwriter, branch operations supervisor, funding manager, as well as, an area, division and regional operations supervisor and assistant vice president. She has a great reputation in the branches for doing everything in her power to get your loans funded in a timely manner.

David Chesney

David has a reputation for looking at a problem and finding a solution. Over his 25 years in finance and accounting, he has created and supervised programs which have transformed company operations and procedures. With over 10 years in community and mortgage banking, David is a key member of the executive team developing strategies to guide us through these tumultuous times.

Robert Satnick
EVP Secondary Marketing

Robert Satnick is a seasoned mortgage lending executive contributing 30 years of lending expertise to subordinates and peers alike. He remains actively involved in the industry, sharing his knowledge base with fellow industry members through the instruction of seminars and courses on mortgage banking and capital markets to a variety of audiences, including the Mortgage Bankers Association of America and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, (FreddieMac). Mr. Satnick also served as Chairman of the Board of the California Mortgage Bankers Association.

Madison M. Christian
General Counsel/EVP – Legal and Compliance

Mr. Christian is a seasoned attorney with over two decades of experience representing residential mortgage lenders and other industry participants. He has substantial knowledge of, and expertise in guiding mortgage lenders through the often-times complicated maze of federal and state legal and regulatory requirements in order to achieve compliance and to minimize risk. Mr. Christian is an active participant in a variety of mortgage industry trade organizations and compliance groups, including the Mortgage Bankers Association of America and the California Mortgage Bankers Association.

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