Making changes – to help lend a hand |

Making changes – to help lend a hand

Eileen JoyceJohn Burke works at his office, Burke Home Loans, in Grass Valley Thursday.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

ohn Burke looks forward to work in the morning. It’s easy when people appreciate what he does.

“(This) business is really good,” said Burke, president and owner of Burke Home Loans in Grass Valley. “It’s a fun thing to do. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.”

Burke, 47, said that hasn’t always been the case, particularly when he worked in the corporate world of high-tech startups and turnarounds.

Companies would send him in to fix problems in engineering design groups.

After he put in 12- to 14-

hour days, people weren’t always happy with the fixes he proposed. Often, they didn’t like the changes. Or they didn’t like change – period.

“In the corporate world people have a reaction to change, and they don’t want it,” Burke said.

During one project, a single employee was holding up a $20 million project.

Burke said that “blew his mind.” He had recently completed a master’s degree in engineering from the University of California at Davis, and thought all the world’s problems were technical in nature, rather than people oriented.

He started Burke Home Loans in 1994 because he wanted to help people.

“There’s nothing like helping a first-time home buyer into a house who didn’t think they could buy,” said Burke. “The appreciation is overwhelming.”

One of his first walk-in customers asked if Burke’s company did second mortgages.

The man had just signed up for a mortgage that wasn’t what he expected; it included higher interest terms for less principal. And he had to buy the company’s life insurance policy.

Burke said the man was “ecstatic” when he was able to get a bigger loan at a lower interest rate, fewer points, and no life insurance policy.

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