There’s a lot that Lancaster knows about Mark Pontz.
For some, he’s the editor of one of Lancaster’s most beloved publications. For others, he’s the guy you have a mortgage meeting with at 2 p.m. on a Friday, and then see bouncing on stage at Tellus360 by 8. For those close to him, Mark is a strategic worker, and devoted husband and father.
Those who know him best know that in all these roles, he is driven by a desire to make the world a better place. Perhaps that comes, in some part, from his early love of comic books and superhero stories—a love developed early in life, while searching for a sense of direction as a child.
Those who know him best share that his desire to make the world a better, happier place is coupled with a strong sense of loyalty—to his family, his friends, his clients, and his fellow community members, another theme so prevalent in the graphic novels read during his most formative years.
As a teenager, Mark aspired to success in business, whether that be in the music industry (see: his aforementioned involvement in many local bands and killer music trivia skills) or elsewhere. He began in the mortgage industry when was first married, with a wife, a young son, and a daughter on the way. It seemed like a natural fit—a field that allows him to help make people’s dream of owning their own home come true. Now, 25 years later, Mark’s passion for mortgage lending has only grown stronger.
His wife, Marian, recounts a particular story that chokes her up a bit, from that time when he first started in mortgages: Mark used to sit at the kitchen table, working and planning late into the night, long after his family had gone to bed, determined to provide a comfortable and happy life for them. Perhaps inspired by the heroes in the stories he had read as a child, Mark set out to make the world a better place for the three people he loved most.
Though the businesses in which Mark are involved have certainly expanded since those late nights at the kitchen table, one thing has never wavered: his desire to make the world a better place for everyone he comes into contact with. Whether that means surprising a friend with a cup of coffee from their favorite cafe (His own caffeinated order? A Trenta iced coffee from Starbucks...year round), or making sure the home-buying process is easy, understandable, and transparent for each and every one of his clients—Mark is on it.
“There is no hurdle that can’t be overcome in the process to getting a mortgage, there’s very little that can’t be overcome with preparation and planning and commitment,” he explains, when discussing his desire to help his clients finance their dream homes, with an eye always towards fiscal responsibility.
He understands that mortgages are a bit mystifying to people to begin with, and so he tries to approach every client and transaction with as much transparency as possible. He believes that people who are too analytical and simply ‘crunch the numbers’ are missing an important piece of what it means to work in finance. “My days are left brain and my nights are right brain,” he explains, touching on his involvement in Lancaster’s music scene. “It opens me up to a creative way of thinking.”
“My goal is to make sure people understand the process because nothing good grows in darkness. So I’m shedding light on the process,” he explains about what it means to be a mortgage broker.
Penn Ketchum, managing partner of Penn Cinemas and one of Mark’s closest friends and confidants, sees Mark as the steady presence in what could otherwise be an overwhelming financial decision. “Mark is someone I can trust with big moments, like navigating a mortgage, because I know that he will never let it get bigger or scarier than it needs to be,” Ketchum explains. “I think he is sensitive to the seriousness of a business deal like a home mortgage, but he is careful not to let people get overwhelmed by the process.”
With a lot on his plate—from music and publishing, to his work to amplify the voices of innovators and creatives here in Lancaster—it might surprise people to learn how responsive and invested Mark is in everything he cares about. Mark’s method for keeping all the plates spinning is to always stay focused on the goal at hand. He explains, “I want to get the job done for my client, and I want to get it done in the most efficient way possible, based on the fact that my industry itself is somewhat perceived to be inefficient. I want my clients to be as stress-free as possible. I want them to be 110-percent aware of what’s going on.”
From the home buying process and beyond, “The world is definitely a better place because of Mark,” Ketchum says. With a laugh, he continues, “I mean, without Mark Pontz, Starbucks would likely have folded by now...so next time you're enjoying that Pumpkin Spice Latte, you know who to thank!”
And that love of superhero stories? That’s still there, too. So, if you want to talk the latest Captain America film after figuring out the best possible mortgage options for you—well, Mark Pontz is the guy.
By: Charlotte Culver