The chief executive officer of Fort Wayne-based Ruoff Mortgage Co. Inc. says, while the company spent its first couple of decades as "pretty much a local story," it is now in growth mode. Mark Music, who had no prior mortgage industry experience, says he took over the now 33-year-old company around the time of the national financial crisis from his father-in-law. At the time, Ruoff employed 18 and has since expanded to more than 500 with 24 branch offices throughout the state, an increasing presence in Ohio and Michigan and a "boutique" location in Florida. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Music discussed how Ruoff’s high-profile sponsorship of Takuma Sato’s 2017 Indy 500 winning car came together and ambitious growth plans.
The strategy, Music says, involves adapting the model that expanded its Indiana footprint to other states. Ruoff has appeared on the Inc. 5000 list for high-growth private companies in each of the last five years. Plans call for up to 20 additional Ruoff branches within a year. Its annual loan volume is projected to be $2 billion, four times as much as it was a decade ago. "We’re going to build out Michigan and Ohio to kind of reflect what we’ve done in Indiana," Music said. "We’re the number one lender in the state of Indiana and our goal is in 18 months to be number one in the Midwest."
Music says Indy 500 sponsorship was something Ruoff explored, but didn’t venture into, in 2016. An opportunity with Sato’s Andretti Autosport team "sort of fell into our lap, last second" before this year’s race and Music says the company took it.
Ruoff launched a direct-to-consumer online lending channel called Expedite Home Loans in January, which Music says is "where the battle will be fought here in the coming years."