Rhonda Lash is a self-described “people person,” which is one of the major reasons she decided to join INB’s staff.
“I have been amazed at the partnerships at INB, whether it’s the operations team and sales team working together, or the marketing department running with an idea,” she says.
“INB gets things done; we don’t let things wait and go through six different committees for a ‘maybe.’ It’s really exciting for me to join a company that puts its energy and staff resources into making things happen for our customers.”
Starting January 15, Rhonda took on the role of assistant vice president, mortgage lending, at INB’s Champaign branch.
From Retail to Mortgage
Though her background isn’t in mortgage lending, she has gained tremendous experience in business development, management and collaborating with a variety of people in her previous jobs.
Originally from Mattoon, Rhonda attended college at Baylor University in Waco, Texas – “I knew that was the right choice for me when I was laying out on a rooftop dorm in 85-degree weather in January!” she laughs. She received a degree in biology before starting a long career in retail with Macy’s, which led her to several locations around the Midwest.
After having her first son, Rhonda and her husband moved to Champaign to be closer to family in Mattoon. Here, she was instrumental in opening the Macy’s at the Market Place Shopping Center in 1999.
“I loved opening the new store; I got to meet and work with so many people we wouldn’t typically interact with on a daily basis, like the staff from the corporate office,” she recalls. Eventually, Rhonda took on a new position with a small advertising agency in Champaign, then entered the mortgage industry for another bank.
That led to her newest career move to INB.
Drawn to INB by Collaboration + Helping Others
“I was looking for a new role where I was able to work closely with people without the responsibilities of management. That’s when I met Denise Lindsay, who also just started in mortgage at INB,” Rhonda says. “The first time we met, she said ‘we’re going to work together.’ We started talking, and here we are.”
Rhonda is drawn to mortgage lending because she enjoys getting to “help people with the biggest purchase of their life.” She particularly likes working with first-time homebuyers.
“They are so eager, and sometimes they just don’t have all the information they need. They’re not sure what’s possible,” she says. “I love being able to educate them on the grant programs available and getting to see their realization that homeownership isn’t necessarily years away.”
Outside of the Office
Rhonda and her husband have two sons ages, 19 and 21, and are officially empty nesters now.
“We’re still trying to navigate those waters and figuring out how to use that free time,” she says. The family loves getting together with friends and going out to eat at the variety of delicious restaurants in the Champaign area. Their dog, Grace, has a special place in their heart, and they also enjoy visiting their second home in rural Minnesota.
Rhonda feels strongly about community involvement and is currently on the board and development committee for Courage Connection, a domestic violence services organization serving Champaign and surrounding communities.
“It’s a cause I believe in, because there are so many people affected by domestic violence. It may be the person standing next to you in line, the person making your coffee or a child who is friends with your kids. If we’re going to help the next generation of kids, we have to solve these problems now,” she explains.
Building Families and Futures
Looking ahead, Rhonda is thrilled to be part of the INB team and to start getting people into their new homes.
“It may sound cheesy, but this is still the American dream,” she says. “With things like credit issues and student loan debt, people think those are hurdles that stop them forever, but that’s not the case. So I consider that a personal responsibility: to help people figure out how they can get into a home.
“A home is the starting point for building your family and your future.”
Rhonda Lash NMLS #1772943