Mary Ann McGarry '80

President and CEO

Friday, June 29, 2018TOPICS: Alumni

Mary Ann McGarry, USD alumna and President and CEO of Guild Mortgage
begin quoteUnder her tenure, Guild has become a top-10 national lender, growing from $1.2 billion in loan volume in 2007 to $15.9 billion in 2017. McGarry has achieved the type of success that most people only dream of.

Guild Mortgage

Mary Ann McGarry, USD alumni, as well as President and CEO of Guild Mortgage

When you meet Mary Ann McGarry, you know you’re in the presence of someone very special. Warm, congenial, and quick to laugh, behind her winning smile is an ingenious visionary whose goal is to not only ensure the future of her company but also that of America’s homebuyers and the U.S. financial industry.

At the heart of McGarry’s success lies a love of math and all of its applications. When she stepped on USD campus in 1976 she chose to study accounting and computer science, but she knew crunching numbers was just a means to an end.

“I wanted to own my own business,” she says. “As an accountant, you get a broad perspective of how businesses work and how to provide solutions and improve efficiencies.”

But when McGarry first declared her major, USD’s accounting program wasn’t acknowledged by the “Big Eight” accounting firms yet. At that time, these large international icons of the financial world (Arthur Andersen, Price Waterhouse and Peat Marwick Mitchell, to name a few) weren’t visiting USD to recruit grads. McGarry and her classmates set out to change that. They started a chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, the international honor organization for financial information students and professionals, and in doing so, laid the foundation for the relationships that USD has in place today.

“Our goal was to get that recognition,” McGarry says. “We went to the Big Eight firms and asked them to come visit the campus.”

Impressed by their moxie and academic accomplishments, the renowned firms began coming to USD to recruit new employees. When McGarry graduated in 1980, she landed a job with Peat Marwick Mitchell and became a Certified Public Accountant.

Rising to C-level

Starting as an Internal Audit supervisor, her career made a steady upwards trajectory from Senior Vice President of Loan Administration and Information Technology to key executive positions, including Chief Financial Officer, Chief Production Operations Officer, and Chief Operating Officer. 

At the end of 2007, when Guild’s owner retired, she initiated a management buy-out. It was a tough time for the mortgage industry, but McGarry was undaunted. Named President and CEO, McGarry led the company to unprecedented growth. Staffing went from 400 to 4000. Under her tenure, Guild has become a top-10 national lender, growing from $1.2 billion in loan volume in 2007 to $15.9 billion in 2017.

McGarry has achieved the type of success that most people only dream of. She has served on the Investment Committee and the Servicing Committee of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and on the FNMA Advisory Council. Through her positions with the MBA, she helped lobby for and influence the final version the Dodd Frank Bill, which was passed in response to the financial crisis of 2007-08 to improve financial stability and consumer protection. McGarry is often on the road participating with other industry leaders to shape the landscape of the mortgage business. As she did in her days at USD, McGarry is determined not only pave her own success, but the success of others.

Calculating success

Because McGarry knows first-hand the value of a USD School of Business degree, she’s sought out alumni to join the ranks of Guild — including Terry Schmidt (EVP, COO, Partner), Mike Rish (SVP Secondary Marketing, Partner) and Theresa Cherry (SVP Regional Manager, Partner).

There’s a confidence in knowing that a USD grad can bring the required skills and knowledge to the job along with social awareness and responsibility, collaborative problem solving, and real-world experience.

Today, McGarry leads with the same passion and determination she possessed as an undergrad at USD. “It’s really rewarding to put people in homes and keep them in their homes,” she says. “Our job is to provide the necessary tools and technology to help them be successful.”

Today, McGarry’s initiative to attract top firms to USD continues to open doors for accounting majors. In fact, 25 percent of the Class of 2017 in the School of Business chose to start their careers in the accounting industry. Further, 96.9 percent of the Class of 2017 reported that they had received their first job offer within three months of graduating. Although today, the Big Eight firms have consolidated into the Big Four (KPMG, PwC, EY, and Deloitte), because of the relationships McGarry and her classmates helped forge decades ago, more than 44 percent of the companies who hire USD Accounting majors are among these accounting powerhouses.

With the trail well blazed, McGarry is quick to encourage accounting majors to follow in her footsteps. “Be collaborative and always find better ways to improve whatever you’re working on,” she says. “Add value wherever you are, and make the organization better. Not only will you succeed, but everyone else will, too.”


Renata Ramirez
(619) 260-4658