Guidance Residential speaks at NEXT women's financial conference

Houston, TX, February 28, 2019 - Two Guidance Residential representatives shared tips with other women executives in February at a national conference focusing on the home finance industry.

Riffat Lakhani, Guidance's vice president of marketing, introduced the rationale behind Islamic financing to the audience at the NEXT Tech Conference for Women in Financial Services. "It's based off of a strong foundation of establishing justice," she said.

Suha Zehl, Guidance's Chief Information Officer, pointed out that not just Islam but also Judaism and Christianity frown on charging interest. "You're not supposed to benefit off of somebody else's need," she said.

NEXT is a biannual tech-focused summit for women mortgage executives. More than 250 people attended. Guidance Residential's representatives were invited to participate in the panel "Niches to Riches," focusing on up-and-coming niche markets in the housing industry.

The representatives were asked to share tips based on Guidance's success for other businesses looking to establish themselves. Zehl said to start by identifying who you want to serve and make sure you fully understand what they need, and then be present in the community. "They have to see you on the front line, they have to hear you, and they have to see that you care about them and what they're trying to accomplish," she said. "From there, you build the trust, you become the subject matter expert for them, you become the trusted partner. ... The word will go out and the customers will come."

Lakhani also stressed that community engagement is key. Guidance's account executives offer seminars and coffees, they go to mosques and festivals, they engage with community leaders, and even do community service, eventually becoming micro-influencers in the community," she said. Social media presence is essential as well. "It's dependent on the relationships you build," she said. She pointed out that one good customer experience can lead to nine referrals, and one bad one can turn away 16 customers.

Zehl also explained the role technology played as Guidance expanded to serve its customers-first with a cutting-edge full-service website, then a cell phone app, and now even offering text notifications for instant updates. "You have to evolve with your customer," she said.


Guidance Residential is the leading provider of Islamic home financing in the United States. Since its inception in 2002, Guidance Residential has funded over $5.0 billion in Islamic home financing contracts.

Guidance Residential is a subsidiary of Guidance Financial Group, an international company dedicated to serving the market for Islamic financial products and services. Guidance Financial Group offers unique investment products to institutional investors and financial intermediaries worldwide, and provides financial services to its retail customer base in the United States. The company's commitment to intensive research and development and solid operational support for its products has allowed it to develop unique financial solutions that address unmet needs of the American Muslim market.

Guidance Residential's proprietary Declining Balance Co-ownership program is trusted as a Shariah-compliant home financing program in the U.S. Islamic finance market. The Declining Balance Co-ownership Program received the highest rating by The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA).

Guidance Residential was awarded the 2018 Vanguard Award by HousingWire.

Guidance Residential, LLC, (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System No.2908), 11107 Sunset Hills Rd, Suite 300, Reston, VA 20190; Licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act (413-0427); Alabama Consumer Credit (22410); Arizona Mortgage Banker (0923408); Arkansas Mortgage Banker-Broker-Servicer (112069); Colorado Mortgage Company Registration; Connecticut Mortgage Lender (ML-2908); Delaware Lender (022090); District of Columbia Mortgage Dual Authority (MLB2908); Florida Mortgage Lender Servicer (MLD2507); Georgia Mortgage Lender (17286); Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee (MB.0006455 11107 Sunset Hills Road, Suite 300, Reston, VA 20190; MB.0006455-001 100 East Roosevelt Rd, Units 44 & 45, Villa Park, IL 60181) licensed by the ILDFPR, James R Thompson Center (JRTC), 100 West Randolph Street, 9th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601, 888-473-4858 (General), 844-768-1713 (Banking Div); Indiana DFI-Mortgage Lending (37408); Kansas Licensed Mortgage Company (MC.0025178); Kentucky Mortgage Company (MC361158); Maryland Mortgage Lender (2908); Massachusetts Mortgage Lender (Mortgage Lender ML2908); Michigan 1st Mortgage Lender, Broker & Servicer Registrant (FR-0941); Minnesota Mortgage Originator (MN-MO 20320419); Mississippi Mortgage Lender (2908) - Licensed by the Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance; Missouri Company License (2908); New Jersey RMLA-Licensed Mortgage Servicer Registration; New Jersey Licensed Lender (9933648); New York - Licensed Mortgage Banker - New York Department of Financial Services (LMBC 110559) (NY location:1400 Old Country Rd, Suite C-104N, Westbury, NY 11590 -LMBC 109699); North Carolina Mortgage Lender (L-112542); Ohio Mortgage Broker Act Mortgage Banker Exemption (RM850079.000); Oregon Mortgage Lender (ML-4145); Pennsylvania - licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Banking, Mortgage Lender (21050); Pennsylvania Mortgage Servicer (100082); Rhode Island Lender License (20163318LL); South Carolina BFI Mortgage Lender/Servicer (MLS-2908); Tennessee Mortgage License (109274); Texas SML Mortgage Banker Registrant; Vermont Loan Servicer (LS-2908); Virginia Lender Licensee (MC-2138) licensed by the Virginia State Corporation Commission; Washington Consumer Loan Company (CL-2908); West Virginia Mortgage Lender (ML-36038); Wisconsin Mortgage Banker (46355BA).

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