Michael Desmond Quinn, mortgage banker and founder of real estate company Wye Group, dies

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Michael Desmond Quinn, a retired banker who founded the Wye Group, a mortgage firm, died of heart disease Sunday at his Towson home. He was 86.

Born in Baltimore and raised on East Eager Street, he was the son of Michael Joseph Quinn, a Baltimore City municipal worker, and Gladys Baldwin, a homemaker.


He initially attended the School of the Cathedral in downtown Baltimore and after his family moved to Anne Arundel County, he graduated from Glen Burnie High School in 1954.

He earned a degree at the University of Maryland, College Park and served in the Navy aboard the USS Compton.


He met his future wife, Mary McHenry Quinn, a student at the old Mount St. Agnes College, through mutual friends. They married in 1961.

Mr. Quinn joined the mortgage brokerage Weaver Brothers, Inc. in 1960, which started his five decade career in finance, insurance and real estate. He began work in a space above Purdum’s Pharmacy on York Road.

Michael Desmond Quinn taught courses about the mortgage business at the Johns Hopkins University and the Essex campus of the Community College of Baltimore County.

“He had an interesting career. He started at an entry level at Weavers Brothers at its Anneslie office. Within 20 years he was starting a business and owning his own mortgage company,” said brother-in-law, William F. McHenry.

“Mike knew the mortgage business. He was smart and he was a people person,” his brother-in-law said.

Mr. Quinn became involved in Baltimore’s business community.

“Mike was one of the young men who were involved in the revitalization of downtown Baltimore in the 1960s,” his wife said. “He belonged to the Baltimore Junior Chamber of Commerce and traveled throughout the country recruiting other JC chapters to have a national convention in Baltimore in 1968.”

She recalled it as one of the larger conventions to come to Baltimore. The events included a parade and President Lyndon B. Johnson speaking to chamber members at the old Civic Center.

“There was a reception for about 1,200 wives — women could not be in the JCs — and we were bussed to the White House for a reception for the King and Queen of Thailand,” his wife said.


Mr. Quinn became president and chief executive officer of Chesapeake Financial Inc. In 1977 he formed the Wye Group, Inc., a mortgage banking and real estate organization.

“My husband formed the Wye Group at our dining room table,” Mrs. Quinn said. “Mike was entrepreneurial and forward thinking.”

Mr. Quinn was a member of the business group Greater Baltimore Committee and took an interest in the Madison Square section of East Baltimore near the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He worked with community activist Lucille Gorman on housing issues.

Mr. Quinn was a past president of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

“Mike was well liked and respected within our industry,” said Hugh Coyle, a fellow mortgage banker. “He ended up in the Mortgage Bankers Hall of Fame.”

Mr. Quinn also worked in venture capital and investment projects.


He remained interested in Baltimore area real estate and bought the old Charles H. Steffey real estate firm, which later merged into O’Conor, Piper & Flynn Realtors.

He later led the sale of The Wye Group’s mortgage banking companies with Goldman Sachs.

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In 1991 he founded Alliance Recovery Group Inc., a management firm that had contracts with the Resolution Trust Corporation and Estate Trust Inc. The company bought and sold life insurance in the aftermarket.

Mr. Quinn, a recovering alcoholic, worked with area support groups and was a sponsor for Geisinger Marworth Treatment Center in Waverly, Pennsylvania.

He was a member of the University of Maryland’s President’s Club and the Baltimore County Club. He taught courses about the mortgage business at the Johns Hopkins University and the Essex campus of the Community College of Baltimore County.

Mr. Quinn was a waterfowl hunter who shot geese and liked the fields around Wye Mills. He golfed regularly with a group of friends.


Mr. Quinn served on the board of the visitors at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business for 17 years.

Services are private.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Mary McHenry Quinn, a retired Baltimore County Schools nurse who worked with her husband in estate trusts; four daughters, Cailin Quinn of Towson, Maureen Quinn of Sparks, Patti Jacobs of Lutherville and Marianne Quinn of Cockeysville; and three grandchildren.