Outside Movement Mortgage’s headquarters here Friday morning it was still pitch black out, but inside the company’s lobby the lights were bright as the crew of CNBC’s popular “Squawk Box” show prepped host Becky Quick to go live.
From 6 a.m. to 9. a.m., the company’s swanky new headquarters 14 miles south of uptown Charlotte doubled as a set for the morning business show, with segments from the New York studio spliced in intermittently. The program provided a national spotlight for a fast-growing local mortgage company and its CEO, a longtime CNBC fan.
Movement’s founder Casey Crawford, a former Carolina Panthers tight end, has been on CNBC and Bloomberg TV in the past to discuss his young company, and says he and his team began talks with CNBC a few months ago to get the morning show here.
“A lot of kids grew up wanting to be on ESPN. I grew up wanting to be on ‘Squawk Box,’” Crawford said. “This is a dream come true for us.”
The local guest list Movement compiled included Wells Fargo chief economist John Silvia, former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, retired Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson, Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good and Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, who even showed off the “Dab,” a dance move made famous quarterback Cam Newton.
The guests discussed topics ranging from the economy to renewable energy to teamwork. Bowles and Simpson also took questions on a controversial new North Carolina law that limits protections for LGBT individuals, and the bipartisan pair were both critical of the legislation, which has spurred a national backlash from the business community.
The set at Movement Mortgage remained silent as the show kicked off with hosts Joe Kernen and Andrew Ross Sorkin, who remained in New York. The broadcast could be seen on a muted TV, as Quick listened in through her earpiece. The clock hit 6:14, and the first hiccup was obvious: The opening guest was nowhere to be seen.
“Where the heck is Silvia?” several crew members said at 6:20. Quick and the other hosts killed time the best they could by talking about golfer Ernie Els’ performance in the Masters Thursday until Silvia arrived at 6:25, delayed by a mix-up over Movement’s address.
Apparently this kind of thing happens all the time and since it’s live TV, the show must go on, whether that means shuffling around the guest order or taking up more time on a different topic.
Silvia talked about the economy, the Federal Reserve and the pace of interest rate hikes for less than four minutes before his time ran out and Quick thanked him for coming. Next up at 6:45 was Crawford and Andrew Bon Salle, an executive vice president at Fannie Mae, who discussed the health of the U.S. housing market and millennial homebuying.
Simpson and Bowles, known for collaborating on bipartisan fiscal policies, joined Quick around 7. They talked, predictably, about the national debt and bipartisan politics, before Quick asked about North Carolina’s new law that limits the legal protections of LGBT individuals.
“It’s awfully mean-spirited to use religious freedom as some kind of a market to really discriminate,” Simpson said.
Bowles, the former president of the University of North Carolina system and a Charlotte resident, called the measure “just plain wrong.”
“Not only is it wrong for all the reasons Alan said, but economically it’s wrong,” Bowles said, citing the jobs lost from PayPal’s decision to cancel its North Carolina expansion plans.
The broadcast from New York included some stock market updates, financial news updates and interviews with former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and current Honeywell chairman and CEO David Cote.
Good, the Duke CEO, was ushered in around 8:20 and discussed renewable energy and low gas prices with Quick before a breaking news alert about an economic forecast from New York Fed President William Dudley.
Rivera was the show’s grand finale. Quick and the coach discussed head injuries, the Dab and the team dynamic.
“What’s really happened with the players is they’ve taken over that locker room and have taken ownership. That’s something I preached when I first got there, and it’s been tremendous to watch how the guys handle it,” Rivera said.
The Panthers coach capped “Squawk Box,” but Quick stayed around to tape her “On the Money” show that runs on Saturdays. That show, too, had a Carolinas connection: Clay Aiken, the North Carolina singer and one-time political candidate, called in for an interview.