NMP's Mortgage Professional of the Month

Eddie Hilliard is executive vice president of business development at Ponte Verda Beach, Fla.-based Mainsail Mortgage and president of the Jacksonville Chapter of the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals (FAMP)
Eddie Hilliard is executive vice president of business development at Ponte Verda Beach, Fla.-based Mainsail Mortgage and president of the Jacksonville Chapter of the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals (FAMP). National Mortgage Professional Magazine spoke with Hilliard regarding his involvement with his state’s trade group.
 
When did you first get involved with Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals, and what was the path that led you to a leadership role within the association?
I’ve been in the mortgage industry for 24 years, but I did not have my broker’s license until 2010. Jody Barry, who was past president of FAMP, wanted me to become more involved, and I wanted to give back to a group that gave me so much over the years. I started showing up at meetings, and I later became chairman of the Membership Committee. From there, I moved up the ranks. My current position started in August 2016 and will expire at the end of July.
 
Why should members of your state’s mortgage profession join FAMP?
It is important to be part of a group that is trying to move our profession forward. We’re very serious about making sure that our members know what is going on education-wise and compliance-wise, as well as bringing in new lenders to talk about their programs.
 
How is FAMP involved in shaping legislative issues?
We like to bubble up our information for Tallahassee to Valerie Saunders, our state chairwoman. We are also involved in raising money for the FAMP PAC, and we participate in the Legislative Day activities in April, when we connect with legislators so they can know who are and how they affect our industry. On a federal level, we hand that off to Valerie Saunders and NAMB.
 
What has been your most significant accomplishment within the association?
Making sure that our monthly meetings have content for our members, so when they leave they can say that they’ve gotten something out of it. Also, ensuring that we bring relevant education to the table.
 
What is the synergy between FAMP and NAMB?
Our relationship is not the way it was in years past, when there was automatic joint membership. But we still get a lot of information from NAMB and we are appreciative of what they are doing for the industry.
 
In your professional opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
The FAMP Education Foundation has “boot camps” that bring in people right out of college and introduces them to the basics of what our industry is doing, while showing them what they need to know about what it takes to be successful in our business. We have some great schools here, but I don’t think we’ve done a good job in marketing to them. There are so many people who are scared of the real estate industry because of what happened from 2007 to 2009, so being part of this industry is not high on their list.
 
What is the housing market like in your state?
It is taking off. We are seeing huge growth in all areas. Builders are buying up lots and putting infrastructure in place. The market is busy as we saw great growth in the third and fourth quarters of last year.
 
Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@MortgageNewsNetwork.com.

 
Constance Griggs Lazzeroni is vice president of operations for Fresno, Calif.-based Elite Mortgage & Financial Services and current president of the Central Valley Chapter of the California Association of Mortgage Professionals (CAMP)
Constance Griggs Lazzeroni is vice president of operations for Fresno, Calif.-based Elite Mortgage & Financial Services and current president of the Central Valley Chapter of the California Association of Mortgage Professionals (CAMP). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with her regarding her work with the state’s trade group.
 
When did you first get involved with the California Association of Mortgage Professionals, and what was the path that led you to a leadership role?
I got involved many, many years ago—CAMP dwindled in our area about eight years ago. When it was back, I was interested in the Government Affairs Committee because I wanted to understand what was coming out in terms of regulations—and I did not want to find out what was going to be implemented a week before it came out. I got on the board after hearing Fred Kreger, current NAMB president who was CAMP president at the time, speak about getting involved. We had low attendance in the Central Valley and I along with others on the CAMP Board have worked hard to promote CAMP and it’s benefits over the last few years.
 
A couple of years ago, I was nominated to be president, and it was my main intention to grow our chapter. The last few years, we have more than doubled our event attendance.
 
Why should members of your state’s mortgage profession join CAMP?
For starters, we are represented by lobbyists who fight on our behalf … one strong voice is better than many scattered voices. Also, we are serious about promoting ethics and education. My chapter promotes cross-education—and I speak at escrow and title events and have them speak at our events along with the leaders in the realtor chapters.
 
How is CAMP involved in shaping legislative issues, at both a state and federal level?
We are only involved on a national level to some degree. Right now, we are focused within the state on some real estate code clean-up, a bill dealing with personal income tax deductions, and several dealing with affordable housing. There’s going to be one on Property Assessed Clean Energy loans like last year and a bill to move the Bureau of Real Estate out of the Department of Consumer Affairs.
 
california associaiton of mortgage professionalsWhat has been your most significant accomplishment within CAMP?
Rebranding CAMP’s image and getting CAMP back in action again. Over the last three years, our membership and attendance have been increasing. Right now, our chapter has about 60 members, and a couple of hundred people showed up at our last event. We are one of the smaller CAMP chapters in terms of membership numbers, but we have better event attendance.
 
What is the synergy between CAMP, NAMB and other trade groups?
NAMB and CAMP are very closely related. We basically coincide with each other. With the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Professional Mortgage Women, we have the same objectives, but we don’t cross with each other very often.
 
One of our objectives for 2017 is to reach out with other mortgage groups, as well as with the Realtor associations, the Young Mortgage Professionals Association, and the California Escrow Association.
 
What is the housing market like in the state of California?
We are definitely seeing values increasing. But we are short on inventory. In January, we noticed a slowdown for just a little bit. But overall, we’ve had healthy growth and movement in the market. Within the state, the Bay Area is strongest market, but our part of the state is also moving pretty quick.

Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@MortgageNewsNetwork.com.
 
Tony Blodgett is the regional vice president for the Northwest at New American Funding and president of the Washington Mortgage Bankers Association (WMBA). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with Tony about his work with his state’s mortgage trade group.
 
When did you first get involved with Washington Mortgage Bankers Association? What was the path that led you to a leadership role within WMBA?
WMBA is a fairly new organization. I was a member of the Seattle Mortgage Bankers Association for the past 20 years. Through networking and attending events and talking to people in leadership positions, I let them know that I was interested in being more involved in the organization. This led me to being on the board. This was about five years ago. Soon after, our treasurer resigned and we needed someone to fill that position. I was nominated, which got me into an executive leadership role.
 
There was a unique situation that same year–the merger of the Seattle Mortgage Bankers Association and the Washington Mortgage Lenders Association. When the organizations merged, I was asked to remain as treasurer for a second year. From there, I became vice president and then president. My term as president began in September of 2016 and runs for a year.
 
Why should members of your state’s mortgage profession join WMBA?
There are a number of benefits that someone gets from being a member of WMBA. There are networking aspects–where you can gain knowledge from other lenders. We are a statewide organization that has a full-time lobbyist and good communication with the legislative community. Companies that join us have a voice and can be part of influencing change.
 
How is WMBA involved in shaping legislative issues, at both the state and federal levels?
We have our chairman of the board focusing exclusively on legislative initiatives related to our industry. We work very closely with our local legislators. Each year, we participate in a Legislative Day, where we go to Olympia and meet with important legislators who work with the mortgage and banking industries. We also have good relations with the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions.
 
At the federal level, a number of us represent the association at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) National Advocacy Conference where we meet with federal legislators in Washington, D.C.
 
What has been your most significant accomplishment within the association?
Supervising the merger between the Seattle Mortgage Bankers Association and the Washington Mortgage Lenders Association required a lot of support from both organizations. It took a lot of effort to get those groups aligned, and we grew even stronger from the mortgage professionals in Washington State.
 
What is the synergy between WMBA and the national MBA?
Part of what we did in the merger was to become a member of the national Mortgage Bankers Association. That offered an additional benefit to our members and it gives us very close communications with the national MBA. We work pretty closely with them on anything happening with our local legislators. We may not always agree 100 percent, but we try to work with the MBA in representing the same positions on a national level, as well as a local level.
 
In your professional opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
There are not a lot of young people coming into the industry. What could help would be if more companies had programs in place to bring in entry-level people. It is difficult to get a job in mortgage banking, because the typical company wants people with experience, especially on the sales side. It is also difficult for people to earn a living while learning the business. That could be helped by a program where we bring on junior mortgage originators and maybe salaried positions to come in and learn the business.
 
What is the housing market like currently in the state of Washington?
We have a very strong housing market, led by good strong employment and growth. The challenge is a lack of inventory. It is harder to find a home and that drives home values up due to the lack of supply in the market.
 
Also, we are something of a seasonal market. The listings of homes are typically lower through the winter months, and then increases in the spring and summer months.
 
Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@NMPMediaCorp.com.
Michael Kellman is senior vice president of consumer lending at North Shore Bank and president of the Wisconsin Mortgage Bankers Association (WMBA). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with him regarding his work with his state’s mortgage trade association.
 
How did you first get involved with the Wisconsin Mortgage Bankers Association? Can you share the path that led you to your leadership position?
I got involved with WMBA because I was beginning to participate more within our mortgage side of the business. I had been involved in consumer lending at North Shore Bank, and as my management of mortgage lending grew, I gravitated to the WMBA to gain more knowledge and meet people.
 
I originally contributed as a member of the Single-Family Production Committee and ended up chairing that committee. I had success with that and was then placed on the executive path that led me to secretary, treasurer, vice president and president. My term runs from June 2016 through June of 2017.
 
Why should mortgage professionals in your state become members of WMBA?
As a member of WMBA, you are a part of the only organization dedicated solely to the mortgage profession. Our goal is to strengthen the mortgage lending industry in Wisconsin through education, networking and political activism amongst all stakeholders. I have learned so much from the people in the organization–there are dozens of people who I can call and get real answers to many questions.
 
How is your association involved in shaping legislation at both the state and federal levels?
WMBA has a lobbyist employed to assist with legislative issues within the state. One issue we were involved in was the referendum changing the fee payment structure with the DFI for NMLS licensing fees for loan officers in the state of Wisconsin. Historically, the lender had to pay annual dues for NMLS state licensing fees; these annual fees are due and payable Dec. 31.
Full due fees were required to be paid upon licensing and not prorated if the licensing took place in November and December, then due and payable again in full for the Dec. 31 renewal. Employers were hesitant to hire during that period, since they would have to pay full fees for November or December and again a full fee Dec. 31 for the new year. Now, if they register in November and December, they are licensed for a 13-14 month period and not required to pay twice within a few months.
 
Additionally, WMBA contributed to the passing of Wisconsin Act 376, a new foreclosure bill signed into law. Effectively, the new law reduced the redemption periods involved in foreclosure, and furthermore, it addressed the issue of abandoned properties under Wis.Stat. 846.102
 
At a federal level, we encourage our membership to take an active role and join the Mortgage Action Alliance (MAA). They are kept abreast of federal legislation that may impact our industry and trade and they have an opportunity to speak directly to their members of Congress and state legislators about the impact of proposed legislations or regulations.
 
What has been your greatest accomplishment within the association?
I am proud to have played a part in WMBA becoming the clearinghouse for mortgage-related issues and for helping people find ways to solve problems. Many of our meetings are educational. We have several large financial institutions in Wisconsin, but we also have a huge number of smaller, community banks, mortgage banks and brokers that do not have the staff in place to sift through 1,000-page regulations. WMBA gives them the information to do their job legally and correctly.
 
What is the synergy like between your association and the national MBA?
Members of the WMBA may or may not be members of the national Mortgage Bankers Association. We try to cooperatively align ourselves with the national group because they obviously have a broader reach and more staff to help us stay on top of important issues of the day and solve problems.
 
In your professional opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
We recently completed our second year of the Best in Business Awards at WMBA. One category was the Rising Star, a recognition award for Millennials positively affecting our industry. To allow for Millennials to have a greater say in the direction of our organization, we formed a committee made up of our Rising Stars Award finalists. We are excited to receive and implement their input and observe the outcome of their leadership within our organization.
 
This is the hardest demographic to attract, yet the industry is perfectly suited to Millennials because it offers flexible schedules, pays very well, and allows them to help people. The industry is also going greener as we are moving to a paperless environment. We recognize that for us to gain and retain Millennials in our industry, it is vital that we get the word out and take into account their interests while enlisting their participation.
 
What is the housing market like in the state of Wisconsin?
With house prices back to where they were before the Great Recession and the attractive rate environment, our housing market is on the rise. Inventory is still somewhat limited, but we see construction lending now coming into play. Consequently, this is a strong and rising environment.
 
Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@NMPMediaCorp.com.
 
Lisa Newman is regional manager at SecurityNational Mortgage Company in Lake Mary, Fla., and is president of the Central Chapter of the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals (FAMP)
Lisa Newman is regional manager at SecurityNational Mortgage Company in Lake Mary, Fla., and is president of the Central Chapter of the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals (FAMP). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with Newman regarding her work with FAMP.
 

How and why did you get involved in FAMP? Can you share the track within your association that led to the leadership role in the Central Chapter?
I initially got involved with FAMP for the networking possibilities it provided amongst my colleagues. I quickly learned that if I wanted to have a voice in the ever-changing mortgage industry, I needed to become more involved. I’ve progressed through the Central Chapter as a chapter director, state director, vice president and now as president of the chapter.
 
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state join FAMP?
I feel members of the mortgage profession join our association for the education and networking opportunities we provide. Education in this changing regulatory environment is key to being successful. FAMP members have access to articles, information, CE classes, trade shows, monthly meetings, and more to stay informed in our industry.
 
What role does your association play in the federal and state legislative and regulatory environments? Are there any items on the current agenda you would like to highlight?
We participate annually in Florida Legislative Days. Leadership and members are encouraged to attend this two-day event, where we have the opportunity to meet legislators, one-on-one, to share about our profession and any legislation that could affect our industry, either positively or negatively.
 
What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with the association?
When I was membership chairperson in 2016, the Central Chapter received the most improved award amongst the state for retention and receiving new members. I am also privileged to have shared the benefits of FAMP with our industry professionals.
 
What is synergy between your organization and NAMB?
Each quarter, the state directors of FAMP come together for a joint meeting. FAMP has several people that also are on the board with NAMB. They bring their knowledge and information to each of these quarterly meetings to share with the group, so that we can all be more involved and share the information with our members.
 
In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
Career outreach is very important. There are a wide variety of positions that are not solely commission-based that can be used to get talent into the industry and seeded to grow.
 
How would you define the current state of the Florida housing market?
We are excited about Florida’s housing marketing and have seen an improvement from last year. According to Florida Realtors, residential market sales activity for Florida in December 2016 saw 22,232 single-family closed sales with a median sales price of $226,000. One year earlier, there were 22,193 single family closed sales and a median sales price of $206,265.
 
Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@NMPMediaCorp.com.
 
Sales of single-family existing homes in Florida totaled 25,518 in May, a 4.5 percent year-over-year increase, according to new data from Florida Realtors
Gino Moro, First Vice President of the Broward Chapter of the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals (FAMP)Gino Moro is the first vice president of the Broward Chapter of the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals (FAMP); he had previously served in the capacity of president in the 2010-2011 term. National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with him regarding his work with this trade group.
 
How and why did you get involved in FAMP? Can you share the track within your association that led to the leadership role within your chapter?
Initially, I joined FAMP because I had just moved to Florida, and I was looking for a way to network and make connections with other people in our industry. It was such a great decision! Not only was I able to meet the kind people I was looking for, but a lot of those connections that I made years ago are now great friends and people I continue to do business with today.
 
I never missed an FAMP meeting, whether it be an education class, a general meeting or just a networking event. Eventually, I decided to volunteer my time and become more involved with FAMP. In those years, I used to teach the Florida Mortgage Broker 24-Hour Pre-Licensing Class, so I thought it would a great idea to participate on the FAMP Education Committee. The other reason I chose that committee was because back then, reverse mortgages were just starting to become popular and FAMP really didn’t pay much attention to them or offer any education on the subject. It was a niche product, and since I was doing so many reverse mortgage loans, I thought I could give a voice to a great product that a lot of folks didn’t know much about.
 
Eventually, I moved through different committees and was asked to serve as president-elect. Well, I never did hold that position. Our president-elect at that time was unable to fill the position of president, so I took her place. What an eye-opener! When you put so much work into an association as important as FAMP is to our industry, you can never really walk away from that. Our board of directors is comprised of a variety of true professions from all the different parts of the mortgage industry, and I am extremely proud to be part of such an amazing group of people.
 
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state join FAMP?
Our industry has been ever-changing, and with change, we need to have a unanimous voice so we can make sure our input is heard and considered when decisions are made. Mortgage professionals absolutely must join our association to help protect this incredible industry. As members, they can also take advantage of top tier education and networking events. It is such a small investment with such a huge return.
 
What role does your association play in the federal and state legislative and regulatory environments, and are there any items on the current agenda you would like to highlight?
We are very fortunate because FAMP has a very good relationship with the Office of Financial Regulation. We are able to communicate effectively and work together because of the professionalism on both sides. There is a mutual respect that comes from experience, and our association has been working at this for more than 55 years.
 
In addition, all of FAMP’s chapters get together once a year and head to Tallahassee to meet and speak with our legislators about current issues. If you’ve never done this before, I would invite you to join us and see what a big difference we can all make together. Each chapter also maintains relationships with their local legislators throughout the year.
 
What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with the association?
We support each other, and I can tell you first-hand that absolutely nothing happens because of one single person. I have been part of the FAMP Broward Chapter since my first day of membership, and I am very proud of our chapter. Am I biased? Absolutely, but come to our Trade Show and see what our board and volunteers have accomplished together. The FAMP Broward Chapter Trade Show is right in the middle of the highest number of licensees within the state, and we always have a great turnout with lots of relevant education for our members.
 
What is the synergy that exists between FAMP and NAMB?
I truly believe we need each other to effectively represent our industry. While we are very successful at working with our legislators, we only represent a single state. Having the ability to join forces with all the states and come together with one voice is very powerful and necessary. In fact, some of our current and past FAMP leaders have roles in the NAMB today.
 
In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
Over-regulation is obviously an obstacle and makes it difficult for a novice licensee to know how to get started. The education requirements for licensing have absolutely nothing to do with the real world—and while we are trained and tested on regulations, there really is no hands-on step-by-step training that we are required to do. That comes from experience and from mentoring from more seasoned mortgage professionals. We need to have more education available specifically for these new licensees.
 
How would you define the state of the Florida housing market?
Florida has such a diverse housing market. One neighborhood can include low-income housing and a few blocks away, you may find multi-million dollar condos and homes. Condos and co-ops have large footprints in South Florida, and with our beautiful coastlines, we attract many retirees, investors and foreign nationals. We really have a unique market, and frankly, we need to offer more loan products and loan types because of this.
 
Our housing market is very active and many areas have already surpassed the affordability thresholds for residents. That makes our jobs more important than ever, and when you think about it, we are the solution that makes homeownership achievable. How can you not love doing what we do?
 


Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@NMPMediaCorp.com.

Mark Harmon is the mortgage retail division manager at Birmingham, Ala.-based Renasant Bank and president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Alabama (MBAA). National Mortgage Professional Magazine spoke with him regarding his work with his state’s mortgage trade group.

How and why did you get involved in the Mortgage Bankers Association of Alabama (MBAA)? Can you share the track within your association that led to the leadership role?
I began my career in the wholesale/correspondent space and initially got involved in our state association as an account executive looking to make business connections. Alabama is fortunate to have one of the strongest state associations in the country, and I was honored to be nominated to participate in our Future Leaders program for the 2010/2011 year. It’s a tremendous program that invests in three to four candidates each year and exposes them to the framework of MBAA service and leadership. Very often, we select committee chairs and board directors from these graduating classes. I began service on the board in 2012 and have progressed up to the president of our association for the 2016/2017 term.

Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state join MBAA?
I’m very passionate about the value proposition MBAA adds to its members. We commit to engaging our members through value-added networking, thoughtful and relevant education, and forums to discuss topics affecting all aspects of the industry. We regularly have nearly 100 attendees at our monthly education seminars and luncheons, and nearly 400 at our annual convention, and those numbers are growing as the economy improves.

What role does your association play in the federal and state legislative and regulatory environments, and are there any items on the current agenda you would like to highlight?
One goal of my term as president was to “Tell Our Story” to our members, consumers and legislators. We still have to battle a reputational hurdle stemming from the financial crisis and our position on legislative and regulatory issues is relevant and needs to be shared. We send delegates to Washington, D.C., to meet with our legislators each year during our National Advocacy Conference and we are creating a state version of this in the 2017 legislative session. I’m really excited to help see this initiative through next year during my tenure and support it as an ongoing initiative of the MBAA.

What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with the association?
I’ve worked hard on our branding, to provide mediums for internal and external marketing of who we are and what we represent. The updated logo can be seen on our new Web site at MBAAL.org, and in campaigns we use in various forums. We partnered with a local company, State Traditions, to promote our brand through apparel and it has created a lot of positive momentum and pride within our association.

We are also exploring new formats for education to expand our participation base (Web-based, roundtables with past presidents) and I think that was overdue. I’m extremely proud of our engagement to attract youth to our industry as well as our Legislative Day initiative in Montgomery.

I’m very proud of the officers, board members and committees we have put together—they are passionate, engaged, active and committed to our objectives, and that makes my job of service a very enjoyable one.

What is the MBAA's relationship with the national Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and with other trade groups?
We are very active with the national MBA and try to honor the “One Voice” initiative when communicating internally and externally. David Stevens, MBA president and CEO, has done such a tremendous job with his team in D.C. and we leverage those resources. We cooperate regularly with the Alabama Realtors, Alabama Home Builders and other state associations to try to partner together on education and legislative agenda items.

In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
A second initiative of my term as president is to “Build our Bench.” The average age of the work force in our industry is over documented, but relevant. As an association, we are looking to bring youth into our industry though a few key initiatives. One is our Internship Program—last year in our pilot year, we placed 12 employees on paid two-month internships with companies in our association. We partnered with state universities, marketed our program and our industry, accepted applicants and placed them. Many of these interns were hired on at the end of the internship, and we have great momentum heading into a second year.

We also partnered this program with our long-standing scholarship program, where we give cash donations to selected candidates with hopes of encouraging them to remain in our industry. Finally, we have created a CMB Society of Alabama, with a goal to partner candidates with mentors to expand the number of mortgage bankers who earn the premier educational designation of our industry. I am currently sponsoring four candidates in the program.

How would you define your state's housing market?
Competitive, but healthy. With the recent run-up in rates in the post-election period, purchase money transactions will be a bulk of the activity in the first quarter of 2017, so I believe that all of our members are observing that closely to see how we perform. Values are increasing, housing starts are up in both markets, but long-term economic growth is really the solution to sustained activity in housing.



Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@NMPMediaCorp.com.

falseRob Arthur is president of the Virginia Mortgage Lenders Association (VMLA). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with him regarding his work with the state’s trade group.

How did you become involved with the Virginia Mortgage Lenders Association?
I became involved because I felt that mortgage professionals needed an advocacy force to ward off threats to our industry. My term began in October and it runs for one year. Before that, I was president-elect, vice president and a general board member.

Why should mortgage professionals in your state join VMLA?
They need to protect their turf. Look at how the Realtors get through their advocacy efforts—they’re strong because they have a huge, huge voice on Capitol Hill. We need that on a more micro-level in the Virginia General Assembly. We need more active members—those who don’t participate are eating from the table without doing any of the cooking.

What is VMLA’s level of outreach on a state and federal level?
We are not in front of the state legislators as much as we need to be. We do a “Day on the Hill” event, but we need to get our members to see their legislators throughout the year, so they know what we’re dealing with at a street level.

At the moment, there are no pressing matters on a state level. In terms of federal lobbying, I have not gone to Capitol Hill yet, though I plan to go this year with the Mortgage Bankers Association. I feel that, in terms of regulation, the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. Yes, we were too lax in what we did [prior to 2008] in getting people a loan. But now, it is nuts. A lot of people are saying we’re in the compliance business while doing mortgages on the side.

What do you see as your most satisfying accomplishments with the VMLA?
Our convention set a record number for attendance the last two years, averaging 250 to 260 people. Our vendors tell us it is one of the best conventions they attend. We are also involved in a lot of educational outreach. We’ve had people from affiliated industries, including appraisers and home builders, at our panel discussions.

falseWhat is the VMLA doing to build its membership base?
We are not the Virginia Mortgage Bankers Association. We are the Virginia Mortgage Lenders Association. I would like to strengthen our relationship with the brokers and have more of their input. We are looking for new members across our industry. Because of bank mergers and acquisitions our industry is shrinking. Compounding the problem; not many new banks or mortgage lenders are coming online. We would love to have the brokers join our group and work with us in order to help them be successful.

In your professional opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
That might be the biggest challenge we face. It is a constant discussion because not a lot of people are coming into the industry. The average age for a loan officer is 56- or 57-years-old. It is tough to get young people to become a commissioned loan officer if they are carrying student loan debt.

I believe that our industry needs to start thinking differently. There are few people coming out of college that say, “I want to be a mortgage lender.” We need to do a better job communicating with Millennials about career paths in our industry. And mortgage lending is not for the faint of heart … it can be cyclical. A lot of people look at what top loan officers make and are intrigued, but the top 10 percent of loan officers are making 90 percent of the money. Many enter the industry and leave in relatively short periods of time.

What is the state of housing in Virginia?
We don’t have the final statistics in yet, but I can say that it was a good year. Of course, all real estate is local, so it depends on the market you are looking at. Northern Virginia, Tidewater, Southwest Virginia and central Virginia all have different economic drivers. Generally speaking, we had excess inventory at the height of the recession, but now in some areas where the economy is growing there is a shortage of homes available for sale. In addition, the lack of affordable housing, especially related to new construction, for the first-time homebuyers continues to be a problem.



Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@MortgageNewsNetwork.com.

 

Kevin Jornlin is regional manager for Supreme Lending in Wilmington, Del., and is president of the Delaware Mortgage Bankers Association (DMBA). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke to him regarding his trade association activities.

How and why did you get involved in the DMBA?
I have been in the mortgage business for more than 30 years and can say that over these past few years, I have never seen such a seismic change in our industry along all facets of the business including regulatory, underwriting, technology and the list goes on and on. After speaking with other local industry leaders, there was a clear consensus that we needed a voice in the industry, a venue to exchange information and a community that could leverage all the great ideas and energy, as we work to deliver for all our customers and real estate partners.

Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state should join your association?
It is clear that given the market conditions and regulatory environment, our members felt that it is just makes a lot of sense to work together as sort of a "local industry village" as opposed to being on an island and trying to navigate through all this on your own. I think that plus the ability to pool together to have a voice as we work with legislators and other real estate associations.

What role does your association play in the federal and state legislative and regulatory environments, and are there any items on the current agenda you would like to highlight?
We have been making headway into navigating through the legislative contacts. Most recently, we have been working with a few legislators on a house bill that was attempting to change how liens are handled for past due homeowners’ associations dues. While the intent of the legislation was to help these associations with collecting their monies, the DMBA and our national partner in Washington, D.C., had some serious concerns about unintended consequences with how the bill would lien the property and could potentially extinguish the first mortgage. Of course, this would have resulted in many restrictions on lending which would have adversely affected homeowners and lenders alike. We were successful in seeing the bill tabled and hope to work with the co-sponsors to re-craft a more workable bill in the next session.

What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with the association?
I would say that we had many accomplishments, not the least of which was completing the ramp up of our association including all the corporation set up work, bylaws, Web site, etc. But as it relates to accomplishments which supported our membership and the real estate community at large, I would say there are two fairly significant accomplishments. The first was the result of our work with the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) and it was to streamline their program and make it more accessible and user-friendly for the lenders which, in turn, will allow more lenders to participate in their programs which lend to low- to moderate-income families in Delaware. After a lot of due diligence at the DSHA and with collaboration from the DMBA, they were able to introduce a new Master Servicer to handle the program and we all feel this new partnership will foster a more streamlined experience for the delivery of our loans which in turn will entice more lenders to participate in these programs. They were also able to offer a new financial structure for the lenders which will also open up participation.

The second accomplishment was in our work with the state legislature on HB 254. In conjunction with the national MBA, we worked with the co-sponsors of this bill to educate them on some of the major flaws with it and with some of the unintended consequences that occurred in other states in which similar legislation was passed. We were successful in our effort as they tabled the bill and invited us to serve on a roundtable which would help in re-crafting a new bill for the upcoming session.

What is the DMBA's relationship with the national MBA?
We are a member of the national MBA and many of our board attend meetings/calls with their various committees. We also have encouraged all our members to join their Mortgage Action Alliance (MAA), a grassroots organization which serves to inform and mobilize its members on important federal and state issues which could impact us. We also partnered with the MBA to provide our members with a DMBA Education Store, which provides valuable industry training programs for discounted rates to our members.

In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
It seems like there is a big disconnect between our industry and colleges/universities in that there is limited exposure to the field of real estate finance, both in the classroom and in career centers. We need to better align ourselves with these institutions in order to provide an opportunity for Millennials to learn about the business and the vast opportunities within it.

How would you define your state's housing market?
Home prices are stable and inventory has been fairly low for the last few months in the state of Delaware.



Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@NMPMediaCorp.com.

J.D. Mechem is a loan originator with the Anchorage office of Residential Mortgage LLC and president of the Alaska Mortgage Bankers Association (AMBA)

J.D. Mechem is a loan originator with the Anchorage office of Residential Mortgage LLC and president of the Alaska Mortgage Bankers Association (AMBA). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with him regarding his work with his state’s trade group.

How and why did you get involved in the AMBA? Can you share the track within your association that led to the leadership role?
I got involved because I participated in a few meetings and felt I had an opportunity to give back to my industry–especially after 2010, when all the changes that took place. At the time, I felt there was not much representation of the mortgage industry in D.C. or at the state level. My term as AMBA president began in May, and it is a one-year term. I was previously vice president and secretary.

Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state should join your association?
The Alaska Mortgage Bankers Association offers mortgage professionals a great opportunity to learn from each other, and learn from industry speakers that we have brought in for conferences. I feel it is also important for mortgage professionals to contribute back to the industry. I’ve been in my career for 22 years, and if I did not participate in this group, I would not have the opportunity have a voice in the control over our industry.

What role does your association play in the federal and state legislative and regulatory environments?
Other than go to national MBA meetings and try to be active participant there, we have not done a whole lot. We have some influence on state issues, most recently, in regard to super priority liens. But, on the whole, we are a pretty small organization.

How small is the organization?
We have about 31 members, but the members are companies–we don’t give out individual memberships.

Looking back on your work with AMBA, what do you see as your most significant accomplishments?
It would mostly be on the administration aspect. When I first got involved, the Alaska organization was almost extinct–there was a lot of apathy. My primary focus was on getting us up to speed so we are an active and vital organization. I am working to try to get our membership more active again. 

What is the AMBA's relationship with the national MBA?
We are affiliated with the MBA, and we have gone to their legislative conference and the national convention. I went to the legislative conference in April and our vice president was at the October convention in Boston. We would like to attend more of their events–we’re trying very hard to get Alaska’s voice heard within the MBA.

In a lot of states, there has been a problem in attracting young people into mortgage careers. Is that a problem in Alaska?
I don’t think we have a problem because we have a pretty young population. There are very few seniors who stay in Alaska–it’s a cold place to live. Most of those living up here are under the age of 40.

How would you categorize Alaska’s housing market?
Last year has been very good, though there is a chance it could slow down because of oil prices–we’re directly tied to that, but we have not seen that yet.



Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@NMPMediaCorp.com.