NMP's Mortgage Professional of the Month

Trish Sublette is a Loan Originator with Security National Mortgage Company in Cocoa Beach, Fla., and President of the Space Coast Chapter of the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals (FAMP). National Mortgage Professional Magazine spoke with her about her involvement with FAMP and the Space Coast Chapter.
 

How and why did you get involved with FAMP? Can you share the track within FAMP that led to the leadership role in your chapter?
I initially joined the Space Coast Chapter of FAMP in the late 1990s when I first became a broker. Back then, I joined to gain education from the speakers at the monthly meetings, and for the camaraderie of my peers. Around 2006 or 2007, the current President of our chapter asked me to sit on the Space Coast board as the Community Outreach Chair. I accepted, and from attending the board meetings, I learned more about the FAMP organization. When our Awards Chair could not attend a State Board Meeting, the President asked me to represent our chapter at the meeting for the Awards Committee. I did, but what I did not know was that the Awards Committee is a closed committee which means no one can be a substitute for another member. As a result, I became the Space Coast Chapter member on the State Awards Committee. 
 
Later, I was asked to be a Director on the State Board and no longer continued with my membership for what I could gain from the organization, but for what I could contribute to the organization. In 2010, I was elected President of the Space Coast Chapter and have been President ever since. I also served as State Awards Chair for three consecutive years, and currently am Vice President of the Foundation, and President of the Foundation Advisory Committee.
 
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession join FAMP?
In my opinion, there are two types of members of all associations, and FAMP is no different. Some join for discounted required education and any other benefits they can gain. Others join FAMP because they take pride in being a member of their industry and work towards the betterment of that industry. In my case, I joined for my benefit, but remain a participating member because I believe in what FAMP does for our industry and our community and want to be a part of its success. If only more members got involved, they would see what a great association FAMP is.
 
What role does FAMP play in the federal and state legislative and regulatory environments? Are there any items on the current agenda you would like to highlight?
FAMP plays a major role in the federal and state legislative and regulatory environments. Our members attend Lobby Day in Tallahassee, speaking with our state legislators about the concerns of the mortgage industry.
 
On the federal level, our Executive Committee goes to Washington, D.C., to speak with federal regulators and legislatures. We are always watching proposed bills that would affect our members or the mortgage industry in general while still in committee to determine if the bill would be helpful or harmful to us. We then send out a Call to Action to our members to contact their Congressman. Currently, the congressional agenda does not contain anything that will affect us.
 
What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with the association?
This is a tough question because whatever is accomplished is done with teamwork. I could say I held the Space Coast Chapter together for the past six years, but I could not have done it without our Board members. On the state level, I have had a voice, which is only meaningful if others listen. Fortunately, the members of FAMP and the Foundation do listen. 
With the Awards Committee, we increased the number of awards given to our members to say thank you for their contributions, and we also had more chapters participating in the awards than had been in the past. But, again, it wasn’t just me, it was the entire committee.
 
What is synergy between FAMP and NAMB?
I have concentrated primarily on FAMP; however, I do know that ideas have been passed back and forth between the two organizations. However, what may work for a national association does not always work locally for a state organization. 
 
As for involvement in the federal legislative process, NAMB is the leader, and makes FAMP stronger through its involvement.
 
In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
Success in this industry depends on knowledge and good work ethics. In my opinion, internships on the high school and college levels within mortgage companies would afford young people the opportunity to learn from the bottom up on just how the industry works.
 
Too many loan officers start out as just loan officers, and although they have completed all of their education requirements, they do not know the everyday responsibilities of the loan officer. Once they learn it is not a nine to five job, and that they must interact with all parties to the transaction, and sometimes without compensation, they leave the industry. Without knowing the internal workings, they will spin their wheels, and not have the confidence to succeed. FAMP now offers a boot camp for that reason.
 
How would you define your state's housing market?
Right now, Florida’s housing market is good. It is a seller’s market, so the buyers tell me. It appears once they decide to put a bid on a house, there has already been another bid accepted. What used to be an average priced home of $80,000 is now $150,000 and upward. 

Phil Hall is Managing Editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@MortgageNewsNetwork.com.
 
John Repasky is founder and president of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Counsel Mortgage Group LLC and president of the Central Chapter of the Arizona Association of Mortgage Professionals (AzAMP)
John Repasky is founder and president of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Counsel Mortgage Group LLC and president of the Central Chapter of the Arizona Association of Mortgage Professionals (AzAMP). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with him regarding his work with this Chapter of his state’s trade association.
 
How and why did you first get involved in AzAMP? Can you share the track within your association that led to the leadership role in your chapter?
I have been in the mortgage business for approximately 15 years. I thought it would be good to give back to my profession, as it has been good to me. I was elected as president-elect of the Central Chapter of the AzAMP and now serve as the president of the Central Chapter.
 
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state join AzAMP?
To stay informed as to what is happening in the industry. We have monthly meetings where we discuss the topics of the day affecting our businesses, government affairs updates, and have a guest speaker give topical information. For example, we have had credit companies, financial analysts, state regulators and a congressman speak to our group.
 
What role does your association play in the legislative and regulatory environments? Are there any items on the current agenda you would like to highlight?
We are a member of NAMB and participate annually in the NAMB Legislative & Regulatory Conference in Washington, D.C. We share the same issues NAMB proposed at the Legislative Conference regarding loan originator education and removing payments to brokers in the three percent points and fees cap. We are interested in what will happen to Dodd-Frank in the new Trump Administration and how it will affect our businesses.
 
What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with AzAMP?
I am proud to be a part of an energetic team that makes up our Board. It is the work of the entire Board which advances our association. We’ve had membership drives, increased use of our Web site and social media, discussions regarding continuing education opportunities, and open meetings regarding the issues of the day.
 
In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
Education that our profession is one area where you can help people and make a good living. Many students come out of school wanting to help people. Our profession is one where you can directly help someone with, most likely, the most important financial decision of their lives. It is a rewarding profession where you know you helped someone achieve homeownership.
 
How would you define the state of the Arizona housing market?
The Arizona market is currently stable. We survived the housing crisis, and now see Boomerang Buyers re-entering the market, i.e. those who had unfortunate financial events years ago and now can qualify as their mandatory waiting periods are coming to an end. 
Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@MortgageNewsNetwork.com.

 
Moneyhouse is a family-owned company that traces its roots to a single mortgage bank founded in 1997 in Cayey, Puerto Rico. Today, it is Puerto Rico’s most prominent mortgage banking entity, and it is seeking to expand its operations across the mainland U.S.
National Mortgage Professional Magazine spoke with Ralph Rosynek, senior vice president of the company’s U.S. division and chief information officer, about this company’s role in the reverse mortgage market.
 
What makes your company different from its competitors?
The background of Moneyhouse. The company is based in Puerto Rico, and that cultural background has migrated to the U.S. The company is a well-established, 20-year-old, privately-owned mortgage banking business that is in the forward and reverse mortgage business and operates as a direct lender in addition to being a Ginnie Mae issuer for both loan product types. It also offers retail, wholesale and correspondent opportunities for consumers and business partners.
 
Unique to Puerto Rico is the fact that all transactions are done in Spanish. Many aspects of the Puerto Rican business side have been able to assist our U.S. expansion and create an important niche for us—we have a fully bilingual staff with Spanish documentation options and support. There is a large percentage of Hispanic potential borrowers and homeowners in the U.S. that are underserved, largely because of language. We can work with Hispanic borrowers and help make mortgage transactions much more comfortable for them in addressing their needs.
 
How many people work with Moneyhouse U.S. and what does the company look for in potential employees?
We have approximately 12 people working at Moneyhouse U.S., and it is a growing staff—we are looking to expand immediately, especially in our Orlando office. We have a great interest in individuals with reverse mortgage experience and because of our forward and reverse capabilities are also looking for MLO’s who would like to be able to originate both products. Being bilingual is something that is very attractive to us but not a requirement due to the other markets we serve.
 
What impact will the rise in interest rates have on the reverse mortgage industry?
On the reverse mortgage product, it will largely have no impact. The real impact that is more important will be the shift from the number of potential loan officers who become interested in the product to support their business and volume replacement as refinance volumes decline. The overall benefit to the consumer is a widening of the talent pool to help educate seniors about the product and provide access.
 
What do you see as the near-term state of the reverse mortgage market?
In today’s market, the reverse mortgage ultimately benefits neighborhoods and the overall housing market by allowing for borrowers to remain in their homes, allowing for the purchase of a new home and many times not requiring them to access other taxpayer funded programs for housing assistance. For today’s Baby Boomers, there is also an opportunity to add value to their retirement strategy by utilizing a reverse mortgage as a component of financial planning.
 
We are looking at approximately 8,000 to 10,000 people becoming eligible for reverse mortgages every day. We recently celebrated the one millionth reverse mortgage originated in the U.S. since the program’s inception. However, the market share for this product is maybe two percent to three percent of eligible senior’s at best.
 
What can be done to grow the market share for reverse mortgages?
Our company and other industry participants are out there continuing to educate older homeowners on the misconceptions surrounding the product and show how it really works as a benefit to a number of senior needs. A lot of lingering fears have been instilled by incorrect reporting and distorted facts over the life of the product to date.
 
As lenders, we are constantly working to reinforce positive values. Yes, this is not a program designed for every senior, but for many it should be seriously looked at as a component of an overall financial strategy for seniors.
 
What is your company's current marketing strategies?
On the U.S. side, our Orlando, Fla., group works with central Florida homeowners offering forward and reverse mortgage products seniors on a retail basis. Nationally, our marketing strategy as we expand is on a wholesale and correspondent business-to-business basis. In Puerto Rico, our staff of 100-plus includes 40-plus loan officers working on a face-to-face retail basis with borrowers across the island in addition to a wholesale and correspondent business-to-business team assisting other lenders on the island.
 
Some reverse mortgage companies in the U.S. have television advertising featuring well-known celebrities. Are you planning to follow that approach?
Probably not in the U.S. In Puerto Rico, we have a well-known celebrity associated with the company who is recognized throughout the island: Gilberto Santa Rosa, affectionately known as the “Salsa King,” who has represented Moneyhouse for many years.
 
Well, that sounds a lot more interesting than Tom Selleck, no?
(Laughing) I think he is more interesting than Tom Selleck, but I am not certain if he would play as well as Tom in Des Moines!
 
How does your company approach social media?
We just started looking at that on the U.S. side, as a means of prospecting for new consumer and business clients. It used to be that companies heavily relied on lead generation, but we’re not sure that methodology works today as a long-term solution and continue to explore alternatives to reaching borrowers.
 
Also, social media is being used more and more by the younger tier of reverse mortgage borrowers. I am not certain that anyone is tapping into social media to its fullest advantage in the reverse mortgage market.
 
What is your company’s growth strategy for the next 12 months?
I think that we will have a year of growth ahead of us in the reverse product. The financial planning community and the real estate community recognized the results of marketing education for consumers. These groups are asking a lot more questions about the reverse product.
 
Also, we are now facing another set of challenges, greater efficiencies and access to product. Today’s digital age movement requires us to be much more resourceful in how we market and make products available. The greatest future impact could be the paperless environment combined with new product and methodology innovation. For some companies, this will be their greatest hurdle. I would not be surprised if we see an increase in the workforce needed to make a digital product successful as the reach across geographical markets also requires a greater talent pool to provide an exceptional level of customer experience.
 
If your company could be described in a single word, what would that word be?
“Innovative.” We celebrate our 20th year in business this year, and our goal is to look at things differently and provide a different perspective with more options and choices to our potential customer market. That will keep us fresh for the next 20 years.
Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@NMPMediaCorp.com.
This article originally appeared in the April 2017 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. 
Michael O’Connor is a mortgage specialist at Thousand Oaks Mortgage and Lending and president of the Greater Ventura Chapter of the California Association of Mortgage Professionals (CAMP). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with him regarding his work with his local CAMP chapter.
 
How and why did you get involved with CAMP? Can you share the track within CAMP that led to your leadership role in the Greater Ventura Chapter?
I have been involved in CAMP since around 1992 when the Chapter was formed in our area. Why? I thought that being involved in an organization like CAMP that was trying to improve the professionalism and lobby for better mortgage guidelines were good goals and I wanted to help achieve those goals.
 
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state join CAMP?
First, not too many members of the mortgage profession join the association. Why? First, they are too busy just making money. Second, they are not aware of the goals of CAMP. Third, it costs money and takes some time to be an involved member.
 
What role does CAMP play in the federal and state legislative and regulatory environments? Are there any items on the current agenda you would like to highlight?
We play a big role in federal and state regulatory process. For the last four years, I have traveled to Washington, D.C., with our Government Affairs Representative representing the Greater Ventura Chapter of CAMP to lobby for better guidelines for the average mortgage borrower. This last year, there were approximately 128 attendees at the NAMB event—28 were from California and a large contingent was from Texas. We spent a long day learning about issues and economic conditions, then we tackled the talking points.
 
Let me give you an example of one talking point regarding the three-percent rule. For a borrower to buy a home valued at $200,000 or less, that person will pay more of an interest rate because the amount of money at three-percent for a $200,000 home does not cover the closing costs. So, the borrower has to borrow at a higher interest rate and get a rebate to cover the costs. We have been trying to change this technical flaw in the Dodd-Frank Act, for the last three years. Rep. Brad Sherman, a centrist Democrat, addressed our group on the Tuesday morning before we hit Capitol Hill and told us the Dodd-Frank Act is sacred scripture to Democrats and the three-percent rule will not be changed.
 
We also travel locally to Sacramento each year to lobby for issues involving borrowers in California.
 
What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with CAMP?
I see two major accomplishments. First, the fundraising that we do on a local level. Second, the lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C. and in Sacramento.
 
As a Chapter, we just did a Lender Fair on May 18. We had 23 lenders and approximately 135 LOs visiting the sponsor exhibits. As far as my most significant accomplishment, I serve as the president of the Chapter and feel an obligation to provide the leadership.
 
One other thing I would like to mention that has been a major point of satisfaction in my career has been the fact that I have been on the board of Many Mansions since 1999. For those individuals who can afford to buy homes, I help them finance them. This goes for low-income, very-low-income, disabled, veterans and homeless. I feel if I can help people who can afford to buy home, then I should spend my charitable time helping those less fortunate.
 
What is synergy between CAMP and NAMB?

There is not a lot of synergy at the Chapter level, but a very good amount at the state level. Currently, a Californian, Fred Kreger, leads NAMB, and California has provided the leadership for many tenures.
 
In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
Exposure. We need to show them the satisfaction you get when you put a young couple in a new home. Plus, it is a financially rewarding career.
 
How would you define your state's housing market?
We are not building new homes at a rate to keep up with the demand. It is very expensive to build a single-family residence in California, so builders are now doing apartment construction. 
Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@MortgageNewsNetwork.com.

 
Marc Reneau is first vice president and mortgage operations manager at First State Bank in Clinton Township, Mich., and immediate past president of the Michigan Mortgage Lenders Association (MMLA). National Mortgage Professional Magazine spoke with him regarding his work with his state’s trade association.
 
How did you get involved with the Michigan Mortgage Lenders Association and what was the path that led to your leadership role?
Of all things, I wanted to change where the organization held its Annual Golf Outing. I despised the course where they had it. So, I got involved with the committee responsible which lead to me working with the group. At the time, one of my employees was involved with MMLA, Allison Johnston, and she was in a leadership role. There was a rule that said not more than one person in a company could be involved in leadership. I later left that company for a job offer that I couldn’t refuse. As soon as I left, she contacted me to say that I was “nominated” to be part of a leadership committee and the rest is history.
 
Why would a mortgage professional in your state want to join MMLA?

There are a number of things. We’ve been around since 1929, so we have a long legacy of dealing with Michigan. On the education front, we keep everyone well informed on what’s going on. We also keep each other update on available opportunities. If you haven’t figured out that this is a relationship-based business, you’re in the wrong business!
 
We also have a monthly risk management call, which is a very valuable tool. Even though we are all competitors, we feel comfortable enough to share ideas, concerns and simply bounce ideas off each other.
 
How is MMLA involved in the state legislative process?
We keep Murray Brown of Karoub Associates on retainer, who keeps his finger on the pulse on what goes on in the state legislature. We tell him what we need to do as an industry, and gives us advice on who to approach if the MMLA needs to meet with the state regulators or someone serving in a legislative capacity.
 
We sometimes sponsor legislation. With the advent of TRID, we were very active with the state legislature to standardize recording fees in Michigan. Every city and county had a different way of doing their recording. Now, all but one county uses the same flat fee system and we’re working diligently on converting the last one.
 
What do you see as your most satisfying accomplishment within the MMLA?
I would cite something that started last year. As I said, we began in 1929, and as with most organizations, things tend to stagnate. We looked at the organization as a whole and realized that it needed to be updated. The by-laws were antiquated, our mission statement did not reflect what we were doing. So, we hired a strategic planning consultant and brought in both members and non-members to look at how we could fix things. We are in the process of executing a three-year plan where we are rewriting what and how we do things. This includes updating our Web site so it is mobile-friendly. We have also hired a communications director to help get our message out consistently.
 
What is the level of synergy between MMLA and other trade groups?
Typically, our Executive Director Joanne Misuraca, whom we lean on quite heavily, attends various industry conferences. We ensure she partakes in no less than two visits a year, at both state and national levels, to make sure people see how we are dealing with things and to keep in sync with the rest of the country.
 
How would you define Michigan’s housing market?
Incredible! Bidding is at its highest in 10 years. Sellers get three to five offers within a day of a home listing in most markets. I have a friend whose house sold in six hours, then bought a new house two hours later. But we have very little inventory—there are not nearly enough home here for sale.

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

 
Linda Knowlton is vice president and manager at Fort Myers, Fla.-based Mortgage Group Services LLC and president of the Southwest Chapter of the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals (FAMP). She serves as Membership Committee chairperson for FAMP State and as director of the FAMP Foundation Education Board. National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with her about her work with this chapter.
 
How did you get involved with the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals Southwest Chapter and what was the path that led you to the leadership role?
I became involved about five to six years ago. I was attending a continuing education course on a local level and the then-current president, Dave Kane, was at the meeting. He indicated the Chapter needed to step up and get more people involved or we would have to close our Southwest Chapter. I wouldn’t say that the chapter was dormant at the time, but it was pretty close. We lost thousands and thousands of brokers across the state and it impacted the Southwest Chapter.
 
So, we got together with three or four others and started work on rebuilding the chapter. We started with less than 40 members when I took office, and now we are almost to 100.
 
Why should a mortgage professional in your market get involved with FAMP’s Southwest Chapter?
You do not need to be active at a state level, but you need to be active locally and know what goes on. We, as licensed originators, must support and police our own industry. Communication is the key to any success individually and professionally, and FAMP is striving constantly to communicate to our members. FAMP provides information that we need to use on a daily basis. For example, we have the Office of Financial Regulation speak to our Chapter and discuss regulations, license requirements and audits. We also have had a local attorney discuss contract issues. Other speakers and topics include, tax analysis hosted by a FAMP-supported PMI company; compliance; licensing and regulation topics. Our local and state legislators have also spoken at many of our meetings. It is essential that we know who are local and state legislators are. When we lobby in Tallahassee and in D.C.; we get to know who the players are and who we need to be in front of and they get to know who we are as well.
Our chapter has 12 meetings a year, which include two luncheons and a social each quarterly. We also hosted our first golf tournament, to benefit a local non-profit.
 
How is your chapter involved in the state and national legislative discussion?
At a state level, each FAMP Chapter goes to Tallahassee—or, as we say, we “Rally in Tally”—each year. At the national level, we encourage members to go to the NAMB Legislative & Regulatory Conference in Washington, D.C. to lobby on Capitol Hill.
 
What do you see as your most significant accomplishment within the Southwest Chapter?
It would definitely be my involvement in rebuilding the Chapter. We took a chapter that was not active for at least three to five years, and have tripled the membership, but more importantly, we are supporting our industry on a local level with our SW Chapter.
 
What is the level of synergy between your chapter and NAMB?
We have a very good relationship with NAMB. NAMB Past President John Councilman lives here—and he is very active in our chapter. It is nice to have him here. We provide communication from NAMB to our members on a weekly basis.
 
In your professional opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
We’re trying to obtain new Millennials as members. FAMP’s Chapters are also trying to recruit Millennials from related industries, such as banking and real estate, or right out of college. Do have an answer yet? No. But we are trying to bridge the age gap for the association and the industry.
 
How would you describe your area’s housing market?
It is very active, from a standpoint of sales values. Certain portions in our market are between $175,000-$300,000, and they are pretty active—we are seeing multiple offers. There are also many first-time homebuyers in this market—I am currently working with four of them, which is very encouraging. We also have a lot of seasonal buyers, and that market is pretty strong. There is a challenge with homes in certain price ranges staying on the market longer than they should. Staying connected with the real estate agents and builders help us with our “local” information and we also have them as FAMP members.

Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@MortgageNewsNetwork.com.
 
Mark Severance is the branch manager at Regency Mortgage in South Burlington, Vt., and past president of the Vermont Mortgage Bankers Association
Mark Severance is the branch manager at Regency Mortgage in South Burlington, Vt., and past president of the Vermont Mortgage Bankers Association. National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with him regarding his work with the state’s trade group.
 

How and why did you get involved with the Vermont Mortgage Bankers Association? Can you share the track within your association that led to the leadership role with the association?
I got involved in the VMBA right after it was formed. I always recognized the value in having a trade association to represent the needs of the individual businesses and the group. When the first VMBA president decided to leave the industry part way through his first year, I assumed the presidency to complete his term, and then served a term of my own. I have since done two other terms on the board, and served as president for two years from 2014-2016.
 
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state join VMBA?
Three reasons: Access to educational opportunities (required for licensing), access to information that affects us all, such as legislative activity, and networking. 
 
What role does VMBA play in the federal and state legislative and regulatory environments? Are there any items on the current agenda you would like to highlight?
We maintain a relationship with a lobbyist in Montpelier to be our “eyes and ears” so that we can be informed on any legislative initiatives that may affect us. We have testified in committee meetings from time to time, and we try to set ourselves up to be resources for our legislators when they need information when considering a bill.
 
Right now, the one thing I can focus on is the State Current Use program. The current laws create a lien on a property when enrolled in Current Use, even when there is no payment or tax triggered. I would like to see that changed so that the lien only comes on to the property when a tax is triggered, which would mirror the policy in other states.
 
What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with VMBA?

Building the association, getting involved with the national Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and attending the National Advocacy Conference, providing communication to members about various factors that affect our daily operations, and developing a very positive relationship with our regulators in Montpelier.
 
What is synergy between VMBA and the national MBA and other mortgage/housing trade groups?
VMBA is a member of the national MBA. I sometimes find our influence to be minor, due to being in a state with a small population. I think we can do more in terms of connecting with other trade groups, because there are other groups that have similar interests and focus, such as Realtors, Home Builders and Appraisers.
 
In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
This is a big issue. Many companies are now starting to address the fact that there are very few young people coming into the business. This is primarily the result of licensing issues, and the time delay between starting work and actually earning commissions. Companies are developing training programs and transitional strategies to get new people from ground zero to the time where they can be productive.
 
How would you define Vermont’s housing market?
Strong. Activity this spring has been robust, and properties are selling quickly, and often with multiple offers.

Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@MortgageNewsNetwork.com.
 
Debbie Reinhardt is mortgage planner and central branch manager at American Pacific Mortgage and president of the Greater Sacramento 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 association.
 
How and why did you get involved with the California Association of Mortgage Professionals? Can you share the track within CAMP that led to the leadership role in your chapter?
I served as vice president of the California Association of Residential Lenders (CARL) in San Jose for two terms in the late 1980s, and then relocated to the Sacramento area. We had a very active and vibrant chapter of CARL then, but weren’t very involved in legislative issues … of course, we didn’t have too many legislative issues back then.
 
I decided to become involved in CAMP in 2010 after Dodd-Frank was signed into law by President Obama, because of the unintended consequences on our ability to do business in the best interest of our clients. Unfortunately, when government steps in and tries to “fix” issues, not having a thorough understanding of the lending industry, it can and often does hamper and actually harm a buyer/borrower in a real estate transaction. I estimate that the additional costs incurred by lenders to satisfy the burdensome rules of Dodd-Frank have added an additional 0.50 percent to 0.75 percent to the interest rate for borrowers, while the benefits realized by borrowers are nebulous at best.
 
I joined the board of the Greater Sacramento Chapter of CAMP and served first as secretary, then chair of the Membership and Education Committees. I was asked to stand for president last year and agreed to run for the 2016-2017 year. We received the award for Large Chapter of the Year at the end of 2016.
 
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state join CAMP?
Some join because they realize that CAMP advocates on their behalf and for their borrowers, at the state level as well as in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with NAMB. We would be able to accomplish more if we had more members. It would give us a larger voice in legislation being drafted and/or considered because there is power in numbers when it comes to politics.
 
When I’ve participated in Legislative Days at the state capitol, one of the first questions I’m usually asked is: “How many members does your association have?” Considering there are several thousand loan officers in California, it is disappointing that CAMP’s membership statewide is only a little over 2,000 members. We plan to increase our membership by 10 percent each year.
 
I think most join to take advantage of the educational and networking events CAMP hosts monthly. I believe that we do a good job of educating our industry about changes that our members need to be aware of. We also have joint networking events with many professional real estate groups, such as the WCR (Women’s Council of Realtors), YPN (Young Professionals Network), NAHREP (National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals), AREAA (Asian Real Estate Association of America), and the local real estate associations.
 
It is our goal to let more loan officers and mortgage brokers know about the additional benefits they can gain from membership, like discounted continuing education; Web site and CRM set up; Market Focus, an automated marketing service; Constant Contact, PRO mortgage origination software; a review management system; and UPS shipping services. Also included with membership is a free half-hour of legal advice every month from Herman Thordsen. A variety of medical and dental plans, plus a vision plan, are available through CAMP.
 
What role does CAMP play in the federal and state legislative and regulatory environments, and are there any items on the current agenda you would like to highlight?
CAMP is dedicated to watching the state laws that affect our industry, in conjunction with any federal laws that affect us. We attend Lobby Day in Washington, D.C. in April, followed by our own State Lobby Day in Sacramento in May. We take these opportunities to talk to legislators, and educate them to think about how their votes affect our industry’s ability to serve their constituents and perhaps how changes to proposed legislation might be beneficial. We advocate or oppose legislation based on how it might ultimately affect a homeowner or borrower. The legislation might deal with property taxes, interest deductibility, disclosure of loan terms such as with PACE or HERO loans, compliance issues, licensing requirements, flood insurance availability and cost, and any other issue that might affect our industry and thereby affect our clients.
We support HR3393—The Mortgage Fairness Act. This bill would make a technical correction to the Dodd-Frank Act, allowing low and moderate income borrowers and homebuyers some flexibility in the loans they choose so that they can have better cash flow at the time of closing.
 
We also support licensing, continuing education and NMLS registration for all originators in order to increase professionalism in our industry. We are advocating support for including veterans as a protected class under ECOA, helping end discrimination against VA loans, and increasing lending limits (eligibility) for VA loans.
 
What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with the association?
We are systematizing the marketing of our educational and networking events to ensure timely and frequent notification of our members and future members to achieve maximum attendance and enlist new members. We are also in the process of revamping our Web site to make it more user-friendly for joining CAMP, registering for an event or learning about all the benefits the association has to offer and how you can become involved.
 
We increased our membership by more than 10 percent last year and intend to equal or surpass that increase this year. The officers and committee chairs being installed in July will have written descriptions of their duties and responsibilities, which will help them more successfully satisfy the requirements of their offices and committees.
 
What is the synergy between CAMP and NAMB?
NAMB is the good “Big Brother,” always watching out for all the states, as their representatives go to The Hill almost every day to advocate for legislation affecting all the states. California, as the most populous state, works hand in hand (conferences, Webinars, outreach programs) with NAMB and other interest groups for the betterment of our profession. Membership in NAMB keeps one abreast of developments on a national level, whereas CAMP focuses on the state level.
 
How would you define your state’s housing market?
I think inventory is a problem in almost all areas of California. Many homes are receiving multiple offers and selling very quickly at or above the listed price because there just aren’t that many homes for sale. Appraisers, having borne the brunt of some of the blame for the housing crisis, are not using time adjustments to increase value, so some appraisals are coming in below the agreed upon selling price. Frequently, this necessitates re-negotiating the sales price at or near the appraised value. This is having some effect on moderating price increases.
 
Even in the new home arena, builders have been somewhat slow to re-engage so we are lagging quite a bit behind in the number of housing units needing to be built to satisfy the new household creation. This trend is continuing to increase prices, although not as rapidly as last year. As interest rates slowly rise, hopefully this will act as an additional damper on price increases or many first-time buyers may find themselves priced out of the market.
 
We still have some areas with some homes that are underwater due to maxing out their equity during the boom times, but in most areas values are back or close to where they were before the meltdown. We are anticipating another good year in the mortgage business, although more from purchase business as refinance volume has dropped significantly due to the slight increase in interest rates.

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

 
Frederic P. “Freddie” McDowell is a loan originator at Boca Raton, Fla.-based Choice Mortgage Bank, and president of the Palm Beaches Chapter of the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals (FAMP). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with him regarding his work with this trade association.
 
How and why did you get involved with FAMP? Can you share the track within FAMP that led to the leadership role in your chapter?
I became involved with FAMP to lend support to the only organization that represents mortgage professionals in the state of Florida … brokers and lenders. I became a member in the 1990s, worked on several of the chapter committees; became an instructor for the “FAMP Foundation,” which provided required CE credits to loan originators to renew their license; served on the Palm Beach Chapter Board of Directors; and recently became president of the Palm Beaches Chapter of FAMP.
 
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state join an association like FAMP?
I believe members join FAMP to receive quality education, keep current on political affairs, and become part of an organization which holds its members to a high standard of ethics to be able to serve the public in a more professional manner.
 
What role does FAMP play in the federal and state legislative and regulatory environments, and are there any items on the current agenda you would like to highlight?

Our organization supports NAMB, which does have more influence on matters of federal legislative and regulatory environments than we do as a state organization. But we as a state organization have managed to communicate with our state legislature and work with the legislators to help provide legislation that not only protects the public, but also creates fair playing fields within our industry.
 
What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with the association?
Hopefully, I have provided the leadership of the Palm Beaches Chapter to work cooperatively with the state level of the organization to achieve its goals with the membership, and have brought forth a supportive effort with our fellow chapters to work with them in achieving their local goals. Through my work with our great board of directors, we have doubled our membership and are in the process of providing increased rapport with our surrounding professional organizations involved with serving the consumer in the purchasing and financing of properties.
 
We are also developing local non-CE programs to provide practical training and education for our membership and related professional organizations involved serving consumers in the purchase and financing of properties.
 
What is the synergy between FAMP and NAMB?
We highly support NAMB through our organization, both through membership and corporation whenever possible. Several of our FAMP state association officers, and past presidents are also officers within NAMB who are working to achieve the goals of both organizations.
 
In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into careers in the mortgage profession?
We can provide practical training programs for specific areas of the profession, such as processor, loan originator either sponsored by our organization or made available through the college system, or private schools that are accredited and monitored by the state legislature.
 
How would you define the state of the Florida housing market?
Our state’s housing market is inflating at what I consider an alarming rate, causing a dwindling of affordable homes for middle- and lower-income families. Florida is not, in my opinion an “industry-based state.” Thus, wages do not increase with inflated home costs. Once homes break the affordable threshold for fixed-income individuals, and the two-person middle-class working family’s income, their ability to make mortgage payments are exceeded. It is rapidly getting very hard to find homes for $200,000 to $300,000 in the metropolitan areas—especially in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties.

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

 
Michael Mulgrew is president of Columbus, Ohio-based Partners United Financial LLC and current statewide president of the Ohio Mortgage Bankers Association (OMBA). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with him about his work with his state’s trade organization.
 
How and why did you get involved with the OMBA? Can you share the track within your association that led to the leadership role?
I was invited to join the OMBA board after finishing a seven-year progression through the local MBA board and chairs. I accepted the position because I think that it’s our responsibility to serve our industry and give back to our profession. I started as a board member and was invited to join the executive board as secretary, treasurer, vice president and currently, as president.
 
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state join OMBA?
I believe our association provides tremendous value to our members in several key areas: Advocacy at the state level, training classes that help build skill inside their organizations and quality sessions at our Annual Convention. We provide benefits to all employees of each of our member companies, and provide a diverse offering of training seminars.
 
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 work hard to provide significant advocacy in our state. We’ve built our Political Action Committee to one of the larger PACs in the country and use that leverage to build relationships with key committee members in the legislative bodies. We’ve hired a professional lobbyist and have worked hard to build relationships with our regulators. Our partnership with the national MBA has given us model legislation to propose, and we were successful in advancing a "Vacant and Abandoned Properties” bill that has been signed into law. It will provide large cities with the opportunity to move properties quicker through the process and get them back into the hands of homeowners instead of being a blight in our cities.
We are currently working on a licensing bill that will simplify and modernize our licensing structure in Ohio to keep up with the changes in the industry. We’ve worked with other stakeholders in the community to advance this legislation and have been strongly supported by the national MBA in our efforts.
 
Annually, we host an “Inform the Capitol” Day, where our members from across the state come to Columbus to be educated on important issues in the morning and then we schedule them to meet with their local representatives in the afternoon. We host a reception to close out the day and enjoy good attendance from many of our legislators.
 
What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with the association?
Our association was in a strong place when I arrived on the board, and I am most proud of the fact that we have kept up the momentum moving forward. The legislation is complicated and time consuming, and we have stayed focused on moving it forward inch-by-inch. Our annual convention attendance continues to grow, and this has drawn additional sponsors and energy to our biggest event of the year. 
 
What is the synergy like between your organization, the national MBA and other mortgage and real estate trade groups?
Our executive director, Marianne Collins has long been active in MBA committees and is very well respected at the national level She has helped us forge a great partnership with the national MBA. She also is married to our local association president, and therefore, attends a number of National Association of Realtors (NAR) functions and speaks on behalf of the mortgage industry on their expert panels. This is a tremendous advantage for our association on many fronts, but especially from a collaboration perspective. 
 
In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
This is a challenge that we face as an industry and are working on multiple solutions to solve it. This past year, our Education Committee Co-Chairs Teresa Rose and Kim Dybvad have been working with the MBA to introduce an internship program for college students interested in a career in mortgage banking. We’re using the experiences of one of our most active members, Union Home Mortgage, who annually hosts 70-plus interns each summer, to provide a template for other members to use to attract the next generation of mortgage bankers to our industry. Teresa and Kim have explored a number of different options to get to this point, and we are anxious to put this program in motion.
 
How would you define your state's housing market?
Our market is still in recovery. Ohio is a very diverse state with a diverse economy. With a statewide average sales price of $228,000 and growing home sales and prices, it’s still an affordable place to live.
However, the northern part of our state is very dependent on the manufacturing aspect of our economy, especially the automotive industry. The central and southwestern portion of the state are more service-based economies. While prices are creeping up, we haven’t reached pre-recession levels and, as a result, there is a shortage of listings.
 
New construction slowed considerable during the recession, and builders are still catching up to meet the needs of today’s homebuyer. As new inventory is absorbed, our sales will likely continue to grow and the market should continue to grow going forward.

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