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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.

 
As we turn the page of the calendar and begin a new year, we enter the next 12 months with new hopes and expectations of how to grow business in the new Trump Administration. National Mortgage Professional Magazine gathered some of the industry’s forward-thinkers for a roundtable discussion on how they plan to face the year 2017 and beyond. What follows is a lively dialogue between C-level executives, heads of trade associations and those on the frontlines, all sharing their goals for 2017 and the future of the mortgage marketplace.
 
About the panelists …
Gary Acosta
Co-Founder & CEO ♦ National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP)

Gary Acosta is the co-founder and CEO of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) and a 25-year veteran of the housing industry. NAHREP is the nation’s largest minority real estate trade association with over 26,000 members and 50 local chapters. In his capacity as CEO of NAHREP, he created the Hispanic Wealth Project, a new 501©3 non-profit organization with a strategic plan to triple Hispanic household wealth by 2024. In 2013, Acosta co-founded The Mortgage Collaborative, a cooperative of mortgage companies who work together to increase profitability and market share. He is a former appointee of the consumer advisory board (CAB) of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the powerful federal agency responsible for regulating consumer protection in the financial services industry. He served as 2014 chairman of the CAB mortgage committee. He is a former member of the board of directors of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and has served on advisory boards for several Fortune 500 companies, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
 
Terry W. Clemans
Executive Director ♦ National Consumer Reporting Association Inc. (NCRA)

Since 2001, Terry W. Clemans has served as executive director of the National Consumer Reporting Association Inc. (NCRA), a Chicago-based national trade association representing the housing credit reporting industry. NCRA members account for more than 70 percent of the companies in the U.S. that produce credit reports required by HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for mortgage lending and many of the nation’s leading resident screening firms. NCRA members are the elite providers of crucial consumer data to the top housing decision makers in the United States. As executive director for NCRA Terry is an active advocate on consumer reporting issues in Washington, D.C., and is frequently quoted in the media on industry issues. He has testified before Congress, consulted numerous federal agencies on credit reporting issues and has served as an expert witness in several litigations on credit reporting. Terry has been involved in consumer reporting industry since 1986.
 
Jonathan Foxx
Founder, President & Managing Director ♦ Lenders Compliance Group

Jonathan Foxx is founder, president and managing director of Lenders Compliance Group, Brokers Compliance Group, Servicers Compliance Group and Vendors Compliance Group, the country’s first full-service, mortgage risk management firms in the United States devoted to offering a full suite of services in residential mortgage banking to banks, non-banks, independent mortgage professionals, mortgage servicers and service providers. Jonathan is also the founder and president of the Association of Residential Mortgage Compliance Professionals (ARMCP), consisting of nearly 1,600 professionals. ARMCP is the first and only independent, national organization in the United States devoted exclusively to residential mortgage compliance professionals. Jonathan holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University and an MBA from the Wharton School.
 
Kelly Hendricks
President ♦ National Association of Professional Mortgage Women (NAPMW)
Vice President ♦ Delmar Financial Company

Kelly Hendricks is president of the National Association of Professional Mortgage Women. As head of the nation’s only association for women in mortgage lending, Hendricks is responsible for promoting new opportunities for the advancement of women, and for advocating for equal treatment of women in the industry. In addition to creating new communication and public relations initiatives, under her leadership NAPMW has seen significant revenue growth, an increase in membership, new corporate benefactors, and an annual conference where attendance and sponsorship have risen by 60 percent. In addition to her role with NAPMW, Hendricks is also vice president of St. Louis-based Delmar Financial Company.
 
 
Tom Hutchens
SVP, Sales & Marketing ♦ Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions

Tom Hutchens is senior vice president of sales and marketing at Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions, an Atlanta-based wholesale lender currently licensed in 33 states. Tom has been in the real estate lending business for nearly 20 years.
 
Rodrigo Lopez, CMB
Chairman ♦ Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA)
Executive Chairman ♦ Northmarq Capital

Rodrigo Lopez, CMB has been actively involved with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) for almost three decades. He is a former chairman of MBA's Commercial/Multifamily Board of Governors. He has served on the association's Board of Directors since 2009, along with a previous stint on the board in 2003 and 2004. Rodrigo was the recipient of MBA's Distinguished Member Award in 2010, MBA's Burton C. Wood Legislative Service Award in 2002, and MBA's Master Faculty Award in 2000. He also received MBA's Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB) designation. Rodrigo is also executive chairman of Northmarq Capital.
The discussion …
What impact do you think the Trump Administration will have on housing overall and compliance?
Gary Acosta:
After years of steady recovery, the housing market is finally back to its pre-recession levels. The Fed is beginning to raise interest rates, home prices have rebounded almost entirely in most markets and the FHA has cut its mortgage insurance premiums for a second time in two years. For those of us in the housing industry, these are all positive signs that a healthy and robust market will only continue. The Trump Administration will have the opportunity to enhance this growth if they focus their energy on productive policies to support affordable homeownership gains. A couple opportunities for the Trump administration to do just that would be in aiding the increase of housing supply and responsible adjustments to certain financial regulations that put undue pressure on mortgage originators.
 
While most real estate professionals would agree that resolving excessive regulations and lack of access to affordable inventory is a solid recipe for building up the housing market, the Trump Administration would be wise to consider supplementing these initiatives with comprehensive immigration reform. This measure would not only alleviate pressures on families of undocumented individuals but would serve as an avenue to increase the pool of potential homeowners and protect a segment of labor supply crucial to the industry’s success.
 
Jonathan Foxx: There is a tendency to believe that a new sheriff in town means big and quick changes to regulatory rules. Actually, this tends not to be the case. Most regulatory change is gradual. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has stated its supervisory plans for 2017, which include, among other things, regulating the use of arbitration clauses; addressing issues within consumer reporting, such as accuracy; enforcing fair and accurate debt collection; reviewing demand-side consumer behavior and improving financial literacy; studying and understanding household balance sheets; ensuring fair and equal access to mortgages and effective servicing; better regulating open-use credit; examining small business lending and ensuring fair lending compliance; and better regulating student lending and servicing. Some of these plans will run right into the buzz saw of litigation. Some will result in enforcement activities that lead to administrative penalties. Other items will become the rules of the road.
 
Kelly Hendricks: I am optimistic that President-Elect Trump and his Administration will have an overall positive effect on the industry as a whole, as well as stabilizing the over regulation we currently are facing. I don't necessarily think we will have a repeal of legislation, as some speculate. However , I do look for compliance regulations to stabilize a bit. Hopefully President-Elect Trump’s business sector background will translate to more common sense initiatives for the mortgage industry.
 
Tom Hutchens: President-Elect Trump will have a positive effect on the housing market as his policies will likely be beneficial for business, employment and economic growth. In an inflationary environment conducive to growth, we will likely see increased household wealth, an increase in housing prices and rapidly rising rates. We have already seen rates rise 50 basis points since the election. All of these factors should support a strong housing market in the New Year. To the extent that the Trump Administration is successful in reforming the CFPB, it would lessen the compliance burden associated with making loans, further benefiting the mortgage business. 
If you had the ability to make one recommendation to the new Administration on how to ensure a healthy housing market, what would it be?
Terry Clemans:
The recommendation is to encourage FHFA to explore ways to ensure the safe expansion of sustainable homeownership, starting with the proper documentation of consumer credit risk. While there have been huge strides made regarding ensuring the ability to repay, in many ways, the credit reporting process has changed very little and there are key issues that need correction.
 
First, let’s start with making sure that if someone lost a home during the financial crisis, we completely understand the cause before these consumers re-enter the housing market. We should have very clear specific credit codes to document the exact status of all foreclosures and short sales, including any remaining debt associated with the transaction. There should be no room for speculation when reviewing the credit report and there remains room for improvement in this area, more than eight years after the housing crisis.
 
Second, we need a better mortgage credit report and score. The current mortgage credit reporting process consisting of the “Tri-merge” credit report, in which lenders focus on the middle of the three credit scores, is not sufficient for marginal borrowers. For consumers with excellent credit or very poor credit this works fine. However, it has never worked well for consumers with certain credit problems who are on the fringe of approval. The Residential Mortgage Credit Report (RMCR), the vehicle that the Tri-merge replaced in the early 1990s, was a much better product and provided a more thorough evaluation of those fringe consumers. NCRA started raising concerns about this report from the inception of the Tri-merge in the 1990s and pointed out more issues in 2003, referring to it as an “enabling” factor, allowing some lenders to steer borrowers into unsustainable subprime loan products.
 
Hindsight has proven that this process is not a cheaper and faster system, as it was promised to be when it was sold to the lending industry. When you consider the cost of ancillary products and services that were formerly required features of the RMCR’s, the Tri-merge is much higher priced and a slower process in the long run. The worst aspect of the Tri-merge is that these reports are often missing data that we now refer to as “alternative” or “non-traditional.” To include this missing data now, which means under the current system it is not included in the credit score, is problematic as manual underwriting in this area is common and the decision to investigate the “alternative” data is done quite subjectively. Whether or not your full credit history is reported, verified by a disinterested third party, scored and made part of the lending decision, should not be subjectively decided as it has a huge impact on the accuracy of decision making in borderline loans.

Do you feel that technology will completely alter the way we do business in the next 24 months?
Rodrigo Lopez: Technology presents a new frontier of opportunity for real estate finance. This is the era when people expect information instantly, in the palm of their hand, whether we are talking about outreach to homebuyers, business intelligence solutions for commercial lenders, or attracting new employees.
Clara Shih, the founder and CEO of Hearsay Social, who spoke to MBA’s convention in October, says that "companies, especially those that have traditionally lacked digital touch points or have low interaction frequency with their customers, need to rethink their business practices and even their business models to adapt to the age of constant digital connectivity and influence."
By embracing new technologies, we have opportunity for tremendous growth. We can achieve greater efficiency in operations and regulatory compliance, but there is an even greater opportunity in terms of growing our business.
 
Terry Clemans: No, I see very few changes on a technology front for the primary credit reporting product line. The credit reporting industry was one of the earliest industry segments to embrace automation. From the dawning of the computer age, computer punch cards to acoustic couplers and dot matrix printers with built in modems for remote report delivery, the credit reporting industry has led the way in utilizing advantages through technology. I believe we may have actually hit a period of diminishing technological returns in this industry segment. An over reliance on technology has caused a reduction in overall accuracy that, when combined with the added costs of a potential data breech (new minimum requirements from the national credit repositories require mortgage credit reporting agencies to incorporate a 1,000-1,200 percent increase in the data security insurance they carry beginning in 2017 due to the level of computer technology currently in place), create for the first time in about 30 years a situation in which some of the best advancement options may come from using less technology to gain efficiency. Sometimes a pencil and a sheet of paper are more effective than a computer.
Do you feel there’s a resurgence in the mortgage broker model? If so, what had led to this resurgence?
Tom Hutchens:
Following the financial crisis, the industry saw a flight to safety as regulations were forcing industry participants to consider how well they worked. At that point in time, we saw the shift of mortgage professionals becoming mortgage bankers accelerate as a trend. However, now that we’ve lived in this environment for some time, mortgage professionals are returning to dip their toes in the water as independent mortgage brokers. As new products and correspondent lending allows for originators to expand their business, it might be time for new entrants and others in the industry to consider coming back to the mortgage broker model.
Can you think of any ideas on how to clean up the growing appraisal mess and backlog due to decreased turn times?
Kelly Hendricks:
We have been faced with increased turn times on appraisals due to volume surges in 2016 which should come back to normal turn times in the near future. However, this does not solve the long-term effects the industry faces with an aging appraiser panel. The average appraisers today are nearing retirement age and the requirements to enter into this field, both financially and level of experience, are not attractive. In order to solve the long-term challenges with obtaining quality appraisals in a reasonable turn time it is going to require an overhaul on the requirements necessary to enter the field and time it takes to obtain certifications to work independently. Furthermore, the supervisory appraisers need to have some incentive to mentor and train new appraisers as they work to obtain necessary certification. This is not a problem that can be solved overnight and collectively as an industry we need to work with the Appraisal Foundation to examine qualifications to become a certified residential appraiser in today’s market.
Do you feel there’s great opportunity for newcomers into the business? What are you and your company doing to attract young prospective mortgage professionals to the business?
Gary Acosta:
Opportunities for newcomers in the real estate industry are substantial. Many fields that were once some of the most successful in generating employment opportunities eventually die out or are replaced as the market’s needs shift and change over time. Manufacturing, as an example, was once one of the hottest industries to work in, and today, is almost non-existent. The beauty of our industry is that while it is dynamic and evolves over time, there will always been a need for the seasoned and well trained professional.
This is particularly true for the Hispanic professional. As demographics in our nation are shifting, there is a growing need for culturally competent real estate professionals to represent the Hispanic community. This may mean having documents available to be read and explained in Spanish, an underwriting team that understands nuances in credit profiles of the Hispanic borrower and marketing material and outreach that effectively cater to the Hispanic consumer. With only four percent of the real estate professionals being of Hispanic dissent, our organization is dedicated to not only increasing Hispanic participation in the industry but also educating the industry at large on how to best represent the needs of our unique community.
 
Tom Hutchens: The average age of mortgage professionals is currently 53-years-old. Therefore, there’s a need for the industry to attract younger talent, and thus there’s an opportunity for young entrants to make a splash in the industry. While regulation in the mortgage industry in recent years has been a barrier to entry, there’s plenty of space for younger individuals without experience in the mortgage business to gain employment as mortgage professionals and grow toward becoming seasoned professionals. And, as the industry’s reputation continues to recover following the crisis, opportunities are abound for professionals of all ages to have an impact.
 
Along those lines, the biggest opportunity for younger mortgage professionals is in the non-conforming space. Currently, every originator is offering agency loans, but that leaves out a huge pool of borrowers who cannot access these agency loans for various reasons. Offering a range of non-agency products gives young, hungry professionals a way to build a client base, helps differentiate them from other mortgage originators and helps them drive referrals. Young mortgage professionals can get ahead of the curve by beginning to access a wider range of home buyers from the get-go and really elevate their career rapidly.
What areas of growth do you see for 2017? What are your goals for the coming year?
Gary Acosta:
At the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, we are ecstatic to hit the ground running in 2017. Since our founding in 1999, we have prided ourselves in not only being the go-to resource for the Hispanic professional for educational resources and networking opportunities, but also to be an organization that will advocate for our community at the highest level and with the upmost integrity. As we transition into a new political era, NAHREP will be engaged with the new administration and industry stakeholders to advance our goals of increasing sustainable homeownership for Hispanic families and American communities at large.
 
In the last year, our organization has grown substantially and we are looking forward to further upward trajectory in the year ahead. Currently, NAHREP is home to 26,000 active members, 50 local affiliate chapters and several partner organizations, such as the Hispanic Wealth Project and NAHREP Consulting Services. We have expanded our footprint to new markets such as Nashville and Oklahoma City, where some of the fastest growing Hispanic populations are emerging. We are thrilled to capitalize on this growth, continue expanding into new markets and increasing our reach to more and more professionals, families and communities in the year ahead. The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies expects that 50 percent of homeownership growth will come from the Hispanic market and NAHREP will be there to help guide our members and the industry to serve this opportunity both professionally and profitably.
 
Terry Clemans: For the mortgage reporting industry, I see a potential growth area in the Fannie Mae trended data segment. Experian will be finishing their version of trended data to be added to Fannie Mae’s DU10.0 version whenever they are ready for implementing it into the underwriting process.
 
My goal for the year is managing the changes to our legislative and regulatory environment in Washington, D.C. With the new Trump Administration coming into power and all of the changes in perspective that brings, we have the opportunity to correct problems from the past and improve our highly regulated industry for the future.
 
Kelly Hendricks: As president of NAPMW, we are looking forward to providing quality educational opportunities for our members and increased membership in 2017 as some of our new initiatives are rolled out. On the business side of things at Delmar Financial Company, we are encouraged by new market opportunities in 2017 and look to have increased production in 2017 as compared to 2016. With mortgage rates starting to increase, it is going to take expansion in new markets or business channels to maintain or increase production in coming years and companies need to be agile and take advantage of technology to stay competitive in a rising rate environment.
 
Rodrigo Lopez: We have the means and opportunity to advance real estate finance in America to the benefit of our industry, the economy and consumers. One of our main areas for growth will be the purchase mortgage market, as the continuing economic recovery allows more Americans to take advantage of the American Dream. In order to best take advantage of this opportunity, our industry needs to focus on three key goals: First, we have an opportunity to improve access to credit, while still being mindful of the need to balance new regulations with innovation and responsible adjustments to the housing finance system, including secondary market reform; second, transformational technology; and, third, achieving meaningful diversity in our industry.
 
The face of America is evolving. Over the next decade, there will be 16 million new households in the United States. Today's minorities will become the majority. The Millennial generation proportionally has the largest share of immigrants. It is essential that we view these demographic changes as positive opportunities. To benefit from this evolution and take advantage of these opportunities, we must be inclusive in every aspect of our businesses. We need to move beyond standard business practices and develop diversity management strategies with dedicated recruiting, mentoring and leadership programs. 

This article originally appeared in the January 2017 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. 

National Mortgage Professional Magazine is proud to announce its annual list of Top Mortgage Employers. We polled our readers about their employers based on the following criteria:

►Compensation
►Speed
►Marketing support
►Technology
►Corporate culture
►Long-term strategy
►Day-to-day management
►Internal communications
►Training resources
►Industry participation
►Innovation

Based the above criteria, we weighted factors that are more important to our readers (i.e. our readers told us that factors like corporate culture was considerably more important to them than speed of company). The resulting responses created the Mortgage Employer Company Score (MECS). We have broken down the results into national and regional categories.
 
America’s Top Mortgage Employers (Nationwide)
1st Advantage Mortgage
Absolute Home Mortgage Corporation
Academy Mortgage Corporation (UT)
ACES Risk Management
Altavera Mortgage Services
AmCap Mortgage Ltd.
American Advisors Group (AAG)
American Financial Network Inc.
American Financial Resources
American Neighborhood Mortgage Acceptance Company (Annie Mac)
American Pacific Mortgage Corporation
AmeriFirst Home Mortgage
AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation
Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions
Assurance Financial Group LLC
Caliber Home Loans
Carrington Mortgage Services
Castle & Cooke Mortgage
Centennial Lending Group LLC
Christensen Financial Inc.
Citadel Servicing Corporation
Civic Financial Services
Class Appraisal
CMG Financial
Comergence Compliance Solutions
Commerce Home Mortgage Wholesale
Credit Plus Inc.
Direct Mortgage Loans LLC
DocMagic
EALS
Envoy Mortgage Ltd.
Everett Financial, Inc., d/b/a Supreme Lending
Fairfield Mortgage Company
Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation
Fannie Mae
First Choice Loan Services Inc.
First Direct Lending
First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation
Flagstar Bank
Franklin American Mortgage Company
Freddie Mac
Freedom Mortgage Corp.
Gateway Mortgage Group LLC
Geneva Financial
Global DMS
Guild Mortgage
Hancock Mortgage Partners
HomeBridge Financial Services Inc.
HomeBridge Wholesale
Inlanta Mortgage Inc.
Integrity Mortgage Group
Land Home Financial Services Inc.
McLean Mortgage Corporation
Mercury Network
Mid-Island Mortgage Corporation
MiMutual Mortgage
Moneyhouse U.S.
Mountain West Financial Inc.
Movement Mortgage LLC
National Fidelity Lending Incorporated
Network Funding
New American Funding
New Penn Financial
New York Community Bancorp
Norcom Mortgage
OneTrust Home Loans
OpenClose
Paramount Residential Mortgage Group
Parkside Lending LLC
PhysicianLoans
Primary Residential Mortgage Inc.
Quicken Loans
Radian Guaranty
RCN Capital
REMN Wholesale
Residential Home Funding Corporation
Secure Insight
SecurityNational Mortgage Company
Shamrock Financial Corporation
Sierra Pacific Mortgage
Silver Hill Funding
Sindeo
TagQuest
The Money Source (Endeavor America Loan Services)
Union Home Mortgage
United Northern Mortgage Bankers Ltd.
United Wholesale Mortgage
Velocify
W.R. Starkey Mortgage LLP
Waterstone Mortgage Corporation
 
The Top 10 Mortgage Employers (Mid-Atlantic)
1st Priority Mortgage Inc.
AmeriFirst Financial Corporation
C&F Mortgage Corporation
Centennial Lending Group LLC
Family First Funding LLC
First Choice Loan Services Inc.
Integrity Home Mortgage Corporation
Intercounty Mortgage Network
McLean Mortgage Corporation
Meridian Bank
 
The Top 10 Mortgage Employers (Midwest)
American Mortgage Service Company
Delmar Financial Company
Excel Financial Group
Flat Branch Mortgage
GVC Mortgage Inc.
Key Mortgage Services Inc.
Michigan State University Federal Credit Union
Mortgage 1 Inc.
Mortgages Unlimited Inc.
Weokie Credit Union
 
The Top 10 Mortgage Employers (Northeast)
1st Priority Mortgage Inc.
Academy Mortgage Corporation (NY)
Greenfield Savings Bank
Manasquan Savings Bank
Marketplace Home Mortgage
Oak Mortgage Company LLC
Ridgewood Savings Bank
SD Capital Funding
Shamrock Financial Corporation
Village Mortgage Company
 
The Top 10 Mortgage Employers (Northwest)
BECU (Boeing Employees Credit Union)
Directors Mortgage d/b/a USA Direct Funding
Mortgage One Northwest
Umpqua Bank
USA Direct Funding
Vitek Mortgage Group
Washington Federal
Washington First Mortgage Loan Corporation
Washington State Employees Credit Union
West Coast Mortgage Group
 
The Top 10 Mortgage Employers (Southeast)
Best Beach Lending
Booyah Mortgage LLC
Centric Federal Credit Union
Christensen Financial Inc.
Innovative Mortgage Services Inc.
Keesler Federal Credit Union
Mortgage Financial Group Inc. (FL)
Taylor Morrison Home Funding LLC
The Mortgage Firm Inc.
Watson Mortgage Corporation
 
The Top 10 Mortgage Employers (Southwest)
Alderus Funding and Investments Inc.
Commerce Home Mortgage
Encompass Lending Group
Global International Group
Kings Mortgage Services Inc.
One Trust Home Loans
Opes Advisors
Pacific Rim Mortgage
Primary Residential Mortgage Inc.
Wallick & Volk Mortgage


 
At its height, Carteret Mortgage, my former company, had more than 4,000 employees. Imagine running a business with so many different types of people with various wants, needs and goals. Simple, imagine you have 4,000 children and it is pretty much the same thing, except without the stretch marks.
 
Nothing prepared me better for running a large company than having four kids. All you want is the best for them, but sometimes, they can be so annoying. One may be great at selling, another, more introverted, loves accounting. One has a wonderful home life, another falls victim to cocaine abuse. Some are mean, some are wonderful. Here are some tips on how I coped:
 
Matching employees with your company's corporate culture: Seats on the bus
The sad truth is that you cannot employ everyone. Some employees will do well, some will not. I liken it to being a driver on a bus. There are some employees you want on the bus, and some you want off the bus. And some employees, you just have to change their seat on the bus. I have found most people do well when they are doing what they like. If you can get the right person for the right job, things go swimmingly. Maybe you hire someone for one job, but they would really do better in another job. Some are just very disruptive and you need to get them off the bus. Oh, and do not feel all sad when you have to fire an employee. You are just helping them get on the right bus where they will do better and be happier. I once had to fire a licensing employee for doing just a horrible job. He later went back to school as a chef and is very happy now. He told me years later, it was the best thing that ever happened to him. He needed that kick in the pants to motivate him to pursue his true calling.
 
How to keep employees happy: Production contest, suggestion box
There gets to a point where some loan officers start doing very well financially and money is no longer the motivating factor it used to be. In times like that, their next goal is notoriety. It is the fame part of “Fame and Fortune” everybody wants. That is why we had a “Winner List” of top producers for the month. It got to the point where it became very competitive to get on this list. Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame and to see their name up in lights. People will work hard if you can find the right way to motivate them.
Of course, this will not work for your clerical employees. They are more interested in getting their voices heard. That is why I started a “Suggestion Box.” For excellent ideas, I awarded a cash prize and made a big deal about the announcement. Plus, there were some pretty great, money saving ideas there. Remember, always praise in public and criticize in private.
 
Finding branch managers who produce loans, not problems: Some of the best loan officers do not make the best managers
Somewhere along the line, most loan officers get the impression that being a “Branch Manager” is the next step in the evolution of their career. Don’t be a boss that buys into that falsehood. There are certain skills to being a top producing loan officer that do not necessarily translate into being a great manager. Some loan officers keep their knowledge tight to their vest. A good manager freely shares their knowledge and enjoys teaching others. Plus, do you really want to turn your Arabian stallion into a plow horse? You want to analyze your employee’s strength and weaknesses. Support their strengths and staff their weaknesses. If they are great at selling and horrible at clerical why would you want to force them to do more clerical work as some sort of promotion? Find other ways for them to fulfill their dreams. DO NOT raise them to their highest level of incompetency. It helps neither them nor you.
 
Formulating a creative compensation programs: Low overhead, high compensation
If you are honest with yourself, your employees, like you, are in this for the money. You may say you do this for the love of helping people with their housing needs, but let’s get real for a moment. Don’t believe me, ask any of your employees if they would like a raise.
 
Okay, let’s talk economics for a minute. The amount of compensation available to your people is a function of your particular business model. A certain amount of work must be done and a finite amount of income is generated from it. How is the best way to distribute that money knowing that some particular employees are more skilled, more knowledgeable or just plain work harder that other employees? Being a capitalist and not a communist, I am inclined to reward more productive (not necessarily the hardest working) employees.
 
Not everyone is the same. Some are willing to work more to get more. Some are happy with what they are doing or don’t want to learn any more. A good system take that into account. That’s is why I developed a system where “the more you work, the more you make.”
 
Every loan has a cost component for marketing, origination and processing. If a loan does more of the cycle that is less that I have to pay someone else to do it. For example, a loan officer should make more if they bring in a loan versus a lead for which I paid. A loan officer who is willing to process his own loan should get more than one where I have to hire a processor. You get the idea. The more they do, the more they are paid.
 
Some mortgage companies are not set up this way. They have a large budget for TV advertising and a corporate jet, but don’t think to compensate their employees a competitive wage. If your company is like that, don’t be surprised when your kids run away from home.
 
Just like my kids, I was very proud of some of my employees and just wanted to strangle others. But they are all your children and the best boss (and father) is one who wants the best for them, takes care of them and loves them.
Eric Weinstein worked in banking, on the commercial real estate side until 1991, when he fell in love with residential lending. In 1995, he started a small mortgage company in his basement called Carteret Mortgage Corporation, which in 2003, grew to one of the largest mortgage broker companies in the United States. Eric is semi-retired, doing mortgages by referral only. He may be reached by phone at (703) 505-8692 or e-mail EWeinstein4U@gmail.com. 
This article originally appeared in the January 2017 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. 

Question: We have an advertisement on our Web site and we also send out an e-mail advertisement that is the same as the Web site ad. Are these considered a single advertisement? If so, what are the obligations for each advertisement?
 
Answer
Multiple advertisements in any media, such as Web page advertisements on a Web site corresponding to a newsletter blast or in a catalog, are considered a single advertisement if the following criteria apply:
 
►A trigger term is used;
►Such term requires a table or schedule in order to provide information regarding a finance charge associated with the trigger term, or any other term is used that appears in the opening disclosures;
►The advertisement clearly and conspicuously sets forth or is required to set forth the foregoing table or schedule; and
►These advertisements are required to refer and/or provide access to such table or schedule.
 
Put otherwise, single advertisement guidelines apply for any advertisement where a statement of finance charge is required for a trigger term, or disclosure is required in opening disclosures for any other term, where the trigger term or other term appear in a catalog or advertisement, thereby requiring clear and conspicuous reference to the page or location where the mandated table or schedule begins. [12 CFR § 226.16(c)(1), 2010]
 
For instance, in any advertisement where a trigger term necessitates a statement of finance charge—indeed, any other term that appears in opening disclosures pursuant to Regulation Z § 226.6—the advertisement must clearly refer to the page, Web page, or any media location where a table or schedule is found and begins.
 
Therefore, in each online Web site ad and its corresponding newsletter ad, a hyperlink to the table or schedule containing required additional information should be provided for a trigger term requiring a statement of finance charge and/or any other term that appears in opening disclosures. [12 CFR Supplement I to Part 226 – Official Staff Commentary 12 CFR § 226.16(c)(1)-2, 2010]
Jonathan Foxx is managing director of Lenders Compliance Group, the first and only full-service, mortgage risk management firm in the United States, specializing exclusively in outsourced mortgage compliance and offering a suite of services in residential mortgage banking for banks and non-banks. Information contained in this article is not intended to be and is not a source of legal advice. If you would like to contribute a question, please submit it to Compliance@LendersComplianceGroup.com.

This article originally appeared in the January 2017 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. 
For most of us, a new year means embarking on journey of self-improvement and dedicating sincere effort to becoming better versions of ourselves. For some, that means making a concerted effort to improve our professional lives by switching employers, jobs or careers. Traditionally, we think of individuals as those who commit to these fresh challenges but employees are not the only ones making and keeping New Year’s Resolutions. Today, many forward-thinking companies are designing strategies to hire and grow in today’s diverse marketplace, with recruiting a more diverse workforce landing a secure spot at the top of the priority list.

 There are many reasons a diverse candidate pool leads to a more creative, productive and engaged workforce but one is that our nation’s demographics are shifting at relatively rapid rates. The Hispanic population, in particular, has seen the most significant growth since 2000. According to the most recent census report, the Hispanic population grew from 12.5 percent to over 16 percent of the overall population in 2010, while the White Non-Hispanic population actually decreased. As those in the real estate industry have experienced, the changing landscape has impacted the consumer demand for housing, but naturally is also impacting the work force. More companies are looking to hire people who appropriately reflect the communities we serve. 
 
Some states and cities are seeing significantly larger demographic shifts which leads prudent companies to closely examine how their hiring policies will affect their market share, their level of customer service and ultimately their bottom line in 2017. Here are some things you should know (and why it matters) when recruiting Latino talent.
 
1. We are younger
The average loan officer is 54-years-old, while the average Latino loan officer is between the age of 33-35. This means the traditional ways of advertising a job opening may not work as well as it has in the past. Because of the high percentage of Millennials in this segment, social media is a big driver to how we find out about you, your company and values.
 
2. We do more units
If you are solely looking for the big producers, you will miss out on good, diverse talent. Generally speaking, Hispanic professionals do more individual units than our non-Hispanic counterparts. In order to appropriately foster this talent, it will be important to implement a strong compensation plan that rewards good sales behavior as well as high dollar amounts.
 
3. We are mostly bilingual
Tools to help attract Latino homebuyers and marketing materials in Spanish will make the bilingual professional’s job much easier and enhance a company’s ability to penetrate the Latino market to its fullest potential. As you foster a diverse workplace, it will be critical to diversify the resources available for the consumer as well.
 
4. Personal connections matter
Regardless of awards or accolades the organization has received, your new hire will care most about the effort the organization makes to connect on a personal level. Take care to train management and employees in cultural competence, participate in community events and make a sincere effort to practice leadership styles that encourage open communication among your team members.
 
5. Mentorship and professional development

Opportunities for professional growth and development will be highly attractive to the Hispanic workforce. Many are first or second generation and likely the first in their families to finish high school, go to college or start a career path very different from their parents/grandparents. As pioneers, we will actively seek out companies that will provide networking and mentorship programs and prioritize our growth within the organization.
 
6. No man (or woman) is an island
Career decisions are often made at the family level, not the individual. The decision to enter into a career in mortgages, or even to switch companies, is often a family affair. Companies who get to know the important people in the lives of their recruits and invite participation from the larger unit will gain more loyalty and support overall. 
 
7. Balance of security and risk
Minority populations are known to start small businesses at higher rates than the general population and often won’t shy away from the risks of building a business. The opportunity to create your own destiny is a compelling aspect of careers in the real estate industry. When hiring new candidates, be sure to educate your recruits on how the compensation and work structure in the industry allows for powerful career autonomy.
 
8. We value community
Show your potential Hispanic recruits how your organization is involved in our or the broader community. We want to know we are part of something bigger.
 
9. Show us we aren’t the only one
Let us meet or speak to others in the company who have a similar background to us. We want to know that we can make it with you and that the company cares about fostering diversity on multiple levels.
 
10. Let us be your biggest advocate
Once we are hired and succeed, we will tell all our friends and colleagues. As many companies know, networks of employees are the one of the strongest places to find solid talent. One good hire is like a hire of 10!

L. Maria Zywiciel is president of NAHREP Consulting Services, a marketing consulting firm specializing in the Hispanic segment and housing industry. For more information, visit NAHREPConsulting.com.

This article originally appeared in the January 2017 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.

 

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.