If you would have told me that in the first 90 days of being president of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB)—The Association of Mortgage Professionals, that I would have written a letter to the President of the United States, a letter to our Senators and Congressmen, and had a meeting with Richard Cordray, the current director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), I would have been amazed. But if it is one thing that I have found out, there is never a dull day being your president.
I must admit that this job definitely takes more time out of my day than anticipated. The phone calls alone have prompted one of my loan officers to come into me and ask me to hire someone to just take calls so he can call his customers and write some loans. I am currently using about 25-30 hours a week on NAMB-related business and another 30 hours on trying to write loans myself. But we are in the most challenging times that we have had in the mortgage business, and I am invigorated to be able to do this and my real job of closing mortgage loans.
As we look forward to our 2012 Legislative & Regulatory Conference coming up in March in Washington, D.C., this is the event that, if you ever felt that you can help to make a difference, this is the one to attend. To make yourself available to go to Washington, D.C. and walk up and down the floors of Capitol Hill, stopping in the offices of your congressional reps and senators and speaking directly to our legislators is one of the biggest thrills you can ever have as a citizen of these United States. It is as basic as you can ever get. Yes you, a citizen of the United States, walking in these halls and stopping to speak to someone that represents you and all of your fellow citizens is as great as it gets. So log on to NAMB.org/LegConference and make your reservations to join us Sunday-Tuesday, March 18-20. It will be well worth the time and money to be there. And then you can join us on the night of Tuesday, March 20 in the Capitol Visitors Center for a reception with some of the most influential congressional reps and senators, and share your experiences with other NAMB members. I hope to see all of you there. And please, if you see me, stop and introduce yourself to me. I would be honored to meet you.
Membership is my true vocation for this year. I am working with our new Membership Committee Chair Kay Cleland and her committee to get the information out to everyone about the intrinsic value of NAMB membership and why you should become a member. We need everyone who is a member to go out and sign up five of your friends and let them know that membership has its rewards and now is the time to join. The real question is: Why not join?
I think all of you know that I umpire high school and little league baseball. The state of Indiana requires me to join the local association to make sure that I am receiving the required information that keeps me up to date on all of the new rules and interpretations of umpiring and that I understand them. Whether I am a rookie or a seasoned veteran, I have to belong to assure the state that I am getting the required hours of instruction and on-field experience. My association even goes to the extent to require two mandatory on-field clinics that we must attend and be graded on how well we do. And every year that I want to umpire in the state tournament, I have to take a test and score at least 90 percent to be able to qualify to work the states. In addition, every two years, I am required to attend a state-sponsored meeting to review all of the rules and rule changes. At every game, we are graded on how we do and that report is kept for the whole year on your progress. In little league, we have an umpire’s registry that we join to get all of the information and rulebooks and such. I also have to attend our District Umpires Meetings (eight of them annually), an on-field clinic, and take a test to make sure that I know the rules, just to be able to umpire. And with little league, it is a volunteer situation where we do not get paid to umpire. I find it ironic that with all of the regulations we have in the mortgage business, it is not a requirement that you have to belong to a state or national association, and we just have to attend eight hours of continuing education to renew our licenses every year. There are more demands on me to umpire baseball than to conduct the largest monetary transaction in people’s lifetimes. So, my hat’s off to all of you who belong to your state and national association. That tells me that you care about what you do, and you want to make your job and life better for those whom you call your customers. Just a little perspective!
I hope by the time that you are reading this, we will have rolled out and jump-started our NAMB blog through Think Big Work Small, as the states are also putting their state blogs together as well. This is a great opportunity to make sure that you are reaching out to get more business. Brian Stevens and Frank Garay of Think Big Work Small, along with NAMB Communications Committee Chair Fred Arnold and I have spent numerous hours getting this out and you should spend just a few minutes seeing how this can improve your business right now. Both Frank and Brian will be in D.C. at the Legislative Conference to go over this one more time for all of the attendees.
As I end this month’s letter, I want to thank all of you who have sent me an e-mail or have given me a phone call. I am motivated to make this association grow and thrive, and every time I get one of your notes, it makes me work a little harder to make this happen for you and for our members. I am still looking for people who want to make a difference. Go get you professional designation, a Certified Residential Mortgage Specialist (CRMS), a Certified Mortgage Consultant (CMC), or go and get your Lending Integrity Seal of Approval, and help me make a difference. We need members and the only way we can get them is by you talking about the difference that we can make as an association together. So e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you want to do.