Arizona

New American Funding is expanding its Southwest territory with the opening of a Santa Fe, N.M. branch, the first branch for New American in New Mexico’s capital city
New American Funding has opened a new national call center in Tempe, Ariz., moving into the facility after renovating the 12,000-square-foot space and converting it into a modern office environment complete with employee lounge. The location is a full-service home loan facility, transacting a complete spectrum of purchase and refinance loans.
 
The expansion into the greater Phoenix region was ideal due to a strong industry presence in the market that made it optimal for the company to continue growing its retail division.
 
“New American Funding brings a great deal to this market. We have an industry-leading compensation plan, a high volume of incoming daily calls, and a 32-day average turn time with loan processing,” said Hooman Sharifi, Sales Manager. “Our customer service is superior and we provide all the tools for Loan Originators to succeed. There’s nothing we lack.”
 
Sharifi, who has been with New American Funding since 2014, and has already built a team of 47 mortgage professionals who are funding approximately $45 million per month in home loans.
 
“We’re very pleased with the level of talent, enthusiasm, and professionalism in Tempe,” said Ray Williams, Senior Vice President of the Inside Sales Division for New American Funding. “This is only the beginning of greater things to come. We’re committed to the area for the long haul.”

 
 
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.

 
New American Funding is expanding its Southwest territory with the opening of a Santa Fe, N.M. branch, the first branch for New American in New Mexico’s capital city
New American Funding has named Joe Smith its new regional sales manager overseeing the Arizona market. Smith, a top-producing mortgage professional, will be responsible for expanding the company’s brand statewide by recruiting new loan officers, identifying additional branch locations, and growing sales volume. He’ll also work one-on-one with loan officers to maximize their loan production.
 
“I’m thrilled about this new opportunity,” said Smith. “You can do loans anywhere. I came to New American Funding because the culture and people make the difference. They’re willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. Furthermore, the marketing for loan officers is the best that I’ve seen in the industry. This winning combination makes it a great environment for the originator to thrive.”
Smith, a 15-year veteran of the mortgage industry, has worked as a branch manager for the majority of his career.
 
“Bringing Joe on board to New American Funding’s team has been an excellent fit. His integrity and first-rate reputation in the marketplace are in direct alignment with our goals and views,” said Milt Karavites, Regional VP. “We have the utmost confidence in his ability to lead our Arizona growth. Not only does he possess a passion for mortgage banking but he distinctly understands the needs of the loan officer, real estate agent, and buyer.”

 
VIP Mortgage has announced the opening of its newest Tucson branch, to be led by Branch Manager Letty Huffman

VIP Mortgage has announced the opening of its newest Tucson branch, to be led by Branch Manager Letty Huffman, who brings more than 20 years of experience to the new branch, along with a wealth of knowledge about the Southern Arizona real estate and mortgage market.

The new Tucson office brings the number of Tucson-based VIP locations to four and supports the continued growth that the company has been experiencing. The branch currently houses a total of six experienced loan officers, with plans to add even more to the team.

 

New American Funding has expanded in the Midwest region with its latest branch in Naperville, Ill.

New American Funding has announced that it has expanded its Western territory with a new Arizona location in Oro Valley. Spearheading this new venture is seasoned mortgage professional, Roy Franco, who will serve as branch manager. A Tucson native and U.S. Navy veteran, Franco looks forward to providing excellent customer service to his hometown and fellow military community. He plans to leverage his mortgage expertise to guide consumers through the complexities of the loan process.

“Your home is your biggest investment,” said Franco. “It’s important to work with the right mortgage company to protect that investment.”

Franco will be joined by a team including Loan Consultants Ben Walker, Sadot Negrete and Maritza Negrete.

New American Funding plans to provide the Oro Valley community with the same industry-leading closing times, award-winning services, and high-level customer support that has become a hallmark at its other national locations.

Arizona_Flag_Credit_Christophe_BOISSON

GSF Mortgage Corporation has announced that the company is now licensed in Arizona and has added Brian Bailey as a new branch manager located in Phoenix. He has worked in various facets of the financial industry, from banking to insurance investments, and has found that mortgage lending has provided him with the greatest satisfaction in helping people achieve their dream of homeownership.

In order to help his business and GSF’s presence in Arizona, Bailey is working on setting up an easily accessible office that will allow him to reach out to the public and get more involved in more community-focused events.

“We are extremely excited to add Brian Bailey to our team at GSF,” said GSF Mortgage Regional Manager Todd Pennington. “He will help us grow our presence in the Phoenix area and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our company. He is also very experienced in marketing and data base management and we are looking forward to watching him grow at GSF!”

​Matt Oliver is a loan consultant with Glendale, Ariz.-based Lund Mortgage Team Inc. and president of the Arizona Association of Mortgage Professionals (AzAMP)

Matt Oliver is a loan consultant with Glendale, Ariz.-based Lund Mortgage Team Inc. and president of the Arizona Association of Mortgage Professionals (AzAMP). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with Oliver regarding his work in his state’s trade group.

How and why did you get involved in the Arizona Association of Mortgage Professionals? Can you share the track within your association that led to the leadership role?
My father-in-law, Stan Lund, was heavily involved when I moved over to Lund Mortgage. He was the statewide president of the Arizona Association of Mortgage Brokers, the forerunner of AzAMP. He strongly encouraged my wife, Lisa Lund, and myself to get involved. Lisa actually started taking on leadership roles within the association first, and I was serving as Government Affairs Committee chair. That’s always been my favorite role within the organization. When she was president, she “volunteered” me to be president-elect and it took off from there.

Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state join AzAMP?
Right now, we have a really solid group of professionals who want to lead. They really strive to gain more members and try to make Arizona one of the stronger states for leadership. So we go out and seek individuals who aren’t currently members and try to show them the value that AzAMP and NAMB bring their business.

We want to show them the organization is out fighting for their small business. On a state level also, I would say we all share our best practices at our luncheons and meetings. We talk about what lenders are working the best for us, who offers the best pricing, fastest closings, etc.

What role does your association play in the state legislative and regulatory environment?
We seem to have a pretty decent presence every year at the Legislative Conference. That’s always been my favorite conference to attend and our association does well, fundraising every year, so we can send a good group of individuals to D.C. for that. We’ve organized meetings locally with our congressional representatives and try to keep our names in front of them so if they ever do have anything to bring to up to us, we’re always available.

What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with the association?
I guess you could say there isn’t a higher position within the state than my current role, but as I always enjoyed the government affairs position, as I feel like that’s where my strengths and knowledge are at.

In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
I think more young people will come to this profession from the big banks, working mortgages on the phones, or as an assistant role with a good mortgage professional. I am not sure a 22-year-old out of college could come and be ready to be a productive mortgage professional. Some experience, either as an assistant or working at a larger institution, is where they will come from. So, in young people in essence, to get more to this profession, it’s going to have to come from recruiting the talent from the big banks. Though, personally, I am not sure how much respect or trust I would’ve gotten from a potential homebuyer as a 22- or 23- year-old fresh out of college telling someone how to finance the biggest purchase of their life.

How would you define your state's housing market?
I think Arizona is actually really strong right now. As everyone knows, we were one of the big four states that got crushed on home values. Most of those values are back to normal over to the past five to seven, and I would say we’re now getting back to a modest gain of three to six percent every year.



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

Kelly Powers is national retail operations manager and director of government relations at AmeriFirst Financial Inc. in Mesa, Ariz., and current president of Arizona Mortgage Lenders Association (AMLA). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with her regarding her work with her state’s mortgage trade group.

Why is it important for you to be involved with your state’s mortgage trade group?
I was aware of AMLA’s existence for years. As the president of a company, I once was employed by one of the past presidents of the association. I joined in 2008, the year after the crash because I was not happy sitting on the sidelines and watching the industry I love disintegrate. I wanted mortgage professionals to have a voice regarding legislation impacting the industry. Lawmakers were well-intentioned, but what sounds good in theory can be very problematic in practice. I wanted to be on Capitol Hill, talking to and helping to educate lawmakers and their staffers on the possibility of negative consequences to the consumer due to the many new regulations being discussed.

Why is it important for Arizona’s mortgage professionals to become a part of AMLA?
Unfortunately, it is human nature to believe that somebody else will take care of problems. But it doesn’t work that way. My belief is that for all of us, this is our livelihood. This career allows us to provide for our families. How can you not be interested in changes that impact your personal and professional life?

Luckily, Arizona is blessed to have a fairly large contingent of industry members who believe as I do. Our Arizona delegation numbers approximately 15 people when we descend annually on Capitol Hill as part of the Mortgage Bankers Association Advocacy Conference. This is a great number considering our population. We could always use more, however!

AMLA is the state affiliate of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), a prominent force in D.C. How often do you confer with the MBA national president and CEO regarding lobbying?
I do not have a large need to speak directly to MBA President and CEO David Stevens, although I do so a couple of times a year at MBA conferences. However, members of the Arizona industry speak with Mr. Stevens regularly throughout the year regarding many different issues. We are lucky to have an Arizona MBA member as the current MORPAC chair, and she is in contact with him as needed. Arizona also claims a past State MBA Committee Chair and a current MBA State Ambassador. All of these individuals are dialed in with MBA’s national leadership. I work primarily with MBA’s five lobbyists.

You are mentioning Capitol Hill, but what about AMLA’s role in the state’s legislative and regulatory environment?
AMLA does retain a state lobbyist, and I am proud to say that I did take an active interest in this and was proactive in making this happen. When I joined the AMLA board of directors, we did not have a budget robust enough to pay for a lobbyist. However, advocacy is my passion, and under my presidency, we implemented the President’s Club that offered extra perks and recognition to participating AMLA member entities, including functions such as meet-and-greets, luncheons, happy hours, etc. We earmarked the monies collected from membership in The President’s Club to fund our lobbyist.

Clearly, that is a wonderful accomplishment. What other significant AMLA accomplishments are you proud of achieving?
Under my presidency, we were able to pass the UST, the Uniform State Test. This allowed Arizona to be in step with much of the rest of country regarding the requirement necessary to satisfy the testing component of the licensing process. This was near and dear to my heart, and I worked very hard in conjunction with the MBA and our lobbyist to make this happen.

In your professional opinion, is the mortgage industry doing enough to bring young people into mortgage careers?
I would like to see a greater effort. The last time I saw industry statistics, the average age for loan originators was 54. One challenge is that the barrier to entry is much higher than it used to be. Today, it is not nearly as easy to become a mortgage professional, and that all in all is a good thing. However, we have less people entering because it is more difficult with the new testing, educational and licensing requirements.

There is concern industry-wide. My employer, AmeriFirst Financial, has plans to move our corporate office closer to the Arizona State University campus. We will be implementing an internship program that will enable us to bring young people into the industry. With this program, interns can test out different job roles and see what area of the business works for them—sales, operations, marketing, IT, etc.

In my experience, I have found that no one grows up and says, “I want to be a loan officer!” The mortgage industry typically happens to you—it is unusual when an individual seeks it on their own accord.

What is the state of the housing market in Arizona?
It is much better than before. We were hit hard with the crash, but it is coming back and I am excited about the future. I was one of those homeowners who was impacted pretty severely … my house lost 50 percent of its value. Fortunately, housing has rebounded nicely, although we have a bit of a supply problem at times. On the whole, we’re doing well.



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

AzAMP Presents: NMLS-Approved MLO Renewal Class, set for Thursday, Aug. 11 at Fidelity National Title, 6760 N. Oracle #100 in Tucson, Ariz. from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

For more information, click here or contact Call Glen Warner by phone at (520) 234-0309 or (520) 745-4433, or e-mail Glen.Warner@PHMC.com.

 

The Arizona Mortgage Expo 2016 will be held Friday-Saturday, Oct. 14-15 at the Wild Horse Pass Casino & Hotel, located in Chandler, Ariz.

This year, the Arizona Association of Mortgage Professionals will stage an extraordinary event celebrating, advancing and supporting the men and women who finance residential and commercial real estate property. With top speakers, great hands-on sessions and a wealth of opportunities from exhibitors and sponsors, it's a can't-miss day for hundreds of mortgage professionals.

Click here for more information, call (860) 719-1991 or e-mail Info@agilityresourcesgroup.com.