How and why did you get involved with the Maine Association of Mortgage Professionals? Can you share the track within the association that led to the leadership role?
I was recruited to serve as a Director in 2008 for the Maine Mortgage Bankers Association. I was relatively new to the marketplace at the time, although I had been involved in exhibiting at industry conferences and had joined both the Maine Bankers Association and Maine Association of Mortgage Brokers. Around 2009 and 2010, the Maine Association of Mortgage Brokers experienced some attrition due to market conditions, and it was proposed to combine the two organizations. I participated on the Steering Committee, and out of that, came a new organization, the Maine Association of Mortgage Professionals.
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state join MAMP?
I believe members join our organization to stay connected, have access to industry information and educational opportunities, and to have a stronger political voice. Our mission is to educate, advocate and promote best practices in the mortgage industry in the state of Maine. We host nine breakfast meetings during the year, a wonderfully successful charity golf tournament, and also host an expo each year in November. We partner with other mortgage organizations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut in planning and promoting regional events such as the New England Mortgage Bankers Conference, and we partner with the national Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).
What role does your association play in the federal and state legislative and regulatory environments, and are there any items on the current agenda you would like to highlight?
The Maine legislative session came to a close, and there was not a lot of legislation concerning us this year, for which we are grateful. In years past, we dealt with legislation that threatened to make the foreclosure process more difficult, and we came out against condo homeowner association super-lien capability. This year, we supported a bill that put Maine more in line with federal law allowing appraisal management companies (AMCs) to continue doing business in the state.
On a federal level, we send at least three members each year to participate in the MBA’s Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. The national issues we are watching include GSE reform and the over-burdensome regulatory environment imposed by the CFPB and other federal agencies.
What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with MAMP?
As a group, I think we’ve grown significantly. MAMP is now up to 70 member organizations, and our budget has increased. We also have an increase in diversity in our membership, with credit unions, mortgage brokers, local and national banks, and affiliates that are very active in our organization. We have increased the number and overall quality of events available to members, and have improved our advocacy efforts.
In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
It’s a great question. Our Executive Director, Josh Wolfe, is in his 20s, and with his guidance we’ve tried to look for opportunities in recruiting Millennials. We partnered with the University of South Maine with a booth at their recent job fair. We made an effort to reach out and help Millennials understand that the mortgage industry is a great place for a career, and that there are a lot of entry-level jobs in the industry.
How would you define your state's housing market?
The market is healthy and moving forward. We are currently a strong purchase market, and there is still refinance business continuing. However, in some areas–particularly southern Maine–we are struggling with the inventory issue. But we have been busy.
Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@MortgageNewsNetwork.com.
Thirteen Mortgage Network employees, along with their families and friends, installed windows and insulation and assisted in fireproofing walls in two of the homes at the Habitat of Greater Portland’s Scarborough Project. The project is part of what will be a 13-home mixed-income neighborhood, making it Habitat of Greater Portland’s biggest project to date. Eight homes will be Habitat program homes and five will be affordable homes sold through the Scarborough Housing Alliance. The 20-acre parcel of land off Broadturn Road includes 15 acres of conservation land.
“We were honored to help two local families achieve the dream of homeownership,” said Jeff Rae, branch manager of Mortgage Network’s Portland office. “Over the past three decades, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland has helped build 75 homes, providing local families with stable, affordable housing. Mortgage Network is proud to be a part of that tradition, as we share Habitat’s belief that every person should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live.”
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland is an independent affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. Founded in 1985, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland serves 28 communities in the greater Portland area. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage.
The Tri-State Mortgage Conference 2016, presented by the Mortgage Bankers & Brokers Association of New Hampshire, Maine Association of Mortgage Professionals and Vermont Mortgage Bankers Association, in partnership with the New Hampshire Bankers Association, Maine Bankers Association and Vermont Bankers Association, will be held Thursday-Friday, Feb. 4-5, 2016 at the Marriott Residence Inn/Portsmouth Harbor Events Center in Portsmouth, N.H.
This year's event was planned by your peers and promises to be an event you will not want to miss! The theme is Millennial! How the industry is changing, the new mortgage borrower, how to talk to them, recruitment, training, marketing techniques and the next generation of young mortgage professionals. As well as; scheduling an effective week, Post TRID, birth order dynamics, Washington update, technology business intelligence, and of course Ruth Dillingham!
Portland, Maine, has become the latest city to mandate real estate developers incorporate “inclusionary housing”—a specific percentage of units in a residential development that will be used for affordable housing purposes—in new property developments.
The Portland Press Herald reports that the City Council voted 7-2 to require 10 percent of the housing units in new developments of 10 units or more be set aside to accommodate low- or middle-income earners. In Portland, this would cover a family of four earning 100 percent to 120 percent of the area’s median income, $77,500 to $96,875 a year.
Developers can avoid the new mandate by paying the city $100,000 for every affordable unit they don’t build. Incentives to encourage inclusionary housing, such as tax breaks and other measures designed to offset costs, will also be made available.
More than 200 communities currently have inclusionary housing mandates, but many real estate developers have balked at these requirements or have opted to pay a fee in order to opt out. One of the most notable examples of this refusal was made public last week when the Chicago radio station WBEZ reported that developers $77 million over the past 10 years to the local Affordable Housing Fund in order to avoid including affordable housing in their properties.
The Portland proposal was approved over the objections of Planning Board Chairwoman Elizabeth Boepple, who argued that the city should have waited until the completion of 862 new housing units that are planned for the near future.
“That is a lot of additional residential units coming into the city,” she said. “There’s an opportunity here to see if the market-rate housing will provide what is needed for workforce housing before we take the next step of inclusionary zoning.”
Norcom Mortgage has continued its expansion by opening a new branch in Saco, Maine, Norcom’s second location in Maine and 37th branch overall.
Three experienced mortgage professionals are coming together to form this branch. Branch Manager/Loan Originator Randy Forcier has spent seven years in the real estate and lending industries. Randy shows great ambition and plans to use his experience to make Saco a leading Norcom branch.
“We’re striving to become a top purchase lender in Southern Maine, a top five Norcom branch, and a lender that experienced loan officers would want to work for,” said Forcier.
Alongside Forcier, Loan Officer Chris Bedard joins Norcom after 12-plus years in the industry, even starting and managing his own mortgage firm for the past seven years. Further, Loan Officer Bryan Daley comes to Norcom after being a top producer at Kennebunk Savings Banks and TD Bank over the past eight years.
All three new team members are eager to provide Southern Maine with outstanding lending services. They are constantly focused on improving their skills and building positive relationships with their clients and the community as a whole. Always moving forward, they will not stop pushing to make Saco a premier branch.
Behind the scenes, Emily Daley will work as a loan processor for the Saco team. She is focused on making the mortgage process as easy and fast as possible for all of the branch’s clients.
“Norcom Mortgage continues to grow with likeminded people of character and integrity who exemplify our values of service and teamwork,” said Tyler Rhea, retail business development manager for Norcom. “We are very excited about the addition of Randy Forcier, Chris Bedard, Bryan Daley, and Emily Daley to the Norcom family and their ability to build relationships in the communities they serve.”
The New England Mortgage Bankers Association will host its 22nd Annual Conference, Wednesday-Friday, Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, RI. For more information, call the Massacusetts Mortgage Bankers Association state office at (617) 570-9114 or click here for the for NEMBC 22nd Preliminary Program Guide.
Janet Mills, Attorney General for the state of Maine has announced that both GMAC Mortgage and Bank of America have agreed to stop foreclosures temporarily in the state. This announcement comes just as the "robo-signing" controversy of a month ago has begun to die down as other major servicers had agreed to halt foreclosures and conduct internal investigations on their foreclosure departments.
GMAC recently encountered problems in court with its practice of “robo-signing” affidavits in foreclosure cases. Bank of America has agreed not to proceed to judgment on any pending matters in Maine until it has completed an internal review of its foreclosure procedures and until it has informed the Attorney General of its findings and new procedures. According to Bank of America, this could happen as soon as next month.
Attorney General Mills has also expressed frustration with Bank of America's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Bank of America acknowledged that there were delays due to backlogs.
"My office is receiving calls every day from homeowners who complain that the bank lost the paperwork and that they are unable to speak with the same person twice about their loan," Attorney General Mills said. “My office will continue to insist that the banks devote more resources to loan modifications and to streamlining their modification processes. I advise consumers to be persistent, to contact a HUD-certified counselor and to document attempted contacts with their lender.”
Attorney General Mills has also joined the national effort to change foreclosure practices of the major lenders and loan servicers. While multi-state talks are ongoing, Mills stated that no settlement has been reached. Mills noted that community banks in Maine are not the focus of this effort.
“Our local banks in Maine have been reasonable in handling foreclosure matters because they know their customers and they work with them whenever possible to avoid foreclosure and eviction during hard economic times.”
Attorney General Mills also announced that she is distributing $200,507 in foreclosure relief money from the state's Countrywide Financial Corporation lawsuit settlement. The funds are being distributed to Maine’s 10 Community Action Programs (CAP) based on the population of the areas they serve.
In July 2009, Maine settled its claims with Countrywide alleging that the company had engaged in predatory lending practices and in unfair and deceptive trade practices in connection with its loan servicing business. Under the settlement agreement, Maine received a total of $430,000 to first distribute to eligible homeowners with Countrywide loans who filed claims before the court-ordered deadline. The remainder funds are required by the settlement agreement to be used for foreclosure relief efforts. Attorney General Mills has determined that the remaining $200,000 will go to the 10 CAP agencies.
"The HUD-certified counselors at these CAP agencies have been doing a tremendous job helping consumers who are facing foreclosure," said AG Mills. "These agencies are well aware of the neediest homeowners in their respective areas and they best suited to decide how the money may be used to make the most difference in consumers' lives."
Other settlement terms require Countrywide, which is now owned by Bank of America, to offer qualifying consumers the opportunity for a loan modification. Consumers who do not qualify for a loan modification will be offered relocation assistance payments by Bank of America.
"The loan modification process is very confusing and frustrating for consumers,” said Attorney General Mills. “I urge consumers not to pay for foreclosure assistance. Foreclosure assistance programs that charge fees are often scams. Consumers at risk of foreclosure should contact a HUD-certified counselor.”
For more information, visit www.maine.gov/ag/index.shtml.