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

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

GSF Mortgage Corporation has added two new loan originators in its Akron, Ohio branch
GSF Mortgage Corporation has added two new loan originators in its Akron, Ohio branch, James Terrill and Noelle Morovich, who will both be working under Branch Manager Tim Krichbaum.
Terrill has been in the mortgage industry for the past eight years. Morovich has been in the mortgage industry since 2011.
“We are pleased to welcome our two newest loan officers to GSF Mortgage Corporation,” said Krichbaum. “We look forward to providing great client service locally and nationally.”

A 35,000-seat Ohio stadium that once hosted concerts by music legends is now the subject of a foreclosure
A 35,000-seat Ohio stadium that once hosted concerts by music legends is now the subject of a foreclosure.
According to a WKSU report, the Rubber Bowl opened in 1940 and was the stadium for the University of Akron until 2008, and it hosted the school’s sporting events along with concerts by the Rolling Stones, and the Grateful Dead; it was also the launch site for the 1983 Simon and Garfunkel reunion tour. The school sold the stadium to Canton, Ohio-based Team 1 Marketing, which announced plans to renovate the structure for concerts and arena football.
However, Team 1’s plans never materialized. Last week, the Summit County Land Bank started foreclosure on the property, which carries nearly $200,000 in unpaid taxes. Team 1 co-owner Sean Mason blamed the situation on the city of Akron, stating that it failed to rezone the property to accommodate his plans. Mason also raised the hope of Akron taking over the Rubber Bowl’s deed and leasing the property back to his company for special events.
“We’re just asking for a partnership, and we can’t get that,” he said. “We need to have that partnership so it alleviates the zoning issues. The property is actually zoned residential, which actually makes no sense, but it just kind of slid by because it was the university that owned it.”
However, the Akron City Council has a different plan: it is currently discussing the demolition of the Rubber Bowl, due to the financial difficulties connected to the stadium and the advanced state of vandalism and deterioration that has occurred at the site since its closure.

Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington Bank announced it is has allocated $150 million to the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH) for the creation of affordable housing options for low- to moderate-income Ohio residents
Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington Bank announced it is has allocated $150 million to the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH) for the creation of affordable housing options for low- to moderate-income Ohio residents.
This new allocation is Huntington's third investment commitment in the OCCH in seven years, with previous announcements of $100 million in 2010-2012, $150 million in 2013-2015 and $113 million in 2016. The bank estimated that this new financial commitment will generate approximately 3,700 new or refurbished affordable housing units and support 2,800 construction jobs.
“When we learned that affordable housing development was stalling because of potential changes to the Federal tax code, we immediately responded,” said Steve Steinour, Huntington's chairman, president and CEO. “We believe it is vital to continuously support adequate housing for those who require it most. Ohio has been our home for the past 151 years and we remain committed to investing in neighborhoods and affordable housing to help people lead better lives. We hope our new commitment will help accelerate the rate of investment by others in partnership with OCCH to keep Ohio affordable housing starts and refurbishment projects on track.”
GSF Mortgage Corp. has announced the addition of its new Akron, Ohio office
GSF Mortgage Corp.GSF Mortgage Corp. has announced the addition of its new Akron, Ohio office. The new team expands GSF’s footprint in the Midwestern market, and includes both newcomers, as well as industry veterans eager to share their breadth of mortgage experience with residents living in The City of Invention. The Akron team will report to GSF Regional Manager Todd Pennington. It includes the following staff additions:
►Timothy Krichbaum has been working in the mortgage industry for 16 years, after he was first introduced to the trade while in his last semester at Otterbein College. Krichbaum will serve as area sales manager, helping to expand GSF’s retail branches and footprint throughout the U.S.
►David Darr is a Kent State University alum who has been in the mortgage business for four years. He joins GSF as a loan originator, and says he enjoys helping people improve their financial position.
►Jon-Michael Majkut joins GSF as a loan originator. The Ohio State alum, and hockey enthusiast, Majkut has served in the mortgage industry for five years. With his new role, Majkut looks forward to making the mortgage process a positive experience for all his clients.
►Ross Martin is also an Ohio State University graduate. A professional in the mortgage industry for six years, Martin joins GSF as a lead loan processor.
►Joseph Arvay has been in the mortgage industry for 14 years, and joins GSF as a loan originator. He plans to put his marketing major from the University of Akron to use, by sharing the benefits of homeownership with military service members, and connecting with local builders, realtors and clients.
►Mary Gellar joins GSF as a junior processor. Gellar will be responsible for preparing loans to submit to the processing department.
►Brett Martin has served in the mortgage industry for five years. He joins GSF as a system support trainer and says he hopes to build a network within the community and transform his new role into a lifelong career.
►Jerime Loyd joins GSF also as a system support manager, after serving more than 17 years in the mortgage industry. He hopes to assist each banker to reach their professional goals, as well as connect with local businesses to help expand GSF’s reach in the Akron market.
►CJ Simpson entered the mortgage industry following graduation at Kent State University in 2007, and joins GSF as a marketing manager. He is excited to help Akron residents realize the dream of homeownership, and to help the lender become a leader in service excellence.
►Evan Vanover is a former Marine and has served in the mortgage industry for more than a decade. He joins GSF as a loan officer, and looks forward to meeting with people from all walks of life and helping them to reach their homebuying dreams.
​Schmidt Mortgage Company has announced the addition of John Kulka as manager of new business development

Schmidt Mortgage Company has announced the addition of John Kulka as manager of new business development. A 25-year mortgage industry veteran, Kulka brings considerable experience in cross-selling mortgage products across related industries, affinity marketing and retail mortgage lending.

“Ohio has seen a steady increase in mortgage volume, and with John’s ability to create additional business opportunities via cross-selling to the relocation and moving industries, we anticipate that Schmidt will be able to capitalize on increased market interest for mortgage products,” said Schmidt Mortgage Executive Vice President Jeffrey Steed.

Prior to joining Schmidt, Kulka served as business development manager for Ohio-based mortgage lender, SIRVA Mortgage, where he helped increase yearly volume from $250 million to more than $1 billion over his 14-year tenure.

“As a lifelong northeast Ohio resident, I’ve known of Schmidt Mortgage Company’s reputation for years. I was eager to join an organization where the entire staff is dedicated to serving both our retail customers and our wholesale lending partners,” Kulka said. “As the industry continues to change, I feel Schmidt Mortgage is well positioned to grow from both a retail and wholesale standpoint, and I look forward to the challenge of building on our already solid reputation and performance.”

Getting affordable housing constructed can be challenge, to be certain, but the location of that housing can often create problems rather than solutions—a situation that is currently playing out in the Dayton, Ohio, metro area housing market

Getting affordable housing constructed can be challenge, to be certain, but the location of that housing can often create problems rather than solutions—a situation that is currently playing out in the Dayton, Ohio, metro area housing market.

According to a Dayton Daily News report, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits were used to help fund affordable housing developments in this metro area. But a report by the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio noticed something wrong: Nearly six in 10 affordable family units were being located in communities where 75 percent or more of residents are African-American, while more than one-third of these new units were constructed in high-poverty areas. In comparison, 3.4 percent of these units were built in Dayton area communities with lowest levels of poverty.

Matthew Currie, managing attorney at the non-profit Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, questioned the placement of the affordable housing units.

“Generally speaking, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit awards end up in areas that are high poverty and areas of high racial concentration,” Currie said, adding that the state government needs to intervene to prevent this type of situation from being repeated.

The Ohio Association of Realtors 2016 Annual Convention & Expo will be held Sept. 19-21 at the Marriott at Key Center, located at 127 Public Square in Cleveland, Ohio.

Click here for more information, e-mail Meetings@OhioRealtors.org or visit OhioRealtors.org.

​GSF Mortgage has announced the addition of Todd Pennington as a regional manager in Ohio

GSF Mortgage has announced the addition of Todd Pennington as a regional manager in Ohio. Pennington is a 20-year veteran of the mortgage industry and has been involved in both the retail and wholesale arena. He has held various positions such as wholesale representative, state manager and area manager. Pennington will be responsible for increasing GSF Mortgage’s footprint in Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois and California. He previously built his Ohio region to include four offices, becoming the largest and most productive in the Midwest region.

“I am pleased to welcome Todd to the GSF family," said says President Chad Jampedro. "He has a track record of success throughout his career and a very pragmatic approach to the business that is refreshing. He is the strong foundation of the Ohio region that we have been looking for."

In what could be charitably defined as multitasking gone awry, an employee of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) is under investigation for running a side business that purchased distressed real estate business while he was supposed to be doing his state work.

According to a Cleveland.com report, Edwin Perez, an environmental specialist at the Agency's Northeast District Office (NEDO), is being investigated for clicking on real estate Web sites more than 3,500 times during his office hours and making more than 700 phone calls in six months that were not related to OPEA activities. When initially confronted about this by his employer, Perez acknowledged that he owned 13 real estate properties and frequently purchased distressed houses that he repaired and rented out. Perez’s job involved reviewing air permits and inspecting facilities that are issued compliance permits, which cancels any excuse that his personal real estate ventures shared common ground with his OEPA duties.

OEPA’s employee guidelines do not allow employees to conduct personal business on state-owned phones and computers. NEDO Assistant District Chief Jennifer Kurko acknowledged that Perez’s activities became known after his co-workers reported that he was spending a large amount of time on his personal cellphone while turning out a low quantity of OEPA-related work. The Agency’s inspector general has recommended that Perez's superiors determine whether his actions warrant administrative action or retraining.