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The State Of Mortgage Media

Julian Hebron
Jul 08, 2011

Mortgage media lags behind the open-web era because it's a closed model. In all other financial sectors, the same information and data is available to most market participants and consumers. In the mortgage sector, professionals must to pay to play and consumers only get tidbits or late/expired data. You could argue that's fine for mortgage advisors: we have to pay for mortgage bond data to do our jobs better just like financial advisors have to pay for a Bloomberg terminal to do theirs. But this is NOT fine for mortgage consumers. The fact that a consumer can't see how mortgages are trading as easily as they can see S&P 500 or 10yr Note quotes is crazy. The proprietary nature of MBS data has set the tone for our industry's closed approach to media for decades. And it has bled into the commentary/analysis components of mortgage media because the MBS data providers can usually provide the best commentary because they're privy to the data. Again, that's fine for mortgage advisors who pay for these services but it's not fine for consumers. And it's not the fault of the MBS data providers like MortgageMarketGuide, RateWatch, MortgageNewsDaily, and MBSquoteline that exist today. It's just the way mortgage data has always been, so more power to them for bringing the data to us professionals, and for making a buck off doing so. But as a mortgage professional and a writer, I think mortgage media is only now starting to catch up with the times. Only now are we seeing the rise of independent blogs like TheMortgageReports, MortgageRatesReport, and my own blog TheBasisPoint where the mission is unambiguous: speak to the consumer just like we're speaking to a client. In the rest of finance, there are hundreds of practicing professionals who are also committed daily bloggers who know their data cold and can provide credible, consumer-friendly voices for their specialty areas. They all link to each other and help each other. It's an open model. In mortgage finance, I can count committed daily blogs on two hands. By this sheer lack of content volume, there's not much helping each other and cross-linking that's done. So even blogging is still a relatively closed model in our industry. As for broader housing media sites that consumers can relate to, it's also slim pickings: I can count those on one hand. HousingWire is the outright pioneer in this area because their commentary is consumer-friendly and it's FREE. MortgageNewsDaily is also very good, but because of its focus on loan agents, it's not as consumer friendly. National Mortgage News and InmanNews are great sites, but they're mostly behind pay walls. Why should a consumer have to pay to get information about a mortgage, then pay to get the mortgage too? This is my burning question, and I know I'm not alone. So thanks to Andrew Berman and National Mortgage Professional Magazine for letting me sound off here ... let's all explore this topic together.
Jul 08, 2011