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NMP's Mortgage Professional of the Month

Frank Williams is Co-Founder and Divisional Manager of Capital Direct Funding Inc. in West Covina, Calif., and President of the Los Angeles Metro Chapter of the California Association of Mortgage Professionals (CAMP)
Frank Williams is Co-Founder and Divisional Manager of Capital Direct Funding Inc. in West Covina, Calif., and President of the Los Angeles Metro Chapter of the California Association of Mortgage Professionals (CAMP). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with Williams regarding his work with CAMP and his local Chapter.
 Frank Williams is Co-Founder and Divisional Manager of Capital Direct Funding Inc. in West Covina, Calif., and President of the Los Angeles Metro Chapter of the California Association of Mortgage Professionals (CAMP)
When did you get involved with the Los Angeles Metro Chapter of the California Association of Mortgage Professionals and what was the route that led you to the leadership role?
I’ve been a member and long-standing supporter of CAMP’s mission since 2001. The ethics, community involvement and being on the forefront of industry legislation really inspired me to not only be a member, but to join the association’s leadership. The year 2002 was the inaugural year of CAMP’s Los Angeles Chapter. I’ve been committed to the Chapter leadership since its inception and have taken on the role as President since 2012.
 
Why would a mortgage professional in your market want to be part of CAMP’s Los Angeles Metro Chapter?
Los Angeles is second largest and diverse city in the nation. The value is truly limitless in opportunity. We strive to connect mortgage professionals to inspire growth and collaboration amongst each other.
Although we are competitors, there is plenty of good business out there for everyone. Most of our members are either family businesses or small business owners.
 
Is your Chapter actively involved in impacting the legislative and regulatory environments?
As longtime supporters of our organization, Freddie Mac is an integral part to help our members build an educational platform to increase homeownership. We choose to integrate education to the Frank Williams is Co-Founder and Divisional Manager of Capital Direct Funding Inc. in West Covina, Calif., and President of the Los Angeles Metro Chapter of the California Association of Mortgage Professionals (CAMP)membership, as well as encourage activism at the state capitol.
 
We are advocates of creating wealth through homeownership. The biggest step to wealth today is owning a home—and a lot of families may not have access to that here in California.
 
There have been many news reports about California’s housing problems. How serious is the issue?
It has evolved over the last 20-plus years. When you have legislation intended to help protect the environment and there are provisions in the legislation to prohibit the development of a workforce and entry-level housing, it makes it very difficult to create affordable homeownership opportunities. And because there is a lack of houses, there have been increases in rents. Most families pay more than 50 percent of their gross income to cover rent payments.
We are not building enough houses in California. And the cities here are not fulfilling their requirements on the number of houses to be built for their populations.
 
You mentioned that you’ve been in the industry for nearly three decades. Are you seeing more young people seek out careers in the mortgage profession?
We see some young Millennials starting their careers, but I don’t think there are enough. More can be done to bring them in. Organizations like ourselves can do outreach and go right to the colleges, where can help young people explore the possibilities in this industry. This is an incredible career path and we need to help them understand that they will be doing important work.
 
Looking at your work with the LA Metro Chapter, what do you see as your most significant accomplishment?
Our presence here in the community. This year, we have really gained momentum at our local events. We’ve worked through storms and cycles, and we’re still here. And we’ve been able to help families create wealth through homeownership, making it a bit easier for them to obtain the American Dream.

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

Dean Harrington is Chief Executive Officer at Shamrock Financial Corporation in Rumford, R.I., and President of the Rhode Island Mortgage Bankers Association (RIMBA)
Dean Harrington is Chief Executive Officer at Shamrock Financial Corporation in Rumford, R.I., and President of the Rhode Island Mortgage Bankers Association (RIMBA). National Mortgage Professional Magazine spoke with Dean regarding his work with the state trade group.
Dean Harrington is Chief Executive Officer at Shamrock Financial Corporation in Rumford, R.I., and President of the Rhode Island Mortgage Bankers Association (RIMBA) 
How and why did you get involved in the Rhode Island Mortgage Bankers Association? Can you share the track that led to your leadership role in the group?
“If you’re working in the mortgage industry in Rhode Island, it’s because RIMBA has been working for you.” That phrase is exactly what led me to getting involved in RIMBA. I began as a Board member 10 years ago (frankly, I should have committed much earlier in my career) and served as the organization’s Vice President before being named President in 2016.
 
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state join RIMBA?
Three different reasons … First, to advocate for industry-related affairs and issues, particularly on the legislative side. This is hugely important to all of us. Second, to network with industry peers and colleagues. And third, to become informed and educated in the pursuit of excellence in their career. There are other reasons, but these are the big three.
 
What role does RIMBA play in the federal and state legislative and regulatory environments, and are there any items on the current agenda you would like to highlight?
We have a dedicated Legislative Committee focused on proposed bills being sponsored and discussed in the Rhode Island General Assembly. Our state is quite political and we have an inordinate amount of legislative activity for a state of our size. The RIMBA team stays on top of it all. Our legislative season just wrapped up and the largest issues we faced were all centered around workplace-related legislation, equity pay, paid time off, things like that.
 
On the national side, we work closely with the MBA using weekly updates and as-needed ‘Call to Action’ instructions for our members.
 
What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with the association?
Building brand awareness, improving advocacy and relevance for our organization. RIMBA’s membership growth, educational sessions, communication protocol, committee depth and industry engagement has improved by 30 percent over the last 18 months. We have made great strides.
 
Dean Harrington is Chief Executive Officer at Shamrock Financial Corporation in Rumford, R.I., and President of the Rhode Island Mortgage Bankers Association (RIMBA)What is synergy between RIMBA and the national MBA?
Principally, it’s a legislative connection. We participate annually in the MBA Legislative Day in D.C. and stay in constant contact with the national MBA on all matters facing our industry. We also have a nice balance of educational content that MBA plays a big part in.
 
In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
That is the big question, isn’t it? We can’t all be my age in this game! Candidly, we need to be willing to invest in young people. That means hiring, training and developing the next generation of mortgage professionals realizing that the payoff in doing so is tomorrow, not today. This is both a leap of faith and a challenge with today’s narrow operating margins.
 
I’m skeptical that we can get curriculum advancements with local colleges and universities, programs that can help build the next consumer finance professionals. I think we have to own this issue ourselves. RIMBA is set to pilot a “Mortgage University” cooperative program to go about solving this collectively. Stay tuned.
 
How would you define your state's housing market?
Typical of the nation’s housing market at this point … plenty of buyers, but not enough sellers.
 
People ask, “Why don’t we have inventory?” and my answer is, “Because we don’t have inventory.” Is that circular logic? Sure, but truth is, until people see homes for sale that they want to buy, they aren’t’ likely to put their own on the market. Obviously, we also didn’t build enough middle-income housing in the last decade either, so we’re all feeling that as well.

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

 
David Demcak is Client Manager and Executive Director of Commercial Term Lending at JPMorgan Chase in Lake Oswego, Ore., and President of the Oregon Mortgage Bankers Association (OMBA)
David Demcak is Client Manager and Executive Director of Commercial Term Lending at JPMorgan Chase in Lake Oswego, Ore., and President of the Oregon Mortgage Bankers Association (OMBA). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with him regarding his trade association leadership.
 David Demcak is Client Manager and Executive Director of Commercial Term Lending at JPMorgan Chase in Lake Oswego, Ore., and President of the Oregon Mortgage Bankers Association (OMBA)
How and why did you get involved in the Oregon Mortgage Bankers Association? Can you share the track that led to your leadership role in this group?
I wanted to be more involved in the local real estate industry and help make a difference, and the OMBA has been a great organization to do just that. I originally joined as a regular member in 2013. I then started to get involved in committees and events within the organization, serving as the President of the Commercial Committee, which led to me becoming President of the OMBA in 2018. This has been a great opportunity to give back to my community and have a stronger voice in the lending industry, impacting initiatives that affect our industry.
 
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state join your OMBA?
Our organization provides great networking opportunities for both residential and commercial lenders and affiliates, which offer educational and informational value. In the past year, we’ve had networking events that featured local brokers, provided tours of new commercial projects, gathered panels of lenders discussing the status of the market, hosted our annual golf tournament and organized the Northwest Lender’s Conference. I’ve been able to meet a number of wonderful people throughout my involvement with the OMBA.
 
What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with OMBA?
There have been a number of great people who have served as OMBA President over the years who have done so much for this organization to make it what it is today. During my involvement, it’s been great to see the Commercial Committee grow and attract new members, and we’ve been organizing more commercial events, resulting in greater participation over the years. We also have a joint event every year with the local NAIOP (National Association of Industrial and Office Properties) Chapter. It’s great to have a two-pronged approach to our chapter in both residential and commercial, to provide a stronger and more holistic view of the industry.
 
What is the synergy between OMBA and the national MBA?
There’s ongoing communication between our local chapter and the national MBA, exchanging helpful insights on national mortgage news and legislation. We’ve established a terrific partnership and often collaborate with the national MBA to support local legislation.
 
David Demcak is Client Manager and Executive Director of Commercial Term Lending at JPMorgan Chase in Lake Oswego, Ore., and President of the Oregon Mortgage Bankers Association (OMBA)In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
I think the industry can provide better mentoring opportunities for younger people—opportunities to learn how the industry works, see what the lifecycle of a deal looks like and show them how the work can impact their community.
 
How would you define your state's housing market?
The overall Oregon market from a commercial real estate perspective is strong due to a number of factors. Employment growth continues and the state offers a wonderful quality of life. I’m continuing to see local growth opportunities in commercial real estate.

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

 
Charles O. Moore is President, Central Ohio at The Middlefield Banking Company and President of the Ohio Mortgage Bankers Association (OMBA)
Charles O. Moore is President, Central Ohio at The Middlefield Banking Company and President of the Ohio Mortgage Bankers Association (OMBA). National Mortgage Professional Magazine spoke with him regarding his work with OMBA.
 Charles O. Moore is President, Central Ohio at The Middlefield Banking Company and President of the Ohio Mortgage Bankers Association (OMBA)
When and why did you get involved with the Ohio Mortgage Bankers Association (OMBA) and what was the path that led you the leadership role within the association?
I was involved with the OMBA twice in my career. The first time was in the 1980s, when I was one of the youngest board members, and then I was invited back after I had served as Ohio Deputy Superintendent of Consumer Finance and began working in the capitalization group for a bank in central Ohio. I went through the chairs: Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President and President.
 
Why should mortgage professionals in your state belong to OMBA?
We are the voice, both politically and operationally, of Mortgage Bankers in Ohio. We have an active relationship with a Lobbyist who participates within the political process in Ohio. The Mortgage Banker’s role is understood in the realm of government. Also, members can get their voices heard among their peers. OMBA offers a sense of camaraderie by being involved with other Mortgage Bankers—you are dealing with good people who produce business in an open, honest and direct way. This is a cathartic organization that does good things.
 
What has been OMBA’s most important work on the legislative front?
We led a six-year labor to modernize our mortgage licensing structure. When the original licensing structure was put in place, we didn’t have the Internet or the electronification of banking. We had a little bit of catching up to do over the past several years. Lobbying in our world is education. We educate elected officials on our business model and the safety and structure around it.
 
What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with OMBA?
It’s not about me. It’s about having a great group of Officers, Board Members and members. There is a great deal of quality in our organization, both the Mortgage Bankers and our affiliates.
 
Charles O. Moore is President, Central Ohio at The Middlefield Banking Company and President of the Ohio Mortgage Bankers Association (OMBA)What is the relationship between the OMBA and the national Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA)?
We’re a separate entity and the national MBA is a separate entity, although our role is somewhat aligned with the national organization. The national MBA is the national voice for Mortgage Bankers, and each state has its own organization. Some metro areas have their own organization, too—I’m in Columbus and there is a Columbus Mortgage Bankers Association.
 
Are you seeing more young people in your state seeking out careers in Mortgage Banking?
We are seeing more than we did. We’d love to have more, and we will engage in a push during this year and next year on educational programs to foster and enable a younger workforce by providing them with a pathway to learn the detail elements about this business. This is a very technical field with a lot of elements that you need to know in order to be successful. We’d like to see it happen and we believe it will.
 
What is the current state of the housing market in Ohio?
I can only speak for the Columbus area, which is one of the top 10 housing markets in the country. In Franklin County, there are fewer homes than people moving here. It’s a very tight market.

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

 
Mark Favaloro is Principal at Aamtrust Mortgage in Clifton Park, N.Y., and President of the New York Association of Mortgage Brokers
Mark Favaloro is Principal at Aamtrust Mortgage in Clifton Park, N.Y., and President of the New York Association of Mortgage Brokers (NYAMB). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with him regarding his work with the trade association.
Mark Favaloro is Principal at Aamtrust Mortgage in Clifton Park, N.Y., and President of the New York Association of Mortgage Brokers 
When and why did you get involved with the NYAMB and what was the route that led you to the leadership role of the association?
I have been a member of the association for many years, but it was not until several years ago when Past President Marty Pfeiffenberger asked if I would like to become a Board Member. I joined the Board of Directors that year and that evolved into becoming President of the Northeast NYAMB Chapter, serving the Capitol Region and then ultimately, Statewide President of NYAMB.
 
Why should mortgage professionals in New York become involved with NYAMB?
To protect their business model now and for the future and to learn how to continue to successfully maintain and grow their businesses in an ever-increasingly competitive mortgage environment. NYAMB provides numerous member benefits, such as regular meetings with New York State regulators, lenders and industry partners.
 
NYAMB offers conferences and conventions to give our members the opportunity to develop relationships with these same regulators, and industry partners, and of course, each other. We also provide regional Broker Roundtable Meetings to give Broker/Owners a chance to speak to the leaders of NYAMB and/or their lender/partners about the issues most concerning them and their business.
 
NYAMB also keeps Mortgage Brokers in touch with one another through our Web site, our Quarterly Newsletter and the many Webinars about pertinent issues effecting their day-to-day business activity. Members also enjoy the use of our Compliance Hotline, which is hosted by an attorney specializing in mortgage compliance. And, of course, any member is welcome to call me and I will happily assist in any way I can.
 
This is only a partial list of why mortgage professionals should become involved with NYAMB. Anyone interested can simply give us a call or go to our Web site to find out more about what we are doing and how we can help them grow their business.
 
What is the NYAMB doing on the state legislative and regulatory fronts?
We are in regular communication with the New York State Department of Financial Services and have an ongoing relationship with the Deputy Superintendent and her assistants. I recently had a meeting with my Regulatory Compliance Committee and the Department of Financial Services regarding compliance exams and new Broker Registrants and MLOs. We asked for guidance on these issues, as well as some of the new cybersecurity requirements and we received clarification that was helpful to the membership on many of the items of concern.
 
We were also successful in getting guidance on some of the looming questions that Brokers have had with regulatory compliance in general. The relationship with the Department has been excellent and they are quick to accommodate our requests to speak at our conferences and conventions so that our Mortgage Brokers stay well-educated on New York State compliance issues. 
 
Mark Favaloro is Principal at Aamtrust Mortgage in Clifton Park, N.Y., and President of the New York Association of Mortgage BrokersWhat do you see as your most significant accomplishment with the NYAMB?
I hope that I have helped to create a new excitement for the role of the NYAMB with our Mortgage Broker members by the extensive expansion of membership benefits to help them grow their businesses and provide a much larger platform for their voice on the issues that impact their day-to-day business both here in New York State and in Washington, D.C. 
 
What is the synergy between the NYAMB and NAMB?
We share the common bond as advocates for the Mortgage Broker. We also join in on the effort to present to the leadership in Washington, D.C., together, as a unified voice, on the issues.
 
Within New York, are you seeing a lot of young people coming into the mortgage profession?
I am not seeing a lot of young people going into the mortgage business in general, but it would be a very good career for them. The future of the industry will rely on the young professional with an aptitude for sales and technology. 
New Loan Officers will need to embrace automation, but in a way that still offers the borrower a personal experience that fosters a relationship and a lifetime of referral business. Now that the regulatory environment has stabilized, the opportunity to learn the business at an early age can result in big payoffs as an experienced Loan Officer in the future.
 
The number one problem Mortgage Brokers face in New York State in recruiting young people is the length of time it takes to obtain a Mortgage Broker Registration or Mortgage Loan Officer License. NYAMB is currently working with the Department of Financial Services on this very issue and with the Department’s cooperation, the future for young Mortgage Broker Registrants and Mortgage Broker MLOs is looking improved.
 
What is the housing market like in the State of New York?
Currently, the housing market in New York State is healthy. Actually, it is so active in some areas that the inventory is actually very low and prices have started to escalate.
 
Buyers in these areas are often in competition with multiple offers on the same property and sellers are often presented with sale prices substantially higher than the listed price. But there are still many areas where the market is more balanced that all parties are enjoying the movement of the market in general. With interest rates still relatively low and prices still very reasonable, the New York State housing market still offers the very best in housing for just about everyone who is looking to buy now.

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

 
Rick Darlington is Senior Vice President and Regional Manager at Brand Mortgage in Kennesaw, Ga., and President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia (MBAG)
Rick Darlington is Senior Vice President and Regional Manager at Brand Mortgage in Kennesaw, Ga., and President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia (MBAG). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with Rick regarding his trade association involvement.
 Rick Darlington is Senior Vice President and Regional Manager at Brand Mortgage in Kennesaw, Ga., and President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia (MBAG)
How did you get involved with the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia and what was the path that led you to your leadership role?
Around 2004 or 2005, I became involved in the Georgia Future Leaders Program. One of the requirements of the program was to serve on a Committee. I guess that I never got off the Committee. I’ve been on the leadership Board for five years—it is a five-year commitment—as Secretary, Treasurer, Vice-President and President. My term as President runs until June 30, and then I become Immediate Past President.
 
What is the MBAG membership level?
We currently have approximately 175 members, but our membership is done by company membership, not by individual membership. Any number of people within a member company can participate.
 
Why should mortgage professionals in your state join MBAG?
There are many reasons—you could probably write a whole article on it! Among the most important reason is education. Our Education Committee brings up the most relevant updated topics. There is also our legislative outreach, which deals with the rules impacting us on a local and state level. We help pass legislation to help the industry and stop or amend legislation that can hurt our industry.
 
Can you tell us more about your legislative concerns and activities?
On a state-level, regulations are set by the Department of Banking and Finance. Our members look to us and our lobbyist to keep on top of that. We also keep up with federal law, making sure that Georgia law mirrors national law.
 
What do you see as your most significant accomplishment in your work with the MBAG?
During the past year, I was most pleased with the implementation of our internship program, which is designed for college-age students—typically, juniors and seniors. We are trying to get more young people interested in careers in the field of mortgage banking. We are also looking into creating a scholarship program, but nothing has been finalized. I was also invited by the Mortgage Bankers Association of Alabama to speak at a business class at Auburn University last fall.
 
Rick Darlington is Senior Vice President and Regional Manager at Brand Mortgage in Kennesaw, Ga., and President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia (MBAG)What is the synergy between MBAG and the national Mortgage Bankers Association?
It has always been very good. They are always with us and we’re always with them. Some members of their team came down to speak with us two or three years ago at our Annual Convention.
 
What is the state of Georgia’s housing market?
It is pretty solid and robust right now. But there is a lack of inventory and a lack of affordable housing, and these are the biggest hurdles we have at this time. However, Georgia is no different from other states in that regard.
Phil Hall is Managing Editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@MortgageNewsNetwork.com.

 
Aimia Doucet is a Loan Officer with GMFS Mortgage in Lafayette, La.
Aimia Doucet is a Loan Officer with GMFS Mortgage in Lafayette, La. Since last December, she has been President of the Louisiana Mortgage Lenders Association (LMLA). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with Doucet about her work with this trade organization.
Aimia Doucet is a Loan Officer with GMFS Mortgage in Lafayette, La. 
Why should mortgage professionals in your state join LMLA?
We host a convention every year that provides education to our members. We bring in top educators and bring in all of the wholesalers that want to highlight their loan products. During this time, we share our ideas as the Originators join together as one, with the main purpose of promoting homeownership.
 
How is LMLA involved in the legislative and regulatory environment?
At the national level, we have NAMB lobbying for us. Closer to home, we have very little regulation of the industry that is governed by the state. We’ve been blessed, in that regard. The Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions regulates licensing. However, since the SAFE Act was passed, they do not audit as they have in the past.
 
What do you see as your most significant accomplishment in your work with LMLA?
The biggest and best message that we give other Originators is that they have our support. It is a tough industry and we are doing the best to encourage young professionals to become Loan Originators. Even though we may be in competition with each other, it is important to the profession that we work closely with one another in order to be stronger as a group.
 
Aimia Doucet is a Loan Officer with GMFS Mortgage in Lafayette, La.Are you involved in other organizations outside of the LMLA?
I work with the Acadian Home Builders Association, where I serve on the Membership Committee. I serve as President of the Acadiana Mortgage Lenders Association and am a member of the Realtor Association of Acadiana.
 
In your professional opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
It is definitely important to encourage young professionals into mortgage careers. The average Loan Officer age, the last time I checked, was 48. I work with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Finance Department on creating awareness of this career. I am seeing an increase in new involvement in the industry; however, the increase is slow and not where it could be.
 
What is the state of Louisiana’s housing market?
The housing market is definitely on the rise. We are no longer in the refi boom; it is definitely a purchase market. We are seeing an influx of young homebuyers. In fact, there was a 30 percent increase in first-time homebuyers in 2017. This is due to an increase in the availability of loan programs that require much lower downpayments than in the past. The most popular are conventional products that only require three percent down. We are still overcoming that young adults are unaware that a 20 percent downpayment is simply no longer required to purchase a home.

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

 
Ernest Jones Jr. is a Senior Mortgage Consultant with Lend Smart Mortgage LLC in Tucson, Ariz., and President of the Arizona Association of Mortgage Professionals
Ernest Jones Jr. is a Senior Mortgage Consultant with Lend Smart Mortgage LLC in Tucson, Ariz., and President of the Arizona Association of Mortgage Professionals (AZAMP). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with him regarding his leadership in this trade group.
 Ernest Jones Jr. is a Senior Mortgage Consultant with Lend Smart Mortgage LLC in Tucson, Ariz., and President of the Arizona Association of Mortgage Professionals
How did you first get involved with AZAMP? What was the route that took you to your current leadership role?
I retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2001 and joined the mortgage industry in 2002 after spending a year in the insurance/security industry. Shortly thereafter, I joined the Southern Chapter of the Arizona Association of Mortgage Brokers (AZAMB), which is now AZAMP.
 
My primary reason for joining AZAMB was to affiliate myself with individuals who displayed the commitment, dedication and integrity of a mortgage professional. After becoming an AZAMB Board Member, I worked on several committees and served as Vice President. In 2003, I was given the opportunity to serve as Board President when the President resigned due to health conditions.
 
In 2008, I was given a second opportunity to serve as President of AZAMB’s Southern Chapter. Serving on the Board with other dedicated professionals is an honor and privilege. Each member on the Board has the skill set and experience to serve as President if they are willing to lead.
 
In Arizona, AZAMP Chapter Presidents also serve on the AZAMP State Board. Therefore, I’ve had the opportunity to serve on either or both the Southern Chapter or State Board of AZAMP since joining the mortgage industry in 2002.
 
What are the benefits of being part of AZAMP?
The primary benefit in my opinion is being able to affiliate with other industry professionals. AZAMP is not about procuring business for members. Instead, the organization is about promoting the common business interest of those engaged in the industry.
 
Additionally, AZAMP’s goal is to promote and enhance the image of the mortgage lending profession throughout the state of Arizona. AZAMP also has an established relationship with NAMB who advocates for Mortgage Loan Originators on the national level.
 
At the state level, AZAMP holds an annual Mortgage Expo which provides MLOs an opportunity to interact with wholesalers and learn about new programs which benefit consumers. AZAMP also hold events such as bowl-a-thons and scholarship drives to support local youth, blood drives for the community, continuing education classes and monthly lunch-learn events for members.
 
Ernest Jones Jr. is a Senior Mortgage Consultant with Lend Smart Mortgage LLC in Tucson, Ariz., and President of the Arizona Association of Mortgage ProfessionalsWhat is AZAMP’s legislative agenda today?
Currently, the primary focus is at the national level, where NAMB is focusing on the three percent Qualified Mortgage (QM) rule. The rule primarily affects consumers purchasing homes between the $100,000-$200,000 range by limiting their options to use Mortgage Brokers due to the three percent rule. A Congressional bill is presently being worked to have the three percent QM rule revised. There are several other concerns which were addressed during NAMB’s Annual Legislative & Regulatory Conference in Washington, D.C.
 
Since you have been with AZAMP, what do you see as your most significant accomplishment?
The association’s ability to stay engaged with MLOs during market and technological changes is perhaps our most significant accomplishment. Especially considering how technology makes it challenging to get MLOs to participate in live events.
 
Also, having the membership support the change of the association’s name from “Arizona Association of Mortgage Brokers” to “Arizona Association of Mortgage Professionals” was very important. In doing so, it opened the doors for other industry professionals to become AZAMP members and serve as Board Members. In Arizona, Mortgage Brokers, Mortgage Bankers, Appraisers, Insurance Agents, Title Escrow Officers, etc. are encouraged to become members of AZAMP.
 
Outside of NAMB, does AZAMP have direct relations with other mortgage industry or housing-related trade groups?
No, not a direct link like other than NAMB. We have relations with other industry professionals on an individual basis. However, we do not any other established local, state or national affiliations.
 
In your professional opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
NAMB recently held a SWARM event in Phoenix which addressed the importance of attracting young professionals into the industry. The average age of the Arizona MLO is above 50 years of age. The primary challenge for newcomers is being able to earn an income while learning the business. The mortgage industry is very competitive, especially for those just entering the industry.
 
Perhaps the biggest challenge is earning enough income while building a strong client base. Therefore, most young people tend to be employed by the big companies who have the financial resources to train and keep individuals on board longer while they learn the business. It is extremely difficult for Mom and Pop Shops to hire and keep younger, less-experienced individuals.
 
What is your local housing market like today?
It is indeed a seller’s market. Homes do not stay on the market very long, especially homes in the $100,000 to $200,000 range. Many buyers are making offers prior to visiting properties. Additionally, sellers are less likely to give concessions and/or negotiate price due to the lack of housing inventory.
Phil Hall is Managing Editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@MortgageNewsNetwork.com.

 
California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill authored by the Democrat-controlled legislature that voids a court order mandating the repayment of $331 million to a special fund created to help victims of foreclosure abuse during the mortgage cris
Eric Morgenson is a Business Development Manager in the Laguna Niguel, Calif. office of Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions. Since December 2017, he has been President of the Orange County Chapter of the California Association of Mortgage Professionals (CAMP). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with him regarding his work with CAMP’s Orange County Chapter.
 Eric Morgenson is a Business Development Manager in the Laguna Niguel, Calif. office of Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions
Your leadership role in this CAMP Chapter is a volunteer job. Why are you taking time away from your busy schedule to work as a volunteer?
We are advocates of the mortgage industry in one of the most regulated and compliance burdened states in the nation—if not the most. If I don’t volunteer, who else is going to do it? I feel I could make a difference. This industry is getting so crushed by regulation and somebody has to be the voice of common sense.
 
Is CAMP your only experience in volunteer leadership?
Sixteen years ago, I started the Labor Day Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) where nine of us who are friends from college–self-funded, take high-risk kids from foster parents and heinous upbringing and pay for their college education.
 
What is the size of the CAMP Orange County Chapter? Why should local mortgage professionals be part of this Chapter?
The Chapter has approximately 65 paying members. The mortgage people are really busy and most don’t see membership as a benefit. One tipping point is that mortgage professionals have to be NMLS-licensed. Thus, we sponsor NMLS training certification for members. Each CAMP Chapter has a Government Affairs person and we focus on what’s important for our industry. When we meet with our elected officials, we go as a group with a less-is-more mindset: Five proposals, with one that we are against and four that we support. We don’t get a lot of time with the elected officials and often, meet with their Chief of Staff.
 
What has been on your legislative agenda lately?
We have been against more taxes in this absolutely crazy tax-burdened state. What keeps popping up is SB 993, a proposal to tax B2B services. For example, if you have an attorney and his bill is $10,000, that service could be taxed like a sales tax. One could pay the tax on the attorney’s services, and the attorney is also taxed. Now, take all of the people brought together in the mortgage process: Notary, title service, third-party processor, etc. Imagine being taxed on all of their fees. That can add $500 to $4,000 more to get a loan, which is supposed to be a non-taxable event. CAMP is monitoring and lobbying against this proposal.
 
How long have you been in the mortgage profession?
I originated my first loan in 1996. One year later, started Nationwide Lending Corp. I have been with Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions going on five years now.
 
Eric Morgenson is a Business Development Manager in the Laguna Niguel, Calif. office of Angel Oak Mortgage SolutionsThat is a lengthy career. Do you see today’s younger generation coming into mortgage careers?
I see younger people in the industry in three areas—when they have a relative in the mortgage industry, (father-son brokers) in servicing and in the call center environment. As for young people coming in as self-generating Loan Officers, no.
 
What do you think is holding them back?
The industry is not as appealing as tech. There’s no college courses to become a Mortgage Loan Officer. There is a lot of compliance and testing, and that is really not glamorous. Plus, I can go to college and get a finance, history or philosophy degree, but I cannot go to college and get a mortgage degree. California used to be one of the mortgage meccas of the nation, with well-paying and gratifying careers. We need to educate students and college counselors that these careers exist. In the end, this profession does not require a college degree.

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

 
Jeff Burns is Managing Director of Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Walker & Dunlop and President, Commercial of the California Mortgage Bankers Association
Jeff Burns is Managing Director of Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Walker & Dunlop and President, Commercial of the California Mortgage Bankers Association (CMBA). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with his regarding his work with his state trade group.
 Jeff Burns is Managing Director of Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Walker & Dunlop and President, Commercial of the California Mortgage Bankers Association (CMBA)
How and why did you get involved with the California Mortgage Bankers Association? Can you share the track within CMBA that led to the leadership role?
Everyone in the mortgage banking business, myself included, has benefited in countless ways from the work done by our state and national trade groups. Many of us attend great conferences and events that allow us to network with colleagues and spark valuable business connections. Many of us know, in perhaps a vague or non-specific way, that our trade groups represent our interests in legislative and regulatory arenas and protect our ability to provide access to affordable credit for consumers and businesses.
 
However, many of us are not aware of all the work that goes into making this happen, both from a staff perspective and the Board of Directors of these organizations. I felt that it was my turn to give back to the industry that has given so much to me and provide my knowledge and experience to help lead my state group, the CMBA, in what has turned out to be a very interesting time. My direct involvement came in stages, as I helped plan and organize the association’s annual Western States CREF Conference for a number of years, and eventually, was asked to deepen my involvement by joining the Board of Directors, which I did in in 2009.
 
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state join your association?
Members join for a variety of reasons: Building connections (finding and developing new business opportunities), keeping teams educated and up-to-date on the latest trends, and supporting advocacy efforts. Which priority is more important varies from member to member, and it often depends more on the company’s situation than any of the activities or functions of the association.
 
For example, a new start-up tech vendor is likely joining to find potential clients among the membership and establish themselves as a reputable firm and a subject matter expert. A residential Mortgage Banker expanding their business into multiple states is likely to have serious regulatory/compliance challenges and educating their employees (through conferences or Webinars) is critical.
 
Finally, when we read about a legislative proposal that puts our ability to do business at risk, suddenly we remember that our state trade group has our back, and thanks to support through membership, the association is ready to effectively make a strong argument and head off a potentially disastrous bill by working with lawmakers to either amend or defeat such a proposal. When it comes to membership, the bottom line is this: Association staff and Directors should be well aware that there is no requirement to join the association and should therefore work hard to maximize every dollar spent on membership.
 
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?
Here in California, our full-time legislature (one of the few in the country) proposals proposes dozens of bills each year that either directly or indirectly impact the mortgage industry. This year we’ve got several bills that are particularly important, including a few that we are strongly supporting. 
 
AB 2368 would allow for a new remote online notarization system in California, and the California MBA is proud to be a sponsor of this legislation. If you’ve purchased a home in the past few years, you’ve likely seen the wonderful transformation that is taking place in the process, thanks to innovations in technology. The front-end of transactions, and the borrower’s experience have been dramatically improved; however, the closing of a mortgage is still very much unchanged. You need to meet face-to-face with a notary (often in public places with little security) to close the loan. This bill would allow California to join with a growing number of states to allow the tech revolution to reach the final stage of the lending process and allow for borrowers to close their loans remotely and securely through an online platform. 
 
We’ve received a good reception from legislators so far and are hopeful this bill can pass this year. We’re also strongly in support of SB 1087, which would add new enforcement mechanisms and regulatory authority to hold PACE solicitors accountable and continue to better protect vulnerable consumers. Our legislature passed legislation last year to start that process, and SB 1087 is a follow-up measure that will regulators to take quick action to stop abusive solicitors who aren’t honest with consumers about the nature or cost of the program. 
 
Finally, we’re opposing SB 818, which would reinstitute several of the provisions of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights (CHBOR) that expired at the end of 2017. When the CHBOR was initially passed, we lived in a much-different regulatory environment; the CFPB didn’t even exist yet (hard to imagine!). Now, we have several concerns with the bill, including the fact that it doesn’t have a sunset date, and seems to be pushing the boundaries beyond the original CHBOR language.
 
Industry folks who aren’t lobbyists or don’t have connections to powerful lawmakers can still make a difference in their state’s advocacy efforts by attending their legislative day at their state capital. We just held ours in March, and it is always effective for industry professionals who have on-the-ground knowledge to speak to legislators about the real-world consequences of some of the legislation they are considering. I strongly encourage folks to take advantage of those opportunities, as well as attending national events, like the MBA’s National Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C.
 
Jeff Burns is Managing Director of Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Walker & Dunlop and President, Commercial of the California Mortgage Bankers Association (CMBA)What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with the association?
As you may have guessed, advocacy and political involvement is a particular interest of mine, and so I’ve been very involved in improving the CMBA’s political activities, specifically through our Political Action Committee, CAMPAC. It is crucial for industry to support the candidates that share an appreciation and understanding for the important role that business plays in our state, including the real estate finance industry. Making our voice heard in campaigns is done by raising funds for CAMPAC, and in a state that doesn’t have the most business-friendly reputation, it makes it all the more important that we support candidates to want to see our economy and opportunities expand. I’ve played a role in building support for CAMPAC–not only with our membership, but even within the Board of Directors. As a result, we’ If we haven’t built and nurtured those relationships during the “quiet” years, it will be hard to build trust and maximize our collective strength when we really need it.
 
In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
This is a huge challenge for the mortgage banking industry! Due to the financial crisis, consolidation and a few other factors, today’s Mortgage Banker is not only much older than they were 10 years ago, they are older on average than they will be in 10 years. The Millennial generation aren’t just consumers, they are employees, and we need their voices in our industry. There are several ways that we can more quickly integrate them into the fabric of the mortgage banking community, starting with involvement in our state trade groups. 
 
For example, CMBA has a new program that allows members to send up to three employees, 35 years of age or younger, to any conference for free. This solves a huge problem for companies with tight budgets (aka every company) who want to invest in their younger, rising stars, but can’t afford to send them to expensive conferences and events. If your state trade group isn’t doing something like this, you should encourage them to–it’s a great way to incentivize companies to show their employees that they value them and want to attend to their professional development. 
 
Beyond our trade groups, I think that we need to do a better job of encouraging colleges and universities to build real estate financed-focused curriculum and programs. I’ve rarely met a colleague who went to school to be a Mortgage Banker–most of us were simply fortunate enough to stumble into the real estate finance industry. That’s why we need to begin to build enthusiasm for our industry at the collegiate level. Several universities in California do have real estate focused curricula, but we need more participation from the schools and we need our companies (and their employees, who are alumni) to push schools to develop these programs.
 
How would you define your state's housing market?
Diverse. California has more diversity of housing than any other state market in the nation. Median home prices are at or near all-time highs, having passed $507,000 in December 2017. That doesn’t tell you much, however. For example, the San Francisco Bay area is a unique housing market, with little new home supply added each year, major affordability challenges, and a very robust rental and multifamily market. 
 
On the other hand, locales in the Central Valley, Inland Empire, or Northeast have an entirely different makeup, with a much more pro-growth environment, and more opportunities for first-time homebuyers. That doesn’t even include the Los Angeles-area, Orange County, and San Diego markets, which have their own unique housing profile.
 
Overall, our biggest challenge is affordability, and it’s not one that is going to be easily solved. Instead of a silver bullet, we are likely going to see a mix of new supply, more emphasis on density, and making sure mortgage lenders are able to provide adequate financing to meet the demand.

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