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EverBank buys out BNY Mortgage

National Mortgage Professional
Mar 29, 2007

Are you ready to capture business from the Hispanic market?Frances Martinez Myersentrepreneurs, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina Local entrepreneurs in Mecklenburg County, N.C. have changed their tune to capture new business from Latinos who have moved into the region. Their area has experienced 500 percent growth in its Latino community in recent years, a phenomenon that has fueled the local economy. Before 2000, no one had ever described Mecklenburg County as a Latino stronghold. Now, the region is leading the South in a resettlement pattern that is making the economic power of the Hispanic consumer felt in the most unlikely places. Locals have made the best of the change and are thriving because of it. There's a lesson in this transformation for our industry. The day is coming when Hispanics will influence the same kind of change in our businesses by virtue of their youth and sheer numbers. The question isnt a matter of if, but rather when, this will happen. Population forecasts assure us of that. This is good news because these consumers will help fill the void in the housing economy as the aging baby boomers wind down from their peak buying years. Hispanics will comprise as much as 40 percent of new homeowners between now and 2020, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. That shift is already happening. Between 1995 and 2005, the number of Hispanic owner-occupied homes increased by 3.1 million, reaching a total of 6.9 million in 2005. This is an 81 percent increase over a 10-year span and compares to a 19 percent increase for all other non-Hispanic owner-occupied homes. 1 At hand now is the end of one consumer cycle and the beginning of another. Mortgage professionals will need to adapt and diversify their businesses as the market changes and new homebuyers emerge. Hispanics will be a key driver in the new housing economy. Knowing how to work with them is a business imperative for everyone in the industry. How you approach this business will definitely determine your success with these consumers. Here are a few things you should think about: -Adopt a new attitude about first-time homebuyers. A new business reality has arrived, and as the number of transactions decreases, these first-time homebuyers will be a viable channel of business. -Develop a long-term game plan. Develop a strategy and invest some time and energy into learning about the market and homebuyer patterns. Encourage your sales force to do the same. -Recruit bilingual, bicultural staff. Also add an infrastructure to your business that fully supports them. Don't expect them to only handle Latino business, but all kinds of business. Encourage diversification within your talent pool. Help these new staff members and representatives become successful by all measures and it will help retain them within your organization. Also be prepared to add other support resources necessary to facilitate the delivery of services to Latino customers. -Learn about products and programs that are best suited for Hispanic homebuyers. There are a number of mortgages now on the market that work particularly well for Hispanics. But first, you must understand the barriers to homeownership and the credit habits that distinguish them before you can match them with the right loan. -Be prepared to deliver high-touch service. Hispanics are a melting pot of cultures, nationalities and generations. Foreign-born Hispanics are service-focused, instead of transaction-based, and will require more of your time and in-person service. You need to understand this before you attempt to woo them. Faxes and voice mails alone won't cut it with them. -Meet the perfect customer for life. Latinos are loyalty-driven consumers. Treat them well, take the time to inform them about the process and give them good advice, and they will bring you an endless stream of business. Word-of-mouth referrals hold greater value for them over any advertisement and that is worth its weight in gold. Above all, take the time to learn as much as you can about this consumer segment. Every week, new studies and market data are released about the growing force of the Hispanic market. Keep a news clip file and read everything you can about how the Hispanic population is shaping and changing the market. Make it a priority to get trained. The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) is the only industry source that offers Hispanic-centric training through NAHREP University, its online training center. The Fundamentals of the Hispanic Market course is perfect for professionals from all segments of the industry, and was developed by Hispanics who know the market and live the culture. The training will give you a good jumpstart on getting familiar with this segment. You can check it out at NAHREP's Web site, www.nahrep.org. Just as important, make the commitment now to get moving on a plan. For the past five years, Hispanic leaders have attempted to alert the industry about the coming Latin boom. I've crisscrossed the nation for speaking engagements to make people aware of this market shift and business opportunity. Now that the boom is here, there is going to be plenty of business for the mortgage professionals who are ready. Will you be one of them? Frances Martinez Myers is chair of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. As NAHREP chair, she serves on the board of directors for the National Association of Realtors, the National Advisory Council of Fannie Mae, the Affordable Housing Advisory Council of Freddie Mac and the National Advisory Council of Bank of America. She can be reached at (760) 634-5007. Facts you should know about Latinos: -Homebuyers with names such as Rodriguez, Garcia and Hernandez bumped Brown, Miller and Davis down the list of most common buyers' names in 2005. 2 -The rate of homeownership among the nation's 42.7 million Hispanics hit a record 50 percent in the last quarter of 2005, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. -Hispanics now outnumber African- and Asian Americans in 26 of the 50 states, according to a study recently released by the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute and based on the 2004 Census. California and Texas remain Latino strongholds, with more than 50 percent of the nation's Hispanic population, but southern states from North Carolina to Arkansas have seen phenomenal Hispanic population growth. -Between 1995-2005, five million new Hispanic households were created throughout the United Statesan increase of 57 percent. 3 -Between 1990 and 2000, Hispanics were the fastest growing segment of the middle class (116 percent increase) with incomes of $35,000 or more. 4 -Hispanics prefer to work with a real estate practitioner who speaks their own language. More than any other ethnic group, Hispanics say they feel uncomfortable handling business transactions in English. 5 Footnotes 1. "Hispanic Housing in the United States 2006," Institute of Latino Studies, Notre Dame University 2. DataQuick 3. "Hispanic Housing in the United States 2006," Institute of Latino Studies, Notre Dame University 4. U.S. Census Bureau 5. Texas A&M University
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