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Playing the numbers game

National Mortgage Professional
Nov 18, 2007

A message from NAMB President George Hanzimanolis and NAMB EVP Roy DeLoachGeorge Hanzimanolis and Roy DeLoachNational Association of Mortgage Brokers We find ourselves in the midst of unprecedented turmoil in the mortgage market. Many of the issues and concerns that were initially limited to the sub-prime market are now affecting the availability of credit for prime and Alt-A borrowers as well. Lenders are going out of business, an increasing number of mortgage products are becoming unavailable and many mortgage companies are finding that their warehouse lines are being discontinued. The National Association of Mortgage Brokers is aware of how these changing market conditions are impacting our businesses, and we are working every day with lawmakers and industry leaders to find workable solutions. NAMB is our voice in Washington, D.C., and has become an industry leader and trusted source of information for lawmakers, regulators and media outlets across the country. We have built strong relationships at both the state and federal level, and we are acting to effectively respond to new developments as they occur. Media outreach Our communications team is working aggressively to restore faith in our industry and respond to the many false claims being made about Mortgage Brokers. NAMB leaders have appeared on national television news shows, radio and in major national print publications, promoting and defending our industry and combating misinformation. NAMB leadership has also been working behind the scenes to develop new ways to distinguish NAMB members from others in the industry, including more rigorous requirements for membership. This initiative will be introduced at NAMB/WEST in Las Vegas from Friday-Tuesday, Nov. 2-6. Government action We believe that extreme caution must be exercised before any mortgage legislation is passed that might further curtail mortgage lending and make the current credit and liquidity crisis even worse. If legislation is ultimately enacted, NAMB believes that the following elements should be included in any comprehensive approach: • Treat all mortgage originators equally; • Create a national registry for all mortgage originators; • Establish minimum licensing standards, education requirements and criminal background checks for all mortgage originators at the state level; • Create additional consumer protections; and • Provide for enhanced enforcement of current mortgage and consumer protection laws. If Congress decides to act, NAMB would support a comprehensive solution that includes all market participants, from Wall Street to Main Street. We believe that singling out any one party for blame is counter-productive and will not provide an effective solution to the problem. Part of the problem facing the mortgage industry was caused by a lack of effective oversight. State and federal regulators are now issuing guidance and adopting higher standards across the nation. This effort is having the desired effect on the market. We eagerly await the Federal Reserve Board's upcoming commentary on improving consumer protections under Section 32 of the Truth-in-Lending Act. At this point, it is important to allow sufficient time for the regulators' efforts to work, rather than risk over-reacting to the current problems in the market and causing further harm. Modernizing and revitalizing the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan program is vital to helping deserving families both now and in the future, and this remains a top priority for NAMB. NAMB supports HR 1852, and continues to urge members of Congress to pass this important legislation that will replace the current audit requirements for Mortgage Brokers with a surety bond and help make FHA a more viable choice for consumers. We also support expanding veterans' financial options by authorizing a Veterans Affairs Reverse Mortgage Program (HR 2475). Finally, NAMB continues to believe that the unfettered sale of trigger lists poses a risk to consumers, and we are working toward putting an end to this practice. How you can help There are things you can do in your local communities to help us in this effort. • Stay informed by reading News from NAMB, special legislative updates and bulletins from NAMB and your state association, and trade periodicals. • Attend local meetings to find out more about how your state association is protecting your interests within your state. • Be prepared to answer a NAMB call to action if and when federal legislative action is eminent. This is a difficult time for all of us. NAMB and all of our state affiliates are energized and working hard to promote and defend our industry. We expect the next six months to be very challenging. Now is the time for all of us to work together. Now is the time for reasoned solutions to complex problems. Now is the time to act. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact one of us or our government affairs staff at [email protected]. Thank you for your support, George Hanzimanolis, CRMS, President Roy DeLoach, Executive Vice President National Association of Mortgage Brokers
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