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John Councilman, CMC, CRMS, president of NAMB—The Association of Mortgage Professionals, has challenged the editors of Consumer Reports to spend some time with him "in the field" to see the real value mortgage brokers bring to the real estate transaction process. Councilman made the invitation following a recent article published in Consumer Reports that asserted potential homebuyers should avoid using mortgage brokers, shop for mortgages online, and deal directly with large banks.
The Consumer Reports article advised against the use of mortgage brokers while making unsubstantiated allegations of mortgage brokers steering consumers and not making the effort to find the best deal for the consumer. NAMB has sought to publish a rebuttal on the Consumer Reports Web site, where the original article appeared, but have not received a response to date.
"In its March issue, Consumer Reports magazine recommended that borrowers not go to mortgage brokers. That is an amazing statement from a magazine that purports to be a resource for consumers," said Councilman. "The story is based on misinformation and outdated concepts. In truth, recent surveys show consumers would have saved money, received better service and had greater consumer protections had they gone to a mortgage broker rather than to one of the too-big-to-fail banks the story recommends. NAMB will not stand idly by while misleading information is spewed into the media, no matter what the source. While it would be great to be able to trust all large banks, and to believe everything you read on the internet, we believe it makes infinitely more sense for a prospective homebuyer to work with a highly qualified and credentialed mortgage professional when purchasing a home."
NAMB has proactively engaged in legislative and regulatory lobbying efforts to clean up the mortgage industry. As part of those efforts, mortgage brokers have advocated successfully for making their profession the most highly qualified in the mortgage origination process.
"I have not heard of any government actions taken against brokers who are violating the laws referred to in the unfortunate Consumer Reports article, but there have been severe sanctions and huge fines imposed where lenders were allowing their retail originators to steer clients to more profitable loans," said Councilman. "Consumers should be aware that bank originators are not licensed, tested, or required to have the same amount of education as non-bank originators. They have even less stringent criminal background standards."
Councilman added, "The leadership of NAMB and I are willing to host the editors of Consumer Reports in seeing how it really works out in the field and we also hope they will publish our rebuttal to the ill informed piece they published in the March issue of their publication."