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In early 2014, the Washington Association of Mortgage Professionals (WAMP) decided to hire a full-time executive director to help manage their trade association, which experienced a 503 percent growth in membership over a two-year period. Frank E. Percival, who served as president of the association in 2013, was named interim executive director as the search began to fill this new spot. But shortly afterwards, Percival resigned that position and put his name forward for consideration as executive director.
In July 2014, WAMP’s board of directors formally offered the executive director position to Percival, who resigned his position as vice president of retail production at Central Banc Mortgage Corporation to work full-time on behalf of WAMP.
National Mortgage Professional Magazine spoke with Percival about WAMP’s impact on the state of the mortgage market in Washington and his involvement with this association.
How and why did you get involved with the Washington Association of Mortgage Professionals?
Frank E. Percival: It was after the sub-prime mortgage crisis, when there were so many new rules and regulations popping up everyday—some of which made no sense and seemed to hurt consumers more than help them. Frustrated, I was seeking a way to become more proactive in our industry. I didn't wish to sit on the sidelines and just complain about what was happening—I wanted to get involved.
A colleague invited me to a Washington Association of Mortgage Professionals luncheon. I'd never attended before. I knew the association used to be exclusively for brokers, and hadn't realized at that time that they'd expanded their membership to include all licensed loan originators. I went, I asked questions, and within a few days of that luncheon, WAMP Board Member Nicole Christy came by my office and asked me to become more involved. She invited me to their next board meeting. I joined the organization and subsequently the board about six weeks after that.
I had prior board leadership experience, having served three consecutive terms as Board President of the Greater Seattle Business Association and Board President of a local health service organization with over 100 employees and a $24 million annual operating budget. As a graduate of the Seattle Leadership Tomorrow program, I've also had training in servant leadership and regional business and infrastructure growth. I was able to bring some institutional knowledge and experience in event planning, corporate outreach and membership engagement to WAMP, and had the opportunity to work with the most dedicated and hardest working Board I'd ever encountered. It was incredibly inspiring, and when I was asked to assume a leadership role in the organization, I was humbled and honored to do so.
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state should join WAMP?
Our trade association, much like state trade associations throughout the country, is our voice. It is our opportunity to be engaged, and when successfully managed, collaborate with lawmakers in our state, and on a national level. Becoming a member is giving a voice to your concerns, your ideas and your desires for our profession.
We meet with legislators every year. We charter a bus to bring everyone down to the state capitol in Olympia, and we have many more that are carpooling to get there. This day makes a real difference in our professional lives. In years past, our efforts have effectively killed potentially harmful legislation before it's ever made it to the floor of the House. Our elected officials are delighted to meet with industry professionals who can help them determine what legislation will truly be helpful to consumers and the growth of our industry, versus well-meaning legislation that could have unintended harmful effects for consumers.
We also provide social and business networking opportunities to our members every month. WAMP members receive huge discounts on loan officer continuing education courses we host throughout the year, and industry events like the Northwest Real Estate Summit & Mortgage Expo, the WAMP Golf Classic and WAMP Softball Tournament, and a regular series of luncheons and dinners featuring guest speakers who help keep our members the most successful in the industry.
This year, we are launching our new Consumer Awareness Campaign. We want Washington State residents to know that there is a difference in loan originators in our state—and we want them to know that our members are licensed to originate loans in Washington state, and have taken the time and effort to attend multiple classes, pass numerous tests and exams, and continue to take annual clock hour classes in order to be the most proficient and informed professionals they can be. We want them to know that our members have signed and abide by a strict Code of Ethics, and want them to understand that many lending institutions employ loan originators who are not licensed in Washington or perhaps any other state.
As a state affiliate of NAMB, what do you feel that adds to your association and towards the overall agenda for the mortgage profession nationwide?
Collaborating with professionals throughout the country through our national association is incredibly important. We all fundamentally want the very same things: A robust economy (which time and time again has been inexorably linked with a thriving real estate and mortgage industry), fair and effective protections for consumers (our industry trade associations have consistently demonstrated our commitment to protecting consumers from predatory lenders), and legislation that reflects both of those ideals.
Well-intentioned legislation that has been drafted without the input of the industry it is meant to assist is foolhardy. We have a responsibility as professionals in this industry to lend our knowledge, our experience, and our expertise to legislators. We must work together to accomplish those fundamental goals of protecting consumers and creating opportunities for every American citizen to earn the right to own their own home. Our colleagues throughout the nation still believe that everyone should have the ability to realize the dream of homeownership through hard work and thoughtful budgeting.
WAMP believes in this idea so strongly that we've partnered with local chapters of Habitat for Humanity for several years now. WAMP teams have helped build homes, and our members have raised tens of thousands of dollars to support homeownership for hardworking families who might not otherwise ever be able to realize that dream. This past year, we even encouraged a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity to create a special project for the families of Oso, Wash., where many tragically lost family members and their homes in the worst mudslide in our state’s history. We have been fundraising for this effort and are currently working with some of our corporate partners to identify new funding streams for this important project.
I would like to close by thanking National Mortgage Professional Magazine, not only for this opportunity to address some of the exciting work our trade association is engaged in, but for being the voice you have provided all of us in this industry. Your efforts to keep us informed and engaged have been incredibly important to our growth and sustainability. Thank you so much for your support and mentorship of our associations, and the many exceptional professionals who make up our industry.
Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at [email protected].