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Featured Industry Leader: Erin M. Tatum, President of the Alabama Mortgage Professionals Association

Apr 03, 2015

Erin M. Tatum is one of the most prominent figures in the Alabama mortgage market. She is currently president of the Alabama Mortgage Professionals Association (AMPA) and president of Birmingham-based Classic Home Mortgage Inc. Alabama Mortgage Professional Magazine spoke with Tatum about her work within the industry and the role that AMPA plays helping mortgage professionals.

How and why did you get involved with AMPA? Can you share the track within your association that led to the presidency?
Erin M. Tatum: I opened my own company in October 2009 and immediately knew that it would be very important to be a part of an organization that supported mortgage brokers in Alabama. In 2010, I served on the AMPA Membership Committee. The first few months into serving on this committee, I realized that AMPA was a unique group. Everyone in the association had a passion for the mortgage industry and everyone had an interest in helping the mortgage brokers of Alabama. 

In December 2010, I was asked to serve as secretary. As secretary of AMPA, I took the minutes of each board meeting and served on the executive board with some pretty amazing individuals who truly inspired me. These individuals volunteered their time to be the voice of Alabama’s mortgage brokers, and some traveled to Washington, D.C. for the NAMB Annual Legislative & Regulatory Conference, on their own dime. Some even traveled to Las Vegas to attend NAMB’s conventions and others traveled around the state teaching eight-hour continuing education classes.

All of these individuals took time out of their busy work schedules to do things for the mortgage brokers of Alabama. I was sold and wanted in! It became a goal for me to become an active member of this organization and to make a difference for all loan officers in the state of Alabama.

In December 2011, I was asked to become treasurer of the association, and served in that role from January 2012-December 2014. I suppose serving as treasurer prepared me for my current position of president. As treasurer of a non-profit organization, I saw the challenges we faced. We created Business Development Days to help raise money, we created a Friend of AMPA (a category that allowed affiliates to support our organization), and found a new home base at Faulkner University, which allowed us to use their facility free of charge.

Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state should join AMPA?
AMPA supports all mortgage professionals. AMPA offers education, tools for mortgage professionals to grow their business, and a voice for the mortgage professional. Every licensed mortgage professional should be a member of AMPA to ensure that their voice is heard.

AMPA works hand in hand with NAMB to keep up-to-date on things at the national level. AMPA also offers event days where speakers are brought in to keep the mortgage professional informed on a state level, with compliance and regulatory-related changes, on new technology and about changes within each agency. The benefits far outweigh the small cost to become a member of the association.

What role do you feel your association plays in the state legislative and regulatory environment, and are there any items on the current agenda you would like to highlight?
On the top of our list this year is to become more active with our legislature. We have been working hard raising money for our PAC account. We are certain that this year we will raise enough money to donate to our legislator in Montgomery so that topics like loan officer compensation (the three percent cap) can be addressed. When the CFPB put the three percent rule into effect, they did not know the impact this would have on loan officers and consumers. 

Currently, the CFPB has a mortgage calculator on their Web site that we feel is misleading. The mortgage calculator does not take into consideration a borrower’s credit score, loan-to-value ratio, and all other items that we as loan officers are hit with when pricing the interest rate of a loan. These are just a few of the items on our agenda this year.

As a state affiliate of NAMB, what do you feel is added to your association and to the overall agenda for mortgage professionals nationwide?
Linda McCoy, a past president of AMPA, is very active with NAMB. As a state affiliate, we feel that by being engaged with NAMB, we are offering a voice for the state of Alabama. By staying involved with NAMB, we feel that our thoughts and opinions are shared on a national level and we have a vote in the better good of the mortgage industry nationwide.

In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
Colleges do not offer a degree to become a mortgage professional. I would like to see courses taught that offer young people an opportunity to pursue a career in mortgage lending. With the current licensing laws, someone who would like to become a mortgage loan officer is required to take a 20-hour course and pass a national and/or state test to receive their license. But, this alone will not teach someone how to become a successful loan originator. 

I would like to see courses taught about creating a business plan which would include marketing strategies, becoming an expert at the loan programs you will be offering, learning how to build relationships with real estate agents and past clients, and much more. Having a license to originate mortgage loans does not insure a successful originating career.

I would like the industry to become active at local high schools career days and active at local colleges. I would like to see our association offer courses to young people so we can continue to increase the number of loan originators in our state.

How would you define the state of the housing market in Alabama?
We see our housing market making a rebound from 2009. We see more new home communities being built, our loan programs are coming back strong, and we continue to see the buyers of Alabama becoming more educated about mortgage lending.

We definitely think there is still a great need to continue educating the citizens of Alabama on issues involving credit, the requirements needed to purchase a home, and the benefits of buying versus renting.

But we will take it one step at a time. We are very grateful that the housing market is strong and continues to grow stronger and stronger each day.

Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at [email protected].


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