Enjoy access to a free NMLS renewal class when you attend an in-person event.
The journey from a small interior decorating business in rural Mississippi to the board of directors of NAMB—The Association of Mortgage Professionals may not seem like your typical journey from Point A to Point B, but for Linda McCoy, it was an unusual road that resulted in a prominent and successful career in the mortgage industry.
National Mortgage Professional Magazine spoke with McCoy about her distinctive career trajectory and her work as part of NAMB’s leadership team.
How did you get into the mortgage profession? Was this your original career choice?
I got into the mortgage business by accident. My husband, Tiffany, and I owned an interior decorating business in a small Delta town in Mississippi. We did quite well there, until big corporations came in and started buying up the rich cotton land. Big machines took over where laborers had tended to the fields for generations. The plantation owners and their families either died off or moved on leaving the towns to dry up.
One day, I looked around and decided this was not a good place to raise a family anymore. My children deserved more opportunity, so we went back to school and changed careers. We decided that we would become attorneys. We graduated from Delta State University and were ready for Law School at the University of Mississippi in the fall, but we were on a waiting list. So, we moved to Mobile, Ala., for the summer and decided to get real estate licenses.
I was at the real estate office one day when a lady came in and asked if there was anyone there who would like to become a mortgage originator—there was an opening at her company. Since my husband was in graduate school for the summer, I decided he might have time to do that—and we needed the extra money. He went to the interview and got the job. After a few months, he told me to quit my other jobs and join him. We both became mortgage originators over 20 years ago and loved it.
How did you first become involved with NAMB?
I went from working as a top originator at one company closing more than 300 loans each year, to becoming a branch manager at another major lender. I found that I was turning away too many customers that needed my help, so my husband and I opened Mortgage Team 1 Inc. Thus, I went from retail to being a broker.
I had a lot to learn, so I turned to the Alabama Mortgage Professional Association (AMPA). They had great education classes by NAMB-certified teachers and I learned so much. After a few years, I was asked to be on the AMPA board and spent years working my way up until I finally became president in 2010.
As I became more involved on the state level, I found out how important NAMB was for me as well as the state association. I started going to NAMB’s Legislative Conferences and Delegate Council Meetings to represent AMPA. I was asked to be on an NAMB committee and become more involved. I realized that people needed to step up and support their trade association.
What positions have you held in NAMB, and what were your responsibilities?
I started out with the Membership Committee and was soon asked to be a director on the NAMB board. I found out that once you are on the board, you end up on just about all of the NAMB committees. I have served as a director on the NAMB board for four years now and I have served two years on the NAMB+ board of directors.
I feel like most of my responsibilities have been geared towards increasing membership and helping with government affairs. I have helped on the NAMB National Convention Committee for the last two years and now have the great honor of being the NAMB East Committee chair. My responsibilities are to help make that conference one that brings real value to the originators and all who attend. I want NAMB East to be well-attended and one that we will remember for many years to come as something special.
Why do you believe it is important for mortgage professionals to become involved with NAMB?
I cannot even tell you how great NAMB has been for my business. These mortgage professionals who have donated their time and talents to NAMB are among the most knowledgeable in the industry. They keep us updated on anything that affects us as mortgage professionals. I need to be a part of an association that has my best interest as top priority and I know that NAMB does.
What do you see in 2016 for the mortgage profession?
I see TRID becoming a part of everyday origination, and I see people buying, building and refinancing. I see more hope than we have had in many years. I see NAMB getting stronger, bigger and better.
What can the industry do to attract more young people into mortgage careers?
That is a concern for NAMB. We have seen the statistics that state the average age of today’s originator is over 50-years-old, but there are a few young people starting to enter the industry.
We can start mentorship programs in our own offices. I have heard of college programs in the planning stages for new originators. I think an apprentice program would be good where they started as a junior processor and learned the business from the beginning, and then move into origination.
We could hire bright new college graduates and invest in their education by sending them to a mortgage originator school. I think maybe writing a few articles on “What a Great Career You Could Have in the Mortgage Industry” might be helpful.
What is the housing market like in your home state of Alabama?
In the last year, we have seen a great increase in people buying and building new houses. We are lucky because we have had so many big companies choose Alabama as their home. We have car manufacturers and are building airplanes, and so many support companies are moving in to help with production. There were a few times this year that I told my office that business was beginning to feel like it did before the financial crisis.
What are some of the challenges facing Mortgage Team 1 in today's market?
It’s just little things that could be improved or made better to help us speed up the process of getting a loan closed. Hiring more staff and training them with all of the ever changing-rules and regulations is difficult at times.
Since TRID took effect, it is taking a few days longer to close loans. Yes, the three days that the purchaser has to wait to close after receiving a copy of the closing disclosure is causing hardships on some purchasers. We are trying to set better expectations for closing dates.
At times, it’s tough to get the title companies and the lenders working together to get the closing disclosure correct so the loan can close. This is just an adjustment period for us all, but I think we will get it figured out soon.
Looking back on your career, what do you see as you greatest accomplishments?
I love helping people reach their dream of homeownership. I think the greatest accomplishment would be opening and managing Mortgage Team 1 for the last 13 years. In my career as a mortgage professional, I have helped more than 5,000 clients obtain homeownership.
What goals do you have for 2016?
My personal goal is to see Mortgage Team 1 increase business and to have more time to be with my family. I know that being a part of AMPA and NAMB will help me reach my personal goals, but I want to give back to my trade associations. I want to help bring about some conformity in the industry.
This year, NAMB hosted Wholesale Summits to bring together the leaders in the industry so that we could discuss the issues we all face as mortgage professionals. It takes time, but we made the first steps and the wholesalers who were a part of the summits made a commitment. I just love being a part of a group who are making a difference.
Outside of work, how do you spend your leisure hours?
We have 10 acres in the country. It has a stocked pond with a fountain, a pistol range and play areas for the grandchildren with beautiful plants, trees and flowers. We pick up sticks, make bonfires, take target practice, ride the four-wheeler, fish, sit in our chairs, relax and admire the scenery.
Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.