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Colleen Palmer is area sales manager at Caliber Home Loans in Edgewater, Md., and president-elect of the Maryland Association of Mortgage Professionals (MAMP). National Mortgage Professional Magazine spoke with her regarding her work within her state’s trade association and her local mortgage market.
How and why did you get involved in your association? And can you share the track within your association that led to the leadership role?
I got involved probably 10 or 12 years ago. It was in the role of golf tournament chairman, and I took that position for a year. Then, I became the education chair and was really involved with education for many, many years. Now, I am the president-elect and I am working at the moment on finding keynote speakers for our conventions. We are doing two conventions this year because it is hard to get people away from their desks.
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state should join MAMP?
That’s a good question! They always ask us that. We’re working on behalf of all folks in our industry in the state of Maryland. We have a legislative associate on staff that helps us with issues related to our industry, either nationally or at a local level. And education is a key piece of what we do–it is near and dear to all of our hearts.
What role does your association play in the state legislative and regulatory environment, and is there any item on the current agenda you would like to highlight?
It is a really quiet year. Our legislative associate with us travels to Annapolis and Washington, and we host dinners every year for legislators to bend their ear and educate them–many of whom do not necessarily understand our industry fully.
What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with the association?
For me, I would say the education piece and expanding the membership. I used to do educational seminars monthly, now I do them every other month. It is difficult for people to leave their offices. As for popular topics, our legal pieces got more attendance, but the marketing ones do not get as many as we’d like.
As Maryland’s state affiliate of NAMB, what do you feel that adds to your association and towards the overall agenda for the mortgage profession nationwide?
I am not sure we have utilized that relationship to its fullest. I don’t know if MAMP makes its members aware of NAMB—and I am not sure if we are really cross-selling that.
In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
I am really trying to get younger people involved, and in the last nine months, we’ve seen a greater influx of young folks.
The average age of a mortgage broker is in the mid-50 range. I’m willing—and a lot of my peers are willing, too—to help initiate more young people into our industry. They may be taught the ABCs in school, but we can teach them product pricing, insurance, and other industry topics.
What is the current state of housing in Maryland?
It is okay, although we could use some more growth. In some counties, there is not a lot of new construction. And a lot of qualified creditworthy borrowers struggle with the loan process.
It takes a professional to be in this business—it is not an easy business anymore. But we are busy and I am grateful it is not what it used to be.
Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@NMPMediaCorp.com.