Didier Malagies is a loan originator with Largo, Fla.-based DDA Mortgage Inc. and president of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals (FAMP). National Mortgage Professional Magazine spoke with him about his work with this FAMP chapter.
This is your second go-round as president of FAMP’s Gulf Coast Chapter. Why did you agree to take the reins again?
We’re doing great things here. We want to get everyone in this area to be part of our group, and one of my goals is to grow our membership.
How did you get involved in the mortgage profession?
I was a financial analyst for Citibank. One day my mother said to me, “Maybe you should get your mortgage broker license.” Nearly $1 billion in originations later, I feel that might have been the right answer.
When did you first get involved with FAMP?
I was originally involved back in 1986. I had an attorney tell me that I need to come to an association meeting, and after attending, I thought that this was where I want to be. Over the years, I served as treasurer, secretary and vice president before becoming president.
How many members are currently in the Gulf Coast Chapter?
Our chapter currently has about 186 members.
Why is it important for mortgage professionals in your area to be part of your chapter?
CPAs belong to their industry’s association, real estate brokers belong to theirs–why shouldn’t mortgage originators be part of an association that helps them learn and grow? I recently went to a continuing education course for new originators, and I told them, “You’re in a highly specialized field. You need to be fingerprinted and have a background check, and you are required to take continuing education courses. Why shouldn’t you be part of our professional organization?
Does your chapter get involved in the legislative process?
We go to Tallahassee once a year, and we have an active outreach with our legislators. We strive to be a familiar face with them, and we try to have them visit us when they are home in their districts.
What have been your most significant accomplishments within the chapter?
I have been fortunate to work with the chapter to raise money to help the poor. That has been something I have been most happy doing. We have a bowling event once a year and we’ve been able to raise $1,500 to $2,000 per event.
What is the state of housing in your part of Florida?
Incredible. There are a lot of buyers, although there is not a lot of inventory. It seems there are bidding wars for the houses we have–it is a pretty vibrant market.
I’m expecting a lot of first-time homebuyers or those downsizing to smaller homes. We have a lot of people from up north that getting ready to retire. They are coming from Connecticut, New Jersey and New York and are getting ready to move here.