Element Funding, a division of Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. (PRMI), has expanded its footprint in Tennessee with the addition of a new brick-and-mortar branch in Hixson
Element Funding, a division of Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. (PRMI), has expanded in Georgia by announcing the opening of a new brick-and-mortar branch located in Decatur to be managed by Ashley Rustom. Ashley’s team has a combined 29 years of experience in the mortgage industry and is ready and focused to assist community members with their dreams of homeownership.
Ashley is a longtime resident of the area and has been in the mortgage industry for eight years and began her career in real estate as an agent and investor in 2000. Before opening the Decatur branch, she was a Loan Officer at Element Funding’s Atlanta branch for five years. She is also a member of the Dekalb County Chamber of Commerce.
“Our community seems to be on a steady rise for home buying and we are here to help,” said Rustom. “My team wants to give people in our community the tools and resources they need to help them with making one of the biggest financial decisions in their lifetime.” 

Homeowners with mortgages have collectively seen their equity increase 11.8 percent year-over-year during the third quarter, representing a 12-month gain of $870.6 billion, according to new data from CoreLogic
A new bill that came into force this summer changes the licensing requirements for Georgia mortgage brokers and lenders. Mortgage professionals in the state are required to comply with a mortgage broker bond requirement to ensure adherence to state regulations. The new legislation increases the bond amounts.
Georgia House Bill 143 was passed on May 1, 2017 and has been in effect since June 1, 2017. The most significant change that it introduces is that it increases the bond amount for brokers to $150,000 and to $200,000 for lenders.
Another important alteration that it brings to mortgage professionals in the state is that it allows the electronic cancellation of old bonds via the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry (NMLS). This change aims to make the process of switching to the new bonds easier.
What should mortgage brokers and lenders in Georgia know about the legal changes? Read on.
The new bonding amounts
Previously, mortgage brokers had to obtain a $50,000 to meet state requirements for licensing. HB 143 increases this amount threefold-to $150,000. As for mortgage lenders, the old bond amount was $150,000, which has now been raised to $200,000. Whether you’re a lender or broker, you may need to post another bond amount if the licensing authority deems it necessary.
Getting bonded is one of the main criteria that the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance imposes on mortgage professionals. Surety bonds are a security instrument whose goal is to protect the state and its citizens. They provide a safety net against potential misuse and fraud that brokers and lenders may engage in.
If a mortgage professional transgresses in some way their legal obligations, they can face a bond claim. Potential reasons for claims include intentional failure to provide correct information to customers, knowingly offering unsuitable mortgage products to consumers, and any other fraudulent activities.
In such situations, a claimant can ask for a financial compensation for suffered damages. The maximum penal sum is the bond amount of the broker or lender - which now are $150,000 and $200,000 respectively. As this illustrates, affected parties can now ask for higher reimbursements from mortgage professionals who have breached the law.
Other changes introduced with the new bill
Besides the bond amount increase, House Bill 143 brings a number of other new rules for mortgage professionals in Georgia. Most notably, the new legislation allows brokers and lenders to cancel their previous surety bonds directly in the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry, rather than with the surety provider.
All mortgage professionals undergo the licensing and bonding process through the website of the NMLS. The period before a bond is effectively cancelled remains 30 days. The purpose of this change is to make the process easier for mortgage professionals.
According to the new legislation, the Department of Banking and Finance can now conduct examinations of licensees’ offices without prior notice. The bill also alters the definition of ‘net assets’ and ‘statutory capital base’ that mortgage professionals should use.
Additionally, it changes the procedure for cases when a lender or broker fails to or refuses to obey an order or a subpoena. Furthermore, mortgage lenders can now charge customers a convenience fee for the electronic payment of the regular charges.
The impact of House Bill 143
Due to the bond amount increase, one of the immediate impacts of the new legislation for Georgia mortgage professionals is that their licensing costs have risen. The surety bond price depends on the bond amount that needs to be posted, which often means that brokers and lenders have to set aside more for their bonding.
While this is true in the general case, you can also exercise a higher level of control over your bond price by improving your financial stats. Your bond premium is determined on the basis of factors such as your credit score, business finances, and assets and liquidity. It can be as low as 1% of the bond amount if your profile is solid. In the same time, the price can go as high as 10% if you have problematic credit.
Since most mortgage professionals would naturally prefer a lower bond price, the bond amount hike may urge a number of them to put effort in ameliorating their financial situation. More financially stable brokers and lenders can have a positive effect on the industry as a whole.
Additionally, the higher bond amounts mean potentially bigger bond claim compensations. In this sense, the new legislation may help reduce fraud and misuse leading to claims, as such cases have become much more costly.
Besides this, the increased bond sums offer a stronger guarantee for consumers that a mortgage professional is safe to do business with. While this is beneficial for the industry as a whole, brokers and lenders must make sure they are staying on top of all laws and regulations affecting their business, so they can stay out of claims.
What are your thoughts about the changes brought by the new Georgia bill? How are they affecting mortgage professionals in the state? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Vic Lance is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates. He is a surety bond expert who helps mortgage professionals get licensed and bonded. Vic’s phone number is (877) 514-5146 and his e-mail is

Equity Prime Mortgage has announced the opening of a Loan Assistance Center in Lilburn, Ga.
Equity Prime Mortgage has announced the opening of a Loan Assistance Center in Lilburn, Ga., designed for borrowers to begin the loan process and to receive assistance from the company's mortgage loan professionals. It is part of Equity Prime Mortgage's outreach in Gwinnett County in the Greater Atlanta area.
"Our new Loan Assistance Center is a place where first-time homebuyers and other borrowers who might not be familiar with the mortgage process can come for help and guidance," said Tim Arrington, Vice President of Sales at Equity Prime Mortgage. "The location is in the heart of Gwinnett County, which has a large Hispanic population, a primary focus of ours."
Potential borrows will be able to fill out pre-qualification forms on their mobile device or on a loan officer's laptop and receive information on loan types and interest rates. Bilingual loan professionals will be onsite to work with Spanish-speaking customers.
"Equity Prime Mortgage is happy to be a part of the Gwinnett community and looks forward to helping borrowers achieve the dream of homeownership," Arlington said.

In 2017, LenderSelect Mortgage Group partnered with local and national groups to lend a hand through its community outreach channel: LSMG Lifeline
LenderSelect Mortgage Group has announced that 20-plus-year industry veteran Greg Heiser has joined the company as an Account Executive for Florida and Georgia.
In his new role as an AE, Greg’s primary focus will be developing new relationships in the Florida and Georgia markets, as well as maintaining existing community lender relationships. He has a strong background in retail banking and has helped hundreds of loan officers increase their sales.
“I bring all that expertise to the table,” Heiser said. “I know the parts of the mortgage process well and understand how they work together in community banks and credit unions.”

New American Funding is expanding its territory across the Greater Eastside area of Washington State with the grand opening of a branch in the heart of Bellevue’s business district
New American Funding has announced the opening of a new branch in Kennesaw, Ga.
“We have an awesome portfolio of niche products that provides our homebuyers with options,” said Branch Manager Kim Arrington, who will oversee the new Kennesaw branch. “Our skilled staff handles everything in house, giving our customers the reassurance that they have a local team working on their side. We’re committed to making the loan process a remarkable experience they won’t find anywhere else.”
Arrington is a 15-year veteran of the mortgage industry and has been with New American Funding since 2016 as a top-performing Loan Originator. Earlier this year, she was named to the company’s President’s Council, an elite class of high-achieving originators nationwide. She’s also an industry expert, who has been featured on Atlanta’s Best New Homes TV.
“New American Funding is honored to serve the Kennesaw market,” said Kelly Allison, Southeast Divisional VP for New American Funding. “We look forward to supporting homebuyers, real estate agents, and builders to enhance the growth and prosperity of Cobb County.”

The National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America (NAMMBA) will hold its Inaugural National Conference, Thursday-Sunday, April 6-9, 2017 at the Atlanta Marriott Buckhead

The National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America (NAMMBA) will hold its Inaugural National Conference, Thursday-Sunday, April 6-9, 2017 at the Atlanta Marriott Buckhead, 3405 Lenox Road Northeast in Atlanta, Ga. NAAMBA Chief Operating Officer Marcia Davies will open the conference with a keynote address on April 6.

NAMMBA is a national trade association dedicated to the enrichment and betterment of women and minorities who work in the mortgage industry. The association’s core mission is to increase the engagement of women and minorities in the mortgage banking industry at local, state and national levels. NAMMBA works to enhance the careers of women and minorities in the mortgage industry by hosting professional development programs that offer continuing education, training and networking opportunities.

Industry veteran Tony Thompson, CMB founded the NAMMBA in 2016 and serves as chief executive officer.

“These are exciting and challenging times in the mortgage industry,” said Thompson. “We expect the landscape to change dramatically in the next two years and beyond, with regard to the many ways that mortgage lending will transform the U.S. economy. Our Conference will provide a forum for discussing, developing, and executing strategies that ensure minorities and women will play key roles in the industry as it expands—as officers and executives as well as customers.”

The NAMMBA Conference is expected to draw 500-plus attendees, representing various sectors of the industry: Financial executives, government leaders, housing development entrepreneurs, national sales speakers and others. The range of topics covered during the conference will include:

►Understanding the changing demographics of today’s homebuyers
►Post-election regulatory environment
►The future of technology in the mortgage industry
►Sales strategies for loan originators in an ever-changing market

Conference speeches and panels will feature some of the finest thought leaders in the mortgage industry. Attendees will gain valuable insights into the industry’s future, as they will also obtain knowledge about resources available to help them launch and cultivate their careers. Overall, the Conference is designed to reflect NAMMBA’s commitment toward supporting the development of individuals who are in the mortgage industry or interested in moving their careers in that direction.

NAMMBA is gaining traction all over the nation, with active chapters in Atlanta; Augusta, Ga.; Dallas; Houston; Boston; Raleigh, N.C.; Washington, D.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Fairfax, Va.

The Atlanta Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Golf Tournament is set for Monday, October 10 at White Columns Country Club, 300 Clubhouse Drive in Milton, Ga. from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

For more information, click here, call (478) 743-8612 or visit



The Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia 2016 Trade Show "Kick Off to Fall" will be held Thursday, Oct. 6 at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia, 4355 Ashford Dunwoody Road in Atlanta, Ga. 

For more information, click here, call (478) 743-8612 or visit

The Atlanta metro area’s housing market is experiencing something of a seesaw, with fewer home sales but more expensive home prices

The Atlanta metro area’s housing market is experiencing something of a seesaw, with fewer home sales but more expensive home prices.

According to data from the Atlanta Realtors Association that covers the 11-county market, there were 5,232 residential sales in the Atlanta metro area last month, down seven percent on a year-over-year basis. And the local housing inventory totaled 16,509 units in July, a year-over-year decline of 1.2 percent, with 5,199 new listings, an 11.1 percent decline from June and a 6.9 percent from a year ago.

However, the median sales price in July was $250,000, up 6.4 percent from July 2015, while the average sales price was $307,000, up 3.4 percent from the previous year. But Lane McCormack, president of the Atlanta Realtors Association, was not concerned about the increased sales prices.

“While the median sales price continues to rise, Atlanta is still one of the most affordable cities in the U.S.,” McCormack commented.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced it is charging a Georgia couple with housing discrimination for refusing to rent an apartment they owned to a single mother and her son

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced it is charging a Georgia couple with housing discrimination for refusing to rent an apartment they owned to a single mother and her son. HUD’s investigation alleges landlords James and Ella Collier denied one woman’s application because she had a 14-year-old son and that they had a “NO CHILDREN” stipulation in multiple lease agreements with other tenants.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to families with children. This includes waiving pet restrictions for assistance animals.

“It’s quite simply against the law to deny a person housing simply because they have children living with them,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to take enforcement action whenever the rights of families are violated.”

The case came to HUD’s attention when the woman filed a complaint alleging that the Colliers, owners of a number of rental properties in East Point, Ga., refused to rent an apartment to her after learning she had a 14-year-old son. In August of 2013, the woman noticed a “For Rent” sign in the window of one of the Colliers’ properties and sought information from the landlords and was asked a series of questions related to her employment and her family size. The woman told HUD that Ella Collier said she “would not rent to applicants with children.”

 HUD’s charge further alleges the Colliers inserted discriminatory language into multiple lease agreements of other tenants stipulating, “NO CHILDREN.”

HUD’s charge will be heard by a U.S. Administrative Law Judge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he or she may award damages to the complainants for their loss as a result of the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties in order to vindicate the public interest. If the case is heard in federal court, the judge may also award punitive damages to the complainant.