►How is the market change going to affect housing projections in Utah?
►Will the rise in interest rates have an effect on the mortgage industry in Utah?
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Josh Romney is the Founder and President of The Romney Group, which owns and operates multifamily, office, and industrial properties throughout the U.S. Josh serves as President of Charity Vision International, which partners with local doctors in developing nations in an effort to establish sustainable eye care programs. The organization currently performs over 80,000 surgeries annually in 28 different countries. Josh also serves as a Board Member of Shelter the Homeless, which is a non-profit organization focused on helping families and individuals facing homelessness in the Salt Lake City area. He also serves as an Executive Board member at the Romney Institute at Brigham Young University and as a Board Member of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah.
How and why did you get involved with the Utah Association of Mortgage Professionals? Can you share the track that led to the leadership role in this group?
This is the first time I’ve physically lived in my territory as an Account Executive, so I was really excited to finally have the opportunity to become involved in a state trade association. I opened Franklin American Mortgage Company’s Inside Sales Division in 2011 and worked remotely, until relocating to Utah in 2013. I am an activist by nature, so when I discovered the legislative issues that needed addressed within the industry, UAMP was the first step in taking action. I also enjoy the connection UAMP provides with industry peers and professionals.
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in Utah join UAMP?
I believe our members join for the valuable information and training we put out, and some for the connectivity. I wish that more Utah mortgage professionals joined because they felt a sense of duty to support their industry trade association and the legislative endeavors we pursue on their behalf. But, unfortunately, I don’t believe that’s the case often enough here.
What role does your association play in the federal and state legislative and regulatory environments, and are there any items on the current agenda you would like to highlight?
We have a strong presence on both levels. We have a great relationship with the Utah Division of Real Estate and we consult each other when potential legislation is presented. The last few years have been much more active federally, than they have on a state level.
What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with the association?
My most significant contribution to UAMP has probably been increasing and diversifying our membership base. I was one of the first “Industry Professionals” to be elected to the Board, along with Trent Hendry. I think the Board’s decision to include us was key, as it really opened up membership opportunities. AEs and title folks see a lot of mortgage professionals in any given week or month. I believe that I’ve been able to increase participation from the younger mortgage professionals in Utah, which has brought some really innovative and unique contributions and ideas that will benefit the UAMP going forward.
What is synergy between your organization and NAMB?
Considering that the President of NAMB, John G. Stevens, is a longtime veteran of the UAMP Board, we are very closely tied to NAMB. Nathan Pierce and Laurie Christiansen also serve on the NAMB Board, and Lauren Patterson and myself serve on a handful of NAMB Committees. UAMP feels strongly about supporting the national organization & utilizing NAMB to stay connected with Washington, D.C. and the national mortgage agenda, as well as state endeavors across the country.
In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
Innovation, technology and brand authenticity are key for companies looking to attract young professionals. I think that younger generations will become increasingly interested in the mortgage industry as false stereotypes and negative perceptions continue to fade.
How would you define your state's housing market?
Hot! Salt Lake has been listed on a number of “Top 10 Housing Market” lists over the past year. Often called “Silicon Slopes,” our market has earned a reputation for our strong IT talent pool and increasing number of technology companies looking to call Utah home. A robust regional economy, reasonable cost of living, low crime rates and some of the best outdoor recreation in the country continue to attract people to Salt Lake in droves. In combination with a decrease in inventory, this is driving home values upward.
How did you get involved with the UAMP? What was the track that led you to the association’s leadership role?
I got involved to serve and help out my fellow mortgage people. I began serving on the UAMP Board in 2013, and became President because they asked me serve. I was flattered that they would regard me so highly and I gladly accepted the appointment.
Why should mortgage professionals in Utah join UAMP?
UAMP helps our mortgage originators get the necessary education needed to be better loan officers. This includes the NMLS continuing education requirement for licensing, as well as other educational topics to improve their marketing and ability to close loans. On the advocacy side, legislation is a big part of what we do. We work in the state capital to keep an eye on the legislature, while giving a voice to the mortgage industry. We help protect consumers and make the lives of the originators a little easier. We have Capital Day, where many UAMP members gather and talk about current legislation and issues that we feel need to be dealt with. We also work on a national level, going to Washington, D.C. for the Annual Legislative & Regulatory Conference.
How many members are currently in the UAMP?
We currently have about 70 members. We started the year with 50 members, and we are projecting to have 120 by the end of the year.
There was recently a bit of drama involving your Annual Expo. What was the story behind that?
Our Annual Expo is our biggest event of the year. This year, a company came into the state and held a similar expo. It did created some confusion initially, but in the end our Board was able to work hard to clear up the confusion and we had a great Expo, one of our best attended Expos ever. In fact, we have one of the best attended Expos in the nation here thanks to the great mortgage people in our state. We are lucky to have a lot of amazing mortgage experts in our state.
What is the UAMP’s relationship with NAMB?
We are the state affiliate for the national association, NAMB. When people become members of UAMP, they are automatically enrolled as a member with NAMB. We feel it is equally important because NAMB is a big part of what we can do on a legislative front in Washington, D.C. There is power in numbers, and NAMB provides that amongst many other benefits for our local members.
In other parts of the country, there is concern that not enough young people are coming into the industry. Is that a problem in Utah?
It was from 2008-2012. I’ve seen a little bit of an increase over the last year or two. I think the Millennial generation may have been scared off during the recession, but now we see more young people come in, not only as originators, but also in the title insurance sector where I work as well on the Realtor side. It is exciting to see their enthusiasm for our great industry.
What is the state of the Utah housing market?
Booming. It is extremely busy. But we are dealing with a supply and demand issue–there is a lot of competition, and offers are being accepted in record times.
Phil Hall is Managing Editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@MortgageNewsNetwork.com.
Join the Utah Association of Mortgage Professionals (UAMP) for this informative and IMPORTANT update of upcoming loan program changes, Thursday, Jan. 19 for "Introduction to the NEW WORLD of Digital Mortgages and Agency Guideline Updates for 2017," to be held at Brick Oven, located at 10622 South Riverfront Parkway in South Jordan, Utah at 11:30 a.m.
Topics will include, Fannie Mae's Day 1 Certainty digital income and asset verification, property inspection waivers (PIWs) update, property value reps and warrants, and HomeReady enhancements. Freddie Mac's upcoming changes to tax returns for self-employed borrower\'s will also be covered.
Click here for more more information.