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DECEMBER 2020

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Volume 12, Issue 12

THE FORTY

The new breed of mortgage professionals pushing progress

CYBER SECURITY RISKS GROW HOW

MORTGAGE TECH SAVED 2020

STOP

THE SOCIAL MEDIA RANTING


BACK COVER


nmp

DECEMBER 2020

FRONT COVER

Volume 12, Issue 12

THE FORTY

The new breed of mortgage professionals pushing progress

CYBER SECURITY RISKS GROW HOW

MORTGAGE TECH SAVED 2020

STOP

THE SOCIAL MEDIA RANTING


Experience The Difference MORE Expertise MORE Service MORE Technology Experience the Biggest and Best Originator of Non-QM1 Visit AngelOakMS.com | 855.631.9943 Š Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions LLC NMLS #1160240, Corporate office, 980 Hammond Drive, Suite 850, Atlanta, GA, 30328. This communication is sent only by Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions LLC and is not intended to imply that any of our loan products will be offered by or in conjunction with HUD, FHA, VA, the U.S. government or any federal, state or local governmental body. This is a business-to-business communication and is intended for licensed mortgage professionals only and is not intended to be distributed to the consumer or the general public. Each application is reviewed independently for approval and not all applicants will qualify for the program. Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions LLC is an Equal Opportunity Lender and does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, gender, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, other classifications protected under Fair Housing Act of 1968. 1Inside Nonconforming Markets, August 30, 2019. Based on Google reviews of comparable lenders. MS_A052_0520

2

The Leader in Non-QM

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DECEMBER 2020

Volume 12 Number 12

CONTENTS On The Cover: Shayna Arrington of The Money Source is one of NMP’s 40 Under 40 this year. nationalmortgageprofessional.com 4 Spying On The Future The smart money is prepping for a lesshectic market. 

15 People On The Move See who the movers and shakers are in the mortgage industry.

6 Making Mortgages Takes A Bit Of A Byte How digital advances helped the industry cope with massive change in 2020.

15 Build-A-Broker: Who’s In Your Wallet? Even small brokerages need to take seriously the issue of vendor management.

8 Social Distancing Needed Put a hard stop on putting political messages in your business social media posts.

18 Expect The Unexpected Engage your coworkers to try to plan for the things you can’t yet see.

12 In The Room Where It Happens How OCN pulled off a half dozen live mortgage conferences across the nation.

24 Generation To Generation This year’s class of 40under-40 demonstrate an innovative and committed new cohort of mortgage professionals.

>

COVER STORY PAGE 24

FORTY UNDER FORTY NMP's Forty Under Forty Mortgage Professionals

43 New To Market The new products impacting your dayto-day work.

>

PAGE 12 OCN's LIVE Conferences Originator Connect upcoming live events www.mortgageconferences.com

44 Don’t Be Left For Ransom With more mortgage deals being done digitally, the industry is a growing target for cyber thieves and data pirates.

>

PAGE 44 Hackers Having A Banner Year

48 Condos Get The Short Money Although sales are up, condo price appreciation is substantially lagging single family homes.

50 Sellers Sitting Out For A Better Deal Financial anxiety, uncertainty is keeping sellers on sidelines. 53 NMP Calendar of Events 54 Facebook Thoughts: AKA, The Dad Chronicles.

nationalmortgageprofessional.com

NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

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DECEMBER 2020

DECEMBER 2020

nmp

Volume 12, Issue 12

THE FORTY

HOW

MORTGAGE TECH SAVED 2020

LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER

What Follows A Year Unlike Any Other

W

e are now wrapping up 2020. For the world at large, this has been a year of plague, wildfire, unemployment, contentious politics, civil protest, flooding and famine. For the mortgage industry, it’s been a year of extraordinary gains, record profit, unheard of commissions and roundthe-clock work to process the sheer, mountainous, never-ending volume. But that the public at large and our colleagues in the industry are both exhausted, it’s hard to see a more dichotomous landscape. Still, there’s probably a good lesson in this for both groups: Get ready for the next round, because what happened in the last wasn’t really up to you. While climate change issues will take significant time to address, vaccine rollouts and economic stimulus could be very helpful to getting the world back on track. While politics, by its nature, is always pitting one idea against another, perhaps the conversation will at least be less venomous without an insulter-inchief in the mix. It’s even possible there might be constructive discussion toward addressing the problems underlying our civil unrest. At the very least, we can begin preparing as though those positive changes are possible.

THE SUCCESS SCENARIO On the mortgage side, preparation is also warranted, but for the opposite reason. Interest rates may remain very low for a long time. But other economic forces (rising unemployment, mortgage defaults and the like) will, eventually, impact this industry, and the rushing pipeline will slow. Sales pros who get used to a year or two of extreme earnings will need to be more proactive in keeping that deal flow going. And those who’ve planned out not just a month or so into the future, but have mapped out a year or two of probabilities will be the ones most likely to capitalize on the coming upheavals. There has never been a time when business has continually flowed, never ebbed. It will change, it will slow, or it will divert into different eddies, but it will not remain constant. It may be short time or it may be many months, but when it arrives those who have planned for it will be the ones who claim the prize. At our website – nationalmortgageprofessional.com – as well as at our sister site – originatorconnectnetwork.com – you’ll find scores of stories and advice from top execs that will help you in that planning. And we have a dozen online events and more than 20 live events scheduled into 2021 to be a resource to you. It is, after all, the end of the year. But it’s not the end of the story. The story of your success is still being written.

VIN CE N T M. VALVO Publisher, Editor & CEO 4

The new breed of mortgage professionals pushing progress

CYBER SECURITY RISKS GROW

| NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE

STOP

THE SOCIAL MEDIA RANTING

Volume 12, Number 11

STAFF CEO, PUBLISHER & EDITOR Vincent M. Valvo ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Beverly Bolnick SENIOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Keith Griffin CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Lew Sichelman, Erica LaCentra, Ralph LoVuolo, Harvey Mackay, Pam Marron, Nick Roberson, Mary Kay Scully GRAPHIC DESIGN MANAGER Stacy Murray INTERACTIVE DESIGN DIRECTOR Alison Valvo USER EXPERIENCE DESIGNER Billy Valvo ONLINE CONTENT DIRECTOR Navindra Persaud MARKETING & EVENT ASSOCIATE Melissa Pianin HEAD OF ENGAGEMENT AND OUTREACH Andrew Berman FOUNDING PUBLISHER Joel Berman

Submit your news to editorial@ambizmedia.com If you would like additional copies of National Mortage Professional Call (860) 719-1991 or email info@ambizmedia.com

www.ambizmedia.com

© 2020 American Business Media LLC All rights reserved. National Mortgage Professional magazine is a trademark of American Business Media LLC. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. Advertising, editorial and production inquiries should be directed to: American Business Media LLC 345 North Main St., Suite 313 West Hartford, CT 06117 Phone: (860) 719-1991 info@ambizmedia.com


Think growth.

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LEW SICHELMAN

THE MORTGAGE SCENE

Virus Put Mortgage Tech On Viral Fast Track All aboard! The technology train is leaving the station. BY LEW SICHELMAN | CONTRIBUTING WRITER, NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL

I

n many respects, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual convention in October, virtual though it was, was just like the good old days. It made news. Mark Calabria, director of the federal Housing Finance Agency, said his office was proposing a rule that would prevent charter creep by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That was a hot button some years back when the two government sponsored entities, aka The Agencies, started moving into what traditionally was the purview of private enterprise. Calabria also said the FHFA would move forward as planned to require Fannie and Freddie to extract a 50-basis point “adverse market” refinance fee starting Dec. 1. And the CEOs of the two GSEs, David Beckman at Freddie and Hugh Frater at Fannie, defended the move, with Frater saying that it was required by law. “The GSEs are shouldering significant risks associated with the pandemic,” Fannie’s fearless leader said. “As the principal

risktaker, we have to price that risk appropriately.” He also said the fee shouldn’t impact anyone wishing to refinance because it “can be absorbed” by their lenders. Meanwhile, Kathy Kraninger, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said her agency is extending the GSE patch until a new standard is in place. That means Fannie and Freddie can continue purchasing loans with loan-tovalue rations that exceed 43 percent, basically indefinitely. “We believe that a pricing threshold is a more realistic assessment of an individual’s ability to repay,” Kraninger said. And Ben Carson, the former Johns Hopkins surgeon who’s now the Top Dog at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said the Federal Housing Administration is extending by two months the date under which financially struggling home owners can apply for relief. Originally, requests for forbearance had to be received by Oct. 30. Now, owners have until Dec. 31 to ask for help.

TECH TALK These actions drew significant media coverage in both the popular and trade press. But one session that didn’t make the news, at least not anywhere I’ve seen, was the one on technology, specifically its rapid expansion as a result of the pandemic. And the gist of the discussion was that if that you’re not on board, you’d better be, because the tech train is leaving the station. The good thing is, you don’t have to jump into artificial

intelligence with both feet. “Don’t be afraid to start small,” Nima Ghamsari of Blend told the virtual audience. “It’s okay if it takes a while. It will improve over time. Perfection is the enemy of getting something going.” Actually, it’s rather surprising that some lenders haven’t yet automated their systems, at least not to the extent possible. As Rich Gagliano of Black Knight noted, the industry has been on the digital journey “for multiple years now.” And as a result, Paul Anastos of Guaranteed Rate said, the technology available today is “so much better.” The panelists suspected that one reason companies have shied away from going full bore on technology is the George Orwellian fear of losing control of the process to the dreaded machine. But just as the conventional “human” way of lending is based on a particular set of rules, so, too, is AI, they pointed out. And those precepts can be set to each individual lender’s criteria – or, as Joe Tyrrell of ICE Mortgage Technology said, “a particular lender’s risk appetite.” Perhaps another reason some have been slow to adjust is the notion that adoption takes too long. But a report from consulting firm McKinsey & Co. shots holes in that theory. In a recent survey, it found that COVID19 has accelerated the adoption of digitization and enabling technologies across many disciplines by up to seven years.

FAST TRACK The most mindblowing finding is the speed at which acceptance has occurred, according to one report.


Survey respondents anticipated it would take 454 days to implement comprehensive remote working solutions. But the average time frame was only 10.5 days. And rather than the expected 585 days that businesses projected that it would take for customers to shift to online purchasing, it took only 21.9 days. Actually, without technology, the mortgage sector would not have been able to process the onslaught of applications for financing that is being driven by near-record low interest rates, COVID-19 and other factors. “The volume is such that we wouldn’t have been able to handle it,” said Anastos. Guaranteed Rate’s chief innovation officer. AI allowed lenders to adjust to the pandemic, which forced them to close their offices and allow their loan officers, underwriters and others to work from their individual homes. “2020 challenged conventional wisdom,” said Tyrrell, whose firm was created with the recent sale of Ellie Mae to Intercontinental Exchange. “In less than a month, 300,000 users were all operating remotely.” Gagliano, who heads Black Knight’s Origination Technology division, agreed. “The industry adapted quickly,” he said, “and that’s not what our industry is known for.”

FULL STEAM AHEAD Think about it: Lenders produced an “astounding” $1.140 trillion of firstlien home loans in the third quarter, according to industry newsletter Inside Mortgage Finance. Originations were up 16.9 percent from the second quarter’s estimated $975 billion, IMF reported, bringing the yeartodate primary market volume to $2.79 trillion. That already makes 2020 “the second strongest year in mortgage lending history.” And Black Knight says rate lock data, which historically

is a good indicator of lending activity, suggests the business is on track to easily surpass $4 trillion in originations this year – “for the first time ever.” Now, after years of promoting digitization, the pandemic is giving the movement the impetus it needs to move even closer to universal adoption. “With advances in video technology,” said Ghamsari of Blend, a digital platform that streamlines the lending journey from application to close, “technology is even more practical, and will further open up capacity.” For example, using AI, lenders will be able to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, earlier on in the process. “Automation takes the friction out of the process,” said Gagliano, “and allows you to use staff for more difficult files.” Ghamsari pointed out that with AI, applicants will know right away what their rate will be and whether they are likely to be approved or not. “That not only helps the customer,” who doesn’t have to wade through the entire process when there is little hope, he said. But it “also boosts efficiency” because lenders won’t have to go through the entire process before moving on to the next would-be borrower.

BENEFITING ALL TRACKS Automation “is not just about that application,” Tyrrell added. “That’s just 40 minutes out of a 40-day process.” Toward that end, the heretofore antiquated Federal Housing Administration has finally come out of the dark ages with a new automated underwriting system for singlefamily forward mortgages. Hailed as a “huge milestone,” the system allows lenders to electronically enter loan application data electronically and

receive automated insurance eligibility indicators back from the agency. And during the pandemic, appraisers were forced to rely on technology to prepare their valuations – and lenders were forced to rely on them if they wanted to make loans. Digital closings boomed, too; otherwise, how else could quarantined seller and buyer wrap up their transactions? Technology is now available to help servicers manage their default portfolios. Even investor documentation has found the digital age because of the virus. In each of these cases, the transition to technology was well underway. But COVID-19 hastened their advancement. And even as loan volumes slow, as they eventually will, the panelists agreed that automation will accelerate as the business moves into the new year. “That’s where the world outside of lending is going,” said Ghamsari, “and the mortgage business has to follow.” But the panelists at the MBA meeting warned that the customer experience is just as important, if not more so, than operational necessity. Some borrowers still want to “have a conversation, if not at the start, then somewhere along the line,” said Tyrrell. “In the end, its about what the customer wants. He shouldn’t have to make a trade off, and it shouldn’t matter to the lender how the customer wants to engage. Your system should be able to accommodate both.”

Lew Sichelman has been covering the housing and mortgage sectors for 52 years. His syndicated column appears in major newspapers throughout the country. He also has been the real estate editor at two major Washington, D.C., dailies and spent 30 years on the staff of National Mortgage News, formerly National Thrift News.

Lenders produced an astounding $1.140 trillion of firstlien home loans in the third quarter. Originations were up 16.9 percent from the second quarter’s estimated $975 billion, bringing the yeartodate primary market volume to $2.79 trillion. That already makes 2020 the second strongest year in mortgage lending history.

NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

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ERICA LACENTRA

THE XX FACTOR

Politics Is The Enemy Of Profits Politics can be your passion. But don’t let it overtake your business sense on social media. BY ERICA LACENTRA | CONTRIBUTING WRITER, NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL

I

’m not sure, but I’m hoping that by the time this article is published, the election has come and gone and is nothing but a distant memory so we can look forward to what is to come in 2021 and beyond. This election season has been a long one, dragged out for what feels like years, and there has been no shortage of people loudly voicing their political leanings. Now everyone is entitled to their opinions. However, some might argue there is an appropriate time and place for them. Conventional wisdom says don’t talk about politics in the workplace. However, an emerging trend this election season seems to show that piece of advice has been thrown out the window. Individuals in the mortgage industry are not only voicing their strong political opinions, but they are doing so

very publicly. Political commentary has leaked beyond the boundaries of personal Facebook profiles and onto profiles often reserved for company promotions, onto company pages and even onto LinkedIn, a social media platform usually reserved solely for professional networking and business endeavors. With many of these posts often crossing the line of professionalism, is it time that individuals in our industry become more conscious of what they are posting and how it reflects not only on themselves, but the organization they represent?

TAMP DOWN THE FLAMES It is a well-known fact in the marketing world that more often than not, companies should avoid taking a stand on politically charged issues. By taking a firm stand on a divisive issue, a company is opening a can of worms and effectively alienating at least half of its potential clients, inviting backlash from opponents and angering current customers

and employees. However, should the same advice hold for employees within a company? In many cases, I would argue that it should. Especially when they are using a professional profile to post about it. For those of you that have highly visible positions in the mortgage industry or hold higher titles in your respective organizations, it becomes nearly impossible to separate you from your employer. So, while you may see posting strong political content on LinkedIn or on a profile you also use to promote your company as your right to express your opinion, the lines are actually blurred, and you are effectively sending out a politically charged message on behalf of your company. That, in turn, opens your company up to previously mentioned problems such as losing customers, inviting unwanted negative attention, and a whole host of other issues. We have seen people in other industries get fired because of what they had posted on their personal social media profiles. It’s not far-

Political commentary has leaked beyond the boundaries of personal Facebook profiles and onto profiles often reserved for company promotions, onto company pages and even onto LinkedIn, a social media platform usually reserved solely for professional networking and business endeavors.


job or would it make you unattractive to future employers? If it’s a yes, or a maybe, then don’t post it or keep it limited to your private pages. Still itching to voice your potentially inappropriate political opinions? With the holidays here, apply the “Holidays with the Family Rule”. Would your post be an appropriate topic of conversation over holiday dinner with your family? If not, then it has no place on LinkedIn, unless you are okay being seen professionally as the crazy conspiracy theory-spouting uncle. Social media has become a critical part of the mortgage industry and will continue to be in the future. But just a gentle reminder to all my fetched to think that it could happen in

seconds to reflect on what you want to

the mortgage industry as well.

post before you post it.

Now I’m not saying that folks should

active social media presence but make

RULES, OR REGRET

entirely, mainly because we know that

Not sure if it’s a potentially risky

even still it is nearly impossible to

post? Then I urge you to treat all your

not have a digital footprint nowadays.

future social media posts as if you

However, as a word to the wise, just

were a recent college grad. Would your

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considering what I’ve seen over the last several months, you can have an

delete their social media profiles

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colleagues in the industry, especially

a point to maintain a high level of professionalism while doing so.

Erica LaCentra is director of marketing for RCN Capital.

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SPONSORED EDITORIAL

How Rocket technology will allow Rocket Pro TPO to better serve brokers.

I

t is no surprise to anyone who knows the industry that Rocket Mortgage, and its broker channel, Rocket Pro TPO, are tech pioneers. They have a consistent track record of innovating and creating new resources and tools that significantly reduce the amount of time clients and partners spend going through the many intricacies of the mortgage process. Recently, Rocket Pro TPO unveiled a new resource to further simplify a broker’s experience. “Rocket Connect” is a new tool built on Rocket technology which assists brokers in answering questions about loans in process. This consolidated resource allows requests to be fielded through a tech platform, rather than in email or on the phone. Mike Fawaz, Senior Vice President of Sales at Rocket Pro TPO, said the tool was created specifically with brokers’ feedback in mind. “Our partners, account executives and ops teams told us that sorting through emails could be confusing or time consuming, and sometimes it wasn’t clear who to reach out to,” he said. “As a company, we are always obsessed with finding a better way and one of our ISMs, or core philosophies, is ‘Simplicity is Genius.’ With that in mind, we created a way to use technology to simplify the experience for our partners. Rocket Connect introduces them to the right team to get whatever operations action taken care of with great confidence. Truly, a ‘Rocket’ experience.” By leveraging Rocket Connect, brokers can help their clients faster and be assured there is certainty throughout the process. That is because, instead of having to send one off communications with questions regarding something as trivial as homeowners insurance

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and waiting for a response, the broker simply needs to input their question into the platform and can receive a solution in minutes. That time reduction will be very useful for brokers. When paired with “PathFinder by Rocket,” a proprietary technology tool powered by Google AI, brokers can truly boost their game, which can prove to be crucial during this busy time for the entire mortgage industry. “Our goal is to give partners speed and certainty by providing a platform that addresses their specific needs and questions from application through closing. PathFinder is for the actual qualification of a loan – setting it up, guideline questions and determining if a client’s DTI fits a specific loan type. With Rocket Connect, its core focus is increasing our partners speed when processing loans and easily getting clients to close. They are two separate things but, when combined, create a tech-based platform that gives them incredible results.” Rocket Connect and PathFinder are just two examples of how Rocket Pro TPO continues to heighten its focus on the needs of its broker partners, listen to feedback and adapt to always improve processes. All of these elements combined result in a lender that serves its partners an elite platform which ensures they can assist as many homeowners as possible. “We are a technology company that happens to provide mortgages. Rocket Mortgage and Rocket Pro TPO continue to hire technologists and engineers, constantly expanding the team as we introduce more resources to grow our partners’ businesses. We will continue to innovate and improve our platform to ensure we are serving the broker community at the highest levels seen in the entire industry,” said Fawaz.


There is no wholesale. There is no retail. There is only a dream, a home and the best loan possible. That’s how your clients see it. Why should we look at it any differently? Let’s reboot. And focus on what really matters. The transition from QLMS to Rocket Pro TPO represents a seismic shift in the way we’re able to help you service your clients and grow your business. Rocket Pro TPO will empower you with industry leading technology that delivers real-time visibility and control like never before. Entirely new ways to network with referral partners so you can find more prospects and make more dreams come true. And with Rocket Pro TPO you can leverage our brand to grow yours. Our national advertising campaign will drive clients, in your market, right to your doorstep. Let’s take your business to a whole new level. Let’s take one giant leap.

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In Person Events Return

I

n mid-March, when the pandemic hit the U.S. in full force, in-person mortgage conferences stopped dead in their tracks. And for most organizations, they have remained a thing of the past, supplanted by Zoom meetings. But on September 2, the Originator Connect Network became the first leadership organization in the nation to jumpstart in-person mortgage events. And in the latter few months of the year, OCN produced not one or two networking and educational conferences, but six across the country. We started in Arizona in early September, then rounded up the crowd in Dallas a week later. We took on the Rocky Mountain State with a conference in Denver in early October, and followed up with a strong showing in Tampa, Florida, just a few days later. We hosted a great get-together in Utah just after election day, and then convened again on Veteran’s Day for originators in New York. At each event, we have insisted on mandatory mask wearing, on social distancing during sessions, and on frequent hand sanitizing. The result has been not only that we have been able to provide great insight, continuing education and new opportunities to more than 1,200 originators, but that we have also received a nearly perfect score on safety from those attendees in follow-up surveys. Originator Connect Network live meetings return in April 2021, with a full schedule of more than 20 mortgage conferences from coast to coast. We’re committed to bringing originators the best in education, the most in opportunity and all with the highest standards of safety. To see all of our upcoming live events, just go to www.mortgageconferences.com.

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Attendees at the Arizona Mortgage Expo spen time with one of our sponsors, Temple View Capital.

Attendees in Colorado were asked to space out their visits to the various exhibitors.

Brokers at th Mortgage Rou strength when

In Park City, lots of originators learned about Non QM from Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions during the Utah Mortgage Expo on Nov. 5.


Across The Nation, Thanks To OCN

nd

Colorado originators were very interested in the offerings from JCAP Private Lending

The Denver Tech Center hosted a great turnout for the Colorado Mortgage Summit on Oct. 1.

Sharestates saw many brokers inquiring about how they can help their origination business throughout the Suncoast region.

the Dallas edition of the Texas undup show their solidarity and n the show convened on Sept. 10.

The Mortgage Educators & Compliance booth was very popular with Texas attendees.

The exhibit area was a big hit with Florida attendees who wanted to find new opportunities.

Speaker Mark Burch had a large, and safe, crowd for his presentation on private capital financing at the Suncoast Mortgage Expo in Tampa.

To see all of our upcoming live events, just go to www.mortgageconferences.com. NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

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300 miles

>> How a silver lining forms >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

It starts at sea. Tropical waters heat up. Warm air soars skyward. Cold air rushes to the void. Cold air warms up. Cycle repeats. Faster and faster—a 50,000 foot engine of air. At seventy four miles per hour it earns a name. Harvey, Irma, Katrina. Then landfall. Roads rendered useless. Buildings destroyed. Families stranded. But for a brief moment, A silver lining appears. People see neighbors instead of strangers. And labels that divide are forgotten.

>> But when rains ease, >> when clouds part, >> silver linings need not fade.

>> >> >> >>

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embrace our shared humanity. connect with one another. find our love for each other. single day.

>> Come together at lovehasnolabels.com

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HOW NMP’S MONTHLY SECTION OF HANDS-ON PRACTICAL ADVICE

BUILD-A-BROKER How To Safeguard Your Brokerage Business From Bad Vendors How To Map Out A Successful New Year YOUR FIRST MILLION DOLLARS

Photo credit: iStockphoto / kupicoo

How To Recognize The Best Lessons From Life CAREER TICKER: People On The Move

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE //

> Nations

Lending appointed Gem McKinney as branch manager for its new branch in Marion, Indiana.

> LRES

Corporation promoted Cassie Vega to her new role as senior director of client experience.

> Nations

Lending named Skye Stevens as its personal mortgage advisor for the Central Indiana region.

> Wells Fargo

Home Lending’s head and executive vice president, Kristy Fercho, was sworn in as the MBA’s chairman-elect.

NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

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BUILD-A-BROKER

The Looming Threat In Your Computers Effective vendor management comes home to roost in the wake of COVID-19. BY JACKIE DRZIAK | SPECIAL TO NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL

I

n recent years, the background screening industry has called for screening firms to manage vendors. Ideally, vendor management efforts should include an assessment for risk within the relationship along with a review of the firm’s policies on data security and business continuity. It would seem like most consumer reporting agencies have the internal processes to keep track of third parties. The reality is that no organization can function without the products or services from a third party. Imagine for a moment that your brokerage needed to continue operating without any vendor relationships while staying competitive with pricing and turn times. The short answer is, it couldn’t. That said, these vendor relationships introduce all sorts of risk to your operation. Vendors can play havoc on your reputation, your operations, your P&L, your compliance with applicable law and with your data security. This is a lot of risk to manage, even in the easiest of times.

LEARN FROM PAST Target suffered a data breach in 2013. This one unfortunate incident caused large financial and reputational hardships on Target and yet the breach was a result of a third-party credit card processor’s lack of security protocol. There are numerous other examples of data security breach scenarios involving third parties that have caused immeasurable harm. Your goal should be to really know your vendors --

not just the account executive, but their business philosophies, their security protocols, their business continuity plans and more. Having service providers with realistic, thoughtful and proven business continuity plans is of great assurance in times like these. It is critical in the supply chain that CRA’s have sound service providers who can quickly and easily continue business operations under any circumstances. It is also critical that third parties have thoroughly designed protocols to ensure data security. The more vendors used by any organization, the risk of data compromise increases. The following six questions should always be asked when evaluating third parties: • Does this party need to access our systems? • What data do we share with this party? • Where is the data stored by the party and for how long? • Who within the third party has access to the data? • What measures does this party employ to secure data? • What kind of proof can they provide that data is safe with them?

CYBER THREATS MOUNT In the current national emergency, cybercriminals are hard at work plotting their next moves to take advantage of vulnerabilities in your data security protocols. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), global crises often correlate with an increase in

cybercrime. Cybercriminals will seize the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to manipulate people based on their fears and insecurities. Lately, these “bad actors” have been sending email, text and social media messages claiming to provide a link to new information about the virus – which, of course, leads the victim to take actions that give the cybercriminal access to their network. With more staff working remotely, organizations should be particularly vigilant of their own data security protocols. And don’t forget about third party relationships- Ensure all third parties are also taking appropriate actions to keep systems and data secure. It is not unreasonable to ask your third parties to identify the processes they are currently using to safeguard data. The following questions should be asked of your vendors now: • Are your employees working within the office environment or working remote? • Have you provided employees with remote worker training on network security, remote access, phishing emails and secure internet connection? • Has anything changed in the collection, storage or delivery of data? • Describe the security protocols currently in use to safeguard data Now is not the time to let your guard down. Instead, be certain you and your third parties have sound business continuity and data safeguarding practices. Take the time to know your vendors as part of your own risk mitigation strategy.

Jackie Drziak is founder of All In Compliance.

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE //

> US Real

Estate Services, Inc. promoted Garrett Mays as the company›s vice president of valuations and vendor management.

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> Susan

Stewart, CEO at SWBC Mortgage Corporation, was sworn in as chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association. 

> Planet Home

Lending hired Jerrold David as regional sales manager for the company’s West Coast operations.

> Equity Prime

Mortgage promoted Julie Rhodes as the company›s retail underwriting manager.


SPONSORED EDITORIAL

Non-QM Lending, Vital to Industry Growth If the past decade has taught us anything as an industry, it is that the business of mortgage lending is highly adaptable and resilient. Through market changes, a financial crisis, regulatory overhauls, and a global pandemic, we continue to adjust and respond, and of course continue to provide secure and reliable home financing options. As we look forward to 2021, Non-QM lending represents a great opportunity for both mortgage professionals and their consumers. Many viable transactions no longer fit the conforming mold. More borrowers are self-employed, earning non-traditional income, or investing in real estate. Non-QM products, such as the suite of Simple Access® programs from Luxury Mortgage Corp.®, provide solutions for these once tough to handle scenarios. Based on recent advances in the Non-QM niche, lenders and originators can capitalize on unique opprtunitiesto drive this segment of their businesses forward in the first quarter of the new year and beyond.

Improved Guideline Flexibility

Expanded guidelines and a commonsense underwriting approach have broadened the scope of Non-QM lending. It is now a viable option in a wide variety of scenarios. Some of the enhancements recently applied to the Simple Access® products include: • Loans Amounts to $3M • Credit Scores down to 640 • DSCR option with No DTI • LTV to 80% • Recent credit events allowed • Cash Out up to $500K This opens financing opportunities to many more borrowers, including those without perfect credit or in need of large loan amounts. As a result, this means increased opportunity for growth within the industry.

Return of Lender Paid Compensation

Now that Lender Paid Compensation is once again a viable option, you have greater flexibility in delivering user friendly solutions to a wider swath of eligible borrowers. As mortgage professionals work hard to find flexible solutions for sometimes complex scenarios, they can now see more significant financial compensation while providing lower rate options to their clients.

Expanded Product Offerings

A key opportunity of Non-QM lending is that there is no “one program fits all” approach. We see this built upon further with the release of additional product options. Some of the specialty programs available within Simple Access® include: • Investor Cash Flow Qualification based on income generated by the subject property. • Bank Statement Qualification based on business or personal bank statements. • Asset Qualifier Eligibility based on a borrower’s liquid assets • Full Doc Excellent pricing for scenarios just outside conventional guidelines. • 1099 Only Great option for self-employed, independent contractor, or commission only professionals. We anticipate this product expansion will further fuel continued growth of Non-QM lending, leading to increased production for mortgage lenders who embrace the niche. “Luxury Mortgage is committed to being the leader in Non-QM lending options for our brokers and correspondent sellers.” Says Mr. Lawrence Winters, Luxury Mortgage’s Product Development Committee Chair

About the Author Brett Mosello is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Luxury Mortgage Corp. With over three decades of experience in the mortgage and finance industries, he is focused on balancing sustained growth without sacrificing client experience. Mr. Mosello splits his time between Stamford, CT, home to Luxury Mortgage Corp.’s headquarters and Irvine, CA the firm’s wholesale operations center.

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Call us today: 855-248-4376 GET A QUICK QUOTE AT www.luxurymortgagewholesale.com Learn about our Correspondent Division at www.luxurymortgagecorrespondent.com Copyright ©2020 Luxury Mortgage Corp. NMLS#2745 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org) Equal Housing Lender. FOR INDUSTRY USE ONLY. NOT FOR CONSUMER USE. DO NOT DISTRIBUTE TO CONSUMERS. All rates, terms and programs are available at the time of publication but are subject to availability and may change without notice. Some restrictions may apply. Subject to qualification and underwriter approval. This is not a commitment to lend.

NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

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MARY KAY SCULLY

BENCHMARKS & BEST PRACTICES

Expect The Unexpected How to plan and prioritize for 2021 BY MARY KAY SCULLY | CONTRIBUTING WRITER, NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL

A

fter a whirlwind 2020, many people are excited for a new year and hopefully a fresh start. However, 2021 brings with it a lot of unanswered questions. There’s still uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic and its lasting effects. We have some temporary relief on the January expiration of the QM patch, but are awaiting the final rule and what that will look like. Then in March comes the Uniform Residential Loan Application or URLA, which will change the way many of us are working. Finally, 2021 could bring significant changes when it comes to ARM indexes. Long story short, there is a lot about 2021 we simply do not know. There are so many aspects of the industry that you can’t control, however, you can control how organized you are and how prepared you are to embrace whatever changes come down the line.

PREPARATION Planning for 2021 will look far different than it has in years past. When planning for 2020, everyone took for granted that things would stay relatively the same. It goes without saying that was not the case. In your

2021 plans, understand you must be nimble and may have to change procedures, adjust for volume or staffing and so on. For 2021, it is crucial to prepare for what you don’t know. To deal with uncertainty, make parallel plans. Plan for if a scenario does or does not happen so you are not blindsided by either outcome. Having multiple options and courses of action ready to execute will be invaluable when the time comes to set those plans in motion. Keep in mind that no one can definitively predict what the industry will do. The best course of action is to recognize change and change with it. When the QM patch expires, prepare for potential changes in guidelines or production. Be ready to put the right operational support in place. The key is to be proactive, rather than reactive. The same goes for the start of URLA. Start working with LOS vendors to embrace this change by updating screens and reorganizing workflows, learning about new fields and having a subset of data for online customer interfaces. Also, prepare for an adjustable rate mortgage market with non-QM loans. Be flexible and have plans set in place for volume, training and so on.

TIME MANAGEMENT As important as it is to be prepared, it also is important to manage your time wisely. Working efficiently ensures you have time to adjust to the changes 2021 might bring. From a business perspective, it’s important to allow time in your 2021 plan for engaging new business. Don’t get so focused on the day-to-day that you don’t plan for the future. Planning ahead for new business helps defend against uncertainty or when the market changes. While serving current

customers is important, making time for new ones also should be a priority. Working at home creates much more potential for distraction. Many of us have families, roommates, pets and household tasks all competing for our time during work hours. Set a timeframe for certain tasks and be sure those tasks are work related. This creates accountability, as you have to stop and reevaluate what you were doing and how long it took. The most important thing you can do to manage your time at home is to create some separation between work and home. Be both fully devoted to work hours and your off time. Do not let the two bleed into each other. Another way to stay on time and on task is to stop procrastinating. Not only does procrastination delay the completion of your work, but it creates stress which distracts from your work. According to DataQlik Inventory Management, people spend 80% of their day on non-essential tasks. Know how to discern what is important and knock those projects out first. This keeps you productive and defends against wasting time on smaller items of less importance.

GET PLANNING No one has a crystal ball, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for the future. You don’t have to have every answer when looking ahead, but you do have to consider the possibilities if you want to stay on top of things. Planning now, setting goals and prioritizing good time management skills will set you ahead of the curve in 2021. No matter what the year brings, let’s face it with a strong plan and a flexible mindset.

Mary Kay Scully is the director of customer education at Genworth Mortgage Insurance.


Alex Hussey

I AM A VETERAN AND THIS IS MY VICTORY.

“My victory is removing ‘can’t’ from my vocabulary.” Alex was hit by an IED in Afghanistan. He lost both legs, his left hand and has a traumatic brain injury. With support from DAV, Alex is taking on mountains. DAV helps veterans of all generations get the benefits they’ve earned—helping more than a million veterans each year. Support more victories for veterans®. Go to DAV.org.


LEADERSHIP LESSONS

Experience Is A Tough Teacher Why we should never stop learning our lessons. BY HARVEY MACKAY | SPECIAL TO NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL

H

ave you ever heard the expression “seeing the elephant?” It’s an expression that came out of the California gold rush. Those planning to go west in search of gold announced to their friends that they were “going to see the elephant.” Those who turned back discouraged claimed they had seen “the elephant’s tracks” or the “elephant’s tail,” and admitted that view was sufficient. The Oxford Dictionary defines it this way: “to see the elephant: to see life, the world, or the sights; to get experience of life, to gain knowledge by experience.” Here’s my take on it: To know the road ahead, ask those coming back. Or take the road yourself and see what you learn. Of course, it’s a lot easier to learn from others’ mistakes and often much less costly.

Experience is the dividend you get from your mistakes. Reportedly, Thomas Watson, the founder and first president of IBM, was asked if he was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost IBM $600,000. He said, “No, I just spent $600,000

somebody else to hire his experience?” Watson was quoted in Reader’s Digest as saying: “Double your rate of failure ... Failure is a teacher – a harsh one, perhaps, but the best ... That’s what I have to do when an idea backfires or a sales program fails. You’ve got to put failure to work for you ... you can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because that’s where you will find success. On the far side of failure.”

training him. Why would I want

CONTINUED ON PAGE 22

PERSONAL TOUCH But for most of us, we have to experience things for ourselves. When the outcome is good, we call it a successful experience. But when things don’t work out as we hoped, we call it a “learning” experience. Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes. It is an expensive teacher sometimes.

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE //

> Planet Home Lending hired Walt Nally as area sales manager for the Southern California area.

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> Matt Rocco

was sworn in as the MBA’s vice chairman.

> Nations

Lending named Simon Amor as branch manager for its Milford branch.

> First

Community Mortgage named Antonion Roundtree as the company’s vice president of Community Engagement.


NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 20

We learn as much from our failures as we learn from our successes. That may sting a bit, but there is no free tuition in the school of experience. FAILING TO SUCCEED I’ve always said if you want to triple your success ratio, you have to triple your failure rate! I would submit that we learn as much from our failures as we learn from our successes. That may sting a bit, but there is no free tuition in the school of experience. Every time you graduate from the school of experience someone thinks up a new course. Consider the man who asked his boss why three other people were promoted past him. He said, “Boss, I have 20 years of experience in this job.” The boss replied, “No, you don’t have 20 years of experience. You have one year of experience 20 times. You’ve been making the same mistakes since you first started.” Some learn from experience. Others never recover from it.

THE NEXT MOVE And the most important lesson we should learn from our experiences is that we can move past failures and put the errors to work, preparing us for better days ahead. Realize that the lessons learned are valuable, even if they are embarrassing or depressing or seemingly insurmountable. Giving in to failure is letting the bad experience win. As tempting as it can be to want to forget about bad experiences, don’t. Those who cannot remember the

past are condemned to repeat it. The past should be a guidepost, not a hitching post. Use those difficult lessons to demonstrate your resilience and ability to learn from your mistakes.

BE GUIDED BY OTHERS Even better, learn from the mistakes of others. I strongly encourage newcomers to connect with a mentor and extend that advice to folks at all stages of their careers. The experience you can absorb is priceless, and the guidance that might prevent you from having too many bad experiences is invaluable. The promoter for a local boxing champion arranged a match with an opponent he had never seen. He had simply asked for an experienced fighter. On the day of the fight, a middle-aged man with a crooked nose, a punch-drunk manner and two huge cauliflower ears arrived in the dressing room. The promoter was aghast. “I asked for an experienced fighter,” he complained, “but not a damaged one.” Experience is a good teacher, but a hard one. It gives the test first and the lesson afterward. Experience enables you to recognize a mistake every time you repeat it. Mackay’s Moral: There is no free tuition in the school of experience.

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE //

> NewRez

LLC promoted Bob Johnson to the role of chief operating officer of its origination division.

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> Black Knight,

Inc. elected Catherine L. Burke, chief strategy officer at Daniel J. Edelman Holdings, Inc., to serve on its Board of Directors.

> Sheila C. Blair

succeeded Jonathan Plutzik as chair of Fannie Mae’s Board of Directors.

> BSI Financial

Services hired Brandon McGee as vice president of mortgage servicing rights transactions manager.


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40 UNDER 40 INFLUENTIAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONALS

INFLUENTIAL ACHIEVERS

THE FACES OF POTENTIAL

I

n every profession, the future is written by the young. They bring fresh perspectives, new energy, innovative approaches and fiery passion that are critical to keeping business thriving. While those with more years on them may bring wisdom borne of experience, the young bring perspective unhindered by dogma, unconstrained by convention. That’s why features such as this one, that peek at the promise of so many, are important. We need to step back, even if only once a year, and appreciate that there are up-and-comers across

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the mortgage world who are actively scanning the profession with fresh eyes and making it better, with enthusiasm. In this issue, we highlight forty individual mortgage professionals under 40 years old who bring something special to their job each day, and in doing so help to elevate this industry for all of us. This isn’t a definitive list, it’s an emblematic one: for each of these achievers, there are many more like them, also propelling us forward. But in these stories, in these 40, we capture this year’s spirit of triumph.


SHAYNA ARRINGTON

APRIL CAVE

Chief Compliance Officer The Money Source Inc. (TMS) Age: 35

Integration Specialist OpenClose Age: 33 How did you get into this field? I had an internship with the FBI’s Financial Crimes Section in law school. I was supposed to be working in the National Bank Fraud Unit, but it morphed into the Mortgage Fraud Unit post-crisis in 2009. I didn’t know anything about mortgage fraud, but I read everything I could get my hands on. When I returned to law school, I wrote an article about prosecution strategies for mortgage fraud, which was published by my school’s Law Review, and ultimately landed me my first job out of law school at HUD.

What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? I’d like to see more support for diversity & inclusion. There is so much value in diversity of experience and I think our industry has a long way to go to reach where we need to be, especially when it comes to management, executive leadership, and board membership. Operationally, I’d like to see a smooth transition of borrowers from forbearance plans to post-forbearance relief options. I’d also like to see a continuation of the support and giving of our colleagues to those in need.

TONY AUTULLO

How did you get into this field? I took a teller job at a credit union about a year out of college and quickly worked my way up to Lending. One day, my manager asked what other areas interested me and I mentioned mortgage. I did not know anything about the mortgage industry at that point, but it seemed like a mysteriously complex field and I like a challenge. Have you had any great mentors? My mother is my greatest mentor. When I was a child, she would take me to the office with her and teach me how to do tasks like copying and filing. She always took the time to answer my questions and encouraged me to learn more. Her professionalism has been instilled in me since early on and I am the woman I am today because of her continued guidance. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? Remote implementations are now the norm, yet for some lenders this process is causing apprehension in making a mortgage LOS switch. Ultimately, partnering with the LOS that best fits their business’ needs would improve their long-term efficiencies while lowering their costs per loan.

LYNDI DELISIO

Area Manager AnnieMac Home Mortgage Age: 39

National Sales Executive ServiceLink Age: 34 How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated? At Miami University, I took a real estate class my senior year and I really enjoyed it. I also knew someone who was doing exceptionally well at a young age so I was confident I could, too. I didn't want to be at a place that determined when I could advance and by how much. Achieving goals and breaking records is what motivates me, and with that comes massive earning potential.

What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? I've adapted to the fact everyone doesn't need to be in the office to be productive. We've hit unit and volume records, and I've spent half the year in Florida. I've been able to get as much work done from home as I had in the past being in the office. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? I would like to see the consumer tax on refinances go away. It's not fair to have that passed on so they end up with an inflated interest rate because of federal regulations when the market dictates lower consumer rates.

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay? I started as a marketing director for a mortgage broker where I became so intrigued by the mortgage process. Eager to learn a new skillset and challenge myself, I eventually became a licensed loan officer. am continually motivated by the challenge of establishing and developing impactful relationships with other leaders in the industry and fostering those connections in a way that is mutually beneficial. What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? Learning to adapt my sales technique to a remote environment, while still offering a personal touch, has been a great success. I worked really hard to realign my focus on what my prospects and partners needed, and learned how to deliver without physically being there. I was still able to produce meaningful results. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? During the pandemic, many aspects of the mortgage process, like self-serve appraisals and remote closings, were developed or deployed during this time and I feel that now is the time to take those digital solutions a step further and make them a more permanent fixture. NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

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40 UNDER 40 INFLUENTIAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONALS

SAMIA DEMARCO

National Sales Manager Birchwood Credit Services Inc. Age: 29 How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay? I started on Birchwood’s operation team and transitioned over the years into different roles. I’m now on the sales side and my biggest motivation to stay is my growing network. It’s a great feeling walking into an event and being recognized by so many other industry professionals, and getting calls from people that need our services. What is the importance of mentoring? Starting this career at a young age and becoming so involved in mortgage banker associations throughout my region, I have met and learned from a number of professionals. It’s important to have someone you can reach out to for unbiased answers to questions you aren’t sure where else to ask or just lend an ear. What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? This year I was named president of the Mortgage Bankers Association in New Hampshire. I was also inducted to the board of directors for MBAs in Rhode Island and Maine. On a personal note it was maintaining my mental health and keeping my household functioning during shelter-in-place orders with two kids and a new puppy.

ARTIN FALLAHI

COO | Managing Partner Option One Lending, Inc. Age: 37 How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay? The nonstop excitement of working on different loan scenarios everyday, helping excited first time home buyers and the challenge of structuring complicated loan scenarios. Have you had any great mentors? What is the importance of mentoring and is this something that you focus on? Yes, my current business partner and CEO of our company Marty Yeghishian has been a great mentor and friend from day one. Mentoring is very important if the correct mentor is selected. Make sure your goals are well aligned with your mentor's capabilities and their own success story. What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? We outgrew our space and despite the challenges of COVID, we were able to secure a much larger and nicer office and we ended up actually hiring several new sales and operation team members. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? More transparency and honesty from industry professionals.

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SAM FANNIN

RMLO/Branch Manager Premier Nationwide Lending Age: 32 How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay? My mom and close family friends were real estate agents and it has always been a passion of mine since I was young and the mortgage side of the business felt like a rewarding challenge. Helping families into homes is what keeps me motivated. “It’s not about loans, it is about lives” has always been my focus. Have you had any great mentors? I have had a handful of great mentors. Murdock Richard, the owner of the company that I currently work for, took me under his wing the second I walked through the door. I have never had an owner drop everything he was doing to help. Murdock goes above and beyond and truly cares about his employees. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? In 2021 I would like to see continued growth in the mortgage industry. We have come a long way in regards to technology, but to continue to grow in that aspect to make the loan process more customer friendly is something I view as very valuable.

MATT FLORES

SVP, Digital Innovation Civic Financial Services Age: 38 How did you get into this field? Finance, lending and mortgages were so foreign to me. At a young age I knew I wanted to learn more and work in any capacity that would fast track my knowledge to be able to purchase my first home. I wanted to work where I could be forced to learn that information. So at age 18 I started my mortgage career in marketing and fulfillment, and have been sponging information ever since. Have you had any great mentors? My parents, and Bill Tessar. I learned from my father to be the best at things that don’t require any talent - from energy, social skills and attitude, to being on time - he taught me to master those. Bill Tessar was my first boss in lending. We met in 2002, and I’m thankful to still be working with him. I’m grateful I get to learn from his every step. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? I want to take the confusion out of the lending process. To strip down and better control how the lending process takes place so everyone can understand it without any confusion.


GEORGE GAGISHVILI

THOMAS GESSNER

SVP, Treasury and Finance First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation Age: 30

Regional Sales Leader Academy Mortgage Corporation Age: 37

How did you get into this field? I was always passionate about the mortgage business, especially on capital markets and finance side. One of my professors during my graduate studies was one of the senior directors and former chief risk management officer of Freddie Mac. I was amazed by the efficiency this market creates starting from easy access to home ownership to delivering final cash flows and subsequently return opportunities to final investors via securitization. What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? Automation of processes and increased efficiency within my department. We created automated P&L reporting for all business units within company that could be run at any point of time, created important metrics, compared those metrics to various time periods and projections and were able to deliver those to the business units. It enabled business leaders to manager P&Ls more efficiently and be informed in a timely manner. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? There is room for improvement. High tech is yet to reveal itself and I am excited to see how that shapes out from bot underwriting to machine learning applications for marketing.

From his nomination: In just seven years in the mortgage business, Thomas Gessner has flourished and developed a passion for delivering homeownership that is evident to all who work with him. As a regional sales leader for Academy Mortgage’s Arizona Region, Thomas loves to teach, train, and develop his people to reach their full potential. With a background in the military and auto finance industry, Thomas has deep experience in managing people and processes in different environments. Since joining Academy Mortgage in 2013, Thomas has quickly moved up the ranks. In his first year, Thomas was named Academy's Rookie of the Year Loan Officer. Over the next six years, he escalated to sales manager, branch manager, and is now a regional sales leader. He also serves as the branch manager of the Chandler Fashion Center branch, which is consistently one of the top three branches. Thomas also maintains a robust pipeline as an originator, annually producing more than $30 million in volume. His strong leadership and production performance qualify him annually for Academy’s President’s Club, which is composed of the company’s highest producers. Thomas is also a graduate of Academy’s Leadership Academy, an internal MBA-style program.

Congratulations! To our very own Sam Fannin for being named one of NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL’S

40 MOST INFLUENTIAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONALS UNDER 40! SAM FANNIN

BRANCH MANAGER / RMLO | NMLS 220500 FLOWER MOUND, TEXAS

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40 UNDER 40 INFLUENTIAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONALS

JESUS E. GOMEZ

SVP Post Closing Operations FGMC Age: 39

National Sales Director Princeton Mortgage Age: 38

How did you get into this field? I was introduced to the industry through my parents. My mother was a loan officer and my father was a Realtor. As immigrants they wanted to help the Hispanic community accomplish the American dream of homeownership. It was their dedication and the reward of seeing families filled with joy and

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay? I spent a year selling insurance when I first graduated college, and while I did OK, I knew it wasn't a long-term fit for me. I decided to try my luck working in a mortgage call center ... the rest is history! I stay because the industry has been very good to me and my family and I love the work.

What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? The pandemic forced us way out of our comfort zones to become more creative, innovative, and focused on our new normal. My team not only stepped up to the challenges, they helped each other to ensure our departmental goals and company expectations were met without a hitch, and had a little fun in the process.

Have you had any great mentors? What is the importance of mentoring and is this something that you focus on? Rich, our CEO at Princeton Mortgage, has been an excellent mentor. The culture at Princeton is one of constant and neverending improvement, and Rich has introduced to me lots of new concepts and books that have made me better at my job here. I also spend time each week mentoring others. Nothing energizes me more than spending time helping other people get where they want to go.

pride that inspired me.

What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? Innovation. If we learned anything from this pandemic is that we are behind the times with technology and our ability to quickly adapt. We can buy nearly anything online with minimal to no paperwork, and within a short timeline. While there have been many advances to the home financing process, there is still a ways to go.

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What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? We need to keep improving the customer experience. The process for a qualified person to get the best mortgage should feel effortless.


OLGA GORODETSKY Capital Markets – Market Transactions - Principal Fannie Mae Age; 36

How did you get into this field? My passion for the mortgage industry originated from my first job out of college - on the mortgage-backed securities desk at Lehman Brothers. I had a first-hand view of how essential the mortgage industry is to the American way of life and the potentially serious consequences of a poorly functioning housing finance system. What is the importance of mentoring and is this something that you focus on? After leaving Wall Street to join Treasury, I benefited from interacting with colleagues and industry stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds, each bringing a unique perspective. What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? I led an expansion of our free online analytics platform, Data Dynamics, to provide insight into emerging performance trends. The enhanced functionality empowers investors to analyze the delinquency and prepayment behavior for our mortgage-backed securities, in addition to expanding resources for our credit risk transfer securities. We have seen usership roughly quadruple since the expansion of the platform.

RYAN GRANT

SVP/Area Manager Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation Age: 38 How did you get into this field? I got into the mortgage industry while I was waiting for law school to start. My brother-in-law told me about a company (where) he made great money in his first month. My two questions were, “What is a mortgage?” and “Is that company here in LA?” What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? One would be growing our mortgage group by over 30 employees in six months, all during COVID and working remotely. The other would be that we launched the Art of Homeownership platform at the beginning of the year and we have been able to make significant strides in helping others join our movement to (improve) the mortgage industry. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? I would like a radical overhaul in the knowledge and testing required to become a licensed mortgage professional. It’s too easy to get a license and the low barrier of entry attracts people looking to make money, not help families. Then, once you become a mortgage professional, you should be trained on how to add value to the lives of your clients.

DAN HABIB

Executive Vice President MBS Highway Age: 34 What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? Helping to save the mortgage industry. During the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis and economic shutdown, the Fed tried to stimulate the economy and keep rates low by buying a massive amount of mortgage backed securities ... but there was an unintended consequence. The massive purchases caused prices to move precipitously higher and made mortgage companies extremely underwater on their hedged positions of locked loans. As a result, companies were getting tens of millions of dollars in daily margin calls: something they could not withstand. Understanding this, we got in front of CNBC and ultimately the Fed and explained what was occurring. The Fed curtailed purchases and started buying a "Goldilocks" amount of MBS to stabilize the market. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? I would like to see another record year for both companies and individuals, but they will have to get better to make up for some decline in refinance volume. I would love to see originators aim high and better themselves each day so they can set new records, truly be advisors, and better serve their clients.

SHAKRIA HALL Brand Manager Calyx Age: 37

How did you get into this field? I was a real estate broker largely focused on broker price opinions, foreclosures, and short sales. It was fun but extremely demanding. So, while pursuing my MBA with a concentration in marketing, I landed a position at Citibank as a banker/loan officer. After completing my MBA, I was recruited as a real estate marketing consultant; After that, I was hired as the brand manager for Calyx where I’ve combined my experience and education into one role. What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? Surviving it! Everyone hasn’t been as fortunate. I’ve also accomplished quite a bit this year. I launched a new business, made amazing connections, published several articles, created and led the go-to-market strategy for our new cloud-based origination platform, Zenly, was selected for the board of a nonprofit organization, and won a “40 Under 40 Award!” What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? My answer is two-fold. First, I’ve been excited by the industry’s adoption of technology and the accommodations made to keep borrowers safe during COVID. Second, finding more ways to automate or increase efficiencies across the origination process would lighten the load.

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JONATHAN HALLSTEAD

VP, Division Manager Retail Lending Cardinal Financial Age: 38

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay? I was in college working in luxury retail and had a client who owned a mortgage company. He said when I graduated, he’d like me to join him, and I took him up on his offer. I saw an opportunity to make a meaningful difference by offering financial guidance and a simplified approach to lending, and refining and improving that offering is what has kept me motivated. What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? My approach at Cardinal in 2020 was to focus on innovation, and for it I was rewarded with a swift promotion to VP, division manager retail lending after less than six months with the company. I advanced from managing a single branch to the direct recruitment and training of 15 division branches that have already exceeded $1.1 billion in production. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? I would like to see our industry recognize the lack of financial security many customers feel. The absence of face-to-face interaction makes this challenging, but we can listen more effectively.

ALEC HANSON

SVP, Retail Production loanDepot Age: 39

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CODY HEARD

RMLO/Branch Manager Premier Nationwide Lending Age: 36 How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay? Some of the best things that happen in life are by mistake. I just graduated college with a finance degree. Not knowing what my next move was, a mortgage broker overheard my conversation about what I studied. He turned around and said, “Boy, have I got a deal for you.” Those words changed my life forever. We’ve been able to help over a thousand families purchase or refinance their home. What is the importance of mentoring and is this something that you focus on? I’m a huge advocate of having multiple mentors. An invaluable part of mentorship is hearing what pitfalls to avoid. Some of the greatest victories are those defeats that you never have to experience. What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? My greatest success is surviving two major hurricanes that ripped through my community! We are resilient people in Southwest Louisiana. Many have lost everything. The only things that get stronger after a hurricane are relationships with your neighbor and a sense of community pride. Hurricanes Laura and Delta taught me what is truly important in life.

RITESH JHAWAR Director, Fintech Tavant Age: 38

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay? I asked my dad for a job and ended up part-time shipping loan files in downtown Oakland! The mortgage industry is a hidden gem. It's one of the single greatest industries for entrepreneurial, selfmotivated, and solutions-oriented people. We, as an industry, have our own problems. But if you thrive in a fast-paced, competitive environment where effort, hard work and determination can lead to a huge upside in career growth and opportunity, there is no better industry than mortgage

How did you get into this field? I worked for Capital One Auto Finance setting up large data engineering and data stewardship programs. That’s when I first learnt about the life cycle of a loan and how it makes a material difference in the borrower’s life. Also, if each actor in the origination and servicing of the loan captures better data, it can lead to a significantly better experience for the lender, borrower, investors and regulators. That led me to start designing better systems. From auto loans I moved to home loans and repeated the whole process.

What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? I had an "Ah, ha!" moment early in 2020 and that was to go ALL IN on digital and social media. The results were enormous. I'm learning a ton and found a real passion for our industry. Not to mention my team will likely scratch the $6 billion mark this year in production.

Have you had any great mentors? When I first started business consulting, I found it near impossible to put my thoughts on paper. I would get cold feet creating presentations. The head of consulting at my previous organization showed me how to turn thoughts into tangible documents and share them in an easy-to-understand manner.

What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? The full digital evolution of the mortgage processing and underwriting process. If we are all honest with ourselves the processing and fulfillment of a loan hasn't changed in Decades.

What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? Reeling from the pandemic, forest fires and hurricanes, a lot of home owners will face difficult circumstances. I would like more lenders to provide tools to them so that they can stay in their home.

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ALEX KUTSISHIN CEO Sales Boomerang Age: 38

From his nomination: Random marketing is a thing of the past in the mortgage industry due to Alex’s efforts. He likes to ask executives at lending companies, “What if you could always give your loan officers great opportunities? Grant yourself access to the most profitable and highest converting loans in existence?” That is because over 20% of a smart lender's volume comes from their own databases. He has improved the lending experience for both lender and borrower. Alex is an innovator and entrepreneur. His expertise is in people, marketing, digital communication and technology. In 2011 Alex launched the nation's first code-free mobile development software company, which he exited in 2014. After the buyout he consulted for one of the top business intelligence companies, which sold two years ago for over $100 million. He then consulted for one of the mortgage industry's best marketing companies which is where he got the idea for his new venture – Sales Boomerang, the first fully automated borrower intelligence software that tells lenders when a prospect or past customer is ready for a loan. Sales Boomerang won top tech firm in 2019 by Banking CIO Magazine and Top 100 Tech Firms 2020 revolutionizing the lending industry.

TRAVIS LALONDE

VP; Wholesale Operations Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions Age: 33 From his nomination: At the age of 19, Travis LaLonde began his career in the mortgage industry as a funding assistant in Northern California. Roughly 18 months later, he made the move to North Texas where he joined Countrywide/Bank of America. He was there for over five years at which time his affinity for leading people came to the forefront. From getting his first shot as a QC Team Lead, to a manager, and eventually unit manager leading over 80 plus mortgage professionals, his management career was on the climb. In March 2018, Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions opened its first ever expansion of the operations team into Irving, Texas. Enter Travis, who began his most exciting opportunity to date, running this brand new operations center. In just 90 days, the new ops center was busting at the seams and in the market for more space. Fast forward two plus years to present day, Travis has teamed up with his wonderful counterpart Alysse Prosnick to vastly improve the overall efficiency and quality of the wholesale channel, through precise implementation of technology and process enhancements. All while setting and re-setting production records multiple times in 2018 and 2019.

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JOSH LEHR

Director of Strategy, Consumer Direct Total Expert Age: 37 How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay? I was working at a Top 10 Visa card issuer. One of my good friends and previous co-workers was working for a company across town (Mortech), that I had never heard of. At the time I was in the process of purchasing my first home and knew very little about mortgages so I found the technology intriguing. After meeting with the founders and learning about the opportunity to help build a product that could help make home buying easier, I was hooked. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? I think we’re in a great position to draft off of the tech acceleration due to COVID. It has been great to see tech providers, lenders, and government entities come together and provide innovative ways to keep originations going. If we take this dynamic into 2021, I think it will lead to incredible changes in the technology solutions used in mortgage. Specifically, I hope to see an increase transparency through automation, including the ability to test new solutions that make getting a mortgage less stressful.

CRISTIAN LOPEZ

Single Family - Analytics and Modeling - Senior Director Fannie Mae Age: 35 How did you get into this field? I entered the field immediately following my undergraduate studies. I knew very little about mortgages, the secondary mortgage market or even comprehending how large and important the industry was to the overall U.S. and global economy. But I was drawn by the opportunity that Fannie Mae provided me (and still offers to our entry-level analysts) to receive formalized technical training from experienced professionals and to quickly be deployed into projects that have significant impact in the broader housing market. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? The social upheaval that started this past summer has opened up opportunities to discuss the inequalities that exist in the mortgage industry in a way that never previously got as much broad attention. More and more industry players have spoken up and made commitments to address these issues. My hope for 2021 is that this energy results in true action that stays at the forefront of the industry goals for itself and is aligned across the industry so that change can occur in a well-organized and effective manner.

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NICK MATKO

Mortgage Loan Originator DHI Mortgage Age: 35 How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay? I started as a loan processor on a chance opportunity. I learned the ropes for almost a year before becoming a loan originator. I find that mortgage originating is not a “one size fits all” venture. What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? When the shutdowns began, I was not expecting such a strong demand for new construction and mortgage financing. My greatest success has been the ability to help my customers overcome the various roadblocks the pandemic produced to get them into their new homes. We’ve encountered many situations with customers who have faced significant adversity. The keys to overcoming these challenges have been staying positive, keeping up with ever changing mortgage guidelines, and maintaining focus on those things we can control. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? I would like to see continued improvements and flexibilities for customers to cut down on the tedious aspects of documentation preparation so that they can focus on more important decisions involved in choosing a mortgage.

ARIEL MELENDEZ

Regional Fulfillment Center Operations Manager Paramount Residential Mortgage Company Age: 37 How did you get into this field? Truly a combination of luck and coincidence. I worked for a well known streaming/DVD delivery service back in its heyday (2006). I ran into an ex-coworker and he asked me if I wanted to stop stuffing envelopes. He got me an interview at First Magnus with Kevin Peranio and Brian Rishty. They took a chance on me, not knowing anything about the mortgage industry, and started me out in the scanning room. Have you had any great mentors? My parents first and foremost instilled in me the work ethic that has gotten me to the position I am in today. From no sick days allowed in school, to their loyalty, dedication, and commitment to working hard (both worked decades for the same company) to provide for our family is something that has stuck with me. My lending mentors would be Kevin Peranio and Brian Rishty. They have both been key players in my career. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? Continuing low rates to allow more Americans to live the American dream of homeownership!


MICHAEL MIDDLEMAN

MICHAEL NAYLOR

EVP of Call Center Freedom Mortgage Age: 35

Managing Partner Direct Mortgage Loans Age: 38

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay? I started in the mortgage business early since my father owned and founded Freedom Mortgage. Growing up with his influence in the mortgage sector of over 35 years, I was easily compelled to take on a similar role. However, I was encouraged to expand my skillset. As a teen, I learned by working in telemarketing, which quickly grew by college to opportunities in operations and sales. After college, I worked in public accounting and finance in hopes to learn the industry outside of the family business. These experiences introduced me to future key leadership in the mortgage industry, created a better level of business acumen for myself as well as skills and a clear understanding of the working field. What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? After just hitting our peak volume growth during unprecedented times, I am proud of this significant growth over the last year. With about 12 times growth just in the call center alone, I am thrilled to have been part of this progress and the results we’ve incurred from all our hard work.

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay? A friend helped me to get a job as a telemarketer for a mortgage company 16 years ago. I was lucky to meet my business partner on my first day of that job and we have pushed each other to be better every day since. Have you had any great mentors? My business partner, Ashley Mills, has had a profound influence on me professionally. He has found a way to get the most out of me and has helped me to grow in the mortgage industry. He knows when to be a coach, a peer, a hard ass, a most of all, a friend. Our relationship has taught us both so much about why it is necessary to have someone by your side as we grow. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? There are two things I would like to see. I want the mortgage pre-approval to continue to gain traction as the natural starting point for a home search. Most importantly, I want continued success for my DML family. Rates staying low wouldn't hurt either.

would like to congratulate our very own

TONY AUTULLO

R E A L P E O P L E, R E A L S TO R I E S , R E A L S O LU T I O N S

BRANCH MANAGER

for being named the

2020

40 Most Influential Mortgage Professionals Under 40 NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

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40 UNDER 40 INFLUENTIAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONALS

AUSTIN NIEMIEC

JIM PAOLINO

Executive Vice President Rocket Pro TPO (formerly QLMS) Age: 34

CEO LodeStar Software Solutions Age: 34

How did you get into this field? I became a loan officer right out of college, and quickly fell in love with the business. A home has so much financial and emotional impact on a human, and to help make homeownership a reality for others is incredibly gratifying. Have you had any great mentors? My grandfather was a salesman and coach. He taught me the value and importance of sound communication.

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay? I have been involved in the real estate industry all my life. My parents own a title agency in the Northeast, so I learned from the ground up. Eventually, I saw a real need for process improvement in a quickly changing industry, so I started LodeStar to provide more transparency to the real estate transaction.

What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? Supporting the broker community when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. At QLMS, now Rocket Pro TPO, we kept rates low, and hired and welcomed thousands of new mortgage brokers to our platform. We were able to do this because of our commitment to the broker community and having foresight and a strong foundation and infrastructure built over the last 35 years.

Have you had any great mentors? What is the importance of mentoring? My biggest mentor has been my dad, who has run a successful business since 1994. He has been an invaluable resource. One benefit in a “mature” industry like ours is that there are a ton of experienced professionals eager to engage with the next generation. I encourage any young industry professional to seek them out.

What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? Positivity. 2020 was an incredibly unique year full of change and adversity. We, the mortgage community, can bring extreme positivity to America.

What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? In a year when so many businesses have failed or struggled, I’m grateful my business managed to thrive and add nine employees.

Congratulations Samia! Birchwood Credit Services proudly congratulates

Samia DeMarco National Sales Manager Samia’s brillance, strong leadership and committment to our company, and community, makes her an exemplary woman. 34

| NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE

on being named a honoree of one of the Most Influential Mortgage Professionals Under 40. Contact Birchwood

Phone: 800.910.0015 | Fax: 800.785.0017 LearnAbout@birchwoodcreditservices.com www.birchwoodcreditservices.com


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40 UNDER 40 INFLUENTIAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONALS

RAJIN RAMDEHOLL

LAUREN REAMES

Senior Vice President Meadowbrook Financial Mortgage Bankers Corp. Age: 38

SVP, National Fulfillment Planet Home Lending Age: 33

From his nomination: Rajin is a true leader by example. He is always working to figure out ways to grow his business, assist his clients, and ensure his team is always on top of their game. Rajin manages a team of 8 -12 people who are always figuring out new ways to stay ahead of the curve with new technology and better ways to do business. His management style has allowed his team to excel in their business and grow as professionals. There is so much more to the mortgage business than crunching numbers and calculating interest rates. It's about helping people realize their dreams. Rajin is a low-keyed guy, but because of his expertise has climbed the ladder of success. He is known as “Mr. Dynamic” and is an expert in his field. With his educational and financial background, Rajin is well liked and trusted by his clients. He employs his organizational expertise to help his team run smoothly & successfully. As he says, “I know what underwriters are looking for & I understand the complicated situations; I look at it from a common-sense perspective & I figure out a way to get it to work.”

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay? Initially, I started as a mortgage loan originator and went on to work as a processor for a few well-known brands. Aside from the opportunities for upward mobility at Planet, another one of the reasons people stay is its culture is energizing and inspirational. We’re a multi-channel company that plays as one team. Have you had any great mentors? What is the importance of mentoring? I’m one of many people Planet Home Lending Chief Operating Officer Suzy Lindblom mentors. She’s an incredible motivator. She always looks first within the organization to fill openings and encourages people to take on new challenges. The entrylevel operations training program I run relies heavily on mentors. Mentoring works at Planet because company culture is inclusive. What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? The pandemic threw a lot of mid-career people in the hospitality and service industries out of work. Creating a way for them to shift into mortgage operations has been rewarding. These folks have transferrable customer service skills. They just need to learn the operations system and mortgage guidelines.

Congratulations! To our very own Cody Heard for being named one of NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL’S

40 MOST INFLUENTIAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONALS UNDER 40! CODY HEARD

BRANCH MANAGER / RMLO | NMLS 91006 LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA

TO FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OUR DYNAMIC TEAM, VISIT:

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SCOTT ROBERTS SVP of Sales Insellerate Age: 40

How did you get into this field? I started on the lending side. I was in mortgage for about 18 years. At that time I was working for Josh Friend, current CEO of Insellerate, but at that time he was running the mortgage business, and we started developing Insellerate, internally for our own mortgage operations. It ended up working really well, and our branch became highly profitable. Other friends in the industry wanted to know what we were doing that made us so successful. We started really having a dream to be able to do this as software as a service and go help a lot of folks. Have you had any great mentors? Josh Friend, he's like a big brother to me. I've learned a lot from Josh. I've learned a lot from Jack Friend. I glean a lot from them in my day to day, over the years, over a decade working together, different little tips and things that I've tried to model my sales effort after. What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? One of the silver linings has been more time at home with my wife and three children.

Join our team! jonathanhallstead.com 38

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UNIKQUA SHANNON

MI Pricing Analyst Genworth Mortgage Insurance Age: 25 How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay? When I first learned about Genworth, I was looking for a role where I could marry my data analytics experience with finance. After settling into my role and learning more about the field, I was very happy with my choice. Three years later I continue to be motivated by the complexity of the business and that there’s always something new to learn. Have you had any great mentors? I have had some wonderful mentors in my life, both through formal programs at work and organic relationship building. Having a sounding board in your corner who can provide guidance, perspective and advice is invaluable. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? It would be amazing to see more initiatives targeted at reducing the racial disparities between homeowners in the conventional mortgage space. We are capable of so much more than the status quo. We have the know-how to develop innovative products and offerings to address these challenges. Using these skills to benefit a previously underserved market seems like a wonderful next step.

NMLS ID 66247


MICHAEL SOCHA

President/CEO, Mortgage Loan Originator The Socha Lending Group Age: 38 How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay? I originally got into banking in 2004 at the urging of my mother, who told me I should get into a field that works with money and helping others. I don't say this often, but my mother was right. Being a strong advocate for the broker community, the LGBT community, and my clients has kept me motivated. What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? One was helping multiple lenders with their policies/approach to lending to the LGBT community. There is still a long way to go to ensure that the needs are taken into consideration, but we made significant strides. We have also been able to grow The Socha Lending Group and fill a void in the lending community for LGBT lenders. We are now licensed in six states and growing! What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? I would like to see lenders give more concern to specific communities that need help. For instance, the Trans community needs more advocates to help get the full picture across to the lender in the lending package.

LEAH SOMMERVILLE Senior Account Executive DocMagic Age: 33

How did you get into this field? I was fortunate to begin my journey in the mortgage industry during a time when lenders began recognizing the importance of modernizing outdated paper processes with technology to increase efficiency and improve the borrower experience. My experience as a digital transformation coach has been especially exciting because I truly enjoy helping organizations reap the benefits of these technological advances. What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? I’m proud to have been involved in helping many organizations make the shift to hybrid and completely digital eClosings. By forging numerous partnerships and strategic relationships between lenders, settlement agents, notaries, warehouse lenders, and investors to further digital mortgage initiatives which impact the entire supply chain, I’ve consistently implemented scalable eClosing adoptions and best practices for the organizations that I’ve guided as a digital transformation shepherd. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? My goal is for organizations that may have been hesitant to initiate (or even discuss) eClosing processes will make the commitment to do so with the best approach and guidance possible.

2020 NMP 40 Most Influential Mortgage Professionals Under 40

NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

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40 UNDER 40 INFLUENTIAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONALS

SAISHA SVOBODA

ALBA THURMAN

Vice President Zigzy Age: 29

How did you get into this field? I was new to the workforce and looking for any opportunity for stability. I didn’t expect it, but when I found my first position in the mortgage business at New American Funding, it sparked a passion. I dipped my feet into various areas until I found the part of that lets me live out my passion daily: technology. By building technology for the loan officer, real estate agent and homebuyer, I am able to help build solutions. What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? Our Zigzy family just won the 2020 Regional Timmy Award for Best Tech Culture, which makes me extremely proud. Also, not only did our Zigzy family overcome the hurdles of 2020 with grace, but we have expanded our number of products, continued a wonderful culture remotely, and have not lost one bit of our passion. This is my greatest success of 2020. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? I would like to see the industry fully prepare itself for the millennial wave about to hit us and implement solutions that mirror the desire for click-of-a-button and instant gratification.

Mortgage Advisor Synergy One Lending Age: 34 How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay? I got into this business because I really love helping people. What really motivates me is helping those that don't think they can have the American Dream and owning a home. I really enjoy changing lives and giving them the proper guidance. Have you had any great mentors? I've had some amazing mentors. All of these individuals have given me an opportunity to be a part of their team and most important provided so much knowledge. What do you consider your greatest success of 2020? My greatest success in 2020 would be being able to pivot my business during the pandemic. Most importantly I was able to provide a different kind of service this year to my clients. Meaning a lot more guidance and education due to the consistent changes that were happening and still changing lives. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? What I would like to see in 2021 is a strong market, which will lead me into being able to help more families.

Greg Gadson

I AM A VETERAN AND THIS IS MY VICTORY.

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“My victory is proving that nothing can hold me back.” While serving in Iraq, an explosion took both of Greg’s legs. But it didn’t touch his spirit. Today, Greg is an entrepreneur, photographer and public speaker. DAV helps veterans of every generation get the benefits they’ve earned—helping more than a million veterans each year. Support more victories for veterans®. Go to DAV.org.


MATT TULLY

Vice President, Agency Affairs and Compliance Sagent Lending Technologies Age: 37 How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay? My interest dates back to the early part of my career when I started as a staffer on Capitol Hill working on banking and financial services issues in 2006. By 2008 the financial crisis had begun and I had to learn a lot about how the housing industry works as well as the role of public policy in shaping the market. The complexity of our housing market is what keeps me motivated. No matter how much I think I know there is always more to learn. Have you had any great mentors? The one who sticks out the most for me is Adolfo Mazrol who recruited me off the Hill to my first mortgage industry job at Essent and imparted a fantastic amount of knowledge about our housing system. What would you like to see from the mortgage industry in 2021? The big challenge is how servicers move borrowers out of forbearance to performing status. If we do this right, we can deliver a superior customer experience, keep borrowers in their homes, and reduce the workload for servicers.

SCOTT WHITTLE

Branch Manager/Vice President Presidential Bank Mortgage Age: 36 From his nomination: Scott Whittle started in the mortgage business in 2003 when he was 19 years old. He started as a loan officer in a real estate office marketing to a captured audience. Since then, Scott worked his way up to be a top producer/manager in his market for the last 15 years. Since 2009, Scott has managed the Colonial Heights branch of Presidential Bank Mortgage. In April 2020 Scott was promoted to manage the Richmond, Virginia Region in addition to his Colonial Heights branch. With all of Scott’s managerial duties his production topped 240 units for over $41 million in 2019 and is on track to breaking this record for 2020. Scott has also been ranked in the Top 10 in Virginia for VHDA first-time homebuyer production for the past 10 years. During the past 10 years Scott received the Platinum and Gold Award for VHDA. Scott participates heavily with the local real estate association and has received the affiliate of the year award for the years 2009, 2012, and 2018. He specializes in conventional, FHA, VA, VHDA and Rural Development loans. He enjoys the outdoors, specifically watersports, skiing, fishing and spending time with family and friends.

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New To Market column: E-mail: | editorial@ambizmedia.com

NEW TO MARKET DECEMBER 2020

Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation and Mortgage Coach are now integrated, making MGIC’s mortgage insurance quotes available through the Mortgage Coach home loan strategy and virtual presentation platform. Calyx’s Path loan origination software is now integrated with Marksman, a product and pricing engine from Mortech. With the integration, Path users will be able to access “accurate, real-time product and pricing information from leading wholesalers, correspondents and investors via the Mortech platform.” Digital lending technology provider eOriginal released ClosingCenter 2.3, which includes a remote online notarization hub that the

company says will increase the flexibility for delivering remote and contactless mortgage closings for lenders. Qualia, a digital real estate closing platform, launched its Physical Document Service. The Physical Document Service gives lenders the ability to automate the management of paper trailing documents from title partners through Qualia. Mortech added new mortgage marketplace partners to give lenders additional market opportunities to advertise real-time mortgage offers and expand reach to customers.

OptifiNow enhanced its integration with MeridianLink’s LendingQB, a browser-based SaaS mortgage loan origination platform. The integration will offer “unique solutions” for wholesale mortgage lenders, according to an OptifiNow. Quontic Bank will be adding its NonQualifying Mortgage service offering to the Lender Price Marketplace.  ORSNN, a fintech startup specializing in end-to-end solutions for managing and trading portfolios, launched a private beta platform that provides financial institutions with “a low-cost, transparent and automated loan-trading system.”

Stavvy launched a native eSign functionality in hopes to empower hybrid closings for mortgage lenders and their settlement agents. The new features gives banks, lenders, settlement agents, and borrowers the ability to complete closing transactions remotely by leveraging the Stavvy suite of tools and products as applicable based on local laws or regulations.

First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation relaunched Maverick Solutions, its proprietary Non-QM product line. The company released its Achiever Expanded Credit, Champion Prime Jumbo and Visionary Investment products for wholesale and nondelegated delivery.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 44 NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

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ONLINE SECURITY

Hackers Having A Banner Year

Even during a pandemic, there are other viruses to worry about BY MATTHEW BRODERICK | CONTRIBUTING WRITER, NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL

O

ver the past several months COVID-19 – with its state-bystate fluctuation of spikes and flattening –transformed nearly all aspects of society from social life to business to education. But as millions of American from kindergarten to the corporate C-Suite transitioned to a virtual world of remote logins and teleworking, another potential threat was escalating: the heightened risk of cybercrime and ransomware. As hackers see new opportunities like a pandemic, says Nate Gravel, vice president of information security and IT for Massachusetts-based GraVoc, an information security firm with more than 450 clients, they look to exploit it. “Like anybody else, [even] hackers follow market trends,” he said. And those trends, particularly with ransomware – a type of cyberattack in which company or client data is hacked, encrypted and held for ransom - evolved in recent years in the frequency of attacks, the number

of target industries and the size of the ransom amounts.

A GROWING THREAT Cyber security threats like ransomware are not a new phenomenon. According to a 2019 report Cybersecurity Ventures, a cybercrime industry publication, global ransomware damages are projected to increase from $325 million in 2015 to $20 billion by 2021. That was the projection before the pandemic hit. The coronavirus crisis presented increased cyber risk in two ways: the increased number of employees accessing networks remotely and the intensified use of COVID-related phishing attacks, the fraudulent practice of using emails to secure personal information such as password or client details. Shawn Stroud, director of information security at Sagent, a fintech company modernizing mortgage and consumer loan servicing for banks and lenders, says malicious actors are actively targeting mortgage companies with ransomware.

“There’s basically ransomware in a box and there’s not much sophistication needed in the small end of the market.” Bob Wice, head of underwriting management for cyber & tech at Beazley Group

Even indirect attacks against city government systems have had a direct impact on mortgage operations, by shutting down systems essential for completing home sales. “This comes at a critical time for the industry, when mortgage companies are operating at capacity, and the ability to quickly service their clients is a primary concern,” said Stroud.

FINANCIAL SERVICES TARGETED Healthcare and financial services companies, including banks and mortgage brokers, remain the top two most frequently targeted sectors for cyberattacks, given the sensitive personal and financial data they maintain. A 2020 report by the Cypris Group, a Virginia-based IT firm, found that nearly one-third of all cyberattacks collectively aimed at those two sectors. It’s like the notorious bank robber Willie Lohman said when asked why he robbed banks. “Because that’s where the money is.” In 2018, finance and insurance represented 7.4% (or $1.5 trillion) of U.S. gross domestic product. In 2019, the healthcare industry generated $2.4 trillion in revenue. Despite those figures and continuing risk, reported ransomware attacks among U.S. banks have trended downward over the past year. Between April 2019 through April 2020, according to data reported by the American Banking Association, ransomware attacks in the domestic

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Ransomware Protection For Smaller Companies Shawn Stroud is director of information security at Sagent, a Pennsylvania-based fintech company modernizing mortgage and consumer loan servicing for banks and lenders. He offers these steps smaller mortgage companies can take to help protect themselves: • Design a robust data backup process, and regularly test your capability to restore successfully. This is a key control and is really the only way to get your data back (without paying a ransom). Paying the ransom is not recommended, as there is no assurance that the bad guys will honor the payment and release the encryption keys, and paying the ransom could also put a target on the company (identifying it as one that has paid). Also, ensure that your backups are isolated when stored to ensure they are not affected by the ransomware. • Just as important as ensuring good backups is security awareness training. Your employees are on the front line when it comes to ransomware. They are the recipients of the phishing emails that are typically the infection vector for ransomware. Train employees often and well to identify phishing and other social engineering attacks. Conducting periodic phishing exercises is a good way to assess your staff’s awareness of phishing activity and gives an opportunity for targeted training for those who do fall for it. • Develop a comprehensive incident response plan. Part of a proactive approach to cybersecurity involves establishing the policies, procedures, and incident response routines for your company in the event of a ransomware attack. Your incident response plan should have a playbook specific to ransomware, detailing high level steps to contain and resolve the incident. Also, it is important to actually test your response plans. A scenario-based tabletop exercise including all relevant stakeholders is a good way to fine tune your procedures and gives everyone involved an opportunity to critically think about what would need to happen in a specific scenario. Smaller companies who are resource strapped should consider engaging a consulting service to provide incident management capabilities to avoid being stuck in a reactive mode when an incident occurs. • Ensure your cyber insurance covers ransomware. A good policy not only provides coverage for the costs of payouts (if that becomes an option), it also covers the cost of other extortion-related expenses such as consultants and attorney fees, and the costs to restore systems back to an operational state.

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CYBERSECURITY CONTINUED FROM PAGE 44

banking sector declined from 57 incidents to 40, a 34% year-overyear decrease. While there are no numbers available on ransomware attacks in the mortgage industry, their impact is devastating, says Stroud. “It is safe to say that mortgage companies will continue to be a target due to the opportunity they present to attackers. We operate in an environment dependent on complex systems and data to provide services. Attackers are increasingly sophisticated. They do their research and know that mortgage companies could be crippled by a ransomware attack,” he said. Even the big guys aren’t safe. In July, Opus Capital Markets Consultants LLC, a due diligence vendor for Freddie Mac was hit with a ransom demand. It said, at the time, no Freddie Mac data was misused or stolen. Still, Freddie Mac needed to contact all affected borrowers and extend free credit protection.

REDUCING EXPOSURE Another factor in reducing exposure to – and fallout from – cyberattacks. Gravel says, is more frequent back-up on data, a trend that has been on the upswing in recent years. “in the past, backups [of data servers] might have been done daily or even weekly,” Gravel said. “Now we’re seeing more companies backing up data incrementally throughout the day.” That extra measure of security can make a huge difference in the event of a ransomware attack. “Companies will often weigh the cost of lost productivity [staff time and resources] to restore the data vs. the cost of paying the ransom,” said Gravel. For instance, according to figures compiled by Sophos, an internet security firm, among organizations whose information was encrypted, more than twice as many retrieved their data via back-up (56%) rather than paying a ransom (26%). Backups are needed but not necessarily a be-all and end-all for mortgage originators, said Stroud. “Many mortgage companies cannot wait on an extended recovery time. The time it could take to restore from backup could extend over a week, which is an unacceptable timeframe for most companies to be dead in the water. Attackers are increasingly sophisticated and they understand this can increase their chances of a payout,” he explained.

CYBER INSURANCE And more companies – from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations – are adding in an extra layer of security through cyber insurance, which has seen steady growth in recent years, said Bob Wice, head of underwriting management for cyber & tech at Beazley Group, a Farmington, Connecticut-based insurance agency. Wice says market growth for insurance coverage has been particularly strong in the small business sector which is less likely to have robust cyber defense and is being targeted more frequently by a cyber -criminal market that, like a franchise model, provides malware tools as a service. “There’s basically ransomware in a box and there’s not much sophistication [needed] in the [small] end of the market,” Wice said. “These [novice] cyber criminals, are sending thousands of emails scattershot trying to get someone to click on a [ransomware] link.” But it’s not simply the indemnity coverage that make cyber insurance so attractive to customers, according to Wice. It’s the suite of services – especially for those without in-house IT support – that cyber insurers can deploy in the event of an attack. “Clients not only get the financial backstop of the insurance,” he said, “but also access to law firms, [cyber] forensics vendors, and crisis management teams so they have all these experts working on their behalf to make sure the loss [and impact] is mitigated.”

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MARKET WATCH

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Condos Selling For A Record 17% Discount to Single-Family Homes The desire for privacy during the pandemic is keeping a lid on condo prices

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he typical single-family home that sold in the U.S. this year was purchased for an average of 17.3% more ($58,000) than the typical condo, according to a new report from Redfin, a technology-powered real estate brokerage. That’s up from 15.4% last year and represents the largest premium since at least 2013, when Redfin began recording this data. The U.S. housing market has been on fire this year, with record-low mortgage rates and remote work prompting scores of Americans to relocate. But the condo market has missed out on much of the gains as homebuyers have left dense cities in search of more space and privacy—AKA single-family homes—during the coronavirus pandemic. The median sale price of single-family homes surged 15.5% year over year in October, outpacing the condo market’s 9.9% growth. Condos are also taking longer to sell—the typical condo spent 36 days on the market last month, compared with 27 days for the typical single-family home. And less than a quarter (22.8%) of condos sold for more than their listing price, compared with 36.6% of single-family homes. Purchases of condos, however, have been catching up. In October, condo sales rose 22.7% from a year earlier on a seasonally-adjusted basis, following a 50% plunge in the spring. That’s on par with the 23.3% growth in sales of single-family homes last month. “Condos sales are rebounding because buyers are finding great deals,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “Families are fleeing cities in search of more space in the suburbs, which has presented an opportunity for millennials who are looking to become homeowners but don’t need extra bedrooms or a backyard.”

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In the Fort Lauderdale, FL metropolitan area, single-family homes sold for an average of 38.3% more than condos in October—the largest premium of the 86 metros in this analysis. It was followed by Bakersfield, CA, with a 35.8% premium, and Lakeland, FL, at 34.3%. Oklahoma City, OK and Tucson, AZ rounded out the top five, both at 30.3%. In the Seattle metro, where single-family homes are selling for a 17.9% premium, condos are taking several months to sell rather than the usual couple of weeks, according to local Redfin real estate agent Forrest Moody. “Before the pandemic, it was challenging to find a condo in Seattle for less than $500,000, but now there are plenty selling for under $400,000. The people who are buying condos now are the people who couldn’t afford to buy one a couple of years ago because prices were so high,” he said. “I recently sold a condo that was within walking distance of Amazon’s headquarters for $510,000. Condos in that building normally go for $550,000 and up.”


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49


MARKET WATCH

Wholesaler Directory

Financial Anxiety, Uncertainty Keeping Sellers On Sidelines BY MANNY GARCIA,

SPECIAL TO NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL

Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions Specialty/ Niche: Non-QM, Non-Agency Bio: “Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions is the leader in the non-QM mortgage space. We offer alternative specialized mortgage solutions for brokers throughout the country helping borrowers who don’t fit conventional guidelines. We are pioneering a fresh approach to today’s mortgage lending challenges helping partners to grow their business.” States Licensed in: AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MI MN MS MT NE NV NH NJ NM NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VA WA WV WI WY DC www.angeloakms.com

A

bout a third of homeowners who are considering selling in the next three years cite life being too uncertain right now (34%) and financial uncertainty (31%) as reasons they aren’t selling. Nearly 40% of these potential sellers say they anticipate a higher sale price if they wait. Despite a market tilted decidedly in their favor—with demand sky-high and inventory at rock bottom— potential home sellers are largely staying on the sidelines, citing a variety of personal financial, lifestyle and/or health concerns as major reasons. Only 1% of homeowners recently surveyed by Zillow said their homes were currently listed for sale. Among the 99% whose homes are not on the market, more than a quarter (26%) said they were concerned they would not be able to find or afford a new home once their current home was sold, the most commonly cited reason for not selling. General life uncertainty (22%) was the secondmost common reason, followed by anticipation of a more favorable sale price if they wait (21%).

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Reasons for not selling vary by age group: More than a third (35%) of Gen Z and Millennial homeowners said their plans for or completion of a home renovation was a main reason to stay put, compared to just 21% and 14% of Gen X and older homeowners, respectively. Younger homeowners were also more likely to cite concern about COVID-19 (20% of Gen Z and Millennial and 18% of Gen X) as a reason for not selling than Boomer and Silent Generation homeowners (11%). Some homeowners realistically may simply enjoy their current home and have no need or desire to sell and move any time soon. But among homeowners considering selling within the next 3 years, 39% said they anticipate a better price if they wait. Among those who are not currently considering selling, but may be open to it after 3 years, 39% cite concern that they won’t be able to find or afford a new home. Concern over finding or affording a new home among those more likely to sell in the near-term was a bit more muted, but still very real: Almost a third (31%) of homeowners considering selling in the next three years say their plans are paused because they are concerned about finding or affording a new home. The findings are a clear example that selling a home can sometimes cut both ways: According to the 2020 Zillow Consumer Housing Trends Report, almost two-thirds (63%) of sellers are also buyers. But while these dual-track homeowners may be able to sell their home for top dollar, they will also turn around and enter an extremely competitive buyers’ market where homes are going under contract in 12 days.


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NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL

Calendar of Events

APRIL 2021

Sunday-Thursday, April 11-15 2021 Regional Conference of Mortgage Banker Associations Hard Rock Hotel Casino 1000 Boardwalk Atlantic City, New Jersey mbanj.com Thursday, April 15 2020 Carolinas Connect Mortgage Expo Embassy Suites Hilton Charlotte 4800 South Tryon St. Charlotte, North Carolina CarolinasConnectMortgage.com Tuesday-Thursday, April 27-29 2021 Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference MBA/MW + MMBBA MGM National Harbor 101 MGM National Ave. Oxon Hill, Maryland MARCMBA.org

MAY 2021

Tuesday-Thursday, May 4-6 Mortgage Star Conference for Women Sheraton Memphis Downtown 250 N Main St, Memphis, TN 38103 www.mortgage-star.net

Tuesday, May 18 Texas Mortgage Roundup – San Antonio Wyndham San Antonio Riverwalk, 111 E Pecan St San Antonio, TX txmortgageroundup.com

Tuesday, June 22 2021 Chicago Mortgage Originators Expo Holiday Inn Chicago SW 6201 Jollet Road Countryside, Illinois ChicagoOriginators.com

JUNE 2021

JULY 2021

Thursday-Friday, June. 10-11 2021 New England Mortgage Expo Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino 1 Mohegan Sun Blvd. Uncasville, Connecticut NEMortgageExpo.com

Thursday, July 22 2021 Arizona Mortgage Expo Wild Horse Pass Resort & Casino 5040 Wild Horse Pass Boulevard Chandler, AZ 85226 2021 Arizona Mortgage Expo www.azmortgageexpo.com

Thursday, June 3 2021 California Mortgage Expo— Irvine Hilton Irvine/Orange County Airport 18800 MacArthur Blvd. Irvine, California CAMortgageExpo.com

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 Great North West Mortgage Expo — Portland Holiday Inn Portland South 25425 SW 95th Ave., Wilsonville, OR 97070 www.greatnorthwestexpo.com

Tuesday, July 6 2021 Ultimate Mortgage Expo Hotel Monteleone 214 Royal St New Orleans, LA 70130 www.ultimatemortgageexpo.com

AUGUST 2021

Thursday, August 12 2021 California Mortgage Expo— San Diego Hyatt Regency La Jolla 3777 La Jolla Village Dr. San Diego, California CAMortgageExpo.com

Wednesday, May 5 Mid-South Mortgage Expo Sheraton Memphis Downtown 250 N Main St, Memphis, TN 38103 www.midsouthmortgageexpo.com Tuesday, May 11 2021 Motor City Mortgage Expo DoubleTree by Hilton Detroit— Dearborn 5801 Southfield Expressway Dearborn, Michigan MotorCityMortgageExpo.com

To submit your entry for inclusion in the National Mortgage Professional Calendar of Events, please e-mail the details of your event, along with contact information, to editorial@ambizmedia.com. All events are as of December 1, 2020 and are subject to change. NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

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FACEBOOK THOUGHTS

NICK ROBERSON

Just One Crisco Short Of A Full Cupboard

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Nick Roberson

Nick Roberson is a long-time mortgage industry veteran and a board member of the California Association of Mortgage Professionals. He’s a forthcoming and giving guy, who shares his … unique … perspective on work and life on his Facebook account. Here are some of Nick’s FB thoughts this month:

Quarantine Lesson #100: When flaunting your superior wealth to your neighbors by building a large toilet paper fort on your front lawn, it is best to make sure your lawn sprinkler controls are locked and secured. It looks like you are going to need some new toilet paper, Steve! It’s so awkward when you say goodbye to loved ones on the phone and you’re like, “I love you,” and they’re like, “Thank you for choosing Dominos.” *Brings therapist to family gathering* Me: See? Therapist: Oh. My. God.

Quarantine Lesson #99: If anyone ever tries to break into my house they won’t get very far. They’ll trip over all of my daughter’s shoes and die. The End. My daughter Savannah and I were doing a big wholehouse cleaning over the weekend preparing for the holidays. Savannah was giving her room a really good cleaning for the first time in a while. I kept hearing these little yells of excitement emanating from her room over the loud music. Once her room was done she called me in to view the masterpiece and her first words were, “Dad look, I have a floor!”. It was a beautiful thing. Then she proceeded to tell me she went through all of her clothes pockets, purses, and old backpacks and she found a grand total of $91. You heard me right. My daughter had all that cash hiding in her room. She cleans 1 room and finds $91. I cleaned the entire house and found 17 cents and an Oreo cookie hidden in the sofa cushions. As I

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sit here eating my sofa Oreo, I ask you, where is the justice, my friends?

Quarantine Lesson #98: I am so touched by the outpouring of concern I am receiving. It is so comforting to know there are so many companies out there watching out for me. I am just so grateful for the reminders that my car’s warranty is expiring. Granted, I still have 2 years left on my warranty, but it is comforting just the same. Oh, and thank you Marriott for the many calls each week regarding the wonderful vacation opportunities. It’s so touching. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Quarantine Lesson #97: After spending the last couple of hours cleaning out my cabinets, the only two things I am missing from being my grandparents, is a 5-pound block of cheese in the freezer, and a gallon container of Crisco shortening in the cupboard. Everything else....yeah...I’ve got that.

Quarantine Lesson #96: If you feel awkward when someone tries to hand you their baby to hold, just say, “No thanks, I’m a vegetarian.” That should do the trick. I think it would be great if Walmart added an upper level observation deck with a bar.

Quarantine Lesson #95: I probably should’ve made sure the windows in my home office were completely closed before my landscaper arrived. I just realized I have been breathing in the fumes from the leaf blower for the last 10 minutes. Someone needs to get these damn monkeys out of my office, and I really wish this penguin would stop staring at me! Savannah and I were just looking for a movie to watch last night. I stopped on one and said, “How about this one. Are you okay with goofy and funny?” She said, “I put up with you.” Then she giggled hysterically. I decided we would watch an emotionally scarring horror movie instead.

To see more by Nick, just go to www.facebook. com/nickroberson.


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