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JANUARY 2021

nmp

Volume 13, Issue 1

NEW TECH FOR NEW CLIENTS

7 TIPS

TO CONVERT SPECIAL SECTION:

TOP MORTGAGE EMPLOYERS

SEEING SUCCESS Economists Like Ali Wolf Say 2021 Will Be Banner For Mortgage Biz

LEADS TO LOANS

RECRUITING BOOMERANG LOs


BACK COVER

PARTNER WITH THE LEADER IN NON-QM MORTGAGE LENDING MORE EXPERTISE | MORE SERVICE | MORE TECHNOLOGY

Visit AngelOakMS.com | 877.926.3073 ŠAngel 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-tobusiness 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. MS_A252_1220


nmp

JANUARY 2021

FRONT COVER

Volume 13, Issue 1

NEW TECH FOR NEW CLIENTS

7 TIPS

TO CONVERT SPECIAL SECTION:

TOP MORTGAGE EMPLOYERS

SEEING SUCCESS Economists Like Ali Wolf Say 2021 Will Be Banner For Mortgage Biz

LEADS TO LOANS

RECRUITING BOOMERANG LOs


ACC Mortgage is a US Treasury Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that supports community economic development and provides credit to underserved markets. © 2020 All Credit Considered Mortgage, Inc. d/b/a ACC Mortgage · NMLS ID 176724 · 1801 Research Blvd., Suite 410, Rockville, MD 20850 · (877) 349-0501. Not all loan programs are available in all areas. Program restrictions may apply. All rights reserved. This is not an offer or extension of credit or a commitment to lend. Licenses are held as follows: Arkansas combination Mortgage-Banker-Broker-Servicer license #119499; Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act License #41DBO-102821; Connecticut Mortgage Lender License ML-176724; Delaware Lender License #020786 ; Florida Mortgage Lender Servicer #MLD953; Georgia Mortgage Lender License #46424; Idaho Mortgage Broker/Lender License #MBL-2080176724; Illinois Residential Mortgage License MB.6761111; Indiana-DFI Mortgage Lending License #40794; Maryland Mortgage Lender License #6625; Michigan 1st Mortgage Broker/Lender License #FL0022183; Minnesota Residential Mortgage Originator License # MN-MO-176724; Nevada Mortgage Lender License 4619; New Jersey Residential Mortgage License; North Carolina Mortgage Lender License L-164875; Oklahoma Mortgage Lender License #ML012740; Oregon Mortgage Lending License #ML-5825; Pennsylvania Mortgage Lender License 51566; South Carolina-BFI Mortgage Lender/Servicer License MLS-176724; Tennessee Mortgage License #181409; Texas SML Mortgage Company License; Utah-DFI Residential First Mortgage Notification; Virginia Lender Licensed by the Virginia State Corporate Commission as MC-1856; Washington Consumer Loan Company License #CL-176724; Wisconsin Mortgage Banker License #176724BA; District of Columbia Mortgage Dual Authority License #MLB176724. Revised: September 16, 2020.

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| NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE


JANUARY 2021

Volume 13 Number 1

CONTENTS On The Cover: Ali Wolf. nationalmortgageprofessional.com 4 The Path Forward The months ahead should bring a healthier world to complement a healthy mortgage market.

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

6 Bringing Back Brokers How to recruit retired LOs and Brokers back to sell for you.

15 Build-A-Broker: Seven Steps To Securing Clients Reaching potential borrowers is one thing. Converting them to actual clients takes a little more effort. Here’s how to do it.

8 Having A Voice Beyond Virtual Virtual conferences have their virtues, but they also have their drawbacks. How to make a better marketing plan in a virtual world. 12 Piloting A Program For Potential Home Borrowers How federal and Florida officials are working on a program that helps borrowers overcome credit challenges.

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18 This Is How We Do It Your business process could be even more important than your business plan. 20 ‘Tis The Season For Action Heroes Successful mortgage leaders are ones who put a lot of stock in actual experience, and in letting considered action triumph over endless deliberation.

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COVER STORY PAGE 32

The forecast for this year looks to be amazing.

24 SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION TOP MORTGAGE EMPLOYERS 32 COVER STORY HOME LENDING INDUSTRY LOOKS TO A BANNER YEAR Top housing economists, mortgage trade association leaders land on the same page: the forecast for this year looks to be amazing. 38 Covid 19 Cyberattacks Ramp Up Find four payment, security tips for brokers to safeguard their financial information.

43 New To Market The new products impacting your day-to-day work. 44 Make Your Video Calls Sharper Quick tips for improving your video calls and meetings. 47 Powering Up Ideas For Better Connections JD Power says customer satisfaction surveys show a big problem with broker communications to borrowers. Here’s what needs to be done to fix that. 53 NMP Calendar of Events 54 Facebook Thoughts: AKA, ‘Were They Really Happy Holidays?”

Find four payment, security tips for brokers to safeguard their financial information.

nationalmortgageprofessional.com

NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

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JANUARY 2021

nmp

JANUARY 2021

Volume 13, Issue 1

NEW TECH FOR NEW CLIENTS

7 TIPS

TO CONVERT SPECIAL SECTION:

TOP MORTGAGE EMPLOYERS

SEEING SUCCESS

RECRUITING BOOMERANG LOs

Economists Like Ali Wolf Say 2021 Will Be Banner For Mortgage Biz

LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER

Hope Beckons

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Volume 13, Number 1

STAFF CEO, PUBLISHER & EDITOR Vincent M. Valvo

he mortgage industry is in a very strange place, philosophically, emotionally, practically. Across the nation – indeed, the whole world – Covid-19 is in the midst of a massive surge, infecting hundreds of thousands, killing tens of thousands, shuttering businesses and forcing untold numbers onto unemployment rolls, into poverty and swaddling in despair. But at the same time, loan originators are having a year of financial rewards like no other. They can barely keep up with loan request volumes. Lenders are hiring thousands to process and underwrite the crush of refinance and purchase applications. Large lenders are seeing huge paydays by becoming publicly-traded companies. It’s almost nirvana, if it wasn’t a neighborhood carved out of hell. We know that money, while important, doesn’t beat the loss of friends and family. Many mortgage professionals may have had bigger bank accounts, but were faced with much smaller holiday tables.

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Beverly Bolnick

THE PATH FORWARD

HEAD OF ENGAGEMENT AND OUTREACH Andrew Berman

Let’s put aside, for the moment, the way 2020 has been a boon to business. We’re starting the new year in the midst of spiking infections and deaths. But there is light waiting for us further along this road ahead. Vaccines are rolling out. Some economic relief from the government is on the way. Winter is shortening, and Spring – with its promise of outdoor freedom – is just a few short months away. While the news through January will likely be dire – a result of too much holiday travel and merrymaking, coupled with too little compliance with mask-wearing – it’s probable that we’ll see these enormous numbers start a steep decline in February and March. By June, with vaccines across the nation, we should be seeing a reasonable return toward normalcy – not normal yet, but within sight, and so much better than we’re experiencing now. Throughout all of this, housing experts predict, the home financing market should stay strong. It’s good that our profession can do its part, helping folks refinance to ease their cash-flow strains, providing the funds for buyers to better their living arrangements. If 2020 was a stellar year for originator income, 2021 promises to do its part to keep the funds flowing. By mid-year, we hope, the best of both worlds will be here. Business will be strong, and our country will be healthy again. For a new year, it’s a wish and a prayer, because we can’t be doing well until we’re all feeling well.

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

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LEADS TO LOANS

| NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE

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

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

© 2021 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


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AVE HERSHMAN

RECRUITING, TRAINING AND MENTORING CORNER

Mine Every Vein When You’re Looking To Hire Talented LOs Don’t bail on up-and-comers because you’re lacking a good training program. BY DAVE HERSHMAN | CONTRIBUTING WRITER, NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL

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learly, you know that your present loan offices and staff are an important tool within the recruiting process. Potential recruits want to know with whom and where they’ll work, and both of those elements can be good drivers of getting new employees. But there are a few additional components of your sphere which should not be ignored. In fact, they should be leveraged.

VENDORS Your vendors are a very important component of your sphere for both producing and recruiting. Meet with them every time they visit your office. They keep asking what they can do of value for you. Let them know—network and help recruit. Don’t just put them in the position of recruiting from your competitors that are their other customers. On the other hand, they should know when other companies are having problems and their loan officers are looking. With regard to novice loan officers, they have

contacts outside the industry as well – including some that are vendors to the industry. These vendors can help with other tasks such as training. Synergy rule number three indicates that some targets are more effective than others—and those who service the industry will logically be the best targets—if utilized in the right way. They also have significant knowledge of industry candidates which will help in the assessment phase. For example, it would be good to know how their closings go before you hire them. A basic synergy rule: Stop purchasing from those who are not helping you succeed! Your job is to let your vendors know what you need and be very specific about this need, so they know where to look and when to recognize the opportunity. Having your goals set with regard to the type of loan officer candidate you are looking for, will help tremendously in this regard, as you must let the vendor specifically know the types of loan officers you are targeting.

you have worked with in the past

YOUR PREVIOUS COWORKERS

provide, the better position you will

We have already discussed the target of boomerang loan officers – originators who’ve exited the business, but who might want to get back in. If this is a target you have decided to focus upon, you should first start with those you have worked with who are no longer in the business. Assuming you have been in the industry for a long time, this list should be quite extensive. This is not to say that everyone

are no longer in the business. Those previous coworkers who are still working in the business also know other loan officers who are no longer in the business. And they may be candidates themselves and/or know additional experienced loan officers that may be looking. Going back to the concept of cold calling, certainly those you have worked with over the years represent a better base of candidates and referral sources, as compared to those who you don’t know. Some of these loan officers you have done favors for and may have mentored.

YOUR OLD RESUME FILE Those you have tried to recruit in the past may have not been ready at that time, but months or years later, the timing could be right. You should have been keeping in touch by calls or by delivering content value on a regular basis, including newsletters, articles, referrals or marketing ideas. The more value you be in when the time is right. At the same time, you should be networking with these previous candidates on a regular basis regarding other candidates of whom they are aware. Continuous and consistent leveraging of this “farm” will yield results in the long run.

Dave Hershman, senior vice-president of sales for Weichert Financial Services.


SPONSORED EDITORIAL

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Top Employer Spotlight: EMM Loans, LLC

ver the last several years the mortgage industry has become increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and often ambiguous. Much like the world around us. To thrive in such an environment and to prepare for a future that might amplify some of these characteristics, EMM Loans has developed a high performing company culture. The EMM Loans culture centers on its customers. At some companies, having a large number of customers would be seen as the natural result of a high performing company. At EMM Loans that isn’t the result they strive for. They strive for more. EMM’s goal is to make Raving Fans of every customer, to convert them into evangelists that help spread the amazing loan experience. But their culture isn’t exclusively focused on external customers. They strive to create Raving Fans of all internal work groups as well. In a well-tuned company like EMM Loans, cultural traits are embedded throughout, creating success both internally and externally. Transparency and communication are two core cultural traits at EMM Loans. For example, the processing group keeps all participants in the transaction up to date with a timely status, proactively identifying any challenges, being the subject matter experts and working relentlessly to bring the file to the closing table expeditiously. The underwriting team strives to be consistent, collaborative and reliable. All teams work harmoniously together to deliver a Raving Fan experience unlike any other. Most important, every EMM teammate represents the face of the company, they are all brand ambassadors, trafficking the flow of internal and external communications. The management team recognizes that it is an integral part of the communications process. No ivory towers at EMM Loans. Communication is easy via their online portal, where employees and leaders can post shout-outs or quick words of thanks and offer recognition, rewards and kudos. Employees can also use this portal to ask questions or offer advice. It offers a transparent system that shares insight into what employees and management are thinking. Another pillar of the EMM Loans high performance culture is resiliency. Most people can work within the norm. Do what is expected. To create fans, you have to do the unexpected, you have to rise to the occasion and be willing to put in the extra effort. You have to find the insight that will allow you to complete the task at hand, even if that insight isn’t very apparent. You have to show the exceptional you. One Internal Raving Fan wrote: “I am absolutely blown away by the drive and professional manner in which this company runs. I have worked for at least nine different lending institutions in my 23-year mortgage career and no one even comes close to this operation.” An important component to EMM’s culture is empowerment. At EMM Loans they don’t worry about how many hours someone works, they worry about the accomplishments that come from those hours. They also understand that when someone is hired, it’s a human capital investment that goes both ways.

To empower and enable employees, EMM helps them learn and gives them access to support. Their online portal does just that, giving employees access to learning videos, documents, tech support, human resources and the ability to make requests from marketing. They offer one central repository of knowledge and support to help employees improve while also reducing the time needed to find what they are looking for. Employees at EMM Loans believe that what they do matters. That will always be the biggest boost to productivity. They realize that borrowers are counting on them to help realize their dream of homeownership. That’s a big responsibility. One that EMM and its people take seriously. To be a high-performance company one has to embrace technology and be able to adapt to innovation. After being relatively stagnant for years, technological change in the mortgage industry has accelerated greatly. EMM Loans welcomes these changes and views them as a chance to explore better ways of doing things. This intellectual curiosity is another quality embedded in its company culture. Sometimes how productive you are, depends on the tools you have. To find the right tools you have to experiment and learn. That is how EMM developed its EZ Path digital lending platform. It allows you to scale volume with guided consumer experiences, asset verification, simplified document collection, and more, giving sales everything, they need to get an applicant pre-approved in minutes from one intuitive interface while saving time otherwise spent on entering loan applications. EMM Loans also believes that inclusion is the gold standard of employee-centric and customer-centric companies. Their employees are part of a team. When one succeeds, they all succeed, when one fails, they all fail. To be part of a team, rather than just an employee, one has to be supportive, and accept support. To be included, and in turn, include others. And overall, to be part of a culture that supports and fosters a sense of belonging. At EMM Loans, everyone has a voice. Teammates at EMM Loans are lucky enough to have this sense of belonging. It’s the foundation of its mission, to spread the feeling of community. That is why they have a commitment to giving back. They support local charities like emergency food provider Cathedral Kitchen, national hunger relief organization Feeding America and the MBA Open Doors Foundation. Everyone wants to be their best. EMM Loans understands that the job is not only to help one be the best loan officer, underwriter or processor. Their core competency is to help its employees be the best they can be. By surrounding employees with a team of people that communicate freely, work smart, are empowered to act and to continuously learn. EMM Loans puts its employees, and the company, in a position to perform at their highest level. They are evolving into a high-performance company culture that will serve well moving forward.

If this sounds like the kind of company, you would like to be a part of, they would love to hear from you. www.joinemmloans.com NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

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NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

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THE XX FACTOR

How To Get Your Company Message To Click This Year Marketing in a time of virtual fatigue

RICA LACENTRA

BY ERICA LACENTRA | CONTRIBUTING WRITER, NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL

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ith 2020 finally over and 2021 just kicking off, your marketing strategy for the new year should be top of mind. However, contrary to what some may think or hope, COVID isn’t just going to disappear right away in the new year, meaning in-person events are still a big question mark for many companies. If you’re like me, the thought of potentially having another quarter or more of all major networking happening virtually seems bleak. Not because virtual options don’t offer a decent alternative, but because even after a break for the holidays, the industry is overloaded with virtual events, webinars, and zoom call after zoom call and the virtual fatigue is real. This poses significant challenges for

| NATIONAL

marketers that are trying to fight for customers’ attention through the virtual clutter. So how do you cut through the noise and effectively market in a time when virtual options have lost their luster?

BE STRATEGIC Even though virtual fatigue is a real problem, that doesn’t mean you should count out all virtual marketing channels. It just means that you have to be more strategic in your efforts. Long gone are the days of plastering your banner ads on every industry publication website and waiting for the clicks to roll in. First, your best bet is to figure out a layered marketing strategy, one that ties together your print and digital marketing efforts to reinforce your messaging. For instance, if you purchased a fullpage ad in an industry publication, for the month that its running, look into what digital marketing offerings the publication also offers that you could run in conjunction with your print ad. You are going to make much more of an impression on your potential customers if they see your print advertisement, then a banner advertisement in the publication’s weekly e-newsletter a week later, and then also see your banner ad on the publication’s website after that. You stand out from your competitors because you are making sure your company and product offering is top of mind. The important thing to keep in mind with a strategy like this is

MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE

that all marketing assets you are running, in both print and digital forms, need to have consistent messaging and branding. This ensures you will have a cohesive campaign that will increase your ad recall with potential customers.

CONTENT IS STILL KING Regardless of the virtual clutter, relevant and actionable content will continue to be an area you’ll want to devote marketing resources to in 2021. Webinars can still be a good avenue to generate business this year as long as you can provide your audience with solid content. Hosting a webinar that is just shameless self-promotion is not going to cut it. Determine the different customer groups you want to target with your webinars and start mapping out different topics that will provide true value for each of them. Think about what pain points current or potential customers have, and what information you could share that can remedy those issues. Presentations with broad topics are going to get lost in the shuffle because potential attendees may not be able to immediately see how they are relevant to them. Tailoring your topics so that they have a clear, actionable benefit for attendees is one of the best ways to have successful webinars throughout the year. If you’re struggling to develop content on your own, reach out to partners who may be able to provide added benefits for your current and future customers. For


example, hosting a panel-style webinar with partners who offer services that compliment your company’s offerings are a good way to give attendees access to trusted vendors that can alleviate areas of stress in their businesses. This will not only draw a good audience, but it gives you the ability to incorporate some self-promotion into the webinar without making it obvious.

GET CREATIVE Much like 2020, 2021 is also going to require some creativity when it comes to getting your marketing plan just right. Virtual events were a creative solution for not being able to host events in person, but they have quickly lost their appeal because many lack the ability to have the same interactions you could have face-to-face. Virtual speed networking events seem to be filling that void and are increasing in popularity. These shorter events, usually 1-hour max, allow you to have short 5 to 10-minute interactions with

folks that are also looking to make new connections and expand their networks. I’ve even seen platforms that allow you to create your networking profile ahead of time, list what type of products or services you are looking to speak with people about, and even add or remove other attendees to your networking lineup based on matching information to ensure you will be talking to the right people. Another way to make virtual events feel more personal is to add a physical component when possible. Many virtual events have started sending their attendees a small pre-event box with things like vendor swag items, gift cards for DoorDash or Grubhub so they can get a “conference lunch”, cocktail recipes to go along with a virtual happy hour and more. The real opportunity is that most of these items need companies to sponsor them to help cover the expense. While it may not seem like much, a recipient is much more likely to remember the company that provided a free lunch

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delivery while they attend the virtual event from the comfort of their couch over the company that had a big banner on the virtual tradeshow floor.

LOOK AHEAD, BUT NOT TOO FAR Just like 2020 required marketers to think fast on their feet, it appears that 2021 will follow a similar course until we are able to get back to a sense of normalcy. Instead of hoping for what’s to come, make sure your marketing plan has been adapted for the current reality too. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have numerous events on the schedule for this year, but I’ve also crafted my marketing plan with many new initiatives that I wouldn’t have even considered if a pandemic hadn’t thrown a wrench into things. All we can do now is hope for the best, while being prepared for the worst.

Erica LaCentra is director of marketing for RCN Capital.

“I cannot express how grateful I am to have a broker relationship with Ridgewood. Time and time again, you’re the lender I count on for personal attention and unparalleled service.” Mary Ann Scaggs Sr. Mortgage Loan Originator Purchase, NY

www.ridgewoodbank.com

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CLIENT SOLUTIONS

HUD, Florida Explore Credit Program For Stalled Loans BY PAMELA M. MARRON | CONTRIBUTING WRITER, NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL

PAM MARRON

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uch has been learned after listening to real estate agents and mortgage loan originators (MLO) on four priority issues that continue to stall pre-purchase clients from obtaining a mortgage. Within the last month, an effort to get specific resources lined up to assist pre-purchase clients who have encountered roadblocks to obtaining a mortgage has been ramped up. Prospective homebuyers often lose contract bids on limited homes for sale to cash buyers and flippers who don’t ask for seller concessions and can close quickly. To combat this, a pilot program that connects HUD housing counselors to MLOs and real estate agents to assist challenged clients needing pre-purchase help gained speed and changed course. Instead of seeking agencies that have all or most of the needed services at one organization, locating and promoting specific agency programs that assist clients in the four areas of help needed is the goal. The four areas of assistance needed are: · Credit help · Student loan debt refinancing · Down payment assistance · Budgeting A Zoom call was initiated by colleague Ellie Pepper, Relationships and Innovations Director at the National Housing Resource Center and organized with Michele Hartson, Executive Director of the Florida Housing Counseling Network and included seven HUD housing counseling agencies (HCA) and two MLOs.

CREDIT HELP IS PRIMARY CLIENT NEED Dealing with multiple credit issues that require attention to detail to get fixed as well as help interacting with creditors are primary needs of pre-

| NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE

purchase clients that are halted from purchasing a home. Loan originators and real estate agents have long voiced that having a person-to-person resource available that can assist these pre-purchase clients to stay on top of required tasks and provide this assistance for a reasonable cost is greatly needed. Too often, clients are directed to credit repair companies that dispute negative credit that returns when those disputes are required to be deleted during a mortgage process. Most MLOs have access to credit tools such as CreditXpert Wayfinder and What If Simulator but don’t know how to use tools to their full capacity or don’t have the time. So, Russell Graves, Executive Director of HUD HCA’s Consumer Credit and Budget Counseling and National Foundation for Debt Management spearheaded Homebuyercred.org, a deep dive credit improvement program to obtain home ownership. HUD certified counselors or certified debt management professionals work with pre-purchase clients to resolve credit issues and build better credit. These counselors follow up with the client every 30 days until the client reaches their desired score. This service has a referral feature where the referring real estate agent or loan originator can keep track of the client’s progress with the client’s permission. There is a fee for this service of $179, but loan originators can provide a credit back to the client for this fee at the loan closing.

STUDENT LOAN DEBT REFINANCING This service will address refinancing existing student loan debt to payments

commensurate with current income and to refinance defaulted student loans. A few resources have been provided and are being investigated.

DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE (DPA) DPA help with down payment, closing costs and prepaids can make prospective home purchasers competitive on a contract because then seller assistance with these funds is not needed. Knowing details about 1) all available DPA programs and 2) DPA differences from 1st mortgage underwriting criteria is a struggle for MLOs. DownPaymentResource.com is a paid resource that houses incredible detail about all U.S. DPA programs including popular county SHIP programs and city and state programs. But because of COVID, funds for some state, county and city programs have dwindled or have been diverted to other areas of need making some of these programs unavailable at present. So, Downpaymentresource.com started adding wholesaler DPA programs that are available to mortgage brokers and include Land Home Financial Services programs and Chenoa Fund partners such as Orion Lending.

BUDGETING FOR A HOME All HUD HCA’s have home budgeting help built into the DNA of their organizations. This seems like an area that most prospective homebuyers should know, but this area of help is greatly needed for younger home purchasers. A word about millennial purchasers…. many of them see homeownership as a far-off dream and are willing and relieved to receive education! Their hopefulness when they are provided options to obtain homeownership is inspiring!

Pamela M. Marron is a senior loan originator with Innovative Mortgage Services Inc.


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

BUILD-A-BROKER How To Make Your Leads Want To Become Your Clients How To Avoid Business Errors By Mapping Your Process YOUR FIRST MILLION DOLLARS Why Planning For Action Is Important, But Taking Action Is Better Photo credit: iStockphoto / kupicoo

CAREER TICKER: People On The Move

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE //

> Lending

Home’s Board of Directors appointed Michael Bourque as the company’s CEO.

> Churchill

Mortgage promoted Kevin J. Hanna to president of the company’s Northwest Region.

> LRES

Corporation appointed Layna Braze as its director of valuations administration.

> Borden

Hoskins joined the Mortgage Bankers Association as associate vice president of legislative affairs.

NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

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BUILD-A-BROKER

7 Tips To Convert Mortgage Leads Generated Online BY MICHAEL MCALLISTER | SPECIAL TO NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL

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ortgage loan originators love a good lead. They love leads from real estate agents. They love leads from previous customers. They love leads from any contact in the banking industry. Now, they are learning to love leads from their online marketing efforts. They love that they’re getting huge lead generation from their social media, online advertising effort, etc. What they don’t love is that they just can’t seem to convert those leads into loans at the same rate they did from their more traditional sources. Mortgage loan officers must realize converting Internet leads requires a different skillset and maybe a different timeline than they previously experienced. But there is hope. Lenders who follow these seven tips to convert sales funnel leads into loan applications will learn to truly love their online leads and be able to convert them in less time than they may think:

your website or one of your automated campaigns. Text messages are the preferred manner of contact for about 80 percent of respondents. Your text should just be a quick either-or question. For example, “Are you interested in applying for a mortgage or seeking general information about the mortgage process?” is a great initial question. This allows you to begin building a profile of the lead to gauge how strong of a prospect you’re contacting. Of course, if they say they are interested in applying, call them right away and start the application process right on the phone. Otherwise, engage with them via text and ask a few questions about their credit, income, debt, and assets to build rapport. You can also identify if it is somebody you can actually help.

1. BE RESPONSIVE

2. KEEP RECORDS OF CONTACTS

As house hunters are taking control of their home buying journeys, they expect to also gain more control over how they obtain a mortgage. A piece of that journey is that they expect immediate answers. Therefore, you should respond within five minutes of when they supply contact information through

This is an important step in the process that many mortgage lenders must adapt to. If your company has a customer relationship management program, put it to use for your advantage. You might be dragged into the CRM world grumbling and complaining, but once you learn to leverage the data to your advantage,

Michael McAllister

you’ll be able to convert at a higher rate. Log each communication you have with your prospect and add details about the transaction. Did you learn where they want to buy? What is their budget? How much do they have for a down payment? Do they have two kids and a dog? The more details you have about the lead and the more you can keep that at your fingertips, the more you’ll impress them during future communications. If you don’t have a fancy CRM, you can still do the same work with a spreadsheet. The advantage of a CRM, however, is that you can record this CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE //

> Churchill

Mortgage promoted Kathy Cook to vice president of closing.

> Cherry Creek

Holdings Group, LLC promoted Rick Seehausen as the chief operating officer of Cherry Creek Holdings.

> New American

Funding cofounder and president Patty Arvielo, will serve on the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Residential Board of Governors in 2021.

> Sierra Pacific

Mortgage Company, Inc. hired Joseph Moran as the company’s chief compliance officer and general counsel.

NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

15


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15

6. GET THE APPLICATION Never forget, the biggest commitment you can get from an Internet lead is for them to fill out the application. Be ready at any stage to take that giant step, whether online, over the phone, or in your office. Did you realize that Quicken Loans pays their bankers based on when they file an application, not on the close of the mortgage? That’s how valuable the application is. The easier and quicker you can make the application process, the more customers are going to buy in. information from wherever you are, whether that’s in the office, at home, or on your phone in the car.

3. BE PERSISTENT Continue to follow up with your leads. Salesforce notes the average sales conversion takes about 6 to 8 touches, so don’t get discouraged if your lead isn’t ready to make an application on the second contact. You can vary your contact methods after the first text or call. Add them to an email list or link them to your YouTube channel. How often you’ll make contact will depend on how good of a prospect you consider them to be. Those high on your scale should get more frequent contact, while those down the list might just get a reminder email after a week or two.

4. GIVE JUST ENOUGH INFO TO HOP ON A CALL Some leads might just be fishing for information from you while they take their buying journey elsewhere. If they ask how much they need for a down payment, say something like, “It depends upon your goals.” Then ask how much they have saved and how much they would be comfortable spending on a monthly payment. Some Internet leads also might

be your competitors just testing your system and trying to get inside information from you. Don’t sound like you’re hiding information — just develop a feel about how far the lead might be in their journey toward an application before you share your valuable knowledge.

5. LEARN THEIR HOUSING DESIRES Shopping for a house is much more fun than lining up the mortgage. It’s easier to get your prospective lead to talk about what neighborhood they are interested in, what they expect to pay monthly, or what length of a mortgage they feel comfortable with. Drawing this information from the lead gives you a greater feel for how close they might be to actually buying a house and applying for a mortgage. With the Internet, many buyers jump into the research journey well before they are ready to actually buy a house. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good prospects, but they might take longer to buy a house. It may just mean they need someone who will make them feel comfortable enough to take the next step.

7. KEEP IT HUMAN; KEEP IT REAL Don’t forget to have some fun with your customers along the journey. Just because it’s the Internet doesn’t have to mean it’s going to be an impersonal journey. Make sure they know you’re sharp as a tack, enthusiastic as hell, and ready at any moment to usher them through the journey. Buying a house is a huge event in most of your customers’ lives, so they must feel they are working with someone trustworthy with the greatest integrity — someone they like! If so, they will understand you are looking after their interests and will put their faith in your hands at this most important time in their lives. That, my friend, is how you take an impersonal Internet lead through a journey from mere curiosity to being a serious mortgage applicant. Hopefully, when you have shown them your passion for helping people get into their dream homes, you’ll even turn them into brand evangelists who are willing to promote your services.

Michael McAllister is the founder of both Empower Funnels and Idaho Mortgage Source.

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE //

> Guaranty

Home Mortgage Corporation named Candy BurkeRobertson as executive vice president for the company’s national operations.

16

> ServiceLink

hired Ryan Vogt as its vice president, national sales representative for both origination and default clients.

| NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE

> Guaranty

Home Mortgage Corporation named Chip Adkins as the company’s chief strategy officer.

> Promontory

MortgagePath, a provider of digital mortgage and tech-driven fulfillment solutions, hired Diane Capers as a regional vice president in the company’s sales division.


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17


MARY KAY SCULLY

BENCHMARKS & BEST PRACTICES

It’s All A Process

Time to take a look at how you get things done BY MARY KAY SCULLY | CONTRIBUTING WRITER, NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL

J

path, it’s also easy to make errors. According to STRATMOR, 3 of 5 loans originated contain a critical error that could cost the loan officer a referral down the road. Critical errors include:

AVOIDING CRITICAL ERRORS

The word “critical” makes these errors sound catastrophic when many of the issues listed above can be fixed with diligent communication. To fix some of the most common critical errors, have a communication process in place and stick to it. Keeping up or following up with borrowers can often make the difference between a successful close and a rocky one. Any compliance or critical errors cost valuable time, money and ultimately create risk. It is imperative that loan officers are on top of their game and follow the processes set out for them if they want to be efficient, accurate and helpful.

anuary is a good time to do inventory, not just of your education but of your processes and procedures for the year. The truth is, not everyone is always on the same page. Especially with remote work and the effects of 2020, processes have changed and without being in the office to discuss these changes, many employees might not be up to speed. Without clear protocols, it is easy to slip into bad habits or cut corners. Even where processes are clearly spelled out for loan officers, sometimes they may need an update. One of the many lessons 2020 has taught us is that you must adapt and change to survive and thrive. Many procedures that worked in 2019 have changed drastically to accommodate a challenging economic year. If your processes have remained unchanged, it’s time to reevaluate. Having clear-cut and up-to-date processes and procedures ensure that every loan is being handled in a safe and compliant way while borrowers receive the service they need.

When processes veer off their normal

· Not providing a checklist · Not asking for documents multiple times · Not calling the borrower for updates · Not closing at the expected rate and fee · Not contacting prior to closing · Not starting the closing on time · Not closing in expected timeframe · Experiencing problems · Requiring unreasonable documentation · Providing inaccurate closing documents

EVALUATING CURRENT PROCESSES While many times the issue that surfaces is due to miscommunication or mistakes, sometimes it’s specific to the

process itself. If that’s the case, it’s time to reevaluate. Experiencing a critical error in a file not only reduces your chances of a referral, but it also costs your organization money. Having a definitive mortgage process is critical in the regulated mortgage world and essential for productivity, quality and customer service. Loan volume surges generally strain a process. Add a pandemic, an increase of remote employees and your process may be experiencing a level of instability beyond what is normally seen with a volume surge. It is vital that you review your process and metrics to help identity instability and assess the cause and magnitude. Your LOS may generate reports, but are you sure you know what they mean in the current operating environment? To start reviewing fall out may not be useful without reviewing where in the process the fall out is occurring, and identifying the reason and fall out type (cancelled, withdrawn, net operating income, denial, etc.). Do take notice of trends. Do some loan officers, processors etc. have a higher number? If so, it could indicate a training issue. For example, reviewing approvals vs. declines may not be valuable without reviewing the number of change of circumstances per loan, the number of counter offers (i.e. a change of product or program) or the number of non-standard conditions issued at approval. Similarly, reviewing the number of days from approval to close may not be valuable without also reviewing title issues like ordering delay, defect, backlog due to COVID-19; collateral issues like valuation errors or appraisal delays; or even borrower-related


Having clear-cut and up-to-date processes and procedures ensure that every loan is being handled in a safe and compliant way. delays tied to homeowners insurance, income interruption, unsatisfied conditions or insufficient funds to close. By looking at these items you may discover an opportunity for education or a clarification of your process and sometimes it will need some alterations. Some will be easy fixes and others will take more time and effort. Masking a metric can be disastrous. As an example, to reduce the number of holds or suspends, the lender’s operations team has increased the number of non-standard conditions on approvals thus reducing the number of files that are suspended

and reducing the number of days from origination to approval. However, the file may need multiple reviews with the possibility the conditions may not be able to be satisfied. The cost of this exercise extends beyond reputational risk and internal expenses – it even may result in secondary market fees and negative customer service impact. Lenders must identify any issues sooner rather than later to ensure 2021 is a more productive and successful year.

up to speed. If this is the case, it is time to put a renewed emphasis on education. Taking the time to make sure everyone is on the same page can make all the difference. People often make errors simply because they were not educated about the procedures in place. Start 2021 with education initiatives that get everyone up to speed to ensure a high quality of production.

NEW YEAR, NEW PROCESSES Protocols have clearly shifted in 2020 – as has nearly everything else. Start 2021 by reevaluating and redefining processes, if needed, or educating your loan officers to make sure that everyone is well-equipped to avoid critical errors. Most importantly, in this new year, be open to adapt and change – no matter what the year throws at you.

INVEST IN PEOPLE As mentioned, sometimes the process is not the issue – it may just be that loan officers need to be brought

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

Hussey AlexAlex 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.

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19


LEADERSHIP LESSONS

Achievement Takes More Than A Dream Why we should never stop learning our lessons. BY HARVEY MACKAY | SPECIAL TO NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL

A

scrawny old man wanted to get a job at a nearby lumberjack camp so he approached the boss who politely tried

scrawny old

The old man smiled and said, “Sure,

persistent man picked up an ax and proceeded to chop down a

to talk him out of the idea, thinking

huge tree in

the old man wouldn’t be able to fell a

record time.

tree, much less keep up with the daily

“That’s incredible,” the boss said.

quotas. “Give me a few minutes of your time, and I’ll show you what I can

“Where did you learn to fell trees like that?” “Well,” said the old man, “you’ve

do,” suggested the man. When the two arrived at a grove

heard of the Sahara Forest?”

of trees needing to be cleared, the

you mean the Sahara Desert?”

Hesitantly the boss replied, “Don’t

that’s what it’s called now.”

YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO “Achievers are producers,” writes Glenn Van Ekeren. “They understand the world will not recognize them for what they could have done, should have done or would have done. Recognition is experience by proving what you can do by doing it.” Achievement is one of the desires that drives us. Why do you think we have various awards like Grammys, Emmys, Oscars, Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes, not to mention numerous halls of fame? “Who’s Who in America” grows larger with every edition because people feel the need to be recognized. “The number of new products available and the new inventions which make life easier from generation to generation all testify to mankind’s thirst for more achievement,” wrote authors Leonard and Thelma Spinrad. “No matter what kind of society or political system a country may have, it seeks to provide recognition for what it regards as CONTINUED ON PAGE 22

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE //

> Reggora added Paul Deeley as chief financial officer.

20

> Promontory

MortgagePath, a provider of digital mortgage and tech-driven fulfillment solutions, hired Greg Burns as a regional vice president in the company’s sales division.

| NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE

> Reggora hired Emma Brudner as head of people strategy.

> PMI Rate

Pro hired Eric Low as its vice president of information technology.


NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

21


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 20

Achievement is one of the desires that drives us. Why do you think we have various awards like Grammys, Emmys, Oscars, Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes? achievement.”

through brainstorming with others,

Outstanding efforts, great courage,

exploring the world around you,

heroic deeds, superior commitment

and seeking opportunities to learn

and innovative accomplishments all are

new things. · Challenge yourself. Don’t wait

spectacular achievements that deserve acknowledgement. But recognition

for the perfect moment to take

shouldn’t be the primary motivation

action. Take chances, get out of

for achievement.

your comfort zone, and be realistic about your mistakes and the causes

REWARDS OF SUCCESS

of your failures. · We all have the potential to be

I can tell you from personal experience that achieving a goal or completing

great achievers. It may not come

a major business or civic project

with a trophy or a job title, but

is a reward in itself. Yes, my ego

achievement is measured on many

appreciates the kudos, but it doesn’t

fronts. Don’t just dream about

make the achievement any sweeter. I just want to do the best and most complete job I can do.

really committed to your goal? If pursue it.

experiences. She mastered archery, golf, softball, sailing and water skiing

knowledge. Don’t expect

as well as a number of other activities

instant results. Instead, work on

up with an attitude adjustment. The

her sighted friends had yet to learn.

accumulating the knowledge you

Success magazine website offers some

Speaking to a group of high school

need to get to where you want

ideas how to make the change. to ask others for advice, assistance,

allow her blindness to limit her life

· Concentrate on gaining

you feel stuck, you can pull yourself

· Rely on yourself first. You’ll have

Gretchen Alexander refused to

not, you won’t be motivated to

is sometimes a challenge. You know started part that inhibits results. When

and do it!

· Focus on commitment. Are you

Finding the motivation to achieve what you can achieve; it’s the getting

achieving something – stay awake

you want.

students about her achievements, one

to go.

student asked if there was anything

· Have some fun. Don’t make the

and support, but remember that

work all drudgery. Set a goal you’ll

in the end, your success is your

enjoy working toward, and look for

responsibility alone.

opportunities to have fun along the way.

· Have a plan. Don’t go off in all directions at once. Work out a

· Spark your imagination. Be open

she wouldn’t try. “I’ve decided not to skydive,” she answered. “It would scare the heck out of my dog.” Mackay’s Moral: Getting something done is an accomplishment;

solid, detailed plan for getting from

to anything, no matter how wild

getting something done right is an

your starting point to the result

it seems at first. Generate ideas

achievement.

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE //

> Guaranty

Home Mortgage Corporation hired Mary Shaver as senior vice president and regional production manager.

22

| NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE

> Ribbon, a real

estate solution designed for homebuyers and real estate agents, hired Sarah Walker as vice president of Engineering.

Guaranty Home Mortgage Corporation hired Curtis Hall as vice president and capital markets manager.

Waterstone Mortgage Corporation named Jeff McGuiness as the company’s president and CEO.


NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

23


TOP MORTGAGE EMPLOYER DIRECTORY

MORTGAGE LENDERS: INDEPENDENT (LESS THAN 25 MLOs)

MORTGAGE LENDERS: REGIONAL 25-500 MLOs ARCUS LENDING Location: San Jose, CA Company CEO/President: Shashank Shekhar

DIRECT MORTGAGE LOANS, LLC Location: Hunt Valley, MD Company CEO/President: Michael Naylor Company Mission Statement We are committed to providing outstanding mortgage solutions and creating lifelong relationships. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? DML has created an environment that puts the DML family first, because as Partner Michael Naylor shared, “You need to stand by the people that stand by you.” DML prides itself on the company culture and the family members who support the company’s Mission, Vision, and Values. What do employees love about this company? DML employees love the comradery, flexible work environment, and familycentric values that makes DML a top mortgage employer. DML has established a “work hard, play hard” environment celebrating contributions, achievements, and community. During a year filled with unprecedented circumstances, DML adjusted to ensure employees’ health and safety were top priority.

ANNIEMAC HOME MORTGAGE Location: Mount Laurel, NJ Company CEO/President: Joseph Panebianco Company Mission Statement AnnieMac Home Mortgage's sole mission is to EARN your business through exceptional service...again and again. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? AnnieMac genuinely cares and appreciates every one of their employees. We make every effort to celebrate and recognize our employees on a regular basis through Employee Appreciation Month, AnnieGrams, MVP recognition, Sales Summit and President’s Club for both our Sales and Support/Ops departments. What do employees love about this company? Our company culture. We are focused on creating a company culture that makes each employee feel like a valued member of the team. Website: http://www.annie-mac.com _____________________________

Website: http://www. directmortgageloans.com _____________________________

Company Mission Statement To provide the best mortgage experience for our borrowers through legendary service, low rates, and best-in-class education. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? At Arcus, we support our employees by offering comprehensive training, marketing support, and encouraging their independence. We believe that the best work is achieved when employees have the opportunity to work and grow at their own pace. Arcus employees are consistently challenged and given exciting assignments to further their growth. What do employees love about this company? Arcus cultivates an environment that values employees’ personal growth. Loan officers receive industry-leading technology (SimpleNexus, BNTouch), and personalized marketing support (apps, websites, flyers, and other marketing materials) They also receive free access to MLO Masterclass (created by our CEO, Shashank Shekhar) and top-tier training from Shashank and other industry experts. Website: https://www. arcuslending.com/ _____________________________

EMM LOANS LLC Location: Cherry Hill, NJ Company CEO/President: Kevin Crichton 24

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Company Mission Statement Our Mission and Vision continues to be that of creating Raving Fans of customers and teammates alike. Our Raving Fans program was created to recognize exceptional teammates who go above and beyond the scope of their normal work day to provide excellence in customer service to all! Why is this company a top mortgage employer? At EMM Loans LLC, you will find a supportive, engaging lender who cares about providing excellent service to our customers and teammates alike. Mortgage Sales Professionals looking for a stable company who appreciates its people are invited to explore new opportunities with our progressive team. What do employees love about this company? Our culture creates an atmosphere of client trust, where employees can truly enjoy coming to work every day. We honor and appreciate our teammates for their dedication to our overall success. Come take a peek at some of our fun community events! https://www.emmloans.com/ our-culture Website: http://www.emmloans.com _____________________________

GENEVA FINANCIAL Location: Chandler, AZ Company CEO/President: Aaron VanTrojen Company Mission Statement Our Core Values were created as a daily reminder to operate with the inside-out approach in mind. Core Value #1 - “Be Human” is the backbone of all our Core Values, our mission, and our brand vision. Why is this company a top mortgage employer?


At Geneva Financial, the Loan Originator is our number one client. Our primary focus when starting the company was to build a model that allowed for the highest LO compensation in the industry without compromising quality. What do employees love about this company? Built on the back of a “nofluff” model from inception, our survival under any market condition is reliant on our ability to operate without layers. Rolled-up sleeves, open doors, accessible leaders and no man or woman too good to jump in the trenches ensures we can continue to excel. Website: http://Genevafi.com _____________________________

KEY MORTGAGE SERVICES Location: Schaumburg, Illinois Company CEO/President: Steve DiMarco Company Mission Statement Since 1988, our mission has been making homebuying easier. Independent and family-owned, we’re a fullservice provider with inhouse underwriting and a team of investors who give us flexibility to offer niche products that competitors can't. We find the right loan for our customers so they close on time, every time. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? At Key Mortgage, we work to create an at-home work environment with the training and support you need to be successful at every level. We encourage a collaborative culture built on your success, while always ensuring health and safety. What do employees love about this company?

Our employees love our culture which is built on being part of the Key family. We take great care in adding the right people to the team who are helpful, considerate, empathetic, trustworthy, and diligent. At Key, we are a team and always have each other's back. Website: http://MyKeyMortgage.com _____________________________

MOUNTAIN WEST FINANCIAL, INC. Location: Redlands, CA Company CEO/President: Gary Martell Jr. Company Mission Statement Our success over the past 30-years is derived from offering sustainable homeownership solutions, doing right by our team, clients, partners; and continuously expanding our program offerings, systems, and tools. We constantly analyze and improve our processes, provide a top tier customer experience and build a deep connection to our communities. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? Our team is more than just staff; we are family. We expect a lot and hold each other to high standards. We invest in our family with educational opportunities, financial planning, strong benefit packages, and growth opportunities. Our culture is conducive to high standards of work, strong ethics, and teamwork. What do employees love about this company? Our values are more than just words, they were created by our team....Community, Attitude, Reputation, Employees & Service. We take great pride that our values were not crafted from what we think people want to hear, but the voice of all who

represent Mountain West Financial and who personifies C.A.R.E.S. Website: http://www.mwfinc.com _____________________________

NRL MORTGAGE Location: Houston, TX Company CEO/President: Ron Zach

NATIONWIDE MORTGAGE BANKERS Location: Melville,NY Company CEO/President: Richard Steinburg Company Mission Statement NMB's mission is to be our clients' and referral partners' trusted advisors, guiding them through the home financing process with the highest level of service and professionalism. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? NMB, the #8 fastest growing company and #1 fastest growing mortgage company, is built on core values, with the ability to live those values every day and show growth year-over-year. The Inc 5000 award is proof NMB has the most passionate, driven, dedicated, and innovative employees in the mortgage industry. What do employees love about this company? NMB provides fantastic benefits and believes in creating a different culture where everyone contributes to the success and is rewarded; they hire and retain top talent, providing training, support, and leadership to grow their careers. NMB believes in placing employees with experience and goals to help their professional growth. Website: http://www.nmbnow.com _____________________________

Company Mission Statement I: Integrity/Honesty; C: Communication; A: Accountability; R: Reliability; E: Empowering Why is this company a top mortgage employer? NRL is a top employer because we are a company of people -- our company's foundation is built on solid values with a drive to support our associates while achieving homeownership for our clients. What do employees love about this company? Associates love working at NRL because we understand work/life balance. We provide our snacks 2x a day, weekly lunches, a workout center, lactation center for new moms and a support group. We love taking care of our associates with celebrations and incentives after reaching production milestones. Website: http://nrlmortgage.com _____________________________

PLANET HOME LENDING, LLC Location: Meriden, CT Company CEO/President: Michael Dubeck Company Mission Statement We believe in putting homeowners first and making the home loan experience personal and transparent. We do the right thing for our customers and clients. Why is this company a top mortgage employer?

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TOP MORTGAGE EMPLOYER DIRECTORY

A true direct lender, Planet can underwrite directly to findings, and offers competitive pricing and top-notch marketing to help MLO’s keep their customers for life. We’re large enough to provide great opportunities, small enough for employees to be heard — and we’re built to succeed in any market cycle. What do employees love about this company? Merit-based advancement, readily accessible training, and excellent benefits aside, Planet encourages people to be their authentic selves. Additionally, employees consistently praise our onboarding experience. To quote actual employees, “I have never experienced a smoother, more stress-free onboarding,” and “it set the stage for how amazing this company is.”

comprehensive benefits packages that can help support employees in achieving their financial milestones. What do employees love about this company? Quontic strives to provide the highest standard of care to its employees through integrity, respect, and teamwork. Quontic employees are not only team members; they are family. Quontic offers employees a wide variety of rewarding opportunities to match interests and skill set. Employees' strengths are used to build Quontic’s culture.

Location: Folsom, CA Company CEO/President: Jim Coffrini

Company Mission Statement Quontic, the adaptive digital bank, has a mission to break the system for financial empowerment. It’s disruptive banking platform reimagines traditional banking with adaptive lending and innovative deposit products that transcend legacy banking inequities. Quontic focuses on serving the underdogs, entrepreneurs, gig-economy workers, and immigrants with a curated banking experience. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? Quontic is a top mortgage employer as it empowers its employees to make positive contributions to the communities around them and offers competitive compensation and 26

Location: South Portland, ME Company CEO/President: James Seely Company Mission Statement The RMS mission is to consistently deliver an exceptional home financing experience by educating and simplifying the process for our customers. This includes caring for them throughout the mortgage process, offering the right products at a competitive price and delivering unparalleled customer service. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? RMS employees are hardworking, honest, humble, and possess a healthy sense of humor. We have an experienced management team that really cares. This combination creates a culture and competitive spirit that drive RMS employees to earn industry leading customer satisfaction levels and market share in the communities we serve.

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Website https://www. sierrapacificmortgage.com/ _____________________________

NATIONS LENDING CORPORATION Location: Independence, Ohio Company CEO/President: Jeremy Sopko Company Mission Statement Treat every customer like a person, not a number. No matter the loan amount. Every time and at every step.

SIERRA PACIFIC MORTGAGE COMPANY, INC.

RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE SERVICES, INC.

Location: New York, NY Company CEO/President: Steven Schnall

Website: http://www. RMSmortgage.com _____________________________

Website: https://www. quonticbank.com/ _____________________________

Website: https:// planethomelending.com/ _____________________________

QUONTIC

What do employees love about this company? RMS employees embrace and support the spirit of teamwork and collaboration across all areas of the company. One of our Executive Management Team’s priorities this year has been supporting, rewarding and recognizing our great team. Employee response has been wonderful. This hashtag from one employee sums it all up! #LoveWhereYouWork

Company Mission Statement We provide quality lending practices, unparalleled service, unquestionable integrity and deep industry knowledge every day with every customer. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? The ONE Sierra culture is a main reason we have such a high number of employees with 8+ year tenures at the company. We equip all staff with the technology, marketing materials, and operational support they need to deliver superior customer service and help finance homeownership dreams. What do employees love about this company? The power of ONE Sierra is a concept that One Thought, One Choice, One Action can make a huge difference in your daily work and our customers’ home financing experience. Our culture is embodied from the top down and our senior leadership celebrates individual contributions to the team’s overall successes.

Why is this company a top mortgage employer? Nations Lending is more than just a mortgage lending company. We’re a family. A diverse workforce of employees of many ethnicities, across many age groups, and we empower employees to pursue their career goals, supporting their individual, creative ideas, diversity within our workplace, and providing a work-life balance. What do employees love about this company? Our owners believe in the Golden Rule: “Treat others how you want to be treated.” That attitude is promoted from the top-down, creating team unity, confidence, and increased productivity among all employees. Nothing is forced. Nothing is fake. We make it genuine. The payoff is noticeable. Website https://nationslending.com/ _____________________________

NEWREZ Location: Fort Washington, PA Company CEO/President: Baron Silverstein


Company Mission Statement Exceed the expectations of our residential mortgage borrowers & business partners through superior service, simple processes, and effective communications. We deliver on this mission by empowering our employees by encouraging and recognizing superior performance and innovative solutions, by promoting teamwork and divisional cooperation. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? NewRez a leading nationwide lender that focuses on offering a breadth of industry-leading products, supported by a loan process that blends both human interaction and the benefits of technology into an unparalleled customer experience. What do employees love about this company? We are a company that believes in growing professional and personally to achieve our goals. We put our beliefs into action in a stimulating work environment. NewRez offers training opportunities to help develop our employee’s skills, and reward programs to recognize our team members who are going above and beyond. Website https://www.newrez.com/ _____________________________

supports the economic health of the national housing market.

growing knowledge & to inspire ourselves as well as those around us.

Why is this company a top mortgage employer? NFM is dedicated to being an innovative industry leader by providing our clients and business partners with exceptional service and open communication. We work together as a passionate and reliable team, supporting the communities we serve. We place honesty, integrity, and ethics at the highest level of importance.

What do employees love about this company? "I'm not going anywhere. When recruiters call me, I say, "I am working at my dream company now."

What do employees love about this company? NFM Lending is committed to the success of our employees and recognizing their dedication. We take pride in our team members’ talents and values. We cultivate a work environment that is professional, inspirational, and promotes growth. We reward success through group recognition programs, offer comprehensive benefits, and promote from within.

NFM LENDING Company CEO/President: David Silverman Company Mission Statement NFM Lending is known as America’s Common Sense Lender because we get to know each client’s unique financial situation. Listening and learning to the people we serve is of the utmost importance. The result is customer satisfaction. Our lending philosophy also

"My favorite part of this company is not being micromanaged and having the freedom to do my job and excel at it." Website http://www.wafirstmortgage. com

MORTGAGE LENDERS: LARGER (MORE THAN 500 MLOS)

Website https://nfmlending.com/ _____________________________

ACADEMY MORTGAGE CORPORATION Location: Draper, Utah

WASHINGTON FIRST MORTGAGE LOAN CORP Location: Kirkland, WA Company CEO/President: Tryg Satterlee

Location: Linthicum, MD

"It feels like Family here"

Company Mission Statement Our core value is to always do right by others; Our employees, our co-workers, and our clients. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? WA First was founded on creating a positive company culture, providing smart options to borrowers while maintaining a high level of customer service & sustainability in an everchanging market. We value teamwork, respect & motivation. We strive for

Company CEO/President: James Mac Pherson Company Mission Statement Inspire Hope. Deliver Dreams. Build Prosperity. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? Academy's sole reason for being in business is to help our teams deliver the dream of homeownership. From technology to training, all our systems and processes are designed to achieve this goal and support you in your desire to be in business for yourself but not by yourself. What do employees love about this company? Our teams love working at Academy because of our people-centric culture, local decision-making,

potential-driven career growth, life-changing service experiences, bucket-list Sales Conferences, cutting-edge technology, solution-oriented products, industry-leading marketing, open-door access to leadership, and focus on work-life balance. Website http://join.academymortgage. com _____________________________

AMERICAN FINANCIAL NETWORK, INC. Location: Brea, CA Company CEO/President: John Sherman Company Mission Statement At American Financial Network we will be the best, most trusted, and admired mortgage banker, providing the best experience to our Team AFN team members and our customers through technology and efficient operations. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? AFN is family owned and believes our entire workforce is part of that family. We provide outstanding operational support, whether through our whole workflow command center, comprehensive inhouse marketing or early tech adoption and online consumer portals.We are committed to the success of our branches and individual LO’s. What do employees love about this company? Our employees enjoy good benefits and competitive wages, including weekly paid commissions as well as fun surprises like cares boxes, prizes, and fun events. Every Team member is treated with respect and their input is heard and valued. Our support infrastructure is tough to beat. Website https://joinafn.com/

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TOP MORTGAGE EMPLOYER DIRECTORY

CROSSCOUNTRY MORTGAGE Location: Brecksville, Ohio Company CEO/President: Ron Leonhardt Company Mission Statement Our mission is to provide borrowers with the best possible advice and benefit to their financial needs while facilitating a straightforward, transparent mortgage process for buyers, sellers and agents. Our goal is to be recognized as the leading and most reputable mortgage company in the nation. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? The customer comes first in any business. In the mortgage industry, to truly put the customer first, you have to put the LO first. CCM is dedicated to making our LOs the faces of the company to earn trust and loyalty from our customers and success for our employees. What do employees love about this company? LOs love it because the company understands they know their businesses and markets better than we do. We stay out of their way so they can do what they do best: close loans. All employees love it because we’re encouraged to be a force for good in everything we do. Website: http://www. crosscountrymortgage.com _____________________________

FINANCE OF AMERICA MORTGAGE Location: Horsham, PA Company CEO/President: Bill Dallas Company Mission Statement At Finance of America Mortgage, we don’t see customers as numbers and paperwork. For us, doing business is about making human connections. We listen to the people we serve. We find the right mortgage solution for their specific needs. And we help them achieve their dreams of homeownership. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? Finance of America Mortgage offers entrepreneurialism, world-class tools and support, and a dedication to the communities in which we live and work. Our employees are the heart and soul of all that we do. Our commitment to our customers is reflected in our company’s consistent growth and performance. What do employees love about this company? Our employees love the unparalleled support that allows them to do what they do best – help borrowers realize their dreams. We create an environment in which our employees can succeed. In our vibrant culture, constructive ideas are welcome, innovation is rewarded, and our shared successes are celebrated. Website http://www.foamortgage.com _____________________________

GATEWAY MORTGAGE, A DIVISION OF GATEWAY FIRST BANK Location: Jenks, Oklahoma Company CEO/President: Scott Gesell Company Mission Statement We strengthen families and communities by offering personalized financial products, services and expertise. We do this by putting people first and connecting with them to positively impact their lives. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? Gateway’s foundation is focused on its core values - make a difference, do the right thing, get it done, be a team player, stay growth oriented. Our entrepreneurial spirit, and our drive to give back through financial and volunteer commitment to local and national communities, is what sets us apart. What do employees love about this company? We can’t be everything to everyone. But we can mean everything to our people, they mean everything to us. We own our values and we weave them in everything we do. We take our commitments— to each other and to our customers—seriously. The only way to build something remarkable is together. Website: http://www.GatewayLoan.com _____________________________

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Why is this company a top mortgage employer? Throughout our 30-year history as a mortgage industry leader, Homebridge has remained focused on building strong bonds between our team members and the areas we serve. This focus means funding the growth of communities and fostering a sense of responsibility with the neighbors we support through the service they deserve. What do employees love about this company? Homebridge believes in experts over algorithms. A flat structure and open-door policy with leadership helps to ensure that employee concerns are heard, and new ideas for how we can improve are implemented, all while embracing a true entrepreneurial spirit in all our associates. Website: https://www.homebridge. com/ _____________________________

MOVEMENT MORTGAGE Location: Indian Land, SC

HOMEBRIDGE FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC. Location: Iselin, New Jersey Company CEO/President: Peter Norden Company Mission Statement Homebridge empowers and

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inspires its associates to make the dream of homeownership a reality for every customer, every day. Our mission is to make the experience of owning a home simple, affordable, and easy, with a team of trusted experts who are committed to our customers and communities.

Company CEO/President: Casey Crawford Company Mission Statement We exist to love and value people by leading a Movement of Change in our Industry, Corporate Cultures and Communities. Why is this company a top


mortgage employer? Beyond the 6-7-1 process, employee benefits and paths to advancement, Movement offers the chance to be part of something bigger. By working for Movement you directly impact the lives of others through a company focused on strengthening and loving communities. We celebrate families, not numbers. What do employees love about this company? Leaders are transparent and available. Emails and phone calls get answered, fast. Teammates are quick to support each other whenever necessary. The culture is one of love and respect for each other, no matter your title. You get to be about more than a mortgage. Website: http://www.movement.com _____________________________

NEW AMERICAN FUNDING Location: Tustin, CA Company CEO/President: Rick Arvielo Company Mission Statement At New American Funding, our mission is to provide homeowners and future homeowners with a variety of home financing options at competitive rates; fulfilling their needs in a manner that enhances their standard of living in realizing the American Dream. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? New American Funding upholds a consistent standard of creating an exceptional workplace for employees. We’ve been voted a top workplace because our employees rate us highly. We recruit top talent in the communities we serve, which results in a diverse and inclusive workplace that appeals to a wide customer base. What do employees love about this company?

New American Funding employees love working within our company’s family-like culture, which emphasizes teamwork, unity, and fun. We believe in enjoying each other’s company while working hard. We love having a good time together and promote inclusivity with various contests and teambuilding events. Our philosophy is: MAKE WORK FUN!

buy their own home within the first three years of employment, uncommon for most companies. Employees appreciate the guidance NewDay provides to them to be successful. Website: http://www.newdayusa.com _____________________________

Website: https://www. newamericanfunding.com/ _____________________________

NEXA MORTGAGE NEWDAY USA Location: Fulton, MD Company CEO/President: Rob Posner Company Mission Statement NewDay USA is a leading military membership-based mortgage lender that helps service members, veterans and their families achieve the American dream of homeownership and financial security. As a leading mortgage company, NewDay focuses on helping activeduty military personnel and veterans take advantage of their valuable VA benefits throughout their lifetime. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? NewDay USA is the only mortgage lending company that pays its employees to attend its exclusive accelerated underwriting program. NewDay is transforming the industry by enrolling determined college graduates into its world-class training and mentorship programs designed for all new-hires to provide the next generation of mortgage lenders.

Location: Chandler, AZ Company CEO/President: Mike Kortas Company Mission Statement To provide our partners and clients with the most diverse lending portfolio and unrivaled support in the broker community. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? NEXA Mortgage is built by loan officers for loan officers! This company is always striving to make improvements to the loan officer's environment, supplying them the necessary tools to be successful. We are widely diverse and root for others' success in the business we all strive to be successful in. What do employees love about this company? Employees love the structure NEXA Mortgage is built on. It is built on family values and morals. We are built of approximately 950 employees and could not be a closer working family.We LOVE the culture of NEXA Mortgage, it is like no other company in world! Website: http://nexamortgage.com

PARAMOUNT RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE GROUP Location: Corona, CA Company CEO/President: Paul Rozo Company Mission Statement PRMG is known for its unique company culture that is comprised of knowledgeable professionals with strong core-values. We strive to be progressively BETTER by offering Better Technology, Products, Service, Marketing, and Education. The goal is to provide a variety of flexible loan options, innovative cutting-edge technology, and industry-leading customer service. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? PRMG is large enough to satisfy all our customer needs, but we are small enough to care. From Ownership to Operations, we all care about serving our communities. We know that being in mortgage means to help families achieve the American dream. This mindset has allowed us exponential growth. What do employees love about this company? Our Family first culture, diversity, and creativity has allowed our continued success. There are many of us who have been around 10+ years. Being independently owned while being able to compete with anyone in this market speaks volumes to the success we are having. Website: https://www.prmg.net/ _____________________________

_____________________________

What do employees love about this company? NewDay USA employees begin their careers ahead of their peers with a $60,000 per year salary (plus uncapped bonuses). 62% of employees

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TOP MORTGAGE EMPLOYER DIRECTORY

WHOLESALE LENDERS

KIND LENDING ANGEL OAK MORTGAGE SOLUTIONS

A&D MORTGAGE LLC Location: Hollywood, FL Company CEO/President: Maksim Slyusarchuk Company Mission Statement To give everyone the power of Yes to close any mortgage loan. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? 1. Inspired Leadership 2. Unique Company Culture 3. Focus on Growing Talent 4. Strong Sense of Accountability 5. Aligned HR Practices and Excellent Execution What do employees love about this company? People at the A&D mortgage love that it's family-owned; The biggest perk is flexibility and work-life balance; The collaborative environment; Website: https://admortgage.com/ _____________________________

Company Mission Statement 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. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? We are known as an educator in the market with strong values providing excellent training that helps our employees succeed. We are the leader in nonQM and with that comes responsibility from all of us. Our employees are trained to be leaders in a friendly and professional environment. What do employees love about this company? Our employees love that our company feels like an extended family. We care about each other and the success of each individual. That sentiment is felt and consistently remarked upon. We hear praises about our training and resources to succeed. Leadership is accessible to listen and act on their needs. Website: http://www.angeloakms.com _____________________________

Location: Santa Ana, CA

HOMEXPRESS MORTGAGE CORP. Location: Santa Ana, CA Company CEO/President: Kyle Walker Company Mission Statement HomeXpress Mortgage, the lending solutions leader, providing value to every partner, a product for every customer and a home for every family. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? HomeXpress is committed to success both as an organization and within each employee. HomeXpress is lead by industry veterans and offers career investment in its employees to gain knowledge about mortgage especially with unique loan solutions. What do employees love about this company? HomeXpress is committed to success both as an organization and within each employee. HomeXpress is lead by industry veterans and offers career investment in its employees to gain knowledge about mortgage especially with unique loan solutions. Website: http://www.homexmortgage. com _____________________________

Company CEO/President Glenn Stearns Company Mission Statement Kind Lending is forging a new identity in wholesale lending and mortgage banking. We’re building an upbeat, collaborative environment where a sharpminded team brings out the best in each other—and where fun is mandatory. Topnotch service and products aside, our experienced professionals focus on serving the industry with kindness. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? Kind Lending is a contemporary wholesale lending company founded by CEO Glenn Stearns that embodies an upbeat and collaborative spirit, embraced by an experienced and diverse team. The company serves the mortgage industry and their homebuyers a wide array of products, top-notch service, and generous sprinklings of kindness. What do employees love about this company? Staffed by industry veterans doing things a little differently, Kind Lending employees love putting the “fun” in funding. Kind offers a collaborative spirit and emphasizes company culture, led by our Chief Kindness Officer. An engaged and supportive staff make a better experience for all, including our cherished broker partners. Website: http://kindlending.com _____________________________

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SERVICE PROVIDERS

SIMPLENEXUS Location: Lehi, UT Company CEO/President: Matt Hansen

MORTGAGE CAPITAL TRADING, INC Company CEO/President: Curtis Richins Company Mission Statement Fueling the mortgage industry with transformational capital markets technology and personalized client experience. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? MCT is a top employer because we care about our employees as much as we care about our clients. Our constant innovation and award-winning platforms are made possible by the people who create them, and we boast less employee turnover than other hedge advisories. What do employees love about this company? The company culture is second to none. Everyone is in the mindset of helping each other out and showing empathy in unique situations. When the COVID-19 crisis started, MCT quickly moved its employees to a workfrom-home environment and offered to supply any equipment needed to be comfortable working at home. Website: https://mct-trading.com ___________________________

Company Mission Statement SimpleNexus started with a simple aim: connect loan officers, borrowers and Realtors® by creating a modern home buying experience through a mobile-first digital mortgage platform. We continue to innovate with new features like eClosing that add value for borrowers at every milestone in their homeownership journey. Why is this company a top mortgage employer? SimpleNexus has been recognized as a “best place to work” and maintains an employee NPS score that’s 33 points above industry average. Focusing on a culture of innovation and employee satisfaction has helped SimpleNexus achieve 99.7% year-overyear customer retention. SimpleNexus now touches 1 in 8 U.S. mortgages. What do employees love about this company? SimpleNexus employees enjoy a comprehensive benefits package, unlimited PTO, regular company retreats and career/growth opportunities. Executives interact with departments and teams daily and encourage an open-door policy that ensures a productive and supportive management culture. SimpleNexus is rated 4.6 out of 5 stars on GlassDoor. Website: https://bit.ly/32rTFVl ___________________________

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nmp

TURNI AN

COVER STORY

Michael Frantantoni, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, sees lending volume hitting new highs in the new year.

T

here is no question that housing has so far led the country through the economic doldrums caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, when the final count comes in later this year, new and existing home sales in 2020 are likely to have set a record. “If you asked around, it would probably be difficult to find anyone who has something nice to say about the year 2020 as a whole,” says Keith Gumbinger of HSH Associates, a New Jersey mortgage information service. But that’s “unless you ask people connected with the residential real estate industry.” Whether they are mortgage lenders or brokers, realty agents or sales

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associates, homebuilders or folks with significant connections to or between them (think title agents, real estate attorneys and the like), Gumbinger says these professionals “would likely have very nice things now to say about 2020, at least from a business standpoint -- and that’s even if they were cursing their misfortune only eight or nine months ago.” Now the question is, can the market keep up its blistering pace in 2021? And the answer is – drum roll please – yes, at least for the time being. Bolstered by a new president who supports housing with, among other things, a $15,000 tax credit to be taken at closing, not when home buyers file their federal income tax returns, the market should continue to thrive, according to most housing economists. There may be a few

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bumps along the way. But otherwise, only a lack of properties for sale should pose any real problems. “The Biden Presidency could bring several impactful changes to the house market,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors. “The home buyer tax credit he proposed as a candidate would help Americans cover their down payment, and an expected wider role for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the secondary mortgage market means mortgage rates will remain low.” To see what mortgage professionals and their allies can expect going forward, let’s dissect the housing sector into its four key components – existing houses, newly constructed homes, financing and mortgage rates. Then, we’ll follow up with a few words about the commercial sector:


NING 21 ND READY

! k c o R o T Housing experts say in concert that the mortgage and real estate fields are going to be BIG HITS this year. BY LEW SICHELMAN | NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL CONTRIBUTING WRITER

EXISTING HOMES

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he housing market has been nothing short of “exceptional” during the pandemic, says NAR’s Yun. “Considering that we remain in a period of stubbornly high unemployment relative to prepandemic levels, the housing sector has performed remarkably well.” And he’s expecting the favorable climate to flow into this year. On top of a three percent gain in sales last year, he is calling for a nine percent gain in 2021. “The ‘secondorder’ housing demand arising from remote work flexibility and changing housing preferences will continue,” he proclaimed at his group’s annual conference – virtual this year – in November. Despite the virus – and in many cases, because of it – resales grew

in October for the fifth consecutive month to 6.85 million. (At this writing, October is the most recent month for which statistics are available.) But existing home prices also have skyrocketed. The median in August was $310,600, an 11.4 percent jump from a year earlier. By October, it had moved to $313,000, a 16 percent gain from the year before. Despite ever rising prices, there has been an increase in multiple offers for the same house, especially for starter houses sought by first-time buyers. The result: one winner and perhaps several losers – in one case, nearly 40 bidders lost out -- some of whom have gone on to other choices but others who have simply dropped out of the market. The speed at which houses are flying off the shelves is, indeed, remarkable. NAR says nearly three out of four sales were on the market for

less than a month. An the RE/MAX chain says its listings lasted on the market an average of just 38 days in October. All of this has led to an extreme shortage of houses for sale. As of October, a record low 2.5-month inventory of properties were on the market. That’s down from 3.9 percent a year earlier, and less than half the six-months supply of homes for sale that’s considered normal. “Even as mortgage rates continue to fall and improve house-buying power, you can’t buy what’s not for sale,” notes Mark Fleming, chief economist at title company First American. Despite the probability that owners could command a healthy price for their properties, they aren’t selling – for any number of reasons. They may be out of work at the moment, or CONTINUED ON PAGE 34

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BIG HITS IN 2021 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 33

perhaps they are satisfied with what they have and don’t want to move. Most likely, though, they fear being unable to land a replacement house at a price they can afford. That’s why Yun is hopeful that home builders will take some of the slack.

NEW HOMES

A

s has been the case for the last several years, new construction is facing a number of headwinds, including the lack of building sites, rising material costs and a shortage of labor. Nevertheless, confidence among the nation’s home builders has never been higher. Indeed, as measured by the National Association of Home Builders, builder confidence hit successive all-time highs in September, October and November. Sales are so strong right now that builders’ construction crews are having a tough time keeping up. NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz reports “a notable gap” between sales and construction, with “a growing number of contracts attributable to homes not yet started.” In September, for example, sales for houses on which builders have yet to put a shovel in the ground were up 47 percent. “Housing starts need to increase just to cover the number of places already sold,” says Ali Wolf, chief economist at consulting firm Zonda. Zonda, formerly known as Meyers Research, has new home sales performing at their highest level since 2006, with pending sales growing nearly 46 percent year-over-year. “Persistently strong contract sales are pulling down inventory,” with the count off 15 percent from a year ago. As has been the case in the resale sector, low loan costs, favorable demographics and a shift to suburbia and beyond have spurred demand for new homes that can meet the need for more space, perhaps for extended families or for home offices, exercise rooms and the like. Sales of newly built, single-family homes in October dipped 0.3 percent to 999,000 on an annualized basis from September. But despite the drop off, the October pace was 41.5 percent higher than the same month a year ago. Of the 278,000 new single-family

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homes still for sale, just 44,000 are completely and ready for occupancy for buyers who must move right away. That’s why Dietz is looking for 947,000 housing starts this year and 971,000 next year. At the same time, he expects sales to hit 844,000 in 2020 and 862,000 in 2021. But the NAHB economist is concerned that construction costs in the form of higher material and labor expenses will drive new home prices higher and out of the reach of first-time purchasers. Framing lumber alone was up 50 percent year-over-year in November. “Affordability remains an on-going concern,” he says. Another potential problem for builders is the Biden proposal to abolish the Sec. 1031 exchange provision of the tax code, a benefit used by builders to trade raw land with developers in exchange for finished lots. Under the law, taxpayers can defer capital gains liability on the non-simultaneous exchange of certain property. So if Biden has his way here, buildable lots will be even more expensive, not to mention harder to come by. The lot supply is already down 8 percent year-over-year, reports Zonda’s Tim Sullivan, but prices are up 5.6 percent. Still, the “Great American Land Rush,” as the John Burns Real Estate Consulting firm calls it, is on as builders and developers search for spots on which to build. In September, Burns said the residential land market had fully recovered during the second quarter 2020 from spring’s pandemicinduced uncertainty. Paused land transactions were back in full force by the start of the summer, and 60 percent of top land brokers rated their markets as Hot or On Fire. Fastforward three months and almost all of those land jockeys rate their markets as such. The Burns team is advising its clients to “buy land or shrink.” And towards that end, at least one land developer has started an effort to keep small builders in business. Atlanta’s Parkland Communities’ Small Builder Program focuses on those who erect fewer than 100 houses a year. The company is actively searching for five to 20-acre parcels that can yield up to 50 lots and will subordinate

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the developed sites to the builder’s construction loan so no equity will be required.

FINANCING

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here can’t be sales unless there is financing. And on that score, lenders have been extremely busy. So much so that soon after the Mortgage Bankers Association offered its annual forecast in October, it revised its projections upward – both for 2020 and 2021. “Given the strong pace of home sales,” the MBA now says that when the final count comes in, total loan originations will hit $3.39 trillion in 2020. That’s twice the volume nailed in 2019 and the highest amount in almost two decades. Of course, a big part of that has come as a result of refinancing as current owners take advantage of record low interest rates. But the number of purchase money loans will likely be the most since 2005. For 2021, the MBA is projecting total originations to fall as refinancing slows. But at $2.56 trillion, it would still be the second highest total in 15 years. And it predicts that purchase money lending to home buyers will reach $1.59 trillion. That would eclipse the previous all-time high of $1.51 trillion set in 2005 only a few years before the market collapsed in a heap of bad loans and silly financing. If an effective vaccine brings the virus under control, Mike Fratantoni, this group’s chief economist, see a gradual economic recovery, one that is aided by further fiscal stimulus. He says 2021 should be “a year of continued purchase money growth... particularly the second half.” It should be noted that all this has come in the face of tighter lending standards. Thus, the surge of activity has been largely at the upper echelons of the market, from borrowers seeking higher-balance loans. But lending has been opening up gradually for those who are less well-heeled or don’t meet the strict criteria imposed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government sponsored enterprises which purchase loans from primary lenders. CONTINUED ON PAGE 36



BIG HITS IN 2021 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 34

After pulling back at the start of the pandemic, a number of big banks and non-bank lenders have returned to the market for so-called NonQM, or non-qualified, mortgages. These financing vehicles were once known as “subprime” but they’re not nearly as dangerous as the liar loans, negative amortization mortgages and state-income financing that led to the collapse in 2008. Today’s Non-QM loans have to meet the same standards as those sold to Fannie and Freddie. But lenders offering them stretch the playing field based on the borrower’s credit score and loanto-value ratio. The latter means they’ll exceed the 43 percent DTI ceiling than binds that GSEs. And they’ll often lend amounts above Fannie and Freddie’s statutory limits, which will be $548,250 this year in most places – and a whopping $822,375 in most high cost markets.

ECONOMISTS ALL SING THE SAME SONG ...

“Housing starts need to increase just to cover the number of places already sold,” says Ali Wolf, chief economist at consulting firm Zonda.

MORTGAGE RATES

A

s of mid-November, mortgage rates had tumbled to a record low of 2.71 percent, according to Freddie Mac. It was the 13th time rates had a hit a record low in 2020. But how long they continue to scrape the bottom remains to be seen. NAR’s Yun expects rates to average 3.1 percent in 2021. Dietz of the NAHB is looking for 3 percent on average. But the MBA’s Fratantoni expects them to rise to 3.3 percent by next year’s fourth quarter. Unfortunately, housing prices are rising so fast -- “too fast,” Yun told one media outlet recently -- that they are all but obliterating any gains buyers are seeing from record-low interest rates. So, even if rates continue to fall -- and Fleming at First American thinks it’s possible they could dip as low as 2% -- house prices are poised to continue rising so quickly that any savings could be minimal, if not wiped out altogether.

COMMERCIAL

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re-pandemic, I don’t think anyone was questioning the future of office,” an investment manager told researchers who prepared the latest “Emerging Trends in Real Estate” report from the Urban Land Institute. “Now, I

A Biden administration could be very good for housing markets, says National Association of Realtors’ Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

Sales are so strong right now that builders’ construction crews are having a tough time keeping up, NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz reports.

thinks it’s a legitimate questioning to be discussing.” Induced by COVID, the rapid shift to widespread work-from-home will be the ultimate test, the 114-page report maintains. And with nearly all the office real estate professionals queried for the report in agreement that companies

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will allow their employees to work from home at least part-time going forward, they expect many tenants will shrink their footprints to save money. Now in its 42nd year, Emerging Trends is one of the most highly regarded annual outlooks for all segments of the real estate business. The latest edition includes interviews and survey responses from 1,667 industry professionals, including investors, fund managers, developers, property companies, brokers, advisors and consultants. The WFH trend is not new, of course. But the pandemic has accelerated it. “Now, virtually everyone works from home, and it has legitimacy,” says Andrew Warren, director of real estate research at PwC Management Services, a co-sponsor of the ULI report. “Going forward, users will be looking for a right balance, the right mix” between working from home and going to the office. In that regard, about three in five of the Emerging Trends participants also expect some office tenants will seize on the opportunity to expand their spaces at reduced rates. Normally, Owen Thomas of Boston Properties points out, tenants try to jam more workers into less space. Now, “it’s the complete reverse; they are spreading out.” Meanwhile, John Oharenko, director of the Real Estate Capital Institute, reports that lenders remain conservative, focusing “heavily on borrower experience and financial resources, in addition to asset quality.” Still, they are “flush with cash” and yearning to put it to work, he adds. “Unlike the Great Recession, funds remain available but based on very selective criteria. “ Finally, analyst Jade Rahmani at the Keefe, Bruyette & Woods investment banking firm is one of many who sees the commercial sector as slow to recover, especially around trends that will take time to unfold. Nevertheless, he believes the virus will eventually accelerate the outsourcing of real estate services to the benefit of realty brokers. His 2021 projection for the firms he follows: Reflecting modestly stronger transaction volumes and stronger margins driven by cost reducing initiative, a 5-9 percent gain.


In the midst of a turbulent year,

NRL MORTGAGE HAS NOT SKIPPED A BEAT While shattering previous company wide production volume records for eight consecutive months in March, April, May, June, July, August, September and October. We’ve maintained operational excellence in underwriting turn times and upholding service level agreements.

Our proven record of high-quality, efficient service has driven rapid company expansion, with 10 new branches across nine different states joining NRL in the last three months.

We are always looking to grow our team with professionals that share our NRL’s executive team has always placed a heavy emphasis on agility, which entrepreneurial spirit and value for customer service. Reach out if you are has allowed us to avoid an operational slow down. Specifically, our turn interested in being a part of NRL Mortgage’s winning team. times from application to clear-to-close is 22.73 days (YTD average). Combined with our competitive rates and even sharper compensation plans, Originators are not only able to produce more - they're earning more.

Please contact

JEFF MASON

E. jeff.mason@nrlmortgage.com P. (281) 773-2810

NMLS# 181407

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TECH TALK

Four Billing, Payment Security Tips For Cyber Safety BY BRENDA MAGRI | SPECIAL TO NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL

ome sales this year are up by eye-popping percentages – and so are the accompanying mortgages. This boom in home sales and refinancing in response to record low mortgage rates creates new opportunities, but also new threats. The pandemic has seismically shifted consumer preferences to online platforms and technology in place of in-person interactions, and the real

H

estate and mortgage industries are moving quickly to expand the availability of remote closings, including virtual appraisals and remote online notarizations (RONs). As more states move to accommodate these digital-first models, mortgage professionals are adapting to new ways of working. And at every digital touchpoint, the stakes are higher for mortgage companies, brokers and

other industry professionals as they guard against new cybersecurity threats. While online and mobile technology has helped keep life, business – and mortgages – moving forward, there are inevitably bad actors looking to exploit this crisis to commit wire fraud and other cybercrimes. Now, mortgage bankers and brokers, like other professionals who handle sensitive consumer data, need to heighten security around financial, billing and payment systems. Here is more on the current cybersecurity landscape and four tips for mortgage professionals to better manage billing and payment security in the age of COVID-19.

NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR CYBERATTACKS Across all business sectors, there is a threat of new cyberattacks linked to the COVID-19 crisis. This presents new financial risks for mortgage professionals and their clients, as both might be at higher risk for fraudulent activity.

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Mortgage professionals should raise their defensive game – informing buyers and sellers of the increased risks of fraudulent online money and information transfers and taking proper precautions to ensure that all transactions are safe and secure. One of the most popular types of cyberattack is “phishing” with a fake email or “smishing,” which is essentially phishing via text message. These attacks include phony but legitimate-looking messages enticing the recipient to click on a link for more information. This often takes the form of an urgent warning that, unless a specific action is taken immediately, access to financial accounts (for example), will be discontinued. Clicking on the link or action button can expose that desktop or mobile device to the risk of a cyberattack. And that breach could lead to data theft of the individuals involved in the transaction or the introduction of ransomware to a mortgage professional’s entire database of sensitive client information. Wire fraud in particular remains a threat and is responsible for more than $200 million in losses in the real estate and rental sectors last year according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. The new reality of working from home has, in some cases, contributed to these types of threats not being as readily detected. From the challenges of juggling complete work-life integration and having an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality when it comes to engaging IT, to having less secure Internet connections at home, these factors all open up new risks. Cybercriminals are watching for these

opportunities with the hope that other demands and stresses from COVID-19 will cause usually vigilant mortgage professionals to miss the subtle signs that an incoming message is a phishing attack.

top of any external emails advising to “think before you click.” · Last, but certainly not least, help protect clients by

LOCKING THE DOORS AGAINST CYBERCRIME

collecting only the data you need, rather

Fortunately, mortgage professionals and other industry pros can take proactive measures to defend themselves, their employees and their clients against this new wave of cyberattacks.

than the data you want. Providing them with a more personalized experience can require a robust data profile, but it also comes with the additional responsibility of protecting that

· First, tune data loss tools, including email spam filters, for enhanced sensitivity to COVID19-related threats. Keep watch for not only “COVID-19” as a key term, but also related words and phrases, and commonly misspelled words similar to the key terms. · Second, create a regular cadence of COVID-19 communications, and convey that schedule to employees so they know what (and when) to expect. It could be, for example, the biweekly summary of business updates that’s sent every other Monday. Communicate what the official emails look like, so any phishing emails will be more likely to raise red flags. · Third, educate employees on what to look for to better detect phishing and smishing attempts. Warning signs include spelling and grammatical errors and frenziedsounding communications urging the recipient to take a specific action without delay. Instruct employees to never click on links from unknown senders, ideally with an automated warning at the

data. In the quest to enhance client interactions and raise satisfaction scores, be wary of collecting and storing more data than is reasonably needed. As the volume of data goes up, so do the chances of a security breach, which can lead to leaked data, customer exposure to payment and billing scams, and official scrutiny of mortgage companies’ practices. Cyberattacks aren’t new but they are heightened now more than ever because of the pandemic. Protecting data and financial systems is paramount – and it’s possible through thorough routine training and education, as well as consistent, and comprehensive communications. In today’s rapidly evolving COVID-19 landscape, defending against cyberattacks will help keep financial systems running, loan originations happening, billing processes moving and revenue coming in.

Brenda Magri is Senior Director, Security Strategy, Fiserv Biller Solutions

A breach could lead to data theft of the individuals involved in the transaction or the introduction of ransomware to a mortgage professional’s entire database of sensitive client information. NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

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Greg Gadson

I AM A VETERAN AND THIS IS MY VICTORY.

“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.

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BORROWER BLUES

Broker Clients Say Frustration Is High How automation can relieve borrower complaints BY JOEY MCDUFFEE | SPECIAL TO NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL

A

fter one of the craziest years on record, brokers and loan officers will enter 2021 with much to be thankful for, including low rates and more than enough borrower demand to go around. At the same time, there’s a prevailing feeling of missed potential. Nothing tapped into this feeling better than the J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study. Released in November, the survey found that overall borrower satisfaction rose six points on a 1,000 scale from last year. Yet borrowers weren’t happy with long loan processing times and lackluster customer service and self-serve options, according to the survey. To be sure, a global pandemic contributed to these problems, as soaring volumes created bottlenecks for almost every lender. Yet a great deal of what is causing borrower frustration is within a lender’s control to fix. And with a robust spring homebuying season approaching, there’s no better time to do so than now.

THE KEYS TO HAPPINESS

According to the J. D. Power survey, one of the biggest frustrations many borrowers have is with infrequent communications from originators. The challenge is in striking a balance between too little communication and too much, both of which can negatively impact the borrower experience. Some communication is obvious. Disclosures need to be sent and returned at certain times based on regulatory requirements and underwriter requests require the borrower’s attention. But if you’re sending too many emails and texts to the borrower, the borrower may start ignoring them and miss an important message, such as the need to provide an updated paystub for underwriting. Too little communication, on the other hand, and the borrower may

think you’re ignoring them—and may look elsewhere for help. Through automation, however, loan officers can communicate much more effectively with borrowers with branded reach outs and reminders that can be sent with the right frequency depending on each borrower. Creating this “just right” Goldilocks approach boils down to leveraging data to understand the status of each borrower and reaching out at the appropriate time based on the time to close and the borrower’s individual behavior. Automation also helps brokers and loan officers create the ideal level of assistance for each unique borrower. While today’s younger borrowers appreciate a self-service mortgage experience, most still like having the mortgage process being laid out for them step by step and having access to on-demand assistance when they need it. While they may be able to spell the word “mortgage,” most don’t know all the ins and outs of what they need in order to get their loan processed and closed. Fortunately, we have more options now to merge a digital self-serve experience with more personalized

training and help to put the broker or loan officer into the position of trusted advisor. Previous attempts to bridge this gap were done with online chat via the lender, broker or loan officer’s website, usually with substandard results. Anyone who has tried using chatbots understands the vast majority are no better than the typical automated phone tree, and usually much worse. More recent technologies, however, allow loan officers to “co-browse” and video share with borrowers as they fill out applications online and provide help whenever it’s needed. If the borrower runs into trouble, the loan officer can assist and explain the need for certain information or clarify what the borrower is being asked for. These tools can provide intuitive real-time training and assistance sessions that make the application process go much more smoothly.

IDENTIFYING THE RIGHT TOOLS From a sales perspective, it’s more crucial than ever to use mobile technology to stay connected with

CONTINUED ON PAGE 48

NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

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NEW TO MARKET

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

DECEMBER 2020

Total Expert launched Total Expert for Wholesale, technology dedicated to helping mortgage lenders who are adding or growing market share in the wholesale channel.

Gershman Mortgage launched its hybrid platform that allows borrowers to review and sign documents digitally from their homes.

Localize, a real estate technology company, introduced its new homebuying advisor, Robin. Robin uses human intelligence and previously unavailable data to help homebuyers anticipate future events and navigate the process of purchasing a home or investment property in New York City.

Total Expert is now offering two-way data sync with SimpleNexus. Two-way data sync makes it easier for loan officers to keep contact records up-to-date not matter what platform they work in.

Mortgage Capital Trading, Inc. unveiled its upgraded MCTlive! Pool Optimizer which allows secondary market managers to use actual cash window execution for optimization on each individual loan, rather than using a dealer survey for spec pay-ups.

Insellerate released its DATA IE solution that will allow lenders to turn borrower data into actionable insights and intelligent engagement.

Equifax released its Mortgage Duo, a product that gives credentialed mortgage lenders, with permissible purpose, to leverage a single transaction through The Work Number database to return instant verifications of employment and income for joint applicants

REX expanded its Home Prep program which works with homeowners looking to list their property and covers interestfree home improvement costs.

ACI will help power AppraisalVision’s SMARTReview, an appraisal quality control and review platform for lenders, appraisal management companies and appraisers.

States Title expanded its title and escrow solutions to key Eastern region states including New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Wemlo launched ATHENA, a virtual assistant that uses artificial intelligence to identify discrepancies within mortgage loan applications.

Knock launched Knock Nest, a standalone sale-leaseback solution that allows homeowners to access the cash they’ve built up in their home while continuing to live there.

NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

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8 Ways to Wreck Video Calls Video calls are ideal for communicating when you can’t meet in person. But if you ignore proper video etiquette, your call can go from great to annoying or downright embarrassing. To prepare for a video call, make sure you avoid these missteps.

?? Audio:

Lighting:

Angles:

Attire:

Excuse me? What? Could you repeat that? For the best audio, use high-quality earbuds or AirPods with a mic.

The point is to see you so direct soft light onto your face or sit facing a window with diffused light.

Have the camera at eye level to make sure you’re giving others the view you intended. Pa-leez!

If you wouldn’t wear it in person, don’t wear it on video. Dress for the occasion and know your audience.

Use earphones from an old iPod.

Appear in darkness.

Point the camera up your nose.

Wear something inappropriate.

System Failure

Critical error #123456789555 OK

Behavior:

Let your kids whine or your dog bark. In this case, silence is golden. Be considerate; mute yourself when not speaking to minimize background noise.

Backgrounds:

Technology:

Perfection:

Help people see you and pay attention to you by making sure your background isn’t distracting or inappropriate.

Maximize WiFi strength by closing unused programs and turning off unused devices. Join video calls from the app, not a web browser.

Not everyone can have a dedicated office; try your best and remember that you can’t control it all.

Hide amid clutter.

Accept spotty technology.

This infographic has been brought to you by your friends at MGIC! mgic.com

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Š 2021 Arc Home LLC | All Rights Reserved | NMLS#: 81386 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org) This communication is provided for use by real estate or mortgage professionals only is not intended for distribution to consumers or other third parties. This does not constitute an advertisement as defined by Section 1026.2(a)(2) of Regulation Z. The information contained herein may not be provided, shared or distributed to any consumers whatsoever. Arc Home LLC is a licensed mortgage lender in all States and the District of Columbia except in HI, MO and NV. Arc Home LLC conducts business as Arc Home Loans LLC in AR, FL, IL, MO, TX, WI and, as Arc Home LLC, a limited liability company of Maryland, in OR.

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844.851.3600


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CLIENTS SAY BROKERS’ COMMUNICATION POOR CONTINUED FROM PAGE 41

borrowers. Multiple studies have found that smartphone use has soared since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as social distancing has placed the online and mobile consumer experience front and center. Banks are doing quite well in this area. In November, the American Bankers Association reported 99 percent of consumers rated their bank’s online and mobile app experience from good to excellent, 4 percentage point higher than the previous year. The national survey, conducted by Morning Consult, reported 84 percent of those surveyed said innovation and technological improvements by banks are making it easier for all Americans to access financial services. Fortunately, for mortgage loan officers and brokers, new mobile technology is available to access automated tasking, such as sending borrowers notifications about when disclosures and other documents are due. Originators can create proactive lists of items needed from the borrower, and receive alerts when they need to follow-up. They also have the ability to pull credit and provide rates and prequalification analyses, so they can build relationships with their customers no matter where they are to streamline the application process. Many believe the imminent roll out of the new Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) will give originators a major boost when it comes to improving the borrower experience. While the new form is dynamic in nature, the reality is that it’s a more simplified version of the traditional 1003 application. The ability to use it to make the mortgage process smoother and faster will rest entirely on how lenders implement the new forms and whether they can use them to deliver a more digital experience overall. If anything, the new forms could make it more difficult to improve the customer experience, at least initially, because they will require a good deal of time and training to implement. Adoption may not be nearly as complex as the TRID disclosures, but there is always a learning curve in our industry when new forms are introduced. For years, underwriters reviewing loan packages knew where to find the information they needed on the 1003. These ingrained behaviors won’t be easy to change and new features will not be easy to adopt.

WHY IT’S ABOUT THE PLATFORM

Give your customers assurance of your professionalism and integrity. Become a Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association developed this rigorous certification for industry professionals who want to give customers the confidence to know they are working with thoroughly knowledgeable and devoted individuals. Earning the CRMP* designation requires validating your experience, continuing your education annually, participating in our ethics workshop and passing an exam.

For for more information, visit nrmlaonline.org *The CRMP designation is available to members and non-members of NRMLA.

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Still, in the coming year, one of the biggest factors behind delivering a better borrower experience and shortening closing times will be access to real time data and machine learning tools capable of making sense of data, which will play a role in the new URLA. Combined, these tools generate new insights about what borrowers need and when they need it. These tools also enable lenders to remove manual tasks and reduce human resources by being able to go straight to the sources of data, which reduces errors that often delay closings. Already, our industry is starting to use machine learning tools and large datasets to get a closer look at borrower behaviors, including what pages they click on and when, as well as what they “rage-click” on (clicking on a website repeatedly in frustration when it doesn’t do what we want it to). All of these actions create metrics that can be collected, measured and used as feedback to improve the borrower experience both online and with salespeople. For the most part, the technologies and innovations just described are relatively new—meaning they cannot be found in most legacy mortgage software built on older technologies. The vast majority of these products haven’t


been upgraded regularly and have no application protocol interfaces (APIs) that are essential for seamless integrations with third-party systems. Knowing these legacy systems can work against them, it's important for loan officers to think carefully about whether their lenders could be hindering their ability to provide a good customer experience, especially the type of digital self-service mortgage experience that the growing numbers of millennial and Gen Z borrowers will expect. The good news is that there are modern technology platforms that are built in the cloud and are much more intuitively designed than the traditional loan origination systems (LOSs). No longer do loan officers and brokers need to scan through hundreds of pages of documentation to figure out how to originate a conventional loan. In most cases, originators can sit down and start using them almost immediately with very minimal training, and often no training at all. Right now, the biggest impediment to providing a better borrower experience is demand. Lenders that haven’t made significant investments

in technology have been forced into hiring more people to keep pipelines flowing. That’s especially true for lenders that had no consumer direct channel and are now spending more resources beefing up their sales teams rather than upgrading their technology. For some lenders, it’s never a good time to invest in technology. When volumes are low, they don't want to spend the money—and when volumes are high, they don't have time to implement a new platform. With 2020 drawing to a close, however, the lenders that were caught off guard by the current lending volume have now seen the benefits of investing in more modern technologies to create a borrower-centric approach. Some of these lenders will be playing catch up in 2021. To be sure, the average loan officer doesn't have a whole lot of control over the technologies their lenders use. All the same, there is no turning back from self-service and remote lending going forward. In fact, according to STRATMOR Group, less than 30 percent of lenders offered some form of borrower-centric technology in 2017. Two years later,

more than 70 percent of lenders did--and their Net Promoter Scores generally rose as a result. Brokers and loan officers should at least be aware of the modern technologies that are available that can not only help them communicate more effectively with customers, but also shave significant time off the mortgage lending process, which factors significantly into higher satisfaction. No doubt, technology alone does not make borrowers happy. But with so many recent advancements— such as platforms that are built and reside in the cloud that leverage large datasets, machine learning, automated tasking and mobile capabilities via APIs—creating satisfied customers will be more difficult without it. And as business author Michael LeBoeuf once said, "A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all."

Joey McDuffee is a vice president at Blue Sage.

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SPONSORED EDITORIAL

NAVIGATING A SEA OF CHANGE IN THE MORTGAGE INDUSTRY Residential Mortgage Services, Inc. (RMS) isn’t just surviving during these unprecedented times, they are thriving with industry leading customer satisfaction ratings and company record volume. “The Company’s

2020 created challenges and obstacles for every industry. RMS was fortunate enough to be able to allow employees to

strong commitment to culture and a

priority. Leveraging technology, teamwork, and a personal touch is RMS’s secret recipe to not just staying afloat, but

work from home, maintain productivity and manage full pipelines, while continuing to make customer satisfaction a top turning choppy waters into calm seas in the midst of the storm.

technology

Companies and consumers alike have been utilizing technology to fill in the gaps while social distancing. In the mortgage

foundation have

industry, applying for a mortgage and uploading documents safely and securely from home is more important than ever.

helped it maintain ‘business as usual’ in a time that is anything but usual.”

RMS has been leveraging their RMS Ready mobile app and web portal, which allows homebuyers to easily apply for a home loan, securely upload documents, and stay up to date on their loan status. Homebuyers want simplicity and convenience when they apply for a home mortgage, and RMS Ready paired with an experienced local Loan Officer, provides all the conveniences of cutting-edge technology along with a personal touch. The Company’s strong commitment to culture and a technology foundation have helped it maintain “business as usual” in a time that is anything but usual. Through this pandemic, RMS has operated with over 90% of employees working from home. Record breaking 2020 volume levels tested the capacity limits of the Company’s Sales and Operations Teams. Employees have remained vigilant and adapted to new protocols and processes to keep business running smoothly. Productivity levels are higher than ever, and they attribute this to RMS employees embracing and supporting the spirit of teamwork and collaboration across all areas of the company. “In my 30 years in the Mortgage Industry – both originating loans myself, and as a Sales Leader – I’ve never seen the kind of application levels we’ve experienced in the last nine months of 2020,” said Michael Ianno, RMS Senior Executive Vice President, Retail Origination. He continued, “Our Sales Team members along with our Operations Partners have done a truly extraordinary job handling that volume. Our team hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to the level of

Michael Ianno, RMS Senior Executive Vice President, Retail Origination

customer service and experience we are delivering.” Robin Hawley, RMS Senior Vice President, Business Operations, attributes the Company’s success to the exceptional partnership and collaboration between the Sales and Operations Teams. “Our Senior Leaders have had regular daily contact to monitor, navigate and continuously course-correct in response to the real-time demands of our loan processing pipeline,” said Hawley; “we’ve been very diligent about keeping our finger directly on the pulse of the day-today demands and pressure points on our employees, systems and processes. There is a strong focus on providing guidance, support and additional resources as necessary to all members of the RMS team as we work together to serve and meet the needs of our customers.” Communication, both across our teams and to our customers remain critical to the home financing journey. RMS has invested heavily in technology to support convenient, safe and secure communication every step of the way. Industry leading customer satisfaction ratings are a testament to how the company’s communication, teamwork and technology are positively impacting the customer experience.

Robin Hawley, RMS Senior Vice President, Business Operations

Beyond helping guide their clients home, RMS has always been committed to giving back to the communities they serve. Over the course of the past year, the Company has made financial contributions to 14 local food banks across its footprint that provided over 30,000 meals to those in need. RMS also donated over $50,930 to local charities in November and December 2020, with more than half of the donations coming from RMS employees. These donations

For more information about Residential Mortgage Services, Inc., go to www.RMSmortgage.com or email us at info@rmsmortgage.com. 50

represent RMS's commitment to the regions in which it operates, as COVID-19 has led to record-breaking unemployment, economic disruption and food insecurity. “We’ll Guide You Home” is more than a tagline for RMS, it is the brand promise the company makes to its customers. Even in the face of 2020’s choppy and uncharted seas, RMS’s commitment to teamwork, culture, technology and communication have generated record-breaking company loan volume and a great home financing experience for its customers.

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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

See www.mortgageconferences.com for more events. 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 January 1, 2021 and are subject to change. NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE |

53


FACEBOOK THOUGHTS

NICK ROBERSON

I Can See It Now. This Will Be Another Year Of Insurmountable Challenges. Just Ask My Toast.

54

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 #105: “The best way to spread

Quarantine Lesson #103: If backspacing and attempting to delete that extra period in your email half a dozen times doesn’t work, it may be time to clean that spot off of your computer screen.

Quarantine lesson #102: According to my neighbors, dancing in my living room with the blinds open is perfectly fine. However, 5 out of 6 of them have indicated I should wear pants. Thank you, Debbie, for having my back on that vote and accepting my freedom of expression.

Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.”Buddy The Elf

If a Knight in Prague dons his armor, does that mean the Czech is in the mail?

According to Savannah, this is also the best way to embarrass my daughter.

Quarantine Lesson #101: Thanks to nearly 9 months of

Never make snow angels in a dog park.

quarantine, no travel, gym closures, and my daughter’s baking, I looked outstanding in my Santa outfit this year.

Quarantine Lesson #104: Do not let me hold your baby

Quarantine Lesson #100: Trying to prepare for a

or anything breakable you care about. I have literally dropped everything I have picked up today. FYI, I am really sad about my toast right now.

| NATIONAL MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE

Thanksgiving dinner when you ran out of your ADHD medication a week ago, is like a scene out of Scooby Doo, where everyone is being chased and running from one door to the next. I have spent half of my morning walking into rooms and trying to figure out why I was there. I just opened the fridge door and stared into it for several minutes before I realized I was actually intending to go into the living room to find my car keys. If I had a nickel for every time I didn’t know what was going on, I would be like, “why am I always getting all these nickels?” To see more by Nick, just go to www. facebook.com/nickroberson.

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


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