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50 groundbreaking industry stars


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550 FICO

Growing your business with the right partner has never been easier. Get started today with Carrington Mortgage Services.


Or learn more about our programs online at: CarringtonWholesale.com/ToughLoans

At Carrington Mortgage Services, we are committed to meeting the financing needs of underserved borrowers. We have loan programs specifically tailored to credit-challenged borrowers, so there’s no need to turn away clients due to low FICO scores. We are your government lender of choice with loan programs, service, technology and national support to grow your business today, tomorrow and beyond. HELPING YOU NAVIGATE THOSE TOUGH LOANS FICO minimums to 550 on government programs, FHA, VA and USDA. Expanded FHA/VA guidelines include manufactured housing, manual underwriting and use of non-traditional credit. Nationwide operations support from coast-to-coast with operations centers across all time zones provides our brokers with outstanding service and fast turn times.

© Copyright 2007-2015 Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC headquartered at 1600 South Douglass Road, Suites110 & 200A, Anaheim, CA 92806. 800-561-4567. NMLS ID 2600. Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) Consumer Access website: www.nmlsconsumeraccess. org. AZ: Mortgage Banker BK-0910745; 2159 McCulloch Blvd 4, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403. CA: Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, File 413 0904. CO: Check license status of your mortgage loan originator at www.dora.state.co.us/real-estate/index.htm. GA: Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee 22721. IL: Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee. KS: Supervised Loan License SL.0000313. KY: Mortgage Loan Company License MC21112. MN: This is not an offer to enter into an interest rate lock agreement under Minnesota Law. MO: Residential Mortgage Broker License 09-1746-S. NH: Licensed by the New Hampshire Banking Department. NJ: Licensed by the N.J. Department of Banking and Insurance. NY: Licensed Mortgage Banker—NYS Department of Financial Services. New York Mortgage Banker License B500980/107664. OH: Ohio Mortgage Broker Act Mortgage Banker Exemption MBMB.850208.000 (FHA, DE & VA automatic loans only) OR: Mortgage Lender License ML4886. PA: Licensed by the Department of Banking. RI: Rhode Island Licensed Lender, Lender License 20112809LL. VA: Licensed by the Virginia State Corporation Commission MC5382. WA: Consumer Loan License CL2600. Also licensed in AL, AR, CT, DE, DC, FL, ID, IN, IA, ME, MD, MS, MT, NM, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX, UT, WV and WI. NOTICE: All loans subject to credit, underwriting and property approval guidelines. Offered loan products may vary by state. There is no guarantee that all borrowers will qualify. Restrictions may apply. This is not a commitment to lend. Terms, conditions and programs are subject to change without notice. This information is for mortgage professionals only and is not intended for distribution to consumers. Carrington Mortgage Services is not acting on behalf of or at the direction of HUD/FHA or any government agency. All rights reserved.

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ISSUE 9.03

CONNECT WITH US Got a story, suggestion or just want to find out some more information?


twitter.com/MortgageProUSA plus.google.com/+Mpamag facebook.com/MortgageProfessional America

UPFRONT 04 Editorial

Reverse mortgages’ uphill battle

06 Statistics

Reaching the millennial market

08 Head to head FEATURES


Distressed properties can save homebuyers thousands – one company is helping them get loans to fit their needs


20 38




Kimberly Smith has dedicated her career to changing people’s minds about reverse mortgages – starting with her own grandmother

16 2

09 Opinion

What happens when interest rates eventually go up?

10 News analysis

It’s getting harder to scrape together a down payment

12 Branch network update

Demanding equal testing standards for bank originators

14 Reverse mortgage update A new study sheds light on the reverse mortgage stigma

Get to know the 50 women who are breaking new ground in the mortgage industry


Reverse mortgages for retirement

A few simple rules for mastering the art of negotiation


FEATURES 40 Driving change

When should you bring employees onboard with strategic intiatives?

PEOPLE 44 Broker profile

How Movement Mortgage soared when others were crashing

47 Career path

Carl Markman of REMN Wholesale FEATURES


Today’s clients are more demanding – here’s how to make your brokerage stand out

48 Other life

Paul Dilks of Greentree Mortgages is groovin’ to the oldies



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Time for a Change?

Are you hungry for layers of innovative loan solutions and tools? “I work with an incredible team of people at Academy Mortgage. Their hard work and dedication in making Academy 1st CHOICE are what help me be successful. The Academy Team also works tirelessly to help me find and build solutions that result in sustainable loans, even when it may seem improbable. “Academy recognizes that our industry has a noble purpose, which is to make homeownership a reality for as many people as possible. To that end, Academy offers a wide selection of conventional and government products, competitive rates, and a responsive Credit Policy Team—all of which provide me the ability to design the right loan solutions for my borrowers and to meet my goals. I have been able to utilize all of these tools to become a leader in providing FHA loans in my community.” —Yolanda Gonzalez

Congratulations to Academy’s Elite Women in Mortgage. You too can turn to Academy for well-seasoned loan solutions. Contact the National Recruiting Team at (801) 568-4716 or visit www.academymortgage.com. Corp NMLS #3113 | Corp State Lic #5491140 | MAC0415-1917568154

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www.mpamag.com JUNE/JULY 2O15

Reversing a stigma


n this issue, you’ll hear from Kimberly Smith, senior vice president of wholesale lending for American Advisors Group. Smith works tirelessly to educate seniors – and originators – on the benefits of reverse mortgages. It’s a conversation more people in the industry need to be having. Reverse mortgages have a mixed reputation among seniors. According to a recent MPA survey, more than 72% of reverse originators felt that stigma was the most difficult thing to overcome when offering reverse mortgages.

Unfortunately, many originators are in no place to educate seniors on the benefits of reverse mortgages, because they’re just as ill-informed themselves And that’s too bad, because reverse mortgages can be a great product for seniors in need of ready cash to cover living expenses, pay off debt, enhance their quality of life or provide for long-term care. In addition, new government regulations have made the product safer than ever. Unfortunately, many originators are in no place to educate seniors on the benefits of reverse mortgages, because they’re just as ill-informed themselves. MPA found that more than 37% of mortgage professionals who didn’t offer reverse mortgages declined to do so because they felt they didn’t know enough about the product. About 25% said they couldn’t figure out how to market reverse mortgages, while 20% said they had ethical objections to the product. But originators should make it a point to learn enough about the product that they can at least make an educated decision on whether to offer it. The truth is that reverse mortgages can be very lucrative for originators. They’re excluded from the 3% cap rule for loan officer compensation, and most HECM loans are put into Ginnie Mae securities – meaning the secondary market for reverse mortgages is especially strong. The reality is that 50% of homeowners are 50 years old or older, and 10,000 seniors turn 62 – the qualifying age for reverse mortgages – every day. Currently, the market penetration for reverse mortgages is only about 2%. And that means originators may be ignoring millions of potential customers.

EDITORIAL Editor Ryan Smith Writer Justin Darosa Copy Editor Clare Alexander

CONTRIBUTORS John Councilman Samantha Wright Josh Masters Gordon Tredgold Nikki Heald

ART & PRODUCTION Design Manager Daniel Williams Designer Loiza Caguiat

SALES & MARKETING Vice President Cathy Masek National Sales Manager Chris Anderson Marketing and Communications Manager Lisa Narroway

CORPORATE Chief Executive Officer Mike Shipley Chief Operating Officer George Walmsley Chief Information Officer Colin Chan Human Resources Manager Julia Bookallil

Production Manager Alicia Salvati Traffic Manager Kay Valdez

EDITORIAL INQUIRIES ryan.smith@keymedia.com

SUBSCRIPTION INQUIRIES subscriptions@keymedia.com

ADVERTISING INQUIRIES cathy.masek@keymedia.com chris.anderson@keymedia.com

Key Media 78O7 E. Peakview Ave., Suite 115 Centennial, CO 80111, USA tel: +1 720 316 7378 www.keymedia.com Offices in Denver, Toronto, Sydney, Auckland, Manila

Mortgage Professional America is part of an international family of B2B publications and websites for the mortgage industry MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL AUSTRALIA sam.richardson@keymedia.com.au T +61 2 8437 4787


Ryan Smith, editor

vernon.jones@kmimedia.ca T +1 416 644 8740 Copyright is reserved throughout. No part of this publication can be reproduced in whole or part without the express permission of the editor. Contributions are invited, but copies of work should be kept, as the magazine can accept no responsibility for loss

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The BEST Branch Platform, Period.

Residential Home Funding Corp.


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Millennials everywhere

MILLENNIALS BY STATE Gen Yers aren’t just the fastest growing population in the country – they already make up about a quarter of the total population in each US state

The millennial generation is the largest population in the United States, and many are beginning to look at homeownership

MILLENNIALS – those aged 15 to 34 – make up about a quarter of the entire population in every US state, so no matter where you work, Gen Y could soon be a big part of your business. But those tricky millennials aren’t buying homes in the same way their parents – the Baby Boomer generation – did. They spent longer in post-secondary education, struggled through the financial crisis and put



Percentage of millennials who have a profile on a social networking website

Percentage of millennials who sleep with a mobile phone on or next to their beds

29% California

off getting married. Those factors combined to force many millennials to move back home with their parents, further delaying their entry into the real estate market. But now, with the strengthening economy, more millennials are starting to look seriously at purchasing a home. Before you jump into the pool of Gen Y clients, get to know this sizeable demographic.


Percentage of millennials who have a tattoo

30.2% Alaska


Percentage of millennials who buy ‘green’ products Source: Pew Social Trends, 2010



A staggering majority of millennials are remaining single for longer, further putting off their dreams of homeownership – but a majority believe they will tie the knot eventually

70% 30% Married

Single Source: The Council of Economic Advisors, 2014



Working full time


Working part time


Student, not working


Not employed

While much of the country is well on its way to recovery, many millennials are still feeling the impact of the financial crisis; a large portion of Gen Y is still unemployed

Source: Pew Social Trends, 2010


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25.4% New Hampshire

29.6% North Dakota

23.5% Maine 25.8% New Jersey 32% Utah 24.5% West Virginia

29.4% Texas

Highest High Middle

25.2% Florida

Low Lowest Source: The Census Bureau, 2012



Many millennials have been forced to put off buying a home due to rising house prices. And it hasn’t been getting easier: The average house price has been steadily increasing since the recession

A worrying number of millennial households earn less than $20,000 per year before taxes. However, a good portion of millennials – largely older Gen Yers – earn healthy incomes, too

$350,000 $325,000 $300,000 $275,000 $250,000

Less than $20,000 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

$20,000 to $30,000 to $50,000 to $75,000 to $100,000 or $30,000 $50,000 $75,000 $100,000 more

Don’t know

2012 2013 2014 Source: The Census Bureau, 2015

Source: Pew Social Trends, 2010


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Is a reverse mortgage a good retirement tool? Some see reverse mortgages as a last resort for seniors, while others think they should be a crucial part of retirement planning

David Lykken

Dan Harder

Dave Hershman

Owner, managing partner Mortgage Banking Solutions

Vice president 1st Reverse Mortgage USA

Director of branch support McLean Mortgage Corp.

“It’s one tool that’s useful, and I find there’s an increasing number of people using it as a financial tool to either invest or doing something else, instead of seniors not planning correctly for retirement. But it takes smart financial planning and someone who knows what they’re doing to manage that effectively. It’s a plan B option at best, but it can be quite effective if done correctly. I’ve had a few clients who’ve been able to capitalize on it and actually growth their wealth as a result.“

“A little-known feature of the FHA HECM program is being recognized by financial planners as a way for people 62 [or older] to have an additional revenue stream in retirement. According to the Social Security benefits website, a person born between 1943 and 1954 who started collecting benefits at age 62 will receive 75% of the benefit they would have received if they delayed collecting to age 66. The FHA HECM program allows the senior homeowner the ability to use the equity in their home to supplement monthly cash flow and defer their Social Security benefits.”

“My aunt just did this with her home in Brooklyn under the guidance of a financial planner. This is the best way to go about this, and it works that way. Most people run into a situation where they have high amounts of equity in their homes, but aren’t able to necessarily meet their monthly income needs, so in the event you want to keep your home, this is an option for seniors at this stage of their retirement planning.”

REVERSE MORTGAGES’ BAD REPUTATION Reverse mortgages have gained a bad reputation over the years as being a last resort for struggling seniors. Despite recent FHA regulation changes and several good PR campaigns, the reverse space still has a stigma. In a recent survey of more than 40,000 mortgage professionals, 72% revealed the stigma surrounding the product was the most difficult thing about offering reverse mortgages. Other barriers included the long sales cycle (13%), not knowing enough about the product (11%) and too many changing regulations to keep up with (4%).



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GOT AN OPINION THAT COUNTS? Email mpa@keymedia.com

What happens if interest rates go up? As economic recovery continues to chug along, some mortgage professionals are wondering if the Federal Reserve should raise interest rates

IN ADDRESSING whether the Federal Reserve should raise interest rates, one must realize that their decision will not be based on public or even industry sentiment. There are very objective economic markers that will influence whether the Fed raises its lending rate. We know what the markers are, and we generally know what values will trigger an increase. The Federal Reserve has kept interest rates at an unsustainably low level for the last seven years – which is a remarkably long time. This was made necessary by economic conditions that threatened to collapse the financial system. Barring some catastrophic relapse, it is a foregone conclusion that the Fed will raise rates. The only question is when. Had the March jobs report not been so poor, it is likely the Fed could have raised rates as early as April, but more likely in June. Gross domestic product [GDP] growth has been in fits and starts. Combined with other data that shows the economy is not gaining sufficient momentum, the date for the increase has become tentative. However, very few economists believe the Fed will wait beyond the end of this year. At the time of this writing, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ April jobs report hadn’t yet been released, but analysts are predicting everything from a low of 165,000 jobs created to as many as 265,000 jobs created. But since

November, job creation has been trending downward. Certainly for that reason, too, we have not seen the Fed increase the rate. The second major side of the Fed’s coin is inflation. So far, both consumer and producer prices have indicated very low inflation. The

role in mortgage lending, they are no longer the ultimate source of mortgage funding. Even if the Fed funds rate is increased, it doesn’t mean mortgage interest rates will automatically go up. The Fed funds rate has become more of psychological phenomenon than the source of rate increases. However, bond traders hold the Federal Reserve’s assessment of the economy in high regard. If the Fed raises rates, bonds are likely to eventually follow for the same reasons that triggered the Fed’s rate increase. But if the Fed raises the rates for purely political reasons, bonds and mortgages may not follow. If mortgage rates were to rise, we would have an anomaly that was previously seen when rates edged near 5% from the low threes a few years ago. The addition of that 1.75% to the rate of 3.25% represented more than a 50% increase in the interest cost. We saw housing slam on its brakes very quickly as house payments became significantly higher. Even with rates at 3.75%, a 1.25% rate hike would increase costs by a third, and that means borrowers would be able to afford far

Even if the Fed funds rate is increased, it does not mean mortgage interest rates will automatically go up ADP wage cost index for the first week of May showed a 5% raise in unit costs for labor. The last BLS cost index report also showed increased labor costs, but not as radical. The worst of all scenarios would be inflation without economic recovery. It is likely that any continuing trend indicating inflation would trigger a rate increase, irrespective of whether jobs recover. Surprisingly, increases to the Fed funds rate rarely cause an immediate jump in longer-term interest rates. There are quite a few times when long-term rates actually went down after a Fed rate hike. To understand why, one must first understand what the Fed funds rate actually is. It is the interest rate that banks charge each other to lend their excess reserves overnight – so it is extremely short-term. While banks play a

less home. Homes sales would sharply decline, and mortgage lending also would slow. Home prices might decline, and that could put many recent purchases under water. The ripple effect could be serious. It seems likely that any Fed rate hike will be very small and would have a minimal effect on mortgage rates, unless inflation is detected. Strong economic news and inflation would most certainly drive up both short- and long-term rates beyond what we are anticipating, and that would likely affect home values and potential buyers’ desire to borrow to own a home. John Councilman, CMC, CRMS, is the president of the Association of Mortgage Professionals. He is also the president of AMC Mortgage Corp.


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Down payments getting harder to save for A recent study looked at the length of time it would take first-time homebuyers to save for a 20% down payment. The results were somewhat discouraging for brokers targeting this market segment IMAGINE YOU’RE a first-time homebuyer in, say, California, trying to save up for a standard 20% down payment so you can buy your dream home. How long are you prepared to save? If your answer was anything less than 37 years, you might want to consider moving. That’s how long it would take an average


















first-time homebuying family to save up for a standard 20% down payment in San Francisco, according to a new study on mortgage stress by Lindsay David of LF Economics. David looked at mortgage stress in 30 US cities, using their median incomes and median home prices. The results of his study were discouraging, to say the least. In only one of them – Detroit – could an average first-time

Francisco didn’t even top the list, due to its higher median income; in San Jose, it would take a few months longer. Unsurprisingly, California cities occupied the most slots in the top 10, including four out of the top five. In San Diego, it would take an average first-time buyer 33 years; in LA, it would take 32. In Riverside-San Bernadino, the average buyer can save up that down

“Affordability has always been a problem. We have to be careful – for a lot of reasons – that we don’t get up there too quickly” Marc Savitt, The Mortgage Center homebuyer expect to save a 20% down payment in under a decade. In only one of the top 10 – Denver – could that homebuyer expect to save a down payment in less than 20 years. To reach his conclusions, David used a relatively optimistic scenario, assuming that young households would be able to save 5% of their income every year solely for a down payment, regardless of changing circumstances. And in San Francisco, those achieving that not inconsiderable feat would still take 37 years to save a 20% down payment – one that’s commensurate with today’s prices, mind you, not projected prices 37 years from now. San

payment in next to no time – just about 20 years. Of course, first-time buyers could save that down payment considerably faster if they saved more than 5% of their income. If average buyers could put away 30% of their income – once again, that’s in addition to any other savings – they could save up a 20% down payment in San Francisco in just over six years. The issue, notes Wolf Richter in Business Insider, is that it’s no easy task for an average family, already paying rent and meeting basic living expenses, to squirrel away 30% of their income – earmarked just for a home purchase – year after year.

Source: LF Economics



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Saving that much just for a down payment can be detrimental to families’ other savings goals, adds Marc Savitt, president of The Mortgage Center and the National Association of Independent Housing Professionals. “While you’re saving for a house, you should also be saving for retirement,” he says. “Trying to do both together is probably going to be impossible.” Of course, Savitt points out, many brokers will steer clients toward a loan program that doesn’t require 20% down. “You don’t have to necessarily save for a 20% down payment,” he says. “Well, you do if you want to avoid mortgage insurance. Most people put down 3%. So putting down 20% isn’t necessary unless perhaps you need to do so in order to qualify.” The rising cost of a down payment, of course, is indicative of the rising cost of homes.

In his report, David also studied the amount of time it would take an average first-time homebuyer to pay off the principal on a mortgage. Once again, the results were discouraging. “If 30% of today’s household income was allocated to paying just the principal on a home loan and it takes more than 15 years, we believe this represents ‘significant homebuyer mortgage stress’ and ‘severe mortgage affordability constraints,’” David wrote. He found that in many metro areas, average homebuyers would be facing that “significant mortgage stress.” In San Jose and San Francisco, for instance, it would take the average homebuyer nearly 25 years, spending 30% of his or her income on mortgage payments, to pay off the principal. In New York, it would take about 22 years.

If costs continue to increase, Savitt says, mortgage brokers are going to find fewer customers coming through the door. “You’re going to have people priced out, especially first-time homebuyers,” he says. “Affordability has always been a problem. We have to be careful – for a lot of reasons – that we don’t get up there too quickly. It happened during the housing bubble, too. The experts at the time said, ‘If the bubble bursts, it’ll be a soft landing.’ Well, how’d that work out? So that’s a big concern. “Interest rates right now aren’t a big concern, but they will be eventually. Right now interest rates are offsetting some of these prices, but when they start to move up – and they will – and you put that together with these rising prices, a lot of people are going to find themselves priced right out of the market.”


BOSTON 22 years (5% income) 3.6 years (30% income)

SEATTLE 21 years (5% income) 3.5 years (30% income) SAN FRANCISCO 37 years (5% income) 6.1 years (30% income)

SAN JOSE 37.5 years (5% income) 6.2 years (30% income)

DENVER 19 years (5% income) 3.3 years (30% income)

LOS ANGELES 32 years (5% income) 5.4 years (30% income)

RIVERSIDE-SAN BERNADINO 20 years (5% income) 3.4 years (30% income)

NEW YORK CITY 24 years (5% income) 4.1 years (30% income)

SAN DIEGO 33 years (5% income) 5.5 years (30% income)

MIAMI 23 years (5% income) 3.8 years (30% income)

Source: LF Economics


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BRANCH NETWORK UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS Mortgage industry gains nearly 2,000 jobs The mortgage industry added nearly 2,000 full-time employees in March, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Mortgage banking and brokerage firms added 1,900 jobs, mostly thanks to the unexpected uptick in both purchase and refinance activity, putting total employment in the sector at around 284,500. March marked the second consecutive month of job gains at non-bank mortgage firms after a steep decline at the beginning of the year. Mortgage employment is up about 4.2% from March of last year, according to the BLS.

Inlanta expands with new branch office in Illinois Inlanta Mortgage has expanded its Chicago-area footprint with a new branch office in Carpentersville, Ill. Veteran mortgage professional Rob Speight, formerly of Stearns Lending, will manage the new office. Speight has more than two decades of mortgage banking experience, and has served in a number of management roles at companies such as Countrywide Home Loans and Bank of America. “Inlanta Mortgage is one of the best-kept secrets in the Chicago area,” Speight said. “Inlanta has an array of loan programs that you don’t see in larger mortgage banks, and yet is nimble in addressing the ever-changing mortgage environment.”

Carrington plans 11 homes for veterans in 2015 The Carrington Companies, parent of Carrington Mortgage Services, has announced that it plans to construct 11 ‘smart homes’ for severely wounded veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars through its collaboration with


the Gary Sinise Foundation and its Restoring Independence and Supporting Empowerment [RISE] program. “Support from organizations like the Carrington Companies is critically important to the Gary Sinise Foundation’s mission to make a true impact on the lives of our veterans,” said actor Gary Sinise.

Norcom Mortgage building goes green Norcom Mortgage recently installed 572 solar panels and five inverters on the roof of its corporate office in Danbury, Conn. The solar panels will allow Norcom to produce about 150,000 kilowatt hours annually for an energy cost savings of $25,000$40,000 per year. Any extra energy Norcom produces will be sent back to the grid. “Installing solar panels was a no-brainer,” said Norcom President and CEO Philip Defronzo. “As a company, we are dedicated to quality, mindfulness and operational efficiency. Solar panels will help us to further achieve this.”

Envoy Mortgage, First Colony Mortgage donate $25,000

First Colony Mortgage, an approved lender of Envoy Mortgage Correspondent Lending Division funds, recently earned $25,000 from Envoy to donate to the athletic department at Brigham Young University. First Colony earned the money by competing in Envoy’s $30 Million Challenge, in which Envoy donated $25,000 to qualified 501(c)3 charities chosen by lenders who funded $30 million in a calendar year. “The $30 Million Challenge gives our approved correspondent lenders the opportunity to give back to their communities that they live and work in,” said Dan Hastings, executive vice president of Envoy’s Correspondent Lending Division.

Association demands equal testing standards A mortgage lenders’ association has asked the CFPB to institute the same testing standards across the board The Community Home Lenders Association, a nonprofit association of community-based mortgage professionals, has asked Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray to use the CFPB’s authority to require all bank mortgage originators to pass the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing [SAFE] Act test and undergo an independent background check before working with consumers. The CHLA also wants the CFPB to require bank originators to complete eight hours of continuing education per year. Those requirements currently apply to all non-bank mortgage originators. However, originators working at depository institutions are exempt. The CHLA made the request in a letter to Cordray. “We believe that it is important – both for the integrity of the profession of mortgage originators and for the consumers that they serve – to have high uniform standards that apply to all mortgage originators, regardless of whom they work for,” the letter said. The letter also requested that the CFPB explore the cost and impact of licensing bank originators. The CHLA pointed out in the letter that there are more than 1,400 registered mortgage originators currently working at banks and other financial institutions that failed the SAFE Act mortgage compe-


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tency test – and that the consumers who do business with them have no way of knowing they failed the test. In its letter, the CHLA asked Cordray how the originators who failed the test could meet the statutory standard of being ‘qualified.’ “Consumers are generally not aware of whether the individual mortgage loan originator they are working with meets certain standardized professional qualifications requirements,” the letter said.

“At a minimum, banks and other depository institution mortgage originators should be required to pass the SAFE Act mortgage competency test and an independent background check” The letter also claimed that an extrapolation of some SAFE Act pass/fail rates could mean that anywhere between 36,000 and 120,000 registered bank mortgage originators might fail the test if forced to take it. The CHLA also highlighted the inconsistency of requiring licensing, testing and continuing education for bank employees selling securities or insurance, while exempting those who originate mortgages. The letter pointed out that almost all professionals involved in real estate and mortgage transactions – real estate brokers, appraisers, nonbank originators, home inspectors – have to be licensed, tested and subject to continuing education. “At a minimum, banks and other depository institution mortgage originators should be required to pass the SAFE Act mortgage competency test and an independent background check prior to doing business with a consumer, and further to complete eight hours of annual continuing education commensurate with the SAFE Act,” the letter said.


Ray Brousseau Executive vice president of mortgage lending Carrington Mortgage Services

Years in the industry 29 Career highlight The ability to participate in building a business from the ground up Career lowlight The attention to consumer education – there’s still a long way to go in terms of educating the borrower

Are new regs pushing brokers toward banking? A lot of brokers are becoming bankers these days. Why do you think that is? I think continued regulation and compliance concerns continue to be top of mind for brokers who might be considering coming bankers. We’ve got regulations for TILA-RESPA coming up in August. We have a decent amount of interest we see from small brokers looking to start a branch. As long as the environment continues to be as ornery as it is now, I think that bodes well for Carrington. We take care of all the expenses; we take care of the lease. That becomes fairly attractive in an environment like this.

So you think a lot of brokers will see joining a branch network as an attractive alternative to continuing to go it alone. I absolutely do. There’s certainly no indication that regulatory oversight or compliance demands are going to reduce anytime soon. If anything, they’re going to increase. And the burden, both intellectually and from an expense standpoint, continues to grow. It thins the herd a little bit. The barrier for entry gets higher. So it does tend to steer people in our direction. And certainly for companies like Carrington, we’ve invested pretty heavily in our compliance and oversight, so we like to think we’re a bit ahead of the curve. And I think that’s something prospective branch managers take into account when looking at a firm: Are they reactionary, or are they ahead of the curve?

Do you think the new regulations will weed the bad apples out of the industry? Your bad apples aren’t trying to go out there and run their own businesses. They recognize they’re not going to be able to meet the demands compliance requires. I think those folks tend to go the way of loan officer or something along those lines. Just this week, our SVP was out meeting with a team that’s been there for 15 years in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. They specifically cited the increased demands of compliance. They love what they’re doing, but it’s becoming harder and harder to stay compliant. They like to sell and develop a relationship with clients, and they’re spending way too much time on the other side of the house. In their mind, if they can join with someone like Carrington who will take care of the compliance side of the house, they can do what they do best. So what we’re seeing is folks that weren’t normally receptive to branch banking and really wanted to continue to be totally independent are now more receptive to joining someone like Carrington.


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Reverse stigma still holding some back Despite a concerted education effort, many still harbor misconceptions about reverse mortgages

reverse to diversify their product portfolios and because the commission is higher. Mortgage professionals who don’t offer reverse said it’s because they don’t know enough about the product (37.14%), they don’t know how to market or sell it (25.71%), they have ethical objections to the product (20%), or that it’s too difficult to learn the regulations surrounding reverse and they didn’t think the product was profitable enough (8.57%). The reverse industry does offer considerable opportunity to companies looking to diversify their product portfolios. According to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, the industry is only penetrating

Every day, 10,000 seniors turn 62, the qualifying age to receive a reverse mortgage Despite recent regulation changes and some good PR, reverse still has a stigma, according to a recent Mortgage Professional America survey. The survey was sent to more than 40,000 mortgage professionals, and 72.34% revealed the stigma surrounding the product was the most difficult thing to overcome. Studies bear that out – a recent report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that consumers were still confused about reverse mortgages, and filed about 1,200 complaints with the CFPB between 2011 and 2014.


But the stigma isn’t the only thing making originators gun-shy about offering reverse mortgages. Other reasons included the long sales cycle (12.77%), not knowing enough about the product (10.64%) and trying to keep up with changing regulations (4.26%). On the flip side, those who sell reverse said the best thing about offering the product was the considerable growth potential (55.1%). Approximately 30.6% responded that they like helping seniors age in place, 6.1% said it was a stable business not entirely dependent on market conditions, and 4% revealed they offer

AAG partners with Visiting Angels

American Advisors Group has partnered with Visiting Angels, the top franchisor of in-home assisted living services for seniors. Visiting Angels boasts more than 500 non-medical, private duty home care agencies throughout the United States, and provides a range of non-medical elder care services. “We are excited to enter into this new relationship with a trusted company like AAG,” said David Plank, vice president of business development for Visiting Angels. “Our organizations share a common goal of helping seniors age in place with the dignity and care they deserve.”


2% of the current market, which is growing by the thousands daily. According to the US Census Bureau, every day, 10,000 seniors turn 62, the qualifying age to receive a reverse mortgage. While there’s still more to be done when it comes to educating seniors, reverse mortgages are no longer seen only as a ‘last resort’ for those in desperate need. A study by MetLife and the National Council on Aging revealed that the average age at which seniors consider a reverse mortgage is going down, and more seniors are considering them to enhance their quality of life or plan ahead for future needs.

New reverse wholesale channel launched

Capital Mortgage Services launched a new reverse wholesale channel on March 1. The company has been approved for HECM origination since 1997, but has been expanding its reverse footprint since January. As part of the expansion, Capital Mortgage has added employees and repurposed existing personnel. The new reverse wholesale division will be housed in the company’s corporate headquarters in Lubbock, Tex. Capital Mortgage has branches across 27 states. All branches will offer reverse mortgage services as well as traditional mortgages.


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Joan Imelio VP, reverse division HighTechLending

Years in the industry 25 Career highlight Developing the reverse division for HighTechLending Community highlight Keeping up the training as so many originators enter the reverse space

The verdict on HUD’s financial assessment rule Now that HUD’s new financial assessment rule is in effect, do you think some seniors who want a reverse mortgage will slip through the cracks? Unfortunately, there will be a small percentage who will not qualify just because of the equity that they have in the property. But then you look at the files and realize that indeed, based on the income that’s input, some people may be struggling to pay their taxes and insurance. It’s really hard to say what the effect will be, because we don’t have any documented history of what the seniors getting a reverse loan are actually making on a monthly basis. Wouldn’t getting a reverse loan actually help seniors pay their taxes and insurance? Yes – especially if we’re eliminating a mortgage debt. [Financial assessment] definitely serves its purpose in helping seniors who are in that situation. We’re just hoping that it won’t eliminate the opportunity to take advantage of the loan for too many people. We’re hoping this is going to be a good thing for them. It’ll be someone stepping in and not only helping them alleviate that debt, but also helping them manage the payment by setting aside that money. It’s just like setting up an impound account on your monthly mortgage. And you know, over the past couple of years, there have been people who have requested that. There have been a few over time who’ve said, ‘Will you continue to pay my taxes and insurance for me?’ It’s

RMF expands in Southeast

Reverse Mortgage Funding has expanded its sales channel in the Southeast with the hiring of industry veteran J. Alexis Lopez Carril. Carril has more than 15 years of industry experience, most recently serving as a wholesale sales and operations consultant for Lending Direct; she will support the company’s third-party origination channel. “Alexis’ experience, professionalism and commitment to delivering the highest levels of customer service make her a perfect addition to our rapidly growing team of reverse mortgage professionals,” said RMF national sales leader Mark O’Neil.

kind of a resource management to be able to retain those funds to be sure those taxes and insurance are paid. So besides getting accustomed to the new rule, what’s the biggest challenge currently facing the reverse space? Volume is increasing fivefold for us, it seems, so hopefully seniors are getting more of an education, and the perception of how the loan can help is changing. We dealt for many years with it having a negative connotation, and that’s slowly shifting. A big challenge is getting seniors to fully understand the program and be fully comfortable with it. And also, with more and more originators starting to originate reverse loans, we need to really get them educated on how to get seniors in the best reverse program. So the sheer influx of new originators presents a challenge in itself? It is a challenge, but a necessary one. We’re dealing with a protected class of people, and we’re protective of them, so we do a lot of hands-on training. It’s really important to us to train our originators to put forward the best product for seniors and educate seniors to make the best decision. … As far as the changes that HUD has made, we’ve been dealing with changes for the last three years. If you want to stay in this industry, the best thing to do is jump on board and turn it into something positive. It’s going to help a lot of seniors.

Company launches crowdfunded reverse mortgage

National Family Mortgage has introduced the “Caregiver Mortgage,” a secured home equity line of credit crowdfunded by the homeowner’s relatives. The mortgage allows the homeowner’s family, rather than a bank, to receive tax-free money borrowed against the home’s equity. Each lender can set his or her own credit line, which will contribute to the collective credit offered by all participants of the crowdfunded loan. The mortgage also allows lenders to make disbursements whenever needed.

CFPB continues to ‘police’ reverse lenders

Speaking at the White House Conference on Aging, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray said the agency is prioritizing oversight and enforcement in cases where seniors filed complaints about reverse mortgages, and is on the lookout for reverse mortgage scams. “We have produced a guide to help consumers assess the pros and cons of this product, and for those who already have a reverse mortgage, we have offered tips on how to plan ahead to avoid financial hardships,” Cordray said.


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IN THE BUSINESS OF HELPING FAMILIES Reverse mortgages have a bad reputation – but Kimberly Smith, an 11-year industry veteran and the senior vice president of wholesale lending for American Advisors Group, is working to change that in the minds of consumers, starting with her own family KIMBERLY SMITH believes in the reverse mortgage product – so much so that she helped her own grandma get one. If that’s not a glowing recommendation of the mortgage product that still has a bad reputation, we don’t know what is. Smith’s passion for reverse mortgages began to grow at the start of her career. After graduating magna cum laude from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo with a degree in business administration management and a minor in economics, Smith got her first job out of school with Freedom Financial as a wholesale customer service representative. “It was a great opportunity to learn about the entire business, from start to finish,” she says. “So I’ve been specializing in reverse mortgages since I started my career.”

Happy accident Like many of her peers, Smith didn’t always intend on getting into mortgages – let alone reverse mortgages – but she says the real-life education she received at Freedom Financial made her acutely aware of how she could help people through the industry. “It was more of a happy accident,” she says. “I didn’t go to school knowing I wanted to be


in the mortgage industry, but I’m very happy to be here now.” Smith quickly developed a passion for the industry, rising through the ranks at Freedom Financial, which was the largest reverse mortgage lender at that time. She soon advanced to the role of account executive, and was eventually promoted to wholesale area manager.

very entrepreneurial,” she says of her relatively short one-and-a-half-year tenure at One Reverse Mortgage. “I learned the different aspects of starting something brand new.” One Reverse Mortgage was soon bought out, and its focus switched to retail. So Smith moved to Generation Mortgage Company to serve as executive vice president of sales. The catch, though, was that the job would take her

“Any time I’m on an airplane, I typically have the entire row asking me questions about reverse mortgages” “The [reverse mortgage] product was really in its very beginning stages, even then,” she says. “So I had a lot of opportunity to learn and grow there.” That opportunity certainly came in handy when Smith moved to One Reverse Mortgage, which recruited her to help start from scratch, and then manage, the wholesale division there. That move, Smith says, helped her further her understanding of the business, outside of just what the product has to offer. “It gave me the amazing opportunity to be

to Atlanta, Ga. – many miles away from her family and her home in Sacramento, Calif. Still, Smith took advantage of the opportunity, and for the next four and a half years, helped Generation Mortgage develop its wholesale division. But eventually, being away from home began to take its toll. “I was doing a lot of traveling, and I decided that was something I didn’t want to do as much,” she says. “American Advisors Group was an opportunity that was in California, where I live.”


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PROFILE Name: Kimberly Smith Company: American Advisors Group Title: Senior vice president, wholesale lending Years in the industry: 11 Fun fact: Outside of working hours, you can usually find this diehard football fan somewhere in a 49ers jersey. “I love NFL football,” Smith says. “I’m from Northern California, so I grew up watching the San Francisco 49ers.”


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And so Smith joined American Advisors Group in January 2013, and hasn’t looked back since – well, sort of. She still fondly recalls one of the clients she met during he time as an account executive with Freedom Financial: Reza Jahangiri, the CEO of AAG.

various trade organizations, the National Reverse Mortgage Association and other major reverse mortgage lenders to produce an advertising campaign for local television that would promote the product and correct some of that outdated information. “A lot of articles have been written on the

“I really believe in [reverse mortgages] as a solution. It makes it very easy to come to work every day” “The first thing that drew me to American Advisors was the leadership team,” she says, recalling her work with Jahangiri some 10 years ago. “I got to know his philosophy and his passion for the industry, and I knew that those aligned with mine – very entrepreneurial, very focused on service.”

Reversing the stigma Part of that service-focused philosophy involves removing the stigma that surrounds reverse mortgages, which Smith says stems directly from misinformation or even outdated information about the product. “I joke that it can be one plane row at a time,” she laughs. “Any time I’m on an airplane, I typically have the entire row asking me questions about reverse mortgages. It’s quite funny because many of them make a face when you say you do reverse mortgages, but by the end of the flight, they’re usually asking for your card for their mother or father or friend who they think might really benefit from a reverse mortgage.” While that’s on the lower scale of advocacy, Smith says AAG is also using the media – including MPA – to educate other mortgage brokers about the benefits of reverse mortgages and to dispel some of the myths surrounding the product. AAG also joined a coalition composed of


non-borrowing spouse situation with reverse mortgages,” Smith says, pointing to the rule that saw many spouses whose names were not on the mortgage left in a difficult situation after the death of the spouse who took out the mortgage. “The Federal Housing Administration changed the guidelines on non-borrowing spouses very recently, so that risk no longer exists. “That’s just one really good example of something that caused a lot of distress in the reverse mortgage program,” she continues. “The problem has been solved, but a lot of people don’t understand that the negative press was related to something that is no longer in the program.” This was one of the many misconceptions Smith learned about during her first six months in the business. After her grandma took on a reverse mortgage, Smith went on to help her own parents build it into their future. “I really believe in the product as a solution,” she says. “It makes it very easy to come to work every day.” It also helps to work with a group of people who are just as passionate about the mortgage industry as Smith is. “The culture of the organization is very family-like,” Smith says. “It’s really focused on helping seniors, and I just relate so well to the organization.”



Regional manager, Freedom Financial


Senior VP of sales, One Reverse Mortgage


Executive VP of sales, Generation Mortgage Company


Senior VP of wholesale lending, American Advisors Group


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Mortgage Professional America magazine features a series of industry reports recognizing the achievements of key individuals and businesses as well as providing the latest in business best practice. Have every issue mailed to you, read it on your tablet, or choose our e-mag delivery and have it delivered directly to your inbox.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT WWW.MPAMAG.COM MPAm_About_FP_ad_Ver2.indd 16-19_Industry Icon-SUBBED.indd 1 19

4/02/2015 10:33:17 8:46:56 AM PM 27/05/2015





IN MORTGAGE Meet the 50 women who are blazing new trails in the mortgage industry

WELCOME TO MPA’s Elite Women in Mortgage report. A few months ago, we asked you to nominate women who’d broken new ground in the industry, and your response was overwhelming. After a lot of consideration, we’ve narrowed the list down to 50 women who are rising stars in the industry. From marketing geniuses to CEOs to loan officers, these women represent the mortgage world’s best and brightest.



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VP of credit risk and compliance – real estate channel PHH MORTGAGE

With more than 30 years of experience in retail, wholesale and correspondent lending, Louann Green knows almost everything about the mortgage industry. For the past 20 years, Green has held a variety of roles at PHH Mortgage, working her way up from under-writer to a VP overseeing more than 500 loan officers in all 50 states. Green also serves as VP of subsidiary operations and governance for PHH Home Loans, PHH Corporation’s joint venture with the National Realty Trust. Green is often sought by media outlets to provide expertise on legal, credit and quality-control issues, as well as FHA and VA lending guidelines. She was one of the initial members of Fannie Mae’s Desktop Originator Advisory Panel. “Our real estate channel – and PHH Corporation as a whole – continues to benefit from Louann’s experience, expertise and, most importantly, leadership,” says Ralph Melbourne, PHH senior VP of real estate.

KATHERINE LE President STEARNS LENDING Katherine Le’s leadership has made Stearns Lending one of the mortgage industry’s powerhouses. With 30 years of industry experience, Le has steered Stearns to unprecedented growth in operations and performance. Under her leadership, the company has grown from just 30 employees to nearly 1,700, and is licenced in 49 states and Washington, DC. Le has been instrumental in the achievement of several key milestones at Stearns, including record funding months in February and March of this year.


KATHY KING President KING FINANCIAL GROUP Kathy King has been a leader in the Dallas metro housing market for three decades. In 1992, she started her own company, King Financial Group, based on a philosophy of unparalleled client service. Since then, King’s company has weathered years of extraordinary changes in the industry without ever sacrificing its core mission. “Through everything, the company’s top priority has been the welfare of the clients, who always come first,” says loan originator Alex King. “Every time, she puts the welfare of the client ahead of the company’s interest. Her philosophy is to take care of the client no matter what. As it turns out, the company always does well due to the loyalty instilled with the clients.” King also is committed to her employees: “Even through some of the most volatile business cycles, Kathy has never [laid] anyone off,” Alex King says.


Loralynn Ball is one of the best leaders in the business. Nominated as an elite woman by an astounding 37 people, Ball has built a reputation as an effective and inspiring leader and a master of customer service. “I don’t believe anyone else in the business has such a high level of understanding of how to be a successful LO and run an industry-leading OPs team,” says loan originator Bryan Lovell. Ball’s coworkers credit her drive and concern for the well being of both customers and employees for pushing the agency to new heights. “She is the heart and soul of VanDyk Mortgage,” says senior loan originator Norman Fisher. “Without her, we would be an ‘also-ran’ company rather than an industry and market leader in the markets we serve.”

Aposhian, Houry Balkcom, Rebekah Ball, Loralynn Bartnick, Shannon Beckwith, Christine Boffy, Jenny Brookman, Kelli Burns, Jill Carr, Megan Clermont, Yvette Curran, Whittney Daniels, Christina Elshehaby, Stacey Finkle, Charadie Gagliardi, Andrea Gilmore, Robin Goldstone, Kim Gore, Tara Green, Louann Hammond, Kirstin Hipp, Melinda Hurd, Brittany King, Kathy Klein, Glenda Korus, Jamie Kozicki, Melissa LaBud, Jennifer Lanham, Kim Lantz, Erin Lapierre, Deborah Le, Katherine Lindsay, Kelly Lund, Lisa Macias-White, Ericka Mallia, Linda Malloy, Mary Mason, Desteni McGarry, Mary Ann Meitner, Susan Miller, Jennifer Noble, Jean Olsen, Janet Richardson, Marilyn Rogers, Linda T. Shalhoub, May Siegel, Sheila Tanga, Jodie Vaughan, Kathleen Waterman, Sandra Yolles, Barbara

PAGE COMPANY 32 28 21 30 30 32 22 22 26 26 30 24 33 33 26 24 30 28 21 29 25 24 21 30 31 28 29 27 23 22 21 24 32 25 22 33 22 30 24 24 25 22 33 28 26 32 26 28 33 26

Pacific Horizon Bancorp Amerisave Mortgage VanDyk Mortgage Mortgage Masters of Indiana AnnieMac Home Mortgage W.J. Bradley Radian Guaranty Mountain West Financial Allied Mortgage Group Inlanta Mortgage Academy Mortgage Puget Sound Capital Silver Fin Capital Group Academy Mortgage America’s Mortgage Institute Parkside Lending Mortgage Returns Gateway Funding PHH Mortgage United Wholesale Mortgage VanDyk Mortgage LRES King Financial Group First Rate Financial Alliance Financial Resources Mortgage Builder Division, Altisource Opus Capital Markets Consultants Digital Risk Zillow Mortgages Academy Mortgage Stearns Lending Cherry Creek Mortgage Company Lund Mortgage Team HighTechLending Hunt Mortgage Stearns Lending KTL Performance Mortgage Guild Mortgage Company Centennial Lending Group Mercury Network Reverse Mortgage Funding McLean Mortgage Corporation Mason-McDuffie Mortgage V.I.P. Mortgage Academy Mortgage Synergy Financial Group Pacific Rim Mortgage Stearns Lending Supreme Lending United Shore Financial Services www.mpamag.com

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DEBORAH LAPIERRE Senior loan officer ACADEMY MORTGAGE Deborah Lapierre’s mortgage experience spans nearly 20 years. Her attention to detail and commitment to borrower satisfaction have made her one of Academy Mortgage’s premier loan officers. She was recently awarded Academy’s Duane Shaw Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes top-performing loan officers who best represent the values of integrity, entrepreneurism, professional excellence and commitment to the community. Lapierre also shares her experience with others, working with local real estate schools to educate agents on the most current mortgage information. She and her husband are also active in charity, dedicating a large portion of their lives to service and humanitarian efforts across the US and the world.

Janet Olsen has been in the mortgage industry for more than 30 years. Starting as a loan processor, she quickly moved into underwriting and operations management. She’s headed up operations for several major companies, including Dominion Bankshares, First Horizon Mortgage and McLean Mortgage Corporation. Olsen is also a certified professional behavioral analyst, which has enabled her to coach industry pros on leadership skills. She’s also coached with Building Champions, helping hundreds in the industry further their careers.

DESTENI MASON Owner KTL PERFORMANCE MORTGAGE Desteni Mason is a founding member of KTL Performance Mortgage, and has been recognized as a top USDA lender in the states of Indiana and Ohio. Mason isn’t resting on her laurels, though; she recently helped expand KTL’s brand to Kentucky and Florida. Mason’s determination to serve typically underserved rural borrowers has made her the go-to mortgage expert in her area, and she shares her expertise with others through Realtor seminars and homebuyer education programs.

KELLI BROOKMAN Assistant vice president, national training RADIAN GUARANTY As Radian’s assistant VP for national training, Kelli Brockman is a tireless advocate for professional growth. Last year, Brockman’s national training team reached more than 30,000 mortgage pros through live and online training. This year, Brockman introduced Radian’s Insider series, a monthly webcast designed to make expert knowledge accessible to originators by featuring top mortgage professionals. “When Kelli is the facilitator or speaker at a training event, she generates a dynamic, lively atmosphere,” says Radian training manager Carrie Cooper. “What she ultimately creates are not just trainings or curriculums, but experiences.”


LINDA MALLIA President HUNT MORTGAGE Linda Mallia joined Hunt Mortgage a little over 35 years ago as a manager and field coordinator, eventually working her way up to the presidency. In her time at Hunt, Mallia has taken what was a small mortgage company and built it into the number-one mortgage banker in western New York. “She is relentless in pursuing excellence in customer service and employee loyalty,” says Hunt Mortgage’s Michael Mallia. “I am proud to call her my sister-in-law – and my boss.”

JILL BURNS EVP of operations MOUNTAIN WEST FINANCIAL As executive vice president of operations for Mountain West Financial, Jill Burns doesn’t just oversee all aspects of day-to-day operations – she also offers invaluable coaching and education for the entire management team. “Her vast knowledge of the industry provides her with a perspective that is rarely found, and her insight to the inner workings of the industry allows her to tackle challenges with a can-do perspective,” says Mountain West president Gary Martell, Jr. “Finally, her understanding of our unique culture helps to garner the respect of her peers and the entire management team.”


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ERIN LANTZ Vice president ZILLOW MORTGAGES As Zillow’s mortgage expert, Erin Lantz leads the company’s efforts to provide consumers with the information and tools they need to make educated decisions about the mortgage process. Having held many different roles in the industry, Lantz is in a perfect position to educate borrowers; she can speak with authority and experience about home loans, refinancing, rate trends and industry-related public policy. Prior to joining Zillow, Lantz served as senior vice president at Bank of America, where she led the centralized sales purchase home loan division.


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Marketing director LRES

One of the few female officers of a mortgage technology company, Jennifer Miller heads up the Mercury Network team. Her technology, used by more than 600 lenders and appraisal management companies, powers more than 20,000 appraisal deliveries per day. In fact, Miller’s technology is behind more than half off the residential real estate transactions in the country. An acknowledged expert in the world of mortgage technology, Miller has been tapped for insight by numerous industry publications, including MPA. She’s also a highly sought-after speaker who has presented at the industry’s leading national conferences. Miller has been recognized by industry publications as a Woman of Influence and a Giant of Innovation. She also led the only team to be awarded Innovation of the Year for four consecutive years by the Progress in Lending Association.

As marketing director for LRES, a national appraisal and REO management company, Brittany Hurd is spearheading the rebuilding of the company’s marketing division with a strong emphasis on digital strategies to boost brand awareness. She’s helped lead the charge in enhancing the company’s vendor management software, consolidated its vendor database to increase production quality and ease of vendor oversight, and managed appraisal management company licensing in relation to the implementation of new regulations – all while still under 30. Hurd holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Vanguard University of Southern California, and she’s currently pursuing a master’s degree in strategic public relations at George Washington University.




Susan Meitner learned the mortgage business from the ground up, but she wasn’t satisfied working for someone else. In 2010, after 15 years in the industry, Meitner decided to start her own business. She tracked down investors, hired a staff and founded Centennial Lending Group with a philosophy of innovation and a strong focus on customer service. Today, the company has 60 employees and was recognized as one of the fastestgrowing private companies of 2014 by Inc. magazine. Last year, Meitner published her first book, Crazy Girl, Lucky Girl: Do YOU Have the Keys for Success? The book, which describes the journey Meitner took to start her business, became a bestseller on Amazon.


Kelly Lindsay is a top producer at Cherry Creek Mortgage, racking up more than $100 million in loan volume last year. Lindsay has repeatedly been recognized as a Cherry Creek President’s Circle honoree and a Five Star mortgage professional. She’s also active in her community,co-founding and leading Women of the Woodlands, an elite group for professional women. Lindsay also is active in many Houston-area charities, participating in fundraising and awareness campaigns for Memorial Hermann Hospital, the American Heart Association and Habitat for Humanity.


CHRISTINA DANIELS Loan officer PUGET SOUND CAPITAL A star loan officer at Puget Sound Capital, Christina Daniels has a reputation for taking on the toughest of files. Daniels has a passion for providing the tools and resources to help her customers become successful homeowners – and she enjoys sharing that passion with others, partnering with several nonprofits to provide financial education and homeownership classes. Daniels recently chaired the Thurston Asset Building Coalition, an organization dedicated to providing opportunity to those with limited incomes.

EVP of operational strategy PARKSIDE LENDING With two decades of industry experience, Robin Gilmore had the knowledge, talent and discipline needed to develop the infrastructure to support Parkside Lending’s tremendous growth over the past year. But the mortgage industry isn’t where Gilmore expected to end up; when she graduated from the University of Maryland, she thought she would secure a controller position with a small company. Instead, she took a risk and accepted a position with a mortgage firm. She quickly learned that the opportunities were limitless for someone with enough determination and the right attitude. Today, Gilmore is more passionate than ever about promoting the importance of integrity within the industry and encouraging young graduates to choose a career path in mortgage banking.


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Chief marketing officer REVERSE MORTGAGE FUNDING

Branch manager VANDYK MORTGAGE

A veteran of reverse mortgage marketing, Jean Noble has lent her skills to some of the nation’s top reverse lenders and financial institutions. Noble joined Reverse Mortgage Funding last November, and under her guidance, RMF has become the only reverse lender endorsed by the American Bankers Association. Previously, Noble worked as the director of marketing and call center sales for Urban Financial of America, and served as executive vice president at Senior Lending Network, where she created and oversaw an extremely successful ad campaign featuring actor Robert Wagner. Noble is also active in the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, serving on the group’s marketing and public relations committee.

Melinda Hipp is passionate about her business, her employees and her specialty in reverse mortgages. As the only Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional, Hipp has developed a following as the state’s ‘Reverse Mortgage Queen.’ Hipp is also an educator, teaching mortgage subjects for the San Antonio Board of Realtors. She was selected as that organization’s Affiliate of the Year in 2013, and was honored that year as one of MPA’s Hot 100.

ERICKA MACIAS-WHITE Co-founder and SVP of operations HIGHTECHLENDING Erika Macias-White was born to work in the mortgage industry. With two parents in real estate, Macias-White was in the business early. “That’s kind of how I got my foot in the door – working in their office, making connections with their clients, making connections with their loan officers,” she says. In 2006, Macias-White and Don Currie co-founded HighTechLending, using paperless loan processing and simultaneous automated underwriting to accelerate closings.


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Director of business development PACIFIC RIM MORTGAGE


When Jodie Tanga started Pacific Rim Mortgage in 2005, she was averaging about one or two loans a month. Today, she’s grown her personal production to around 20 loans – and $10 million – per month. Tanga is a star in the Hawaii mortgage world, having been named the state’s best mortgage loan officer two years in a row by the Honolulu Star Advertiser; Pacific Rim was voted the best mortgage company. Tanga also has the rare distinction of having been honored in three of MPA’s major categories of recognition, as an alum of the Hot 100, Elite Women and Young Guns.


MAY SHALHOUB Branch manager ACADEMY MORTGAGE When May Shalhoub moved to the US from Israel at the age of 19, she already had her bachelor’s degree. She started her mortgage career as a staff assistant at a bank, moving on to become a processor and finally an originator. As one of Academy Mortgage’s top performing loan officers for the last 25 years, Shalhoub knows the value of customer service, building a specialized plan for each customer to achieve his or her dream, whether it be buying a small condo or a large home. And she’s willing to work long and hard to make those dreams come true; Shalhoub has a reputation for her tenacity and persistence in making loans happen for her clients. “A simple ‘thank you’ from a client makes a big difference for May,” says Academy’s Nicole Green. “She doesn’t track how much money she’s making or how many loans she closes. She puts that stuff to the side and just enjoys what she does. She believes that when you love what you do, you will succeed.” Shalhoub’s love of the industry seems to have rubbed off; she’s currently training her son and daughter to become Academy loan officers.


As United Shore’s chief strategy officer, Barbara Yolles leads all marketing, communications and strategic growth initiatives for the company – including United Shore’s new branding. “Her efforts have added sizzle to the mortgage company’s already strong business prowess, and have contributed to an upheaval in corporate culture that has led to numerous national and local workplace awards,” says communications manager Brad Pettiford.

A major player in the training and education sector of the mortgage industry, Andrea Gagliardi has written NMLS curriculum for new loan officers and continuing education. She’s also passionate about bringing new people into the business, attracting women and millennials to the mortgage industry and securing grants to help unemployed people get training and licensing as mortgage professionals. Gagliardi is also the author of a textbook for NMLS education. And she manages all of that while being an active originator and a mother of two small children.



Director of business development ALLIED MORTGAGE GROUP


Megan Carr’s determination and dedication to great customer service make her one of the Philadelphia area’s top mortgage professionals. “Whether she’s working directly with the consumer or the Realtor, you always feel as if you are her only client – when the reality of the situation is that she closes hundreds of millions of dollars in loans a year,” says Nicole Marcum Rife of Rife Real Estate Group. “Megan and her team have successfully closed every loan I’ve ever given to them. In addition, not only do we settle on the homes, we settle on time with money at the title office prior to settling. Not many people can make that claim.”

Consistently among the top performers at Inlanta, Yvette Clermont also serves as a branch manager and team leader, overseeing staff members in both Green Bay, Wis., and Lakewood Ranch, Fla. Dedicated to positive industry reforms, Clermont is active in the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Political Action Committee, as well as both the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals and the Wisconsin Mortgage Bankers Association. She also serves on Inlanta’s advisory board, providing her insight and experience to the company’s senior leadership.


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VP, marketing and project management office DIGITAL RISK As Digital Risk’s vice president of marketing and project management, Kim Lanham has spearheaded the company’s efforts to develop and market solutions to further financial institutions’ ability to perform risk management functions. Lanham was instrumental in developing the company’s groundbreaking Governance, Risk, Compliance solution, and also helped develop its Quality Control Information Manager product, which enables management to analyze and solve for QC trends. An acknowledged expert, Lanham has been sought out to speak at several symposiums and industry conferences. She’s currently organizing a Millennial Homebuyers webinar in partnership with the University of Central Florida’s School of Real Estate to introduce students to the mortgage finance industry. She’s also designing an Executive Women’s Summit for senior mortgage industry businesswomen.


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Mortgage originator GATEWAY FUNDING

Senior loan originator AMERISAVE MORTGAGE

One of Gateway Funding’s top producers, Tara Gore racked up $12 million in volume in 2014. A savvy marketer, Gore looks for creative ways to brand not only herself, but the company as a whole. Gore is also lauded at Gateway for her concern for customers. “She sees the value in spending an extra couple of minutes to make her clients and partners know how much she cares about them,” says colleague Karissa Stiglic. “Tara brings her kind personality into her business and has a genuine interest in making sure everyone involved in a transaction is satisfied.”

With 10 years of mortgage experience, Rebekah Balkcom has held every sales role at Amerisave Mortgage, from loan officer to vice president of sales. With more than $53.5 million in funded volume last year, Balkcom was the company’s top producer – but she’s not just focused on her own performance. Balkcom works consistently with loan officers and company executives alike to improve Amerisave’s processes and practices. “Rebekah is the perfect example of what an LO should be,” says Joseph Watts, Amerisave senior vice president. “Experience, knowledge, phone presence, confidence, time management – and customer service.”



Director of compliance MORTGAGE BUILDER DIVISION, ALTISOURCE After two decades of experience in the mortgage banking industry, Melissa Kozicki is now pursuing a special focus on compliance. She’s developed education and training programs that she offers to employees, customers and professional associations alike. “Her real passion is compliance, and she doesn’t like that most people dread learning it,” says Meredith Duhaime, senior associate of external communications at Altisource. “So she has made every effort to make her trainings as fun and interactive as possible.” Kozicki is active in many professional associations. She’s been the chair of the Michigan Mortgage Brokers Association’s education committee and been a member of the education committees for the Michigan Mortgage Lenders Association and the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. She’s also a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association.


Linda Rogers has lived all over the world and worked quite a few unusual jobs, including public relations, art brokering and as the owner of a salmon boat in Alaska. These days, as a seasoned mortgage professional with more than a decade of experience under her belt, Rogers has been among the top 10 producers at every company she’s been with. She’s won numerous awards for customer satisfaction, and was recently named the best mortgage lender in Sedona, Ariz., by Kudos magazine. V.I.P. Mortgage recently honored Rogers as the Top Edition to the Exclusive Team 2014 for her commitment to customer service. “What sets Linda apart from her competition is her unique talent for thinking outside the box to create one-of-a-kind solutions for her clients,” says V.I.P.’s Lisa Kerby. “Where other lenders will throw in the towel, Linda does not like to be told ‘no,’ and will make it her mission to find creative financial solutions structured to help her clients reach their financial aspirations.” Rogers’ relentless advocacy for her clients has paid off; currently, she has earned a market share of more than 25% of all purchased financed transactions in Sedona.

KATHLEEN VAUGHAN EVP of national third-party production STEARNS LENDING Kathleen Vaughan has always been determined. As a student, she paid her way through Stanford by driving a catering truck. Today, she’s an instrumental part of Stearns Lending’s success. As executive vice president of national third-party production, Vaughan has spearheaded a technology-driven third-party origination platform for Stearns’ wholesale and correspondent channels. Over the last few years, that platform has enabled the correspondent channel to grow its business by nearly 60%. The platform also has been a boon to Stearns’ rapidly growing mortgage servicing rights acquisition unit. In addition to her success at Stearns, Vaughan is the founder of the nonprofit Bridge to Africa, a fair trade organization that enables Africa’s artisans to sell their goods to customers around the world.


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Chief operating officer and co-founder OPUS CAPITAL MARKETS CONSULTANTS With more than 20 years of success in the mortgage banking industry, Jennifer LaBud is a key component in Opus Capital Markets Consultants’ success. LaBud’s commitment to quality and transparency has made the company a top due diligence firm, and one of only a handful of RMBS rating agencyapproved due diligence providers. LaBud also has expanded Opus CMC’s reach, transforming it from a securitization due diligence firm to an organization that offers a diversified suite of products for people across the mortgage continuum.




EVP of capital markets UNITED WHOLESALE MORTGAGE With more than two decades of industry experience under her belt when she joined United Wholesale Mortgage in 2012, Kirstin Hammond was ready to hit the ground running. As executive vice president of capital markets, Hammond used her strong relationships with investors to expand UWM’s warehouse delivery options. Hammond’s performance earned her UWM’s MVP Award in 2013, and her efforts and forward-thinking attitude have helped the company save money, gain traction against competitors and improve its position in the marketplace. In addition to her duties at UWM, Hammond sits on advisory boards for both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, where she’s able to leverage her years of experience to make a positive difference in the industry.

Today’s lenders move fast, just like Mortgage Returns’ TRUE CRM™. From higher customer retention to demanding more from automation, our management system is the mortgage industry’s true front-runner in surpassing your goals. Our user’s achieve:

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National director of realtor and sales management ANNIEMAC HOME MORTGAGE

In 12 years, Shannon Bartnick has taken Mortgage Masters of Indiana from a oneperson operation out of her home to the leading mortgage bank in Evansville, Ind. Today, the company employs nearly 30 people. Last year, Mortgage Masters originated nearly $80 million in an area where purchase prices are much lower than the national average.


Since taking over real estate referral relationships and oversight of 55 branches for AnnieMac, Christine Beckwith has helped oversee a historic growth in the company’s productivity. “Christine has worked in multiple positions at different levels, allowing her to have strong foundational understanding of the industry,” says Matthew Buckley, EVP of compliance at AnnieMac. “Christine also brings a strong management background to AnnieMac Home Mortgage, which means she knows how to motivate people, manage people, and get projects started and completed.” An accomplished public speaker, Beckwith has also proven a boon to AnnieMac when it comes to recruiting new sales talent and forging relationships with real estate professionals.


With more than a decade of experience, Whittney Curran is both a trainer and a mentor to other loan officers – and not a bad salesperson herself, producing $12 million in 2014. For Curran, finding her customers the perfect loan is the most important part of the business. “The most important thing to me is that you receive the right loan with the least cost possible the first time,” she says. “Many people can get you a loan. What I promise to do is get you the right loan, and get it all done cheaply and on time.”

GLENDA KLEIN Chief financial officer FIRST RATE FINANCIAL Glenda Klein has been in the mortgage business for more than 38 years, and after all that time, she’s still passionate about the industry. Klein works an average of 12 hours a day, and constantly looks for opportunities to improve First Rate Financial’s culture and expand its business. Klein wears many hats at First Rate Financial, running the company’s banking lines, overseeing human resources, payroll and accounting – and still finds the time to pick up breakfast for its 52 employees a couple of times a month.




Director of marketing MORTGAGE RETURNS

President, CEO and partner GUILD MORTGAGE COMPANY

When Kim Goldstone joined Mortgage Returns in early 2014, she overhauled both the company’s marketing strategy and the marketing offerings it provided to more than 250 mortgage companies nationwide. “She single-handedly revitalized the campaign offerings, content, design and production,” says colleague Emily Nowell. “She is constantly out in front of what’s next for originators and how the industry will evolve – and who will be the next target audience to reach.” Goldstone comes by her industry expertise honestly; she has more than 10 years of industry experience, and her father is a 35-year veteran of the business. “She credits all those summers processing loans in college with giving her focus in bringing her marketing and creative insights to the financial sector,” Nowell says.

Mary Ann McGarry began her career with Guild Mortgage in 1984 as a supervisor in the internal audit department. Within three years, she was the senior VP of loan administration and information technology. In that capacity, she reorganized the loan division and spearheaded the creation of proprietary servicing software. McGarry continued to climb up the ladder at Guild, serving as chief financial officer, chief production operations officer and chief operating officer. Today, McGarry is the company’s president and CEO, and the driving force behind turning Guild Mortgage into a multibillion-dollar company with more than 250 branches nationwide. McGarry serves on the Mortgage Bankers Association’s investment committee and servicing committee, and on the Fannie Mae advisory council.


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JAMIE KORUS President ALLIANCE FINANCIAL RESOURCES Jamie Korus has served as the president and principal of Alliance Financial Resources since 2006. She began her career in 2002 as a loan originator, but quickly moved into management. Korus has developed coursework and instructed classes required for loan originator licensing. She’s heavily involved in the Mortgage Bankers Association, currently serving has the chair of the Mortgage Bankers Association Political Action Committee [MORPAC]. Korus holds dual bachelor’s degrees in communication and psychology and a master’s degree in organizational communication.


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COVER STORY: ELITE WOMEN INDEX BY COMPANY NAME Academy Mortgage Academy Mortgage Academy Mortgage Academy Mortgage Alliance Financial Resources Allied Mortgage Group America’s Mortgage Institute Amerisave Mortgage AnnieMac Home Mortgage Centennial Lending Group Cherry Creek Mortgage Company Digital Risk First Rate Financial Gateway Funding Guild Mortgage Company HighTechLending Hunt Mortgage Inlanta Mortgage King Financial Group KTL Performance Mortgage LRES Lund Mortgage Team Mason-McDuffie Mortgage McLean Mortgage Corporation Mercury Network Mortgage Builder Division, Altisource Mortgage Masters of Indiana Mortgage Returns Mountain West Financial Opus Capital Markets Consultants Pacific Horizon Bancorp Pacific Rim Mortgage Parkside Lending PHH Mortgage Puget Sound Capital Radian Guaranty Reverse Mortgage Funding Silver Fin Capital Group Stearns Lending Stearns Lending Stearns Lending Supreme Lending Synergy Financial Group United Shore Financial Services United Wholesale Mortgage V.I.P. Mortgage VanDyk Mortgage VanDyk Mortgage W.J. Bradley Zillow Mortgages 32

PAGE COMPANY 30 33 22 26 31 26 26 28 30 24 24 27 30 28 30 25 22 26 21 22 24 32 33 22 24 28 30 30 22 29 32 26 24 21 24 22 25 33 21 33 28 33 32 26 29 28 21 25 32 23

Curran, Whittney Finkle, Charadie Lapierre, Deborah Shalhoub, May Korus, Jamie Carr, Megan Gagliardi, Andrea Balkcom, Rebekah Beckwith, Christine Meitner, Susan Lindsay, Kelly Lanham, Kim Klein, Glenda Gore, Tara McGarry, Mary Ann Macias-White, Ericka Mallia, Linda Clermont, Yvette King, Kathy Mason, Desteni Hurd, Brittany Lund, Lisa Richardson, Marilyn Olsen, Janet Miller, Jennifer Kozicki, Melissa Bartnick, Shannon Goldstone, Kim Burns, Jill LaBud, Jennifer Aposhian, Houry Tanga, Jodie Gilmore, Robin Green, Louann Daniels, Christina Brookman, Kelli Noble, Jean Elshehaby, Stacey Le, Katherine Malloy, Mary Vaughan, Kathleen Waterman, Sandra Siegel, Sheila Yolles, Barbara Hammond, Kirstin Rogers, Linda T. Ball, Loralynn Hipp, Melinda Boffy, Jenny Lantz, Erin


LISA LUND President LUND MORTGAGE TEAM Lisa Lund began her mortgage career right out of high school, working as an assistant at her father’s brokerage. Over the next decade, she worked in practically every position in the industry. In 2009, at just 29, she founded Lund Mortgage Team. Since its inception, the company has closed an average of $150 million per year with a staff of just nine – and just three loan officers. Lund is currently serving as president of the Arizona Association of Mortgage Professionals, and has lobbied for the industry in Washington. Lund also enjoys giving back to the community, and has worked with the ALS Association and the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center.

Houry Aposhian has led Pacific Horizon Bancorp for more than 23 years, and has become known to real estate professionals in La Crescenta, Calif., for her depth of knowledge and her integrity. In addition to running Pacific Horizon, Aposhian teaches courses in mortgage financing and for first-time homebuyers at UCLA. “Without the knowledge, commitment and honest dealings of Houry Aposhian, my expanded real estate portfolio would be hard to achieve,” says customer Patricia Kasparian. “My husband and I are both educated with graduate degrees, but when it comes to the mortgage market, we count of Houry’s knowledge and contacts. ... For me, she’s a professional I can count on – one who thinks about my financial interest before her loan commission. Honesty and professionalism come standard with Houry.”

SHEILA SIEGEL President and senior loan consultant SYNERGY FINANCIAL GROUP This marks Sheila Siegel’s 25th year in the mortgage industry. The owner and president of Synergy Financial Group, Siegel is also the mother of two boys, ages 5 and 15 – and her husband’s demanding work schedule and frequent travel means she’s often operating as a single parent as well as a full-time mortgage professional. “Mrs. Siegel delivers the company’s exemplary service with the help of only one part-time assistant,” remarks friend Bernadette Greif. “It is amazing to read this professional’s five star reviews from her clients, when there is only one Sheila to take care of everything in her family life and business!”

JENNY BOFFY Loan officer W.J. BRADLEY With more than a decade of mortgage lending experience, Jenny Boffy has developed formidable expertise in sales, processing and transaction coordination. That multifaceted experience allows Boffy to make sure her customers’ loans are packaged appropriately, and to provide loan scenarios that allow them to compare loans side-by-side and explore their options. That expertise has also translated to sales; Boffy was responsible for more than $15.7 million in volume in 2014.


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Processing department manager SILVER FIN CAPITAL GROUP


With more than 20 years of industry experience, there’s not much in the mortgage business that Stacy Elshehaby hasn’t seen. She joined Silver Fin Capital Group in 2008, and is now responsible for managing the company’s processing team and its loan pipeline for more than 50 wholesale lenders. Her deep and wide industry experience make Elshehaby invaluable to Silver Fin, says co-founder Andrew Weinberg. “This experience, coupled with a commitment to client service and loan officer support, makes Stacey one of the best loan processors in the business,” Weinberg says. “She is instrumental in helping the Silver Fin Capital team to offer the high level of professionalism and client service for which [we have] become known.”

SANDRA WATERMAN Senior underwriter SUPREME LENDING Sandra Waterman is on a short list of top retail underwriters in the southeastern USA, says Thomas Flood, Supreme Lending Tampa Bay market leader. “Knowledgeable beyond conscientious, [she has] a can-do mindset appreciated by team members, Realtors and borrowers alike. A beautiful person inside and out, she’s an incredible team member. ... [Sandra is] willing to go the distance for every complex situation, helping people with their most important investment.”

Marilyn Richardson started her mortgage career as a receptionist. Working her way up the ladder at various companies, Richardson became Mason-McDuffie’s first female partner in 1979. In 1982, the firm was sold to Weyerhaeuser Mortgage, but was re-founded by Richardson and other partners in 2005. “I can’t say enough about Marilyn. She’s the smartest lady I know,” says Mason-McDuffie’s Alicia Contreras. “She worked her way up from a receptionist to a CEO. She’s also a DE underwriter and is licensed as an originator. She completely understands all aspects of the mortgage business. She is a problem solver and a true leader!”

CHARADIE FINKLE Sales manager ACADEMY MORTGAGE Charadie Finkle started her career more than 16 years ago on the operations side of the industry, which allowed her to master the technical aspects of lending. Finkle joined Academy Mortgage in 2010 and was named the company’s Rookie of the Year in 2013. A member of Academy’s Top Producers Club, Finkle was responsible for $23 million in loan volume in 2014.

MARY MALLOY EVP of capital markets STEARNS LENDING As Stearns Lending’s EVP of capital markets, Mary Malloy oversees the company’s correspondent mandatory trade desk for the secondary and capital markets groups. Under her guidance, the capital markets team has been successful in managing Stearns’ growth while still exceeding targeted margins. Malloy and her husband are both avid motorcyclists, and are very active in raising money for the Shriners’ Hospital for Children.


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Taking the stress out of distressed properties Home building and mortgages are booming again – but some buyers are eyeing distressed and rehab properties as a cheaper option. Carrying a mortgage and a rehabilitation loan simply isn’t feasible for many – but one company is making it happen

FOR MANY buyers, their dream home is brand new and move-in ready. But the financial realities of today’s market means the majority are looking at bargains – and that can mean distressed properties. Rehabs and fixer-uppers come at a lower price for homebuyers, but they can be a double whammy for mortgage brokers who are tasked with pitching two loans for one client – not to mention the mountain of paperwork and legwork that comes with it. But one company has streamlined this process, removing the red tape by taking care of the mortgage and rehabilitation loans, positioning themselves as a ‘one-stop shop’ for this lucrative market. “The reaction from brokers has been overwhelming,” says Andrew Allen, the manager of the renovation department and product specialist at American Financial Resources [AFR]. “Several years ago when management asked me to head-up the rollout of the 203(k) program, 203(k) loans were an obscure product, [but] people heard they were


difficult. Due to a lack of understanding and resources, they were simply avoided. We now have an entire renovation department dedicated to answering questions and guiding our lending partners along the way.” Starting out, Allen used training webinars and to teach brokers and lenders nationwide about the process, “beating the drum” for renovation loans – and his efforts have paid off.

“We’ll go in and help them to compete, because they want to go deeper with that customer. We’re that expertise. They own the customer, and we own the expertise” David Margulies, American Financial Resources “The lenders out there have gotten very good at doing the rehabilitation loans,” he says. “With the 203(k) and now the HomeStyle version, which is currently quite popular, it’s

not so scary to originators anymore.” What generally stands in the way a distressed property purchase is that many buyers can’t afford to buy the home and then


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pay out of pocket for the repairs or renovation. That sentiment is reflected in a recent Gallup poll, which shows that the percentage of non-home-owning Americans who say they don’t think they’ll buy a home “in the foreseeable future” has risen to 41%, up from 31% from two years ago. “One of the long-running facets of the American Dream has been the ability to buy a house,” said Gallup’s Art Swift. “Yet seven years after the market crashed in 2007-2008, it appears that a renewal of zeal for home buying may not yet be evident in the United States.”

According to John Jackson, managing partner of Do Good Real Estate in Southeastern North Carolina, homebuyers do themselves a disservice when completely discounting properties that will require repairs. “You get the best return on investment buying a fixer-upper in a well-established neighborhood and by investing in the kitchen and bathrooms,” he says. “By looking at ‘as-is’ homes, you potentially identify undervalued homes and can quickly add value while modernizing to your style.” And with the FHA 203(k) loan, it is possible to finance the cost of work done on a home as





Short sales


Properties in ‘above average’ condition


Properties in ‘below average’ condition


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RENOVATION LOANS HARSH WINTER SLOWS REMODELING The National Association of Home Builders’ [NAHB] Remodeling Market Index [RMI] posted a reading of 57 in the first quarter of 2015, off slightly from the historically high level of 60 in the last quarter of 2014, but above the key break-even point of 50. The RMI was 59 in the Northeast, 54 in the Midwest, 56 in the South and 62 in the West. An RMI above 50 indicates that a majority of remodelers are reporting a higher level of market activity compared to the prior quarter. The overall RMI averages ratings of current remodeling activity with indicators of future remodeling activity. “Remodelers remain positive about the gradual pace of market improvement, but that confidence was tempered by a severe winter and continued labor shortages,” said NAHB remodelers chair Robert Criner. “Clients continued to call for consultations for home remodeling jobs at the beginning of 2015.” Meanwhile, small renovation jobs continued to show strength. The home maintenance and repair component of the RMI increased four points to 64 in the first quarter, the highest reading on record. The RMI’s future market conditions index fell to 55, compared to 60 in the previous quarter. All four of its subcomponents — calls for bids, amount of work committed for the next three months, backlog of jobs and appointments for proposals — decreased slightly from the previous quarter’s reading. “Like the rest of the home building industry, remodelers are facing the pressure of increasing costs for labor and materials, but an RMI above 50 indicates that they still feel positive about the market on balance,” said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. “The strength of the RMI’s maintenance and repair component was likely due in part to the harsh weather conditions that struck many parts of the country during the first quarter and necessitated repairs.”


Bathroom remodels

A record year in the works?

Kitchen remodels Window/door replacements Whole house remodels Room additions Property damage repairs Handyman services


Housing market affordability Akron, Ohio 90% Scranton, Pennsylvania 85% Des Moines, Iowa 85% Cincinnati, Ohio 82% Los Angeles, California 26% Source: Zillow


part of a first mortgage loan. “What has happened is it has precipitated in volume,” Allen says. “It went from a very small piece of lending to a very viable source of originating.”

Nationwide spending on home improvement, which is estimated to have topped $300 billion last year, could easily exceed in 2015 the record of $324 billion set during the peak of last decade’s housing boom, according to a recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies [JCHS] at Harvard University. But remodeling’s future won’t be like its recent past, JCHS predicts. For one thing, Generation X and millennials have different home improvement priorities than Baby Boomers. High-income metro areas are re-emerging as leaders in home improvement spending. In addition, the home improvement industry is recovering from the pummeling it suffered during the housing crash and is repositioning itself. Corey Dubnoff, president of AFR, says the company has seen a dramatic increase in the volume of 203(k) loans. “We have focused on educating our clients and making the process easy. In today’s housing market, it is a great tool to have for the purchase market.” Other companies are taking a cue from the shift in buyer tastes by putting forward their own buy-and-repair mortgage offers. Carrington Mortgage Services, for example, is now offering mortgages that let buyers with a FICO score as low as 550 cover the cost of both buying and repairing a home. “By enabling our customers to buy lowerpriced homes, fix them up and apply the financing toward those improvements, we’re expanding the accessibility of homeownership to borrowers — especially those in the underserved market,” says Ray Brousseau, executive vice president of Carrington’s mortgage lending division. For AFR, the advent of rehabilitation loans has produced a 15% uptick in overall lending volume, according to Allen. “It is a considerable amount of business and a rapidly growing market.”


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“Due to a lack of understanding and resources, [203(k) loans] were simply avoided. We now have an entire renovation department dedicated to answering questions and guiding our lending partners along the way” Andrew Allen, American Financial Resources The rise of Wholesale Direct The popularity of AFR’s Wholesale Direct program among brokers can be summed up in two words: free and effortless. David Margulies, executive vice president of global sales for AFR, describes the program as being akin to the ‘set it and forget it’ late-night TV infomercials. “The key to Wholesale Direct is a mortgage broker will take an application, they’ll disclose it, and they’ll send that package to us – we handle it for them,” he says. “We call the customer; we talk to the Realtor; we talk to everybody. We process it; we underwrite it; we close it for them – and we do this on the Wholesale Direct side without any fees. That is the key – you originate, we close. It is just that simple.” Brokers can choose which loans they would like AFR to process, and which ones they prefer to process themselves. AFR’s reasoning behind that is that it gives brokers the confidence in knowing that they can originate more difficult loans, such as FHA’s 203(k) or One Time Close Construction loans, while not clogging up the processors’ pipeline. “We are processing the loan and taking it out of the originator’s hands,” Allen says. “We know how to do those loans better than anybody else, because we do it day in and day out – take that off of their plate as a broker, let them sell and do what they are good at doing, and let us deal with the minutiae of processing the loan.” Margulies, a 35-year-veteran in the business, says there is a misconception that wholesale is strictly for the mortgage broker. “It’s not. It is for the credit union, it’s for the community bank – and that is what I love

about it best. You can have a community bank that wants to offer a renovation loan, and they don’t own the expertise to do this. But they would like to do business with this customer – it’s a value-add.” And that is where AFR can step in and offer that expertise, says Margulies. “We’ll go in and help them compete, because they want to go deeper with that customer,” he says. “They want to do more – they want to be able to offer these products, and they don’t have to own the expertise. We’re that expertise. They own the customer, and we own the expertise.” Wholesale Direct has become much more than just a business model for Margulies – it’s a way to change lives, and it’s something that he feels very strongly about. “This has been a trying time for a lot of folks, and unfortunately in the positions that they have been in, this has been a way for them to actually grow,” he says. “If you think about it, when somebody goes in to buy a house today, which is truly a feat unto itself, there is actually a product [203(k)] that will allow somebody to buy a home that needs repair – and the lender is providing the money at only 3.5% down. You may not have a lot of capital to your name, but you have a solid job and you can buy a home that’s tired – and you have a lot of homes like that in small towns.” And people looking to buy homes in need of rehabilitation are one of the primary drivers of America’s economic recovery, says Margulies. “That was one of the government’s finest hours, the creation of the 203(k) loan. It’s for anybody, and it allows you to do the things you need to do.”

A CLOSER LOOK AT REHAB LOANS Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation A single-close loan that enables borrowers to purchase a home that needs repairs, or refinance their existing home and include the necessary funds for renovation in the loan balance. The loan amount is based on the ‘as-completed’ value of the home rather than the present value. There are no required improvements or a minimum dollar amount for the repairs. Repairs or improvements, however, must be permanently affixed to the real property and add value to the property. FHA 203(b) with Repair Escrow Intended to facilitate uncomplicated rehabilitation of a home being purchased from HUD. To qualify, HUD must agree to allow a repair escrow per the purchase contract, and the appraisal must be marked as ‘insurable with repair escrows.’ The funds for the repairs and reserve contingency are borrowed and cannot be more than $5,000 combined. The repair items cannot require plans, consultants, engineers and/or architects and should only be for cosmetic purposes. FHA 203(k) Rehabilitation Used to purchase or refinance a home that needs major rehabilitation, or when the repairs are structural in nature. The standard 203(k) loan also is used when the total renovation costs exceed the $35,000 limit of the 203(k) Streamline loan. Borrowers will receive an added layer of protection from the use of a 203(k) consultant, an expert used to safeguard against under- or overestimating the cost of the repairs. FHA Streamline 203(k) An all-in-one loan used for homes that need minor repairs. It allows borrowers to finance the purchase of an existing home or refinance a home they currently occupy and make improvements or upgrades of up to $35,000. There are no minimum repair costs with the FHA Streamlined 203(k) loan.


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How to be a better negotiator Contrary to what you might think, negotiation is not about ‘winning at all costs.’ Josh Masters explains that if you approach negotiation as a process where all parties achieve the best outcome, you may well find that you achieve more success in your dealings with others THE ART of negotiation is one that is truly underestimated in the corporate and small business world – many professionals fixate on playing either good cop or bad cop when it comes to sealing a deal. This turns what is actually a science into a gambling game where the high stakes don’t always pay. The basic premise of negotiation is to work together with another party to achieve an outcome that works for you both. Rather than come from a traditional stance, where there’s a winner and a loser, it’s best to think flexibly. In closing hundreds of deals throughout my career as a professional property buyer, I’ve learned a number of techniques to master negotiation that will have you getting what you need without damaging any relationships along the way.

Create a third position It’s important to remember that a negotiation is an exchange of energy. Place two people face to face, and they will feel confronted. Pride, stubbornness and ego can get in the way because each person feels they’re being threatened personally. Creating a third position, where both people turn to face the problem, diverts the intense energy of each person away from confrontation and focuses their attention on solving the issue. Separating the problem from the person avoids any personality clashes and reduces the chance of offending the other


person. Rather than reacting harshly to the other party not wanting to budge from their original offer because they’re ‘stubborn and unreasonable,’ you can instead focus attention on the problem. Take personality out of the equation, and focus on finding a solution rather than becoming defensive and equally unreasonable.

Look for the ‘why’ Most people will make a decision based on reason. Finding out what that reason is can be an invaluable strategy, as it gives you the opportunity to create a solution, often in return for what you want. For example, if a colleague has asked for a three-month

extended vacation during the business’ busiest time, you can negotiate on whether they can work remotely via email during some of this period.

Avoid getting personal No one likes to be attacked personally. Even when you’re negotiating through a third party, you have to assume that this third party may communicate your every word to the person you are trying to settle a deal with. So keep it polite and remember that you’re trying to get them to cooperate. Playing the blame game or reacting negatively will work against your goals. Even when something doesn’t go your way, stay


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calm and be respectful, and remember that you may lose in the short term, but as long as your eye is on the prize, your long-term goals should come to fruition. You also need to avoid thinking the worst of the other party. For example, just because they request that you make an upfront payment before receiving the goods does not mean that they’re going to steal your money. This can be difficult, as you don’t necessarily know the background of the person you’re dealing with in a negotiation. However, assuming the worst of the other person will rarely be productive – and remember, they may actually be thinking the same about you!

Be flexible The more flexible you can be toward the other party, the more likely they will be willing to give you what you want. If you can decide what you want before you go into the negotiation, such as your best offer and what terms you can and can’t waver on, you often can give the other party what they want without having to sacrifice your position.

Think of the other person At the end of the day, a negotiation, however brief, is a relationship. If you fail to consider the other person’s feelings or what they want, then it is unlikely you will have much success. If they are resolute about particular terms of the negotiation, it can be beneficial to withhold your judgment and put yourself in their shoes. Is there a reason why they’re being so firm? Is there something important to them that you haven’t considered? After all, you might very well do the same thing if you were in their position. Having some empathy for the other person will often ease the pressure in a negotiation – enough to get them across the line on the other things that are important to you.

Using ‘if’ One of the secrets to a successful negotiation is to never give anything up without asking for something in return, even if it’s small. Using ‘if ’ through your negotiation is a good way to handle this.

If I give you … then I would like … I’m happy to give you … if … If you can … then I’d be more than happy to...

Use silence One of the most effective ways to negotiate is to stay quiet. This may not be appropriate in situations where there are five other parties all trying to win over your potential customer, but it can be invaluable when the other party is poised on a favorable outcome. When you remain silent, you automatically get the ‘ball in your court,’ so to speak, which

“Creating a third position, where both people turn to face the problem, diverts the intense energy of each person away from confrontation and focuses their attention on solving the issue” leaves you with the power to make the next call. In the meantime, the other party waits in anticipation, hoping they may achieve their outcome. This can create the impression for the other party that the negotiation process may soon end with a good result and they can walk away happy. When you do come back to the table with a counter offer, their anticipation of closing the deal immediately will make the seller more willing to sacrifice items that they may have fought hard to get earlier, all because they’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel. Silence can be useful for difficult negotiations, as it can give the time needed for both parties to ‘cool off ’. Sitting back can give you the perspective you need to get a better understanding of the situation and provide you with a long-term view.

Avoid any confusion Sometimes it can be difficult to draw the line between offering help and asking for business, especially with people with whom you have developed a relationship within a casual setting. If you feel you’re approaching a level of information that you think you should be charging for, it can be handy to say things like, ‘Call me if you would like to work together on something’, or ‘This is the sort of information I often provide to my client base’; that way, you’re being clear on your expectations for the future without severing the lines of communication altogether.

Strike a pose While most of us have come across an overbearing tyrant trying to win power by force, an equally destructive force can be approaching a negotiation lacking confidence and presence. Harvard’s Amy Cuddy has a wonderful presentation on conveying ‘presence’ in front of peers, which shows that it can be as simple as the way you hold your posture before you enter the room. Two minutes with your head up, shoulders back and hands on hips can really provide the confidence you need to stand your ground and muster the courage to ask for what you want. The biggest misunderstanding surrounding the art of negotiation is in its actual definition. It’s important to remember that negotiation is not used to get the best deal possible or get the most out of someone for the least amount of budget; it’s about coming to the most positive outcome for all parties involved. The origin of the word negotiation comes from the Latin term negotiates, meaning ‘to carry on business,’ and with the right techniques, you will carry on closing deals, securing clients and building relationships.

With more than 15 years of experience, Josh Masters is one of Australia’s most respected buyer’s agents. He is author of new book and investment guide, Why Property Why Now; learn more at www.joshmasters.com.au


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Driving change:

when to involve the troops Leadership is always a delicate balance, and knowing when to involve your staff in an important initiative is just one of these balancing acts – and the timing needs to be just right. In this extract from his book, Leadership: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint, Gordon Tredgold shares the perfect time to bring in support

WHEN YOU’RE fighting a battle, how long do you have to fight it alone? What’s a duel, and what’s a war? When should you call for reinforcements? When can you expect to find an army at your back? Someone asked me the question: At what point do we need to involve more people –


like experts – when we’re shooting for those big goals? This is an interesting and difficult question to answer. I see it as a very tough balancing act that we have to get right. If you involve too many people too early, then your goals run the risk of becoming tempered

and watered down. On the other hand, if you involve too few people or involve them too late, people might feel excluded, and this can then lead to resistance, tension and lack of commitment. That can be a huge source of conflict. In my opinion, the team defining the objectives and the goals needs


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to be small. And by small, I mean perhaps one to two people. I’ll explain why I’m so conservative with that number. The more people you have involved in defining the goal, the more reasons they’ll provide you as to why you cannot hit your target. (It’s more natural to think initially of what could go wrong. Remember when someone turned up late for a date or a meeting? A dozen bad scenarios probably ran through your head – from ‘he doesn’t like me anymore’ to ‘he got into a car crash.’ Turned out, he’d just stopped to fill up with gas.) If there are too many people involved, your goal will be watered down from big, bold and beautiful to small and not-soimpressive. It’s nobody’s fault, per se; it’s just the way of people, for there are as many opinions as there are voices. In the end, it’s your decision, and your voice has to make the choice. We need to be dedicated and fearless when setting big and ambitious goals, and this is more easily done if we only have to deal with (or convince) a small group. Large groups tend to be more cautious, argumentative and often lean toward the safe side – not what you need when setting big, bold goals. You need healthy doses of risk, ambition and creativity, and those characteristics can get trampled by the masses. I’ve experienced this in the workplace time and time again, like that time when I set one company’s goal for an on-time delivery increase to 80% (as compared to our old average performance of 35%). If I had consulted with a larger group, I am sure we would have tempered the goal and probably set it at 60%; 80% wouldn’t have even been considered, much less reached. In my opinion, keep the team to a minimum when you’re at the first step of defining success and setting the goals for a change. So then, the second step. You have to define the why behind the what: why this

goal is important, what the benefits are, the reasons behind it and so forth. The more inspirational the goal, the more convincing your why – and the bigger the buy-in. This is when more people begin to show up. As soon as what and why have been defined, you can begin gathering an army to tackle how. Remember this: The goal is non-negotiable now. There will be those who will try to deter you from it. There will be those who won’t be able to fathom the big picture. But the team’s focus should be on brainstorming and mapping out the road to success. The vision of success has already been taken care of. All the energy must now be channelled to discovering how to achieve the bold goals – not how to temper or reset them.

The three key principles to driving change are: Define the problem (the goal) with as few people as possible Create an important and inspiring reason that people can buy into Define the solution (the strategy for success while involving and welcoming more people – the troops) There will always be some resistance, of course. You need to see beyond that now. The Chinese have a popular proverb: It is better to light the candle than to curse the darkness. Problems exist to be solved. Your vision must be powerful enough, and your focus must be just as keen. Don’t ask your team: Why shouldn’t we do this? Instead, ask your team: Tell me what you need to make this happen. If you can attain the balance, your larger group will not feel excluded. Instead, those people will feel involved. They will take up the challenge and work with you to define the solution. After all, the resulting solution will be their brainchild, too, and involvement breeds commitment. Thus do we set big, bold, challenging goals, while inspiring people and ensuring their commitment.

“If you involve too many people too early, then your goals run the risk of becoming tempered and watered down. On the other hand, if you involve too few people or involve them too late, people might feel excluded, and this can then lead to resistance, tension and lack of commitment”

Gordon Tredgold is a specialist in transformational leadership, operational performance improvement, organizational development, creating business value, and program and change management.


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Client service excellence – with more than a smile Clients are more demanding – and more fickle – than ever before. One false move on your part, and they’re gone. Nikki Heald reveals how to keep them happy – and keep them on your books

SO, YOU think you’re a great service provider? You always make sure you smile and have a pleasant demeanor. A friendly disposition and a smile are certainly important; however, in today’s competitive market, a smile is just not enough. The way we treat our clients is emerging as a critical differentiator for brokers and can provide a competitive advantage. Today’s clients are savvy, less loyal and more demanding. They realize they have a choice and that you are not the only broker to choose from. Additionally, client awareness around service standards also has increased. Good, ordinary and average are simply not good enough. It’s about providing an experience for your client that makes them want to come back, as opposed to being forced or compelled to come back. So, what is service excellence? Exceptional client service is about going beyond what is realistically expected. It’s about surprising –



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disappointment. From a client’s perspective, and often delighting – your clients, turning it’s the little promises you keep that matter them into enthusiastic referral sources who most. Returning a phone call, providing inforwill stick with you not only because you do mation or simply getting to know them on a great work, but because of the value you bring. personal basis can significantly As brokers, imagine if you could get existing clients to tell others DID YOU KNOW? impact the relationship. Providing great service is about the value you offer. The really about consistency, and beauty of word-of-mouth realistically, that’s not too referrals is that they save on difficult for you or your team to marketing costs, cold-calling and the time it takes to network. achieve. For leaders, it is vital Great service is not just • 68% of clients will walk due to to communicate clearly to your doing your job, but establishing rude or discourteous service, employees the service behaviors an emotional connection with without any prior warning. that are expected with both your clients. It’s about valueIt’s not safe to work on the internal and external clients. adding and finding ways to premise that no news is Explain to your team why good news. service excellence matters, not be unique. It’s about getting only for the company or client, to know them and being heartfelt. Research suggests that but also for the personal satisemotion influences purchasing faction experienced in making decisions six times as much as others feel valued. rationale. So, if something or So, what are some simple someone makes us feel good, we things you can do to enhance are more inclined to buy. • It costs five times as much to service excellence? Remember, people do business win a new client as to retain an existing one. Remember to • Be responsive with people they like. Unfortunately, many businurture these alliances, too. Speed is everything, so try to nesses believe that delivering reply to your clients as soon as exceptional service will cost them too much you can and keep them in the loop and informed. Procrastination doesn’t help anyone, in staff time, training or developing service and you’re going to have to respond sooner or standards and procedures. These in-focused organizations are only concerned with later. May as well do it now! company profit and cutting costs, and give little thought to how to keep clients happy. • Take time to listen Additionally, in these organizations, staff Avoid speaking, and really listen to what recognition and retention is low, which signifithey’re saying. It’s important you understand cantly impacts growth and profit. Training what your clients are communicating to you. yourself or your team on how to deliver That way, you will be able to successfully meet standout service is an investment that will their needs and provide the right solution. reap significant personal satisfaction and reward. • Do what you say you’re going to do One of the biggest gripes in business today is Realistically, bad service is actually more that people simply don’t do what they say costly to your brokerage than the time taken to provide great service. Poor service influences they’re going to do. If you say you’re going more than just a negative customer experience to do something, then do it! It enhances your – it reduces revenue and drives up costs. It professionalism and personal brand, and damages public perception, credibility and demonstrates you value your client. market reputation. As we all know, a dissat• Know your stuff isfied client is more likely to spread the word about a poor service experience than a positive Your client’s perception is that you are the one. Nowadays, unhappy clients will take to paid expert. That’s why they’ve come to you social media platforms to broadcast their to handle their mortgage. So be sure to keep

Today’s clients are savvy, less loyal and more demanding. They realize they have a choice and that you are not the only broker to choose from your skills up to date, and be on top of the game in your profession. Unfortunately, if you convey a lack of knowledge, then you risk ruining your credibility.

• Give a little If a client asks you to do something that really won’t cost you a lot in time or money, then treat it as an opportunity to go the extra mile. By doing so, you not only have a contented and indebted client, but also someone who is more than happy to refer to you. Finally, within the mortgage industry, brokers really should view their book of clients as their most valuable asset and develop a plan around taking good care of them. Most important, develop long-lasting personal relationships by keeping in touch regularly, both in good times and in bad. As brokers, you’re not just selling a product, but providing expert advice that can significantly impact people’s livelihood and circumstances. So, if you haven’t given much thought to your service levels, then perhaps it’s time to conduct an audit. Remember, if you don’t bother to make the client feel valued, respected and important, then you can be sure your competitors will!

Nikki Heald is the managing director of Corptraining. For more information, visit www.corptraining.com.au.


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Dancing in the end zone Movement Mortgage CEO Casey Crawford reveals how his company beat the subprime crisis to become the fastestgrowing business in the industry WHEN CASEY CRAWFORD and his business partner, Toby Harris, founded Movement Mortgage (formerly New American Mortgage) in 2008, at the height of the subprime mortgage crisis, it was the ultimate long shot. Big banks and mortgage companies were collapsing all around them, but Casey and Harris saw an opportunity to bring a new kind of mortgage company to the marketplace – one that focused on customer service and purchase business, while also aiming to serve real estate agents’ unmet needs. From a Monday-morning-quarterbacking perspective, it was the right move at the right time. From its modest beginnings with just a handful of employees, Movement Mortgage now has 200 retail offices in the US and projects to close between $6.5 and $7 billion in purchase mortgage production this year, making it the fastest-growing mortgage bank in the country, according to Inc. magazine. “We kind of judged that we were either really onto something, or that this was the dumbest idea that anyone had ever had,” says Crawford, a 6'6" former NFL tight end. “We went into it headlong in the midst of the worst and darkest time, which ended up being the absolute perfect time to enter the marketplace.” As other companies were imploding or struggling to reinvent themselves under strict new regulations, Movement Mortgage danced onto the field like a nimble rookie. They were paperless from day one, and were able to design their entire system and closing process around the emerging new federal regulations.

They started putting loan officers inside real estate offices, making them more available to respond to agents’ questions or problems during the mortgage process. And when the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was passed in 2010, mandating that loans could not close faster than the eighth business day after application, “we sat in our office and assumed that every other mortgage bank and depository in the United States was sitting down thinking through how to architect a back-end process to get loans done on the eighth business day,” Crawford says. That’s exactly what Movement Mortgage did – setting a standard for all of its loans in which the upfront underwriting happens in just six hours, and the actual loan process concludes seven days later. Much to their surprise, when they rolled out their seven-day clear-toclose process, they found that every other lender had gone the other way, expanding their processing time to 30, 45, even 60 days, and explaining to Realtors that you just couldn’t do loans in a week anymore. “That little nuance has meant the world to us,” Crawford says. “We are setting a new standard within the industry, which has allowed us to capture a larger market share.”

“We kind of judged that we were either really onto something, or that this was the dumbest idea that anyone had ever had”


Carrying the ball Crawford played for two years with the Carolina Panthers and then a single season (2002-2003) with


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the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, during which they won the Super Bowl. “I decided it didn’t get much better than getting a chance to win the Super Bowl, so I bowed out at that point to pursue other things while I still had my health and mobility,” he says. “Now, in hindsight, it’s become a better decision, after all these things that have come out about the longevity of NFL players being greatly reduced.” Still, Crawford never suspected he’d end up in the mortgage business. “At the time, in 2000-2003, everyone in America was buying real estate, and I was doing the same thing. I was buying some investment properties and doing some development and was doing pretty well with it at the time.” When he got out of the NFL in 2004, his intention was to pursue real estate full time. His first move was to enter into a joint venture with National City Mortgage, a stepping stone that eventually landed him in the mortgage industry. Along the way, he met Toby Harris, the man who would become his partner. Crawford was just 30 – “too young” – when he and Harris founded their mortgage company in 2008. But Harris was 58 at the time, “so I did have some adult supervision.” Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., they started off their venture with just a handful of people and a big vision. “We both said, ‘If we [are going] to do this mortgage company, we want to make a national impact,’” Crawford says. “From day one we wanted to be the largest privately held mortgage company in the United States. That’s what we set out to do.” Game plan Crawford chalks up his company’s phenomenal success to bringing excellence to every part of the process. “In 2007-2008, it was obviously horrific in the financial services arena,” he says. “It was a really tough time economically for the entire United States. And everyone was blaming the mortgage industry and financial services for the downfall of the United States economy.” Movement Mortgage came into this time and space wanting to change that story – which Crawford says they did by holding a high view of people. “We think people are valuable, and we want to love and honor them in this mortgage process as customers, as teammates and as communities,” he says. “It started with our customers. We put together a process that we would want a family member to go through.”


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PRODUCER PROFILE “People were going bankrupt and being subjected to foreclosures. We knew we didn’t want to be defined that way. We wanted to be defined by how well we served families and helped individuals buy homes”


That meant a few things: First, the process needed to be extremely smooth, seamless and easy. Second, they needed to put people into loans they could afford. “Since 2008, the mortgage industry has been leaving a legacy in the country of having destroyed communities by putting people in loans they could not afford, which was ripping apart communities and was ripping apart families,” Crawford says. “People were going bankrupt and being subjected to foreclosures. We knew we didn’t want to be defined that way. We wanted to be defined by how well we served families and helped individuals buy homes.” Finally, they wanted to build a company their kids would be proud of and that their employees would be better for having been a part of. They did this by creating a clear vision statement focused on industry, corporate culture and community. Movement Mortgage’s corporate culture is defined by its ‘Love Works’ concept and what Crawford calls “servant leadership.” “That starts with the way we care for one another in the company – loving and valuing your teammates,” he says. A fundamental building block of the company culture is the Love Works Fund, to which 73% of Movement Mortgage employees make a monthly donation bolstered by a corporate dollar-for-dollar match. Funds are available to help employees with any financial emergencies that arise. The company’s Thrive Initiative, meanwhile, seeks to bolster employees’ physical, emotional, spiritual and relationship health, as well as their professional development. Movement Mortgage’s commitment to the communities it serves is expressed through the Movement Foundation, which has funded the newly built Movement Foundation Center – a 45,000-square-foot building on the west side of Charlotte, N.C., housing five different ministry services, including a jobs training center and a food bank, that are aimed at improving the lives of the people of West Charlotte. It will be a lasting legacy for the city in which Movement Mortgage got its start, even as the company pulls up its stakes in Charlotte and breaks ground on new corporate headquarters in South Carolina. “We have a vision of placing Movement Foundation Centers in every market we serve around the country,” Crawford says. “As a company, we have been able to put about $10 million back into communities throughout the US through different programs. That is something we are really excited about.”

LESSONS FROM THE FIELD Recently, Crawford articulated three lessons he learned from Super Bowl-caliber coaches that helped him lead Movement Mortgage through the Great Recession. 1. DEFINE YOUR VALUE (George Seifert) When Crawford entered the NFL as a rookie in 2000, he was fifth on a Carolina Panthers depth chart that normally carried only three tight ends. Seifert, a two-time Super Bowl champion coach, told Crawford, “You’d better find a way to be needed. You’d better find a way to bring value to the team.” Today, Crawford brings this same team concept to Movement Mortgage. “For our company to exist in the marketplace, we have to bring value to people’s lives. We have to find a unique way to do that. There are plenty of mortgage companies out there. If we can’t bring a unique value to the marketplace, we are not needed.” 2. SET A VISION (Jon Gruden) At the end of Crawford’s first practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, first-year coach Jon Gruden gathered the team in a tight circle and said, “We are going to win a world championship. We are going to do it with this team. And we are going to do it this year.” That vision ultimately took the Buccaneers all the way to a Super Bowl victory. As a business leader, Crawford says, “you had better articulate a vision and tell people where it is we are going. Otherwise it will be really tough to have that work ethic and to figure out why you are bringing that value.” 3. POUND THE ROCK (Mike Tomlin) During the Buccaneers’ 2002 Super Bowl-winning season, Coach Gruden asked linebacker coach Mike Tomlin to speak to the team. Tomlin, who would later coach the Pittsburgh Steelers, “brought a gigantic rock into the locker room, and every day after practice we would pound the rock with a sledgehammer,” Crawford says. “What he was really saying there was that in order to be successful in football or any sports, it takes a high level of discipline and an extremely high work ethic.”


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LOCKING IN From the financial jungle of Wall Street to the holistic halls of REMN, Carl Markman is one of America’s premier mortgage minds 2014


National Mortgage Professional magazine honored Markman with its Mortgage Professional of the Month designation in June 2014 “It’s always great to be recognized, whether it’s by your peers, the media or your clients. I was humbled as I am with every accolade we received. But at the end of the day, it all goes back to the clients”


TAKES ON NEW ROLE AT WACHOVIA Soon, Markman was given the opportunity to manage Wachovia’s wholesale division in the Northeast and New England “There were three separate management teams – including three levels of management and account sales executives for the wholesale and retail organizations – that I was responsible for.”



BECOMES DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL SALES AT REMN WHOLESALE Markman’s most recent move was to REMN Wholesale, where he’s responsible for driving the company’s growth “I was committed to work there because of the commitment to quality, ethics and customer service. While many banks have abandoned their wholesale offerings, REMN Wholesale has continued to reinforce its position as a trusted source. It’s all about staying ahead and staying focused”


LEADS WACHOVIA TO #2 RANKING With more than $1.5 billion in funding volume, Wachovia was ranked as the number-two mortgage lender nationally while Markman was a VP “It was a proud moment for me and for my staff. As a leader and coming from Wall St., I learned that you always want to inspire a positive leadership model, which motivates sales executives to substantially increase sales objectives year after year. You have to be able to tackle challenges, and that’s exactly what we did”

BECOMES VP OF WORLD SAVINGS Markman counts his time with World Savings as “the most influential time” in his career “I witnessed a company that had similar morals to my own. I voiced on several occasions as a loan officer and a manager that it’s only a loan; we must do the right thing by the borrower, and this is the way we will build a substantial referral base. When I began with the company, most people never heard of World Savings. Our success was never built on volume; that’s why we were successful”

At Farleigh Dickerson University, Markman originally intended to study science, but was drawn to finance instead “I knew I didn’t want to start on the bottom of the totem pole. I wanted to work my way up as quickly as possible, so I took management courses in school. I tried to apply for a mortgage, but the process was awful, so I decided to become [a loan officer] because I felt I could do a better job”




After a brief stint on Wall Street, Markman found a job as a business loan officer at GMAC “Within the first year, I become one of the top officers in the country with pretty much no experience. Working there gave me the tools to handle what would be my next job at Wachovia”





TELL US ABOUT YOUR OTHER LIFE Email mpa@keymedia.com

GOING OLD SCHOOL This reverse mortgage originator serenades seniors with the sweet sounds of swing, soft rock and sultry love songs


Years in the mortgage industry


AS A LICENSED mortgage originator at Greentree Mortgages in Turnsville, N.J., Paul Dilks spends his time finding solutions for seniors with reverse mortgages. But it’s his work with Seniors Matter, a radio show in the Greater Philadelphia area, which has propelled him as one of the most recognized voices in the area. Playing tunes from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, Dilks provides his audience with a reminder that real music still exists. Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson and Tony Bennett are just a few of the many classics you’ll hear on his show on the WWDB, WNJC and WPEN radio stations. “We started with a one-hour radio show focused on seniors’ issues, but it wasn’t gaining the traction until we started playing music and making that the foundation,” he says. “Once we did that, the show really started to take off. Who doesn’t want to hear a little Ella Fitzgerald during your day? I know it gets me through my day.”


Years since he began focusing on reverse mortgages


Years as a radio host


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DARE to be one of them? Join.OpenMortgage.com 888-602-6626

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Profile for Key Media

Mortgage Professional America issue 9.03  

The magazine for mortgage professionals in America.

Mortgage Professional America issue 9.03  

The magazine for mortgage professionals in America.

Profile for keymedia