It’s that time of year to reflect on all that is good and express what we are thankful for.
So, put on the elastic waist pants, grab a second (or third) helping of pumpkin pie, keep the family peace by not talking politics at the Thanksgiving table, and help us celebrate this bountiful season with heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the industry that keeps us on our toes every day.
And while, the Mortgage Media team feels an overwhelming sense of gratitude all year long, here’s what we are especially thankful for during this special holiday season.
Amy Brandt, Advisor
The mortgage industry is never boring. There are so many internal and external challenges — just when you think things are going pretty well, something completely outside your control can happen. Geopolitical events, changes in the economy, regulators, lawmakers all can influence substantial change in the mortgage industry. Then there is the changing consumer expectations that are challenging all participants to find ways to meet customers where they are and make their process as frictionless as possible. Industry participants always have to remain vigilant and prepare themselves to adapt and evolve. There just is not much time for boredom!
There are so many brilliant women in mortgage. Many of us used to bemoan the lack of women leaders at industry events, but more and more you can see talented female leaders emerging. If you attend any of one of the industry’s women’s groups, you can see that the numbers are growing. Certainly, we still have progress to make, but we are making progress!
There are still plenty of challenges. Maybe this is a lot like my statement that the industry is never boring, but I think it is a little different. We have a lot of challenges coming up in 2020 including potential GSE privatization, regulatory changes and the ongoing need for affordable housing, just to name a few. Challenges can attract bright minds, and we will certainly need them.
Bill Kelvie, Advisor
When I was a young dad (now a granddad, so this was a while ago), my wife and I were able to secure a mortgage on very limited income and savings to buy a five=room house with one bath. I was always amazed that a lender was willing to advance the funds to me with only a 3% down payment. We were able to host our first Thanksgiving there as a way to thank our family – my in-laws – who helped make it a cozy home.
I joined the mortgage industry at Fannie Mae after working as a technology strategist on Wall Street for a decade. While I found my time on the Street very exciting, often to the point of being over-stimulating, it was abundantly clear that it was a cold, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately industry. I was immediately struck by, and am thankful for, the friendliness and decency of the people of mortgage banking. Most were and are committed to, and deeply value the opportunity to help their customers purchase homes.
As a technologist, the complex legalities, multitude of parties and layers of regulation for correctly transferring a property between buyers and sellers continues to boggle the mind. It seems to be a two-step forward, one-step back process of implementing technologies that have transformed other industries. We probably have all cringed at the parallels drawn with automobile financing done in 10 minutes at the dealer showroom. However, there are a number of advances to be celebrated. In the last 12 months my wife and I have done two closings with electronic signatures that we did from home and with ample time to review the documents. It is in contrast to sitting with a harried settlement attorney pushing documents across the table and providing a very brief explanation of each. This made the entire process more relaxing and more trustworthy.
Dave Matthews, Technology Advisor
I’m thankful that the industry is finally embracing technology throughout the real estate finance lifecycle, but still hasn’t lost the human connection between our customers and our employees.
I’m thankful the next diverse generation of mortgage bankers is stepping up to reshape our industry to meet the changing demands of our society.
I’m thankful for the opportunities the industry provides to thousands of people who have found their chosen careers through luck, coincidence, lack of planning and serendipity because no one grows up dreaming of being a mortgage banker.
Suresh Ramakrishnan, Advisor
The unpredictability. Unlike almost any other industry, the mortgage industry keeps you on your toes, all the time. Just when you things look gloomy, it can switch around the very next day and vice versa due to events a world away or in DC.
The people. During my CMB journey this year, I met so many interesting and genuinely nice industry professionals who are a credit not only to their organizations, but also to the industry as a whole.
To be part of an industry that is a key driver of the US economy.
Eric Souza, COO
I am thankful to work in an area that actively helps our country. This is an industry that drives a huge portion of the US economy, and while people may differ on how to get to the destination, the discourse I see is almost always respectful. (Except on Twitter when you mention “GSE Reform.”)
Our work helps people achieve the biggest – and most emotional – purchases of their lives (aside from wedding rings, or rare LEGO sets). Buyers can be scared of the process, and I’m thankful to be part of an industry that is working to make things easier and less foreboding – especially for first-time homebuyers.
As an industry, there is a history of practices that make it harder for minority homebuyers to get loans. Census data looking back nearly 50 years shows very little improvement in homeownership rates among minority buyers. While I am thankful that issues leading to this are being identified, I hope lenders, and public policy-makers, can prioritize working together to improve a system that has let so many families down.
Dave Stevens, Advisor
Seeing the smiles of new homeowners at a closing when I was a young LO decades ago. We make homeownership happen.
Meeting great friends and inspirational leaders and mentors over a decades long career path.
Learning from your mistakes and improving as a person, a manager, and a mentor to future leaders in this industry.
Tom Wilkins, President and CEO
I’m thankful to work in an industry that helps folks realize the American Dream of home ownership.
I love that technology is dynamic and fun to follow the great advancements of how the industry is adopting that technology and innovating..
I get to work with great people spread all across the country.
We hope that you’re surrounded with the love of your dear ones during this festive season. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.