Big Ideas About Small Spaces Could Transform Housing

Category: National Mortgage News
Published: Saturday, 27 June 2015
Written by Admin

Were nearing the end of National Homeownership Month and from where things currently stand, the good and bad news for the housing industry is, unfortunately, the same news.

To make housing more affordable for millennials who eventually would like to form their own households, the housing industry must be more creative in the housing it creates, and local housing policies must be more flexible about the types of housing that can be built in communities, especially in desirable urban neighborhoods.

Declining homeownership rates are the biggest challenge the mortgage and housing finance industries currently face. The housing industry is also staring down a generation, the millennials, with the numbers that could turn that situation around.

A promising solution for renters looking to buy, who are willing to trade space for place, is micro-housing, a form of niche housing that is environmentally friendly because of its smaller size. Micro-housing units are generally less than 500 square feet. Micro-housing appeals to young single professionals who have stable income but minimal savings.

Multiculturalism, Millennials to Transform Servicing: Wells Exec

Category: National Mortgage News
Published: Saturday, 25 April 2015
Written by Admin

DALLAS — Demographic, cultural and technological changes will reshape customer service in the mortgage business over the next 30 years, a Wells Fargo executive said.

For example, by 2050, there will no longer be a dominant ethnic population in the US and the implications for servicers are absolutely significant, said Carmen Bell, a senior vice president at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Companies will need to look for polycultural solutions instead of one-size-fits-all, which at the moment for most companies means that their materials are almost exclusively in English.

Sixty-nine percent of the Hispanic population reports that they use English and Spanish to access media and the Internet, Bell said during her keynote at National Mortgage News Mortgage Servicing Conference this week. Do we have information in both English and Spanish? And if we dont, are we able to serve our population?

Wells Fargo, the largest mortgage servicer and originator by far, has released a mobile app in Spanish to reach and reflect the growing Hispanic population, and has translated and retooled almost all of its materials to be more inclusive. However, there are many other languages that need to be acknowledged and accommodated, Bell said.

The Stories Consumers Tell About Mortgages

Category: National Mortgage News
Published: Tuesday, 21 April 2015
Written by Admin

Or, as veteran industry columnist Lew Sichelman wrote recently in Gripes Will Have Some Bite, for National Mortgage News, consumers can now tell their versions of what went down.

Sichelman quotes remarks by CFPB Director Richard Cordray from the press release introducing the new policy that states the complaints have helped the bureau understand the issues consumers face when dealing with lenders and collection companies.

He also said that these complaints had already led to dozens of new regulations (is that the good news or the bad news?).

This is not what we in the industry probably want. But as MortgageSAT data indicates, if you ask someone to tell you their story, they probably will.

Its unclear whether the CFPB actually cares who hears the story first, as long as consumers have a chance to tell it.

As Cordray explained in the release, The narratives may encourage companies to improve the overall quality of their products and services, and more vigorously compete over good customer service.

I dont know about you, but when I was a loan officer, I wasnt all that interested in vigorous competition from others. Most of us will likely do better without it.

But with the CFPB offering this new functionality to consumers, one of our best options to short circuit that level of competition is to get those stories out of our borrowers before they take them to the CFPB.

Financial services companies need to ask their consumers, analyze the data and listen to the results.

Will consumers be willing to share stories about their dissatisfaction with you? Evidence points to yes. As Sichelman pointed out in his column, Stratmors MortgageSAT has surveyed 24,000 borrowers so far about their recent loan origination experience.

Most borrowers say they are highly satisfied, but about 8% rated their satisfaction at 6 or below on a 10-point scale. Of those folks, 80% are likely to post a negative comment somewhere, four times more than the highly satisfied customers.

Smart lenders are letting them post that into a tool they control instead of letting them take it to the CFPB.

Sichelman pointed out in his column that over the last few years, gripes about mortgages have steadily declined. He thinks this either means lenders and servicers have cleaned up their acts, rather than risk being outed in a high-profile database, or consumers have simply given up in their quest for justice.

MortgageSAT is in use in enough lenders today that we can definitely say that lenders and servicers are working to do a better job of meeting consumer expectations, but work remains to be done.

It’s unlikely that consumers have given up and any company that bets on that might lose everything to a federal regulator that is serious about industry compliance.

Listening to unhappy customers is just the start. In my next column I am going to discuss options on how to get the most out of happy customers. I am pretty sure the CFPB has not yet focused on that segment.

Garth Graham is a partner with Stratmor Group and has over 25 years of mortgage experience.

2015 Top Producers Nos. 126-150

Category: National Mortgage News
Published: Monday, 20 April 2015
Written by Admin

The 2015 countdown of the National Mortgage News and Origination News Top Producers list continues, featuring the loan officers ranked 126 to 150.

Originators who submitted data for this survey represent the entire spectrum of lender shops, from banks and credit unions to mortgage bankers and mortgage brokerages, and their titles range from loan officer all the way to company president.

Many of these originators have survived and thrived despite the wild changes in the lending environment over the past eight years, and if they want to continue to do so they will have to weather more upheaval in 2015.

The 2015 Top Producer rankings countdown will continue until the top 10 loan officers are revealed on April 27 and the entire list is published in a special section of the print edition of National Mortgage News.