MReport October 2019

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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10 | TH E M R EP O RT TAKE 5 Coast and one towards the West, so that allows us to hire outside of this market as well, and that's been key. We do also have an internship program, and we've been success- ful with that, but we need it on a much larger scale. We're trying to work with the MBA and other organizations within our industry to bring awareness to this issue. M // Are there any technologies you're working with, or that you see on the horizon, that you think could be real game changers? SAMPLES // Technology lagged in the mortgage business for many years, but that seems to have reversed course over the last two to three years. What I think is moving the needle right now is automation, allowing us to drive additional capacity, drive preci- sion, and drive down manufac- turing costs. Those are the things we're really focused on, and we think that they give the consumer a better experience as well. M // Do you foresee any major shifts happening coming up in 2020? SAMPLES // There's a lot of talk about a potential recession and what that would mean for the market. There's some uncertainty, and I think people are tending to hold onto their earnings and their cash. While we had this steep trajectory in terms of technology over the last couple of years, I see that flattening a bit. I think a lot of people are asking them- selves, "What is the ROI on this technology now?" We've invested, we've developed, we've spent man hours and capital, but are we actually getting that back? M // What are the sort of challenges that you see in the non-QM space? SAMPLES // It's probably the single largest focus in our organi- zation today. We think that the private securitization space in itself is going to be much bigger in the future than it is today. We B efore joining First Guar- anty Mortgage Corporation (FGMC), Aaron Samples served at Stearns Lending, Na- tionstar, and RealManage. Samples recently took some time to speak with MReport about current challenges and trends including recruitment, technology, reaching out to new customers. M // What are some of the main challenges that you're seeing in the mortgage lending space? SAMPLES // It's always something different in the mortgage space, and this year our biggest issue has just been sheer capacity. I don't think anybody anticipated us being in the interest rate environ- ment that we were in over much of the summer. In essence, we had a mini refi boom. Business just ex- ploded. FGMC had a lot of other initiatives going on, such as our non-QM initiative, our alternative product initiatives, and a number of other projects from a technology and process standpoint, and then business went up like five times. It definitely caused issues in terms of capacity and being able to find the right individuals. As the market expanded, everybody's looking for good people. It brings other prob- lems with it as well, but capacity has been our primary challenge this year. M // That being the case, what is the secret to attracting the top talent you need? SAMPLES // It's difficult, and we're having a lot of discussions internally on how we do that long term. One issue in this in- dustry is that we don't have a lot of young people entering the field, so we tend to go out and recruit. We're based in the Dallas area, which is a hot mortgage hub, so we're competing against all the other mortgage companies. It's important that we have a good marketing campaign, that we have a good message, and that we are relevant in the space so people want to come work for us. Although we have a centralized model here in Dallas, we also have some facilities on the East Tackling Challenges in Recruitment and Education Aaron Samples, CEO and a member of the Board of Directors for First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation, took some time to speak with MReport about current challenges and trends including recruitment, technology, and reaching out to new customers.

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