MReport December 2020

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 18 of 68

M R EP O RT | 17 COVER FEATURE common, lenders are finding ways to work with them and provide some flexibility to help more gig economy workers and those who have "temp" income secure the loans they need to become homeowners. "It's about educating your loan officers and your internal staff, your processors and underwriters, on what it takes to qualify temp income," Suzy Lindblom said about what it will take to help more gig economy workers along the path to homeownership. "It comes to education and experi - ence. And you need that con- sistency, and that temp income, you need the tax returns just like you would for a self-employed consumer. And I do think as non-QM products come back that that will help too because it's geared for those borrowers that don't fit into the mold." Another economic trend that has led to changes in the housing industry this year is the rise in consumers' credit scores. Despite the overall economic downturn that the United States has had to battle with in 2020, many Americans' credit scores improved due to government assistance and stimulus checks. "A lot of people took some of that money and used it to pay off debt," Tendayi Kapfidze said. "So, credit scores for a lot of people have gone up. And then, in other types of credit, like credit cards or personal loans, a lot of financial institutions gave relief to their bor - rowers in terms of requirements around payments. So all those things have boosted credit scores." Of course, this increase in credit scores means that more consumers may become eligible for home loans. First-time buyers, especially millennials who are at the peak time in their lives for buying homes, may leap into pur - suing homeownership. However, Kapfidze emphasizes that this eco- nomic trend might be a mirage of the government stimulus checks. If this assistance doesn't continue in 2021 and economic recovery slows, peoples' financial positions and their credit scores may falter, once again limiting consumers' ability to purchase a home. What Experts Expect in 2021 W hile industry experts may feel uncertain about whether or not some of 2020's economic trends will carry into 2021, there are other forecasts for next year that experts can expect with more certainty. One significant change in the mortgage and housing industry that likely isn't going away in 2021 is working remotely. Suzy Lindblom says that although there are members of the workforce who may want to return to work and maintain more separation between work and home, many companies, especially in the mortgage industry, will likely allow their employees to continue working remotely. "I think it helps us because we're not set on hiring 50 people in one location," Lindblom said. "We can hire nationwide. So, I think that it will give us more opportunities to hire. I think that the companies that are going to succeed have figured out how to bring on and train people virtu - ally, because I think that we're going to continue to need people in the mortgage industry." Kurt Johnson says he believes that the foreclosure moratoriums in place today are likely to be extended into 2021, and customers will still have the ability to sign up for up to 12 months of forbearance. "The availability of distressed properties like foreclosure sales by people who need to sell because they can no longer afford the home, is still going to be limited even into 2021," Johnson said. "As a result, we think that there's going to be continued pressure on supply. At some point in time, if COVID-19 does linger and work- from-home continues, people are going to tap into their home equity to make home improve - ments to things such as outdoor areas and home offices." In recent years, more compa- nies in the mortgage and hous- ing industry have developed programs focused on community engagement and helping more people from underserved com - munities access the tools and education they need to become homeowners. This will likely con- tinue in the year ahead, bringing more opportunities to communi- ties that have often struggled to build generational wealth. As the Neighborhood Lending executive at Bank of America, AJ Barkley focuses on how to provide resources to help more people from underserved com - munities build that generational wealth through homeownership. "We're proud of the work we're doing through our community homeownership commitment, which is closing cost assistance and down payment assistance, and it's gone over extremely well," Barkley said. "We believe that it is directly addressing the concerns of the community. We work with housing counseling agen - cies; we work with agencies that are helping people to reestablish their credit, all focused on help- ing people realize the wonder of homeownership." There is no doubt that technol- ogy will continue to become more advanced, and companies will develop more new ways to serve consumer needs. However, the focus on helping more people achieve the American Dream is one aspect of the industry that isn't changing in 2021. . CRISTIN ESPINOSA is a reporter for DS News and MReport. She graduated from Southern Methodist University, where she worked as an editor and later as a digital media producer for The Daily Campus. Her work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Advocate Magazine, and The Dallas Observer. "The shift to remote work has certainly changed what people are looking for." —Kurt Johnson, Chief Credit Officer, Mr. Cooper

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of TheMReport - MReport December 2020