Posturing for Progress

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Feature M // What leadership methods are you utilizing to help your team remain futurefocused while operating in an unpredictable marketplace? that can help them improve their origination effort. Property values have finally begun to improve in many markets. The media has certainly been active in spreading the word that values are on the rise. We think a robust purchase market will materialize this summer made up of buyers who have been reluctant to purchase for fear that values would subsequently drop. Along with continued low interest rates, buyers will rush to secure properties with an attitude that the market has bottomed out. Homeowners who have a desire to upgrade their homes will now have an opportunity to sell their current homes and take full advantage 32 | The M Report to re-price themselves into more expensive homes at low interest rates. This should fuel a strong purchase market assuming, of course, that significant negative economic events do not occur. Regulatory changes will continue to challenge the industry in the near-term. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) begins to publish examination results, the industry will get a more clear interpretation of regulations. In the meantime, the cost of compliance has increased across the industry. Additionally, interest rate increases could negatively impact origination; however, we feel interest rates will remain low until the economy settles. Employee benefit costs will also continue to increase with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, further squeezing profitability. M // What new solutions, tools, and initiatives can clients anticipate from the company during the year ahead? ADVANTAGE // We have the Web-based ApprovalSoft product that came out a year ago. It's coming out in a browser format, so now clients can approve transactions on a smartphone or tablet in addition to over the Web or on their desktop. You can take someone out to dinner, take a picture of the receipt, click a button, and it's the start of the accounting process. equity // Equity Loans' leadership methods encourage its teams to be future-focused while operating in an unpredictable marketplace, and the first step in doing so is to manage what you can control or have a direct impact on. We have used the analogy of an automobile production environment. First, we recognize we are in the loan sales business. Everyone from the loan originator to the CEO plays an integral role. If your job is to put lug nuts on a wheel of an automobile swiftly moving down the assembly line, make sure you put on five lug nuts. If that automobile goes out the door missing a lug nut, it can't be sold in that condition. No matter how much you think your role in the origination process is insignificant, it's extremely important to the end product: a satisfied borrower and a loan that the secondary market wants. If you are in a corporate support function, make sure that you provide the best possible service to assist branches with the origination process. Equity Loans' administrative support employees view our branches as their clients. Beginning with corporate leadership and at all levels of the company, we must embrace regulatory changes as a way to better serve our borrowers, who trust us with their financial needs. ADVANTAGE // The main thing we do here is to have team meetings where everybody sees what's going on—the developers see what's happening on the sales side, the sales side sees what's happening on the development side—so that we're all working together. We want the developers to understand what that application is going to be used for. Keeping them in the loop is a big part of it.

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