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MortgagePoint » Your Trusted Source for Mortgage Banking and Servicing News 44 T H E P O I N T K eeping your finger on the rapidly changing pulse of the servicing industry takes top, experienced talent. A collective group of individuals with an experienced and visionary management team at the helm can guide any team through the roughest of waters. Saying that the hurdles brought forth by the pandemic and its fallout impacted the industry is an understatement. Management was forced to pivot and deal with a num- ber of new scenarios and challenges never encountered. Servicers such as Selene Finance faced these challenges head on, drawing on past experiences and, in turn, guiding their customers to equitable solutions and helping to keep them in their homes during a time of crisis. As Selene management stresses, establishing open lines of communication with their customers is the building block to attaining customers for life. JT Grubbs, EVP of Loan Servicing at Selene, plays a key role on that management team, contributing 19-plus years of experi- ence in financial services and real estate to the firm. Prior to joining Selene, he held ex- ecutive roles leading all aspects of mortgage originations, servicing, and default opera- tions at Countrywide, JPMorgan Chase, and Capital One. He began his career in 2004 as an AE with Countrywide Mortgage Services. MortgagePoint recently had an opportu- nity to chat with JT to discuss recent trends in the servicing space, and what it takes to gain customers for the life of a loan. Q: How did you get your start in the mortgage finance space? Like most of us, it was not intentional. After obtaining my college degree, I spent eight years building a business and a young F e a t u r e d C o n v e r s a t i o n s W i t h M o r t g a g e ' s B e s t a n d B r i g h t e s t BUILDING SERVICER RELATIONSHIPS ON A FOUNDATION OF TRUST JT Grubbs, EVP of Loan Servicing at Selene, sat down with MortgagePoint to share how the company puts their customer first and how to gain customers for the life of the loan. B y E R I C C . P E C K family. As my kids actually started entering school and had their own activities, I had to make some difficult decisions. I sold the business with no plans, based on faith, just knowing that making the right decision, no matter how difficult, was always going to be the right path. In doing that, my initial and longest- standing client heard that I was selling the business and asked what I had planned to do moving forward. And as fate would have it, she was Managing Director of a tiny mortgage organization known as Country- wide Specialty Lending. She saw something in me that she believed translated into this business. And since that day, I've spent seven years in various origination roles and 13 years in servicing and default. Q: What was the state of the housing marketplace when you first became involved with it? As I reflect, I would characterize it as the proverbial peak. Homeownership rates were at an all-time high; the Fed had just lowered the Reserve's key interest rate down to at that time an all-time low of 1%; and the Admin- istration at that time had been pushing through key initiatives such as the American Dream Downpayment Act. There was a tremendous amount of pressure on the increased affordable housing goals that had been set for the industry, and credit standards were loosened to help ac- commodate and meet those goals. Apprecia- tion rates were exceeding 25% in some areas, and I think in hindsight, I would characterize it as the bubble everyone talks about, or the House of Cards. Q: Having been with Countrywide, Fieldstone, and Chase during the mortgage meltdown, what lessons did you learn from that period that can be applied to today's housing market? I think the real lesson was in resiliency— let me frame that up for you. This period was early on in my career. I only experi- enced a couple of what were known as "The Glory Years." Even during the early years, it was common knowledge that the housing market was known for its cyclical nature. The industry experienced some significant conse- quences of the risks taken to open the dream of homeownership to more Americans, but JT Grubbs EVP of Loan Servicing Selene

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