September 2016 - Women in Housing

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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TH E M R EP O RT | 15 FEATURE B enjamin Franklin once said, "When you're finished changing, you're finished." That statement applies to just about everything in the mortgage industry. Even though change is inevitably necessary for growth, many mortgage professionals would like the regulatory changes to stabilize so we can get back to doing what we do best—helping Americans achieve their dream of homeownership. I've had a chance to speak with many distinguished women lead- ers, during which I gained their perspective on recent industry change—and more importantly, what they would like to see in the future. Growing Female Industry Leaders T he industry is making progress and women leaders play an important role in driving change. Patty Arvielo, President and Co-Founder of New American Funding, believes the mortgage industry is clearly undergoing a transition, from the people we employ as we look to serve a new generation to the way we process loans to meet the needs of new buyers. "As we know, Hispanics are the largest sector of first-time homebuyers, and it's predicted by 2020 they will account for 55 per - cent of new homeowners in the nation," Arvielo said. "Women are an integral part of homeowner- ship, especially in this communi- ty. According to a Better Homes and Gardens' Real Estate and NAHREP survey, 61 percent of Hispanic women believe they will play a larger role than their partner in their next home purchase, specifi - cally when it comes to research- ing potential homes, communities, or neighborhoods. The role of women is also stronger when researching mortgage options and deciding which home to purchase. Hispanics are reshaping the home- buying process in America, and women are leading the way." The top traits observed in successful women in housing are strongly believing in doing the right thing while being empathetic yet assertive, open to change, and able to recognize strengths in our - selves, as well as others. We also know how to trust our instincts— if it feels right, it usually is right! If it feels wrong, be cautious and do your due diligence before jumping in with everyone else. While we continue to see the numbers grow, we must increase the number of women involved in all mortgage banking educational opportunities, advocacy, and se - nior-level executive positions. The mortgage and housing industry is a great place for women. No matter what role a person plays in the mortgage transaction, you know that the ultimate end result is a new homeowner. "I love this industry and help - ing people achieve their dream of homeownership, establishing themselves in a community, the fun things they do to spruce up their homes … it's all very thrill - ing to me. I also love sharing my knowledge of our products to our Lenders and Realtors and show- ing how we can help our home- buyers," said Pamela Shinsel with the Utah Housing Corporation, a 31-year industry veteran. I believe women really do love this industry as we like to share wonderful experiences and see happiness in our work. Homeownership is the ultimate dream of Americans and we get to be part of that dream for so many individuals and families every single day. Regulatory Issues L egislative and regulatory com- pliance has become a huge focal point for the industry. Starting with the mortgage market meltdown in 2008, the necessary tightening of credit, eliminating exotic programs such Pay Option ARMs, No-Income No Assets, and other low/no doc loans, the impact of RESPA, GFE changes in 2010, and now TRID in 2015, "The industry has exponentially increased origina - tion and fulfillment costs," said Jill Burns, Executive Vice President of Operations at Mountain West Financial, Inc. Many of the regu- latory changes have undesirably impacted the homebuying process. Many mortgage lenders are spending most of their time and expenses on their processes rather than focusing on improving the homebuying process and devel - oping programs to successfully attract more homeowners. With new regulation, it's important to understand how compliance ex- penses can increase exponentially. Susan Milazzo, Executive Director of the California Mortgage Bankers Association, believes that in some instances this has led to independent mortgage banks sell - ing to larger companies. "Now that the market is healthier, mortgage bankers have pivoted to strengthening their companies with high quality staff and technology that will make them more efficient and com - petitive, as well as compliant," Milazzo said. When it comes to legisla- tive and regulatory advocacy, the industry needs to remember that it is still popular among many policymakers to target the mortgage industry. While there arguably hasn't been a "safer" time to purchase or refinance a home, Milazzo goes on to say, "Political motivations will continue to nega - tively affect the mortgage industry for some time to come. Under the guise of consumer protection, laws will be proposed and passed that create undue burden on lenders and increase risk for investors, all of which equate to a negative af - fect on access to affordable credit." It is critically important for everyone in the industry to be- come educated on what is being considered at the state and federal level and get involved in their industry's advocacy efforts. We need to understand the regulatory changes and prepare our compa - nies for the next state of legisla- tion. There is looming legislation on the horizon which will con- tinue to be a burden on mortgage bankers in meeting compliance demands which, at the end of the day, could hurt the home-buying process rather than help it as it is intended to do. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created to make sure lenders treat consumers fairly and sometimes that has an adverse effect when compliance issues slow down and complicate the process, espe - cially for first-time homebuyers. When it comes to down pay- ment assistance programs offered by Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs), the CFPB needs clearer guidance so lenders are not left interpreting the rules in different ways. "I would like to see CFPB come out with some guidance regarding down payment assis - tance loans to make it easier for the lenders," said Lisa DeBrock, Director of Homeownership of Washington State Housing Finance Commission. "We are hoping they will just let the lenders use a Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure regardless of the terms. Right now, there is a

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