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20 | TH E M R EP O RT COVER STORY purchase-market strategy and tar- get anticipated Closing Protection Letter (CPL) acquisition costs through all marketing mediums, including direct real estate and indirect lead providers." In fact, competition among lenders in purchase markets could be a driving force in 2018, accord - ing to Jonathan Corr, President and CEO of Ellie Mae. "As a lender, you've got to be doing more to achieve that vol- ume on the purchase side," Corr said. "It's a relationship-oriented market—it means working with real estate agents and perhaps longer gestation periods. Lenders have to get in earlier in that point of interest for the homebuyer." The Year of Uncertainty O ne of the biggest challenges the mortgage servicing indus- try will face moving from 2017 to 2018 is the lingering impact of the unprecedented hurricane season of 2017. Although the servicing and property preservation industries have responded to massive increas - es in disaster-related inspections, Chad Mosley, COO at Mortgage Contracting Solutions, said, "We have only started to scratch the surface related to the preservation, rehab, and repair on properties in these impacted areas." "It will be imperative that ser - vicers and service providers alike build on the lessons learned from the 2017 hurricane season," Mosley added. "There were positives relat- ed to the massive volume of highly concentrated inspections that were completed in a short time period, as well as new technologies that were implemented to assist with the inspection and reporting on storm-damaged areas." In addition, the marketplace is at a tipping point—there is quite a bit of unknown. "For example, what will happen with the GSEs and the regulatory environment?" asked Charles Chacko, Managing Partner at OS National. "How fast will new technological in- novations be implemented and embraced? We will also have new leadership at several posts, and add to the mix interest rate changes." According to Denis Brosnan, President and CEO of DIMONT, one of the biggest challenges the industry will face in 2018 will most likely be continued uncertainty within the regulatory environment and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Additionally, there remains ambiguity around the Federal Reserve, particularly with the replacement of Janet Yellen in early 2018. "There was an expectation in 2017 that the new administration would enact sweeping changes that would either benefit or harm the mortgage industry," said Dave Worrall, President, Executive Department of LoanCare, a ServiceLink Company. "However, as the issues that the administra- tion has chosen to take on, such as mortgage interest deduction, are very controversial, it is unclear what will change and when." If there is one thing that is cer- tain, it is that despite all the pre- dictions, the industry will never truly know what's in store for the new year—which very well could be the biggest challenge in itself. "Uncertainty can lead to nervousness that can gather momentum," said Edmond Buckley, President, Aspen Groves Solutions. "So, as housing profes- sionals, we prepare for that by focusing on the positives and providing innovative solutions to combat the uncertainty and re - move obstacles—perceived or real." Predicting the future might be an uncertain business, but it's not just about anticipating the future—it's about working to help shape it proactively. 2018 looks to be an exciting ride for the housing and mortgage industry, so long as the lessons of 2017 aren't forgotten as they fade into the rearview. NICOLE CASPERSON is the Associate Editor of MReport. She graduated from Texas Tech University where she received her M.A. in Mass Communications and her B.A. in Journalism. Casperson previously worked as a graduate teaching instructor at Texas Tech's College of Media and Communications. Her thesis will be published by the International Communication Association. To contact Casperson, e-mail: nicole.casperson@ "Uncertainty can lead to nervousness that can gather momentum. So, as housing professionals, we prepare for that by focusing on the positives and providing innovative solutions to combat the uncertainty and remove obstacles—perceived or real." — Edmond Buckley, President, Aspen Groves Solutions MORE UNCERTAINTY IN THE FORECAST

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