MReport July 2018

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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20 | TH E M R EP O RT COVER STORY of the mortgage business are highly analytical whereas some are highly qualitative making it necessary for a person to build a mix of relatively diverse skill sets to succeed in this business," said Schmitt, who joined Chase after it acquired Washington Mutual. "I initially came over to the capital markets team where I looked at the portfolio of loans and customers that the bank had acquired from Washington Mutual," he said. This was at the height of the Great Recession, and the young portfolio manager was charged with modifying customer portfolios to help acquire more affordable terms and more stable products. His mandate involved designing and testing loss mitigation programs for delinquent or at-risk customers, as well as designing programs to help those customers who were performing in higher risk products move to less risky ones. Within a few short years, Schmitt was leading a team responsible for Chase's foreclosure prevention and loss mitigation products. He was also respon - sible for designing and executing Chase's servicing strategy on loan sales and subservicing. Working under David Beck, CFO at Chase Home Lending, Schmitt went on to develop the bank's servicing portfolio strategy by redesigning the servicing port - folio of not only Chase but also of Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual and aligning it to the firm's business strategy to make it a, "less volatile and a more stable and profitable business." Schmitt's journey from Washington Mutual to Chase wasn't an easy one. "I was at Washington Mutual at the height of the financial crisis. The firm was effectively failing, and there were significant layoffs over a short period. We had just had a child, and my responsibilities had increased," he said. "There was a lot of uncertainty both for my job, my career, as well as the ability to accurately predict what could happen." Looking back though, Schmitt said he felt fortunate that he faced this challenge early on in his career because of the experience it gave him. "I joined Washington Mutual during a successful time in the mortgage industry, when there was a lot of origination volume. Then through the Great Recession, I learned about what happens when there's too much excess in the system and not enough prudence and responsibility. It helped me become part of a team that helped find a solution for that crisis," Schmitt said. "And now we're in a healthier cycle, so it's been an interesting journey that's full of learning." Government-Industry Partnerships I t was perhaps the expertise he developed building prod- ucts and strategies to stabilize Chase's lending portfolio during the crisis that helped Schmitt to work closely with regulators and investors to influence the future of foreclosure prevention and customer assistance. He repre - sented Chase as the co-chair of an industry task force whose recom- mendations and end goals were adopted by Fannie Mae and Fred- "I actually get to help individual customers and seeing the immediate satisfaction of that customer, whether it's getting their first home, helping with their refinance, or helping a family stay in their home if they're facing a hard financial situation, is so much more satisfying than doing large scale policy work." — Erik Schmitt, Managing Director, Head of Product, Chase Home Lending Standing from left to right: Patricia Ellis, Candace Rose-Ghion, Michele Mooney, Erik Schmitt, Jana Selig, Joseph Kyalo, Tara Hirschenfang Seated from left to right: Diane Kort, Alana Sisco, Ana Bernardino, Elizabeth Shah

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