MReport July 2018

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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22 | TH E M R EP O RT COVER STORY die Mac for their new foreclosure- prevention program, which took effect in October 2017. "This is one of those areas where we still have a lot to do as an industry," said Schmitt, conceding that the start was made where "we are providing access to credit, and we have a more stable and predictable business for our customers, for our stakeholders, and for investors." According to Schmitt, a true government-industry partnership was possible only when all stake - holders laid out the outcomes of what they wanted for their customers followed by the critical step of finding the right industry experts to lay out their facts, customer research, and feedback. "Once that's done, you need to have an open and honest dialogue between all the stakeholders on the intentions or motivations for building a particular product or service for a customer. Although that strategy may not be perfect, it works for the vast majority of stakeholders and ultimately, for most customers. Only once this is done can you achieve a true partnership approach to solving a problem," Schmitt said. Team Diversity S chmitt says that he has built a diverse team—not only in terms of their cultural backgrounds but also based on the skill sets. While the group consists of people with finance and underwriting experience, he has also selected those with different expertise and skill sets like capital markets and sales. Schmitt, who doesn't have a traditional mortgage background himself, says it helped to have a team that was diverse under all metrics—be it gender, ethnicity, backgrounds, or skill sets. "We have achieved the best outcome of having a vast array of ideas and strategies when we're developing products for our customers," Schmitt said, adding that the current diversity mix of his team of different disciplines, backgrounds, and experiences has driven them to create optimal strategies much faster than what would have happened if they all had the same background. As a leader, Schmitt said he tries to empower his team and give them a platform to assist the bank's customers and make it easier for their peers to deliver products and services to customers. "I work with my team to ensure that we all have the same core objectives and are aligned with our values and mis - sion," he said. Rather than presenting a defined solution and then ask- ing them to execute it, Schmitt encourages his team to work to- gether and ideate on a business or customer experience challenge and come up with a solution, while giving them a platform to build their ideas on with some probable solutions. "My job is to remove obstacles that would impede their progress, and that's what I try to do every day." Customer First Mindset W hen you're looking at fulfilling the customers' needs "no day is ever the same," according to Schmitt. "One of the really interesting things people ask me is, 'How do you spend the en- tire day working on a single loan, given the scale and depth of your responsibilities in business?' And here's a simple answer I've learned from our CEO: If we need a solu- tion for a customer, we're com- mitted," Schmitt said. "That's the Chase culture under Mike Wein- bach's leadership, where we have relatively senior leaders spending significant portions of their day solving a customer problem until it's resolved." The team's commitment to customer service was reflected in a recent initiative where Chase proactively informed thousands of customers that they were reduc - ing their payment by eliminating the customer's mortgage insur- ance with no action required by them. Explaining the reason behind this initiative, Schmitt said, "We are now able to eliminate the need for customers to request cancellation of their mortgage insurance and obtain a valuation, where the loan bal - ance is below 80 percent of the original property value, and the customer meets other eligibility requirements. This is just one more example of ways our team is putting the customer first and helping them make the most of their mortgage with Chase." Schmitt said that the firm could bring the power of a large financial institution with multiple products and services within home lending as well as other lending products. But more importantly, it is keeping customer experience at the forefront. "We have a broad business that brings a powerful organization that's fully committed to customers and meeting their needs," he said. "Even the products we design for home lending are geared towards rewarding customers and fostering the depth of their relationship with us." Meeting customers is one of the reasons why Schmitt loves his current role. "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." RADHIK A OJHA Online Editor at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her master's degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Dallas, THREE GOALS, FIVE YEARS In January 2018, JPMorgan Chase announced a comprehensive five-year investment of $20 billion to help its employees, and support job and local economic growth in the United States. The investment would focus on three goals: 1. Increasing employee wages 2. Increasing lending to small businesses 3. Accelerating lending for affordable housing by increasing mortgage origination in low- and moderate-income communities, as well as increasing commercial lending to build affordable housing To achieve its third goal, JPMorgan plans to increase its lending commitment in low- and moderate-income communities by 25 percent to $50 billion over the next five years. It also plans to hire 500 new home lending advisors and introduce a program to reduce the cash that customers are required to contribute at purchase by increasing homeownership grants from $1,500 to $2,500. Texas. You can contact her at Radhika.

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