Mortgage Lending Gets Personal

Hello, friends!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted to this blog, but I hope to be a more frequent communicator over the next few months as exciting things happen in the Mortgage Education Division for 2012 – starting with the NMLS approval of a brand-new CE class/webinar.  When that approval is in, we’ll be sure to share all of the details, as I’m looking forward to spending time with all of you again!

 CFPB and ECOA News Coming Soon

I fully planned for this post to cover the CFPB’s recent bulletin putting our industry on notice that fair lending (specifically ECOA) is going to continue to take center stage in examinations and with enforcement actions.  However, due to some recent experiences, I’ve decided to put that off until next week.  Today, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to reflect on the more personal side of our business.

 When the Going Gets Tough

As many of you know, aside from my course development and instruction career at Real Estate Institute, I maintain an active origination business; mainly because I need more stress in my day-to-day life.  I’m currently involved in one of “those loans,” full of roadblocks, detours and unforeseen underwriting conditions. (Yes, even those of us who teach the business for a living have them occasionally.)  This loan has required me to go back to the borrower and their employer(s) multiple times to get everything in order, have conversations of varying levels of pleasantry with attorneys and real estate agents, and generally has left me wishing I would have pursued a career in something less stressful, such as manual defusing of nuclear weapons.  Although I’d be the happiest MLO in the world if I never ran across another loan like this, it has given me cause for reflection, and that’s never a bad thing.

 When we get one of these Tales From the Crypt files, it’s tempting to play possum, letting calls go to voicemail, putting off emailing and otherwise becoming an invisible person.  It’s only natural to want to delay unpleasant news, both to save us from dealing with an uncomfortable phone call and the client from angst.  In doing so, we’re forgetting a key element – that there is another person on the other end of the transaction with real emotions who is often literally staring at the phone waiting for a call from us.  Think of your life as a teenager when you were first navigating the complex world of personal relationships.  Remember how it felt the first time you got a call from someone you were interested in?  EUPHORIA!!  Now… remember how it felt the first time you didn’t get a call from someone you had been seeing and were really into.  “Devastating” doesn’t even begin to address the range of emotions.  “Why isn’t this person calling?  What doesn’t this person want me to know?  WHAT’S GOING ON?!?!?!?!”  Well, that’s the mortgage business in a nutshell.  It’s easy to deal with the files that have one underwriting condition – heck, anyone could do that.  It’s how we deal with the surprises, the roadblocks, the bumps and the sinkholes that define who we are as originators, who we are as people and why we deserve to be paid well for what we do.  Remember, bad news isn’t like good scotch – it doesn’t get better with age.  Those of you who master the art of communication in both good times and bad and are able to manage expectations of everyone in the transaction will truly set yourselves apart from your competition.  It’s not easy, but the most rewarding things in life never are.

 Pause for One of the Good Guys

In closing, I’d like to take a moment to ask all of you to keep one of the good guys in our industry in your thoughts and prayers.  Dustin Hughes, President of Northwest Mortgage Advisors in Portland, Oregon, has been an industry leader since the mid-1990s and an inspiration to many, many people in our business.  I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting Dustin twice, but I was simply amazed both times by his character, energy and love of life, and I personally know many, many others who have been positively influenced by this amazing person.  As some of you may know, Dustin is battling Stage 4 glioblastoma (brain cancer), and the battle is getting tougher.  I’m a firm believer in the power of positive energy, and I’m sure that Dustin and his family could use as much as they can get at the moment.  Dustin is chronicling his battle with this disease (and continuing to inspire people) on his blog at, and you can also find information and lend support on the Facebook group “Hughes’ Troop.”

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