This week, our spotlight shines on the Pacific Northwest, and our guest is Keith Frachiseur, who joined Envoy Mortgage during the summer in the new position of regional vice president for the Pacific Northwest territory.
Q: For the benefit of those that are not familiar with this region, what is the state of housing in the Pacific Northwest?
Keith Frachiseur: The state of housing in the Pacific Northwest is good overall, particularly in the Puget Sound area where employment is stronger. As with all markets there are pockets that are faring better within the overall area. Seattle and the Bellevue/Eastside are very strong, reflecting the presence of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Costco, and the ancillary tech sector.
Q: Seattle immediately comes to mind as being the major metropolitan area for this region. But what are the other strong housing markets for this corner of the country?
Keith Frachiseur: The primary markets follow the I-5 corridor from Bellingham, Washington by the Canadian border down to Medford, Oregon and Northern California. Along the way, the housing and employment markets are good in Lynnwood, Tacoma, Olympia, the Vancouver, Washington / Portland, Oregon market, along with Salem and Eugene in Oregon.
East of the Cascade Mountains, Spokane, Washington is the center of the Inland Empire, and the Tri City Area of Richland, Kennewick and Pasco, Washington has a strong economy. The primary market in Idaho is the Boise area, although there are great small markets along I-90 from Coeur d’ Alene to Twin Falls. In Eastern Oregon, Bend is a wonderful area, with four distinct seasons providing year round recreational activities.
Q: In the mid-1990s, you were a commissioner of the Washington State Mortgage Brokerage Commission and were president of the Washington Association of Mortgage Brokers. What do you see as the challenges facing today’s mortgage brokers?
Keith Frachiseur: Well, that was quite a while ago and I don’t presume to know all of the issues that brokers face today. I would assume that the biggest challenges include issues of scale, i.e., the cost of manufacturing, compliance, IT, and the severity of the consequences of non-compliance and honest mistakes (cost to cure, for example). Additionally, I am sure it is difficult to maintain a great customer experience without control of the entire process from origination through to investor delivery.
Q: In your new role at Envoy Mortgage, what are your goals and how to do you plan to achieve them?
Keith Frachiseur: My goal is to make Envoy Mortgage the lender of choice for customers and referral partners in the Norwest, and to gain significant market share. I intend to build brand value, grow the existing branches and add branches quickly in the major markets, expanding outward. We are already opening in the Seattle and Bellevue markets.
I expect to achieve those goals by matching high quality production partners with our industry-leading technology and commitment to customer service. At Envoy, we are constantly improving technology and revising processes and procedures to provide a smoother manufacturing process, better transparency and communication, and certainty of decision with minimal surprises.
I believe there are many branch managers, originators and production support staff members out there who want not only great products but also want to improve the quality of the mortgage experience for their customers, referral partners, closing agents, and also for themselves. Those are the people I want for the Envoy team.
Envoy Mortgage is online at www.envoymortgage.com.
Phil Hall has been (among other things) a United Nations-based radio journalist, the president of a public relations and marketing agency, a financial magazine editor, the author of six books and a horror movie actor. Also, as you will discover, he is not shy about stating his views.