Take A Page From President Lincoln

It’s been a busy conference season. I just finished attending numerous mortgage industry trade shows, and one of the things that amazed me as I attended the various shows is how ill-prepared some of the speakers were. When I say ill prepared I am talking about the quality of their presentations and more importantly, their ability to connect with the audience. Specifically, a number of the speeches were about features and functions from the speaker’s individual business, without clearly explaining how that applies to the audience. As a result, these talks came off as commercials and they didn’t give the people in attendance a reason why they should listen.

I understand that when you are faced with public speaking responsibilities, you want to demonstrate your knowledge of the subject. But if you go too far you end up cramming a lot of information into the presentation and it loses focus. That’s why this article entitled “The Difference Between a Stirring Speech and a Snooze-Fest” by the John Maxwell Company grabbed my attention. Let’s face it, there are a lot of bright people that give a boring presentation.

If you want people to take something away from your speech, your presentation needs to touch their heart. The presentation has to be about the audience and helping them, instead of spitting out facts and figures or trying to sell your solution. That just doesn’t work.

The article I referenced puts it this way: “How often have you walked away from a lecture, speech, or sermon thinking, “I sure wish she had spoken longer; that was just too short!” Nine times out of ten, or maybe even 99 out of 100, communication outlasts connection. Leaders either fail to engage the audience in the first place, or they continue talking long after having lost connection.”

Interestingly, the article draws from a famous moment in United States history to prove its point. As we all remember from history class, Edward Everett delivered the keynote address to commemorate the soldiers slain at the Battle of Gettysburg. His sweeping speech of more than 13,000 words stretched over two hours in length. After he finished, President Abraham Lincoln made brief remarks lasting just two minutes. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address has gone down in history as a rhetorical masterpiece, inspiring generations of Americans. Meanwhile, Everett’s oration has faded into oblivion. What made Lincoln’s speech memorable and Everett’s monotonous?

For example, Everett overestimated the importance of the intellectual content of his message. His speech was historically informed, crafted with the utmost care, and teeming with intelligent insights. Judged according to its scholarly quality, Everett’s address was outstanding. However, he relied too heavily on the intellectual appeal of his speech. In attempting to convince the audience of the significance of the battle through reasoned arguments, Everett did not successfully touch their hearts.

President Lincoln, on the other hand, understood that people did not need to be intellectually persuaded of Gettysburg’s pivotal role in the war. Rather, he emphasized the worth of what the Union soldiers had fought to preserve—a nation “conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Lincoln knew the soldiers’ sacrifice was far more compelling than anything he could say. Whereas Everett placed too much importance on content, Lincoln discounted the value of his words. By evoking the ideas of political freedom and equality at the heart of American democracy, the ideals the Northern soldiers had died to defend, Lincoln forged an emotional connection with the audience.

Second, Everett failed to get to the point, or rather he made too many points. Meanwhile, President Lincoln appears to have asked himself two basic questions that are essential for a leader looking to get through to people. What do I want them to know? And what do I want them to do?

You get the point, enough with the history lesson. The article outlines five principles that can help your speeches spur people to action, rather than putting them to sleep.

>> Talk to people, not above them.

>> Get to the point.

>> Repeat the main point over and over and over again.

>> State the main point clearly.

>> Say less so that people retain more.

What I want people in the mortgage lending space to take away from this is that people in our business should strive to say less, so people retain more. Talk to people, not above them.


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Get More Leads This Year

It’s that time of year again: planning your marketing spend and projecting sales for the upcoming quarters. The challenge, however, is that there’s too much conflicting information out there.

Do you focus on a pure content marketing play, go heavy on social, spin up an outbound team, double down on your SEM and marketing automation, or just shotgun it, business as usual?

As you should know by now, the he Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) expects to see $1.2 trillion in mortgage originations during 2014, a 32 percent decline from 2013.  While MBA expects purchase originations to increase 9 percent, it expects refinance originations to fall 57 percent.

MBA also upwardly revised its estimate of originations for 2013 to $1.7 trillion from $1.6 trillion to reflect shifts in lender market shares reported in the latest Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data release.

MBA expects that purchase originations will increase to $723 billion in 2014, up from $661 billion in 2013. In contrast, refinances are expected to drop to $463 billion from $1.08 trillion in 2013.

For 2015, MBA is forecasting purchase originations of $796 billion and refinance originations of $433 billion for a total of $1.2 trillion. So, how do you get more leads in this type of environment?

No wonder a CMO’s job security is often in question. There’s a lot of pressure to get everything right while constantly seeking the next silver bullet that will drive profits for stakeholders. And every marketing activity can’t be directly correlated to driving leads.

But figuring out the most effective methods for generating B2B sales leads should be top of mind for companies looking to connect ROI to their marketing efforts. That will ensure that you’re feeding the sales machine, and, as every marketer knows, that means more support for the equally crucial but longer-term marketing activities that are harder to attach to a quarterly goal.

“We expect mortgage rates will increase above 5 percent in 2014 and then increase further to 5.5 percent by the end of 2015,” noted Jay Brinkmann, MBA’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Research and Education. “As a result, mortgage refinancing will continue to drop, and borrowers seeking to tap the equity in their homes will be more likely to rely on home equity seconds rather than cash-out refinances.  We will potentially see a small increase in refinances toward the end of 2015 as the Home Affordable Refinance Program 2.0 (HARP) expires but HARP activity during 2014 will still be low.  While on paper the number of HARP-eligible borrowers appears large, the reality is these borrowers have been unresponsive to numerous attempts to encourage them to participate in the program and are less likely to do so now that rates have gone up.”

So, what is the average lender or mortgage technology vendor to do? Earlier this year, MarketingProfs ran a series of articles on B2B lead generation. The following infographic should help distill the trends that B2B marketers will be riding to find success in 2014.


It Doesn’t Have To Be Complicated!

The recent mortgage and housing crisis was in large measure a result of functional breakdowns of the two most important components of our housing finance system: qualification and valuation. For this reason, reforms have focused on these two components and have resulted in significant regulatory changes. Regulation of the appraisal process has been completely overhauled. Appraisal management software can be a major help or hindrance to lenders facing this new regulatory environment.

Among the key areas of focus within already enacted regulations, and within proposed changes still to be finalized, is creation of a comprehensive data record for each appraisal transaction. Every aspect of the transaction, from ordering, to appraiser selection, to appraisal performance, to communication among parties involved is subject to audit and review.

The question for each lender then becomes: Is your appraisal management process up to meeting the higher standards and providing protection from these new risks?

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a method of software distribution in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over a private network or the Internet. Today many applications used by businesses and other organizations, except custom applications that provide unique competitive advantages, are being delivered as web-hosted services via a browser. Within the mortgage industry, SaaS is a very hot topic. SaaS has emerged as a replacement to older systems throughout the mortgage production-chain from Customer Relationship Management (CRM), to Loan Origination Systems (LOS), to appraisal management, to document preparation, to compliance and beyond. Why?

SaaS Advantage 1—Save Money and Shorten Implementation

SaaS applications are offered on a pay-as-you-go, subscription basis. This enables you to avoid the expenses associated with implementing traditional software. There is no need to buy hardware, software, facilities to house them, or to hire people to manage it all. Industry consultants estimate that the cost of implementing traditional enterprise software is four to five times the initial licensing cost.

Many implementation tasks associated with older systems are eliminated because the SaaS is already up and running at the vendor’s data center. This results in a shortened deployment time and a quicker achievement of positive ROI.

Key Takeaway: SaaS Appraisal management software provides cost savings and quicker productivity gains than the older systems or manual processes.

SaaS Advantage 2-Superior Data Management

The architecture of SaaS systems enables levels of customization, feature enhancement, patch deployment and external data interfacing that is vastly superior to older systems or locally installed software. Such capabilities greatly enhance the flexibility, and responsiveness of the system, while also offering superior data integrity, reporting abilities (providing operational visibility), record management and an overall risk reduction.

Key Takeaway: SaaS appraisal management software can easily be customized for a lender’s specific operational needs. Moreover, comprehensive reporting capabilities allow use of pre-set or completely custom designs in real-time without the need for re-programming, thereby dramatically improving responsiveness.

SaaS Advantage 3-Focus Technology Efforts on Competitive Advantages

The business processes within the mortgage industry must produce products that are largely identical to one another, regardless of which industry participants are involved. Consequently, it makes sense to utilize highly specialized, reliable and secure SaaS systems to ensure uniformity and compliance within origination (CRM, LOS, appraisal management, document preparation and compliance), closing, loan sales, securitization and servicing processes. Through the cost-effective use of SaaS software, a mortgage lender can reallocate from its technology budget to focus on those activities that provide unique competitive advantages.

Key Takeaway: SaaS appraisal management software can improve efficiency, effectiveness and compliance, while helping to return management attention to other activities that may yield better competitive advantage.

The adoption of SaaS appraisal management software is increasing at a rapid pace.  Lenders of all types are making the change to ensure that their appraisal processes are managed both to eliminate risk and to provide positive operational benefits. These benefits include cost savings, ease of implementation, productivity gains, appraisal operations visibility, customization and reduced oversight.

Is your appraisal management process up to the task?

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Into The Unknown

The current regulatory and economic environment has heightened the need for insightful and compliant decisioning tools, and lenders need deep and robust consumer information in order to improve portfolio stability and make more informed lending decisions. The best indicator of future behavior has always been – and continues to be – past behavior. To acquire this level of insight, lenders must leverage technology to identify potential bankruptcy risk, understand past consumer behavior and maximize profitability. By utilizing technology tools such as real-time, tradeline-level analytics, lenders can understand consumer behavior patterns and potential risk to determine the best strategies and opportunities for their borrowers.

24 Months: The Sweet Spot

If lenders want to truly obtain an insightful view of a borrower, using analytics with data across a 24-month playing field is crucial. Detailed consumer level information such as balance, payment, credit limit or account type provides insight that can identify and predict a borrower’s future credit behavior. Incorporating this borrower data into acquisition, portfolio and review strategies assists lenders in mitigating risk and offering relevant opportunities to specific borrowers.

For example, the ability to predict an individual’s propensity to pay within a certain timeframe can drive specific marketing strategies and opportunities to enhance customer loyalty. Analyzing a borrower’s credit behavior over a 24-month period can help identify unique sets of trends and characteristics, such as:

>> Spending patterns;

>> Payment patterns; and

>> Credit utilization – established patterns and impact of changing behavior.

Historical, trended data allows for better decisioning across the entire lifecycle – from acquisition to account management to collections. Data-rich technology tools like this provides lenders with the consistent information needed to identify and implement borrower-specific actions.

The Game of Risk

Past behavioral insight is readily available to lenders who leverage the right technology in order to confidently predict the future behavior of a consumer. Plus, analytic tools like scores and models can be leveraged in the portfolio monitoring process to predict the risk that a borrower may file for bankruptcy.

Scores and models tailored specifically to predict bankruptcy allows lenders to distinguish potentially profitable customers from those who are more likely to file for bankruptcy. Using a score with comprehensive, tiered segmentation schemes allows lenders to independently evaluate bankruptcy risk.  Scores such as these can support account management since it assists with enhanced segmentation and treatment or collection strategies.

Powerful Technology, Powerful Decisions

The recession may have altered the consumer credit landscape, but insight into a borrower’s potential to incur bankruptcy and to predict future credit behavior is available for lenders in order drive profitable decisions and effectively manage portfolios despite the stringent regulatory environment. Lenders are better enabled to strategically and effectively expand borrower pools through the use of technology tools like real-time, tradeline-level analytics. Managing borrower risk and predicting their future behavior by utilizing data-rich technology can help improve business performance and ensure more consistent outcomes.

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How About Your Own Radio Show?

Few mortgage originators are likely to have noticed that the Local Community Radio Act of 2011 enabled a major expansion of non-commercial low-power FM radio stations, those with a radius of 3 to 7 miles. However, if your best approach to lead generation is educating consumers, hosting a weekly local low-power radio show might be a very effective way to underline your credentials as a trusted financial advisor in your community. And pairing your broadcasts with Internet radio could allow you to expand your reach, especially when you support that reach with a Facebook page and other social media.

Getting yourself a weekly spot on a tiny non-commercial community radio station will not be difficult – but is it worth the trouble? There are some definite questions you’d better ask yourself before you even bother.

First of all, are you sure that you have enough to say? Describing a few do’s and don’ts about applying for a loan will not get you through your first program. Most people who apply for mortgage loans already start with the Internet, where they’ve come across plenty of Mortgage 101 tutorials. Do you have a lot more to say about (as well as to) real estate agents, builders, appraisers, landscape gardeners, and other possible referral sources you hope to gain for yourself? How successful have you already been at showcasing yourself before a mass audience? If your main claim to fame is that you are a whiz at getting loans closed quickly and reliably, a radio show may be a waste of time. Stick to Little League sponsorship and ads that pull for you.

Veteran mortgage professional Hans Bruhner is taking a serious look right now at Internet radio as a lead-generation tool. Branch manager for First Priority Financial in Sebastopol, California, he has long written his “Ask The Loan Man” column in a local newspaper and reinforces that brand with his personal website (AskTheLoanMan.com) where he posts videos discussing various mortgage-related topics.

“Internet radio seems like a good way for me to get my message out there in another way,” Hans told me. “I always wanted to do podcasting but this is simpler. If you are constantly consuming information and putting it out there with your spin on it this is an easier way to present it for your audience.” Hans said he has a lot of confidence in podcasts and online videos because he got good instruction from them when he was building his own backyard patio.

A good place to start experimenting with Internet radio is spreaker.com, where you can create an account immediately and start recording half-hour programs for free. You can practice there and add background music to record a professional-sounding introduction. You can hold off actual broadcasting until you are satisfied that your voice is coming across as confident, professional and appealing. Once you pick a time slot and start broadcasting live, spreaker enables you to send automatic e-mail alerts to your followers on Facebook. Spreaker posts listener stats on your individual homepage so you can track your audience-building success. You also can e-mail recorded shows as podcasts.

If you catch a serious Internet radio bug, you may decide to switch from spreaker to BlogTalkRadio, which allows you to host a live call-in Internet broadcast via compute and phone. You can host up to five callers at a time if you want to host a round-table discussion on, say, proving a borrower’s ability to pay or the most effective ways for borrowers to use FHA 203k loans. As with spreaker, shows are archived as podcasts, with half-hour shows for free and longer shows requiring a subscription fee. BlogTalkRadio is widely lauded as the leading Web-based talk-show platform. Currently mortgage mainstays like David Lykken have successful lending radio shows through BlogTalkRadio.

Low-power FM and Internet radio can be useful tools for mortgage originators to differentiate themselves from competitors by showcasing their superior expertise – provided, of course that their expertise is genuinely superior. But lax preparation and thin show content will be disastrously counterproductive. The barrier to entry into successfully marketing yourself on radio is careful preparation. “If you just want to regurgitate a bunch of second-hand information, stay home,” said First Priority’s Bruhner.

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Psst. Want A Hot Investment Tip?

I’ve been looking for a good, relatively risk-free investment that offers the opportunity to earn double-digit returns year after year and think I’ve found one. I think the stock market is overvalued and bonds don’t look so good either as interest rates rise.

But there are a bunch of units in my condominium complex and others around my home here in Connecticut that are for sale at prices about a third less than what they were going for five or so years ago. I figured a smart buyer would be able to buy one of these units for $100,000 or so and rent them out for about $1,000 a month, or $12,000 a year. That’s a return of 12% a year, before expenses.

Unfortunately, the only money I have to invest with is in my IRA. If only I could use the money in my IRA to buy one.

Well, it turns, you can.

I had been under the impression that you could only buy conventional paper assets with IRA funds, such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds. But you can also buy alternative investments like real estate investment property, although there’s a specific process you have to go through.

The trick is that the assets have to be held by a custodian that follows the IRS guidelines for tax deferred accounts to ensure that the investment grows tax deferred. There are several firms that can help you do this, including Guidant Financial, Sterling Trust, IRA Resources and PENSCO Trust. The firms act as custodian of your self-directed IRA, holding the property and dealing with all associated expenses. Of course, they charge fees for this service. There’s even an industry trade association, called the Retirement Industry Trust Association.

Actually, there’s a wide variety of alternative assets you can invest in through your IRA, including non-publicly traded securities, promissory notes, real estate, precious metals, LLCs, tax liens and partnerships, as well as publicly traded securities.

The types of real estate you can purchase through your retirement account include single-family and multi-unit homes, apartment buildings, co-ops, condos, commercial property and improved or undeveloped land.

But there are rules on what you can and can’t buy. For example, you can’t buy property that you previously owned yourself or someone in your immediate family did. You also can’t live or work in a property you buy or lease it to an immediate family member.

You can even take out a mortgage to buy the property if you don’t have enough to buy it outright. However, you have to pay the mortgage with funds in the IRA, such as income from the property itself or annual contributions or other assets in the IRA, but not your personal funds. That’s because the property actually belongs to the IRA, not you personally.

Is investing in residential real estate any less risky than investing in the stock market? I’m worried about a stock market bubble myself. It can certainly be argued that house prices are in bubble territory too, but they’re also 25% below the peak. I would think they have a lot less further to fall than stocks. Besides, you’ll still be getting the monthly rental payments even if the property value falls.

Home prices are up nearly 13% so far this year, according to the National Association of Realtors, but are still down more than 20% off the 2008 peak. By comparison, with two months still to go, stocks are up way more than that. NASDAQ is up more than 30% through October, while the S&P 500 is up more than 25% and the Dow is up more than 20%, with the latter two indexes both at or near record highs.

But the Fed says none of these assets are in bubble territory. But then they always say that. Unfortunately, they’re often wrong. But this time around, housing may be the safer bet.

Disclaimer: George Yacik is not a licensed or professional investment adviser nor has he ever played one on television, on stage or in the movies. The information presented here does not purport to be investment advice and should not be construed as such. This article is presented solely for educational purposes and to give the reader something to consider. You should consult a professional before beginning any aggressive or moderately aggressive investing or exercise program.

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U.S. Mortgages Made In China?

On November 20, the Wall Street Journal reported that China’s government gave the green light for the creation of privately-owned Chinese banks. Although no timeline was announced on when this first wave of non-state-owned banks would emerge in China, the news was still fairly jolting because it offered nothing less than a total realignment of how the Chinese banking system operates.

It is not clear if these new privately-owned Chinese banks will only operate in China, or if they will be able to focus on other markets. If the latter is the case – which would make perfect sense if one understands how Chinese business leaders strategize – I would be willing to wager that these nascent lenders will find their way across the Pacific and take aim at the U.S. housing market. After all, the Chinese banks would find themselves in the right place at the right time.

How did I come to this conclusion? Well, let’s do some elementary economic formulations and see how it all adds up.

For starters, it will be upwards of 10 years before the Chinese banks have been organized at home and are able to receive approval from Washington to operate in this country. That may seem like a long way down the road, but time is the ally to the Chinese – at least in terms of the U.S. economy and the housing market.

I freely admit being pessimistic in believing that there will be no substantial improvement in the U.S. economy until Barack Obama leaves the White House. And I believe things would get worse if the Democrats get control of both the House and the Senate in the 2014 elections – that would enable a return of the political power set-up that gave us the two biggest drags on the economy, Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. (Having the Republicans controlling both the House and the Senate will result in an endless skein of anti-Obama legislation that will be immediately vetoed by the White House, so nothing will get done in Washington.)

Thus, from now through early 2017 and the arrival of new national leadership, we can easily assume the economy will continue along its current anemic path. The current woes that weigh down the country – a deficit of decent paying employment opportunities and a new wave of college graduates burdened with atrocious job prospects and manacled into student debt – will not abate. And there is no evidence to imagine that the housing market will be roaring back – endless talk of a recovering housing scene is strictly an expression of excessive optimism and not measurable facts.

The mortgage industry will most likely continue to constrict, as the major lenders move out of this area and smaller lenders find themselves smothered in regulations that make it very difficult to sustain profits. Between now and 2017, I will not be surprised if many community banks and independent mortgage lenders seek out mergers or go out of business. There will be no serious GSE reform during this period, too, which translates into private capital looking elsewhere to reap a financial harvest.

Working under the assumption that a change for the better will slowly take root in 2017 – and recovery will be slow, due to a variety of issues – there will be a need for new lenders to come into the market to finance home loans. After all, the major lenders will not come back as long as the restrictive regulatory regimen stays in place, so the new flush of money for home loans will have to come from a different source – in this case, a trans-Pacific source.

By the time the new Chinese banks are able to arrive in the U.S. and begin operations, they will find a country that is inching to better fiscal health. The Chinese will face less competition to elbow them aside, but they will also benefit from the ability to hire American originators that either lost their jobs during this period or are eager to seek stability after having worked in unstable and precarious situations for too long.

But you may be asking: Hey, would the Chinese banks be willing to put up with Dodd-Frank, the CFPB and an alphabet soup of regulatory agencies and guidelines? Well, put it this way: if they can put up with the Communist leaders in Beijing and still wind up making a profit, do you really think they’ll be scared of the CFPB?

Ultimately, it seems to make sense. After all, it is hard to buy anything in this country without a “Made in China” attached to it. Why should mortgages be any different?

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This Is The Moment

We all draw inspiration from different sources. A lot of my inspiration comes from my kids. I have two boys and I am a VERY proud Dad. It’s cliché to say that my kids make me a better man, but they really do. So, what’s happening in my family now worth sharing here with you? My older son is getting ready to audition to be in his first musical.

For me this is a particularly special moment. Why you might ask? As a boy my grandmother would take me to a different Broadway musical every year for my birthday, so I love musical theater. To see my son up there performing would be just amazing to me. But first comes first, he has to get a part. So, we’re trying out different songs for his audition. There’s a song called “This Is The Moment” from Jekyll and Hyde The Musical that I think would be perfect. It starts like this:

This is the moment!

This is the day,

When I send all my doubts and demons

On their way!

Every endeavor,

I have made – ever –

Is coming into play,

It’s here and now – today!

This is the moment,

This is the time,

When the momentum and the moment

Are in rhyme!

It’s an inspirational song about seizing the moment and realizing that now is the time to act. I know you’re asking: What does this have to do with the mortgage space? I see my son working hard to achieve his goals, in this case getting a part in a play, and I look back at a lot of the lenders active today and I ask myself: Why aren’t they doing the same?

Back when Fannie Mae published its electronic mortgage specifications a lot of us thought within 10, maybe 15 years, everyone would be doing e-mortgages. It hasn’t happened. Why? Because lenders are reactive and in most cases resistant to change. In this month’s Lending Laughs Cartoon you see a lender being dragged into automating. The statement made by the cartoon is sad, but true.

Most of us expected lenders to move on their own toward a more automated process because of the clear business benefits, but sadly that is not what happened. Now because of government mandates and a barrage of new rules, more and more lenders are realizing that they have to automate in order to just maintain compliance and still be profitable. As the song and the title of this article suggest, I guess now is the moment. Personally, I just think that it’s sad that the government had to intervene to get the industry to act.

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A Good Year

I don’t know about you but I am overloaded on QM, Non-QM, updated rules, regulations and all the associated hot air. So, instead of continuing to toil over how, what, when and where things could possibly go wrong, I am going to think about all the good things that happened last year and what I am looking forward to this year.

One of the best things that happened last year was the growth of the industry. Low rates and increasing home values brought us a plethora of refinances, and while increasing rates have caused dips in purchase money markets, overall we are better off than we were four years ago. New companies are emerging and brokers, whose demise has been forecast since 2008, are still around and in many cases growing.

The long-anticipated punishing regulations have been issued, argued over, revised and are now ready to implement. And while we do not appreciate some of the changes they brought, it has caused us to rethink and redo our policies, practices and procedures. Technology advances have made many of these changes less burdensome and our focus is now, more than ever, on how to do things right; not just fast.

Our old nemesis, fraud, is still around, but has slid further back into the hole from whence it came. The delinquency and foreclosure rates are the lowest they have been in years and prospective homebuyers are more encouraged.

So what does that mean for this year? As the Chinese say, “May you live in interesting times” and the folks in this business surely know interesting times. We know the start of 2014 is certainly going to be interesting. However, we have tackled tougher issues than this and survived, so there is no doubt that, with a few hiccups along the way, we will soon have these regulation changes under control.

Interest rates will do what they always do; go up and down, but not necessarily in that order. There will be more companies emerging as well as some consolidations — the M&A market promises to be very busy in 2014. Servicing will face its challenges, but with more stable and performing loans in the portfolio, servicers will be able to focus on those internal processes that are demanded by the regulations.

The one big question mark I see is the focus on quality. While agencies and investors focus on the demand for more and more reviews, lenders have moved further and further away from the purpose of doing them; making sure there is reliability in the processes so that the next loan will be just as good as the one just inspected. When and how will lenders stop focusing on “data elements” and instead focus on the big “D”? No, not Dallas, but what the “Data” is actually telling them. If we get these two pieces of the puzzle under control then 2014 will be one of the best years for our industry in a long, long time.


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