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Take Note Mortgage Industry

A new initiative between a technology company and a nonprofit organization is sparking interest in coding and programming at a younger age, paving the way for entry-level technology employees with more experience.

By partnering with the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF), Digital Pomegranate, an NYC-based technology company with a field office in Armenia, has entered into a long-term plan to teach the young generation coding skills for app and website development.

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The global lack of coding knowledge implemented at a young age has created a gap between those who have received an education and their career in coding and website development. Without coding skills, there are limited opportunities in technology fields even with full high school and college curriculum standards being met. By holding workshop programs for rural Armenian kids, DigitalPomegranate and COAF are getting a head start in filling this gap. This means that down the road, rural Armenia may produce some of the best and most experienced coders in the business due to the implementation of these skills at a younger age. Implementing coding skills at a young age has a similar to effect when compared to how a younger student?s brain is more susceptible to language acquisition. “Research shows the younger the brain, the easier it is for the basics of coding and programming to become second nature,” a rep from Digital Pomegranate said.

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By utilizing the resources of the non-profit organization, the company is connecting with motivated and intelligent students and teaching them to code. The important skills the kids are learning are not only benefitting the future careers of the kids, but the initiative is creating a new generation of talented coders and technology specialists to further the ventures of their own company and others in the field. In other words, they are training people to hire in the future.

Digital Pomegranate held their first four-week intensive seminar this summer for rural Armenian kids. The classes took place three times per week with a 2:9 teacher student ratio. The kids who participated in the program learned to create and design websites using Photoshop, WordPress and Visual Composer. The 14 through 18 year old students successfully built their own websites using WordPress, CSS and JavaScript and completed work for Digital Pomegranate?s customers by the end of the program.

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By providing instruction at their SMART centers, COAF is hoping that the kids will one day become so proficient in coding they will be able to teach classes at the center themselves. The program intends to prepare rural Armenian youths for careers in coding and programming. By using their current staff of programmers to teach children new skills, Digital Pomegranate and COAF are setting them up for futures in programming, robotics, website and app development and similar fields. This means that the kids they are training now may be able to be hired by their own company just a few years down the road.

The Children of Armenia Fund?s SMART initiative is the most notable rural development initiative in the world. With initiatives like this one, COAF?s SMART centers will be hubs of intelligence, innovation and advancement. The first SMART center is set to open in the Lori region this upcoming academic year. Once the modern building is open to the public, COAF plans to implement this same coding education program on a larger scale. The SMART center is large enough to house much higher quantities of students and instructors. The vast space available will be utilized to spark passion and interest in students who may have bright futures in coding.

The kids who learn to code and create websites through Digital Pomegranate?s programs will be able to go on and teach the next generation the same skills. This creates a cycle in which these types of skills will continually be presented at a younger age than the current average. This is the kind of initiative COAF?s SMART centers intend to house. The mortgage industry should think out of the box and do similar things to encourage kids to get into this space. We need new ideas.

About The Author

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Ocwen Reaches Out To Help Homeowners

Ocwen Financial Corporation, along with the Seattle King County NAACP, will host a Help & Hope for Homeowners borrower outreach event in Des Moines, Washington on September 10, 2016. The event will be held in Des Moines to attract borrowers from Seattle and Tacoma as well as the surrounding areas, where delinquency rates remain relatively high.

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The event for Ocwen customers will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Highline College Student Union Center (Building 8) at 2400 S. 240th Street in Des Moines, Washington. The event will offer borrowers the opportunity to meet with Ocwen Home Retention Agents and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved financial counselors to explore loan modifications and other options, including principal reduction programs, to make their homes more affordable.

According to RealtyTrac, in King County – which includes Seattle – one in 2,353 homes is in foreclosure. In certain pockets of the city the foreclosure rate is much higher, such as in Seattle’s Industrial District where the foreclosure rate is one in every 253 homes. In neighboring Pierce County – which encompasses Tacoma – the rate is one in every 1,022 homes. In Tacoma, one in 980 properties is in foreclosure. In Des Moines, one in 844 properties is in foreclosure.

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“Like many metropolitan areas, families around Seattle are still at risk of losing their homes and need help now,” commented Jill Showell, Senior Vice President of Government and Community Relations at Ocwen. “Our Help & Hope for Homeowners events offer real solutions and relief to distressed homeowners. The NAACP is a trusted resource in the Seattle and Tacoma area, and together we are committed to helping borrowers qualify for loan modification options so they can better afford their homes.”

“The NAACP understands the significance of homeownership not only for individuals, but for the communities where they live and work,” said Dr. Sheley Secrest, Economic Development Chair of the Seattle King County NAACP. “Owning a home gives families stability, pride, and a vehicle for building wealth. Our local Help & Hope for Homeowners event will give borrowers the opportunity to stay in their homes by working directly with Ocwen Home Retention Agents and HUD-approved financial counselors to find real solutions.”

About The Author

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Three Changes That We All Must Face

The mark of a great leader is how he or she responds to change. The very idea of change is unsettling. We like things the way they are. The status quo is comfortable, and it’s much easier to ride a wave of success than to achieve it by clawing your way out of the undertow. But change is inevitable. “Change is,” as it has famously been said, “the only constant.”

There are many trends occurring in our industry, as well as within the global marketplace, that can have a dramatic effect on the way we do business. Those of us who are still competing in the business twenty years from now will be those who will have dealt with these changes in the best way possible. Success has nothing to do with how effectively you can avoid industry challenges; it has everything to do with the way you adapt to them.

One dramatic shift that poses an endless array of challenges to mortgage professionals is the subject that has probably been covered recently more than any other: regulation. The extent to which the industry is being subject to scrutiny by governing bodies has been increasing exponentially in recent years — and we in the industry can’t do anything about it. Or, can we? There are two ways of countering the pressures placed on us by regulation. You could cut corners and seek ways around the regulations. But, of course, that’s risky and shows a lack of integrity. The better way is to get involved in organizations lobbying for the industry. Just like everyone else in the country, we in the mortgage industry have a voice. Let’s use it.

Another dramatic shift has occurred in the way people shop for homes. People have more access to information and, therefore, less need of professionals to make those decisions. Primarily, this shift is the product of the same revolution that has affected every other industry in the economy: the Internet. Ironically, this shift has made strong relationships even more important. People have more information but less time to process it. Therefore, they seek out professionals they can trust. Building strong connections with Realtors, consumers, and other industry partners is absolutely essential in this new economy.

Finally, there has been a tremendous shift in the way people view their work. Into the future, as millennials make up an increasingly greater percentage of the workforce, their values are going to come to dominate in the mortgage industry as much as every other. In relation to work, this new generation tends to care less about traditional incentives such as monetary compensation and other financial perks. Instead, they want to find meaning and fulfillment in their work. Great leaders will turn this shift to their advantage and place an increasingly greater amount of focus on building company culture.

There is no question: now is a pivotal time for our industry. Pressure is being placed upon the best of us from every direction. But it’s only in the most difficult of times that we are able to tell who the truly great leaders are. Survival isn’t about avoiding; it’s about enduring and adapting. Where will you be twenty years down the road? It all starts with the next step you take right now.

About The Author

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David Lykken has garnered a national reputation as a visionary, entrepreneur and business leader within the mortgage industry. He has also become a regular guest on the FOX Business News with Neil Cavuto, Stuart Varney, Liz Claman, Dave Asman and others. He has been a special guest of Governor Mike Huckabee on FOX News’ #1 weekend rated program “Huckabee”. He has appeared several times on the CBS Evening News, Bloomberg TV & radio, NPR and many radio shows. On matters related to the economy, housing and mortgage lending, David is frequently quoted in leading newspapers across the country as well as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. Additionally, David has his own national weekly radio program called “Lykken On Lending” that can be heard each Monday at Noon Central time by going to www.LykkenOnLending.com .

As co-founder and Managing Partner of KLS Consulting doing business as Mortgage Banking Solutions, David Lykken has over 37 years of management experience as an owner/operator with in depth expertise in real estate finance and housing. His knowledge and skills comprise a unique blend of technology and business strategy. Above all else, David loves helping business owners and executives navigate through extremely difficult business circumstances helping them overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles while rediscovering themselves and their passion for life and living.

Dave is married, has two daughters and currently resides in the beautiful Hill Country of Central Texas near Austin, Texas. David received a bachelor’s degree in 1973 year from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.

Just A Great Story

*Just A Great Story*
**By Tony Garritano**

***I know that I usually go on and on about mortgage technology, but today I want to depart from the usual. Today I want to share a really touching story with you. Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp., one of the country’s largest mortgage bankers, has again joined forces with the Boot Campaign, a non-profit organization supporting returning American military troops, and the Military Warriors Support Foundation to donate a “mortgage free” house to a military war veteran and Purple Heart recipient. Juan Castañeda, Jr., an Iraq War veteran, received the keys to his new home during the 2nd Annual Boot Ride and Rally in Hollywood, California. Here’s the full story:

****Fairway representatives joined the Boot Campaign’s “Boot Girls” and the stars of the hit FX drama “Sons of Anarchy” in Hollywood, where several hundred bikers “got their boots on” and coasted down the Sunset Strip to raise funds for the Boot Campaign’s partner charities. The Boot Ride culminated at a rally at The Happy Ending Bar and Restaurant with a live performance by Blackberry Smoke and red carpet appearances by Sons of Anarchy cast members and other celebrities.

****The most memorable part of the event was when Castañeda was handed the keys to a mortgage-free, tax-free home. Castañeda, the son of a Vietnam War veteran, joined the Army in 2005 and was stationed to the 82nd Airborne Field Artillery Regiment at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina. He served in Iraq and was injured on August 31, 2006 in an ambush near Ad Dwar. Castañeda suffered a fully collapsed left eardrum and other head injuries and underwent four major surgeries. He received the Purple Heart along with other medals and honors, and hopes to finish school and raise a family. Castaneda is the proud parent of a two-year-old daughter. “I want to thank Fairway,” Castañeda said. “This new home means the world to me and my family.”

****“Juan Castañeda has made enormous sacrifices for our country, as have so many others before him,” said Steve Jacobson, CEO of Fairway. “Juan’s strength and perseverance in the face of his challenges are truly remarkable. It is stories like his that have inspired Fairway to help American veterans fulfill their dreams of home ownership. Juan’s new home is a reflection of the admiration, gratitude and respect we have for all wounded warriors.”

****Fairway has been an avid supporter of the Boot Campaign for more than a year and a half. Several Fairway employees pledged over $20,000 in donations per month for the next 12 months in order to give away additional mortgage-free homes to wounded veterans. The money is being used by the Military Warriors Support Foundation to cover the costs of repairing, renovating and retrofitting homes, along with the first year of property taxes and three years of financial counseling.

****Founded in Tyler, Texas, the Boot Campaign supports a number of national charities aimed at improving the lives of American veterans. Fairway’s involvement with the Boot Campaign began with branch manager Louise Thaxton, who operates offices near two military bases in Louisiana—the Army base at Fort Polk and Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City. For many years, Thaxton and her team have focused on providing mortgage loans to military personnel.

****“At Fairway, we’re dedicated to supporting all American troops, both active military and veterans,” says Thaxton, who presented the keys to Castañeda’s new home at the Boot Ride in Rally. “Our deepest thanks go to Juan as well as the Boot Campaign for giving us the opportunity to give back and for putting on such an incredible event.”

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.