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The State of the Mortgage Industry

Jessica Lanning

Just a few thoughts on the heels of my last post…

When we look just at the numbers from 2009, it feels and seems like a great year.  But it’s been tough—more regulation, daily underwriting guideline changes, new rules around appraisals, and loan files that are scrubbed with a toothbrush.  We’re lucky to be able to channel our loans through a company that has had the foresight and fortitude to survive, but it’s been twice the work for half the money.  And it’s getting worse.

The unfortunate part about all these changes is that they don’t serve the consumer at all.  Loans take more time and are more expensive.  There are fewer options in loan products and lenders.  The paperwork and the confusion have only increased.

The good news in this is that the market and the increased regulations have driven out the bad apples in the business.  There’s no more low-hanging fruit, so those who didn’t know what they were doing or were doing it badly have long since left the business.  In a way, the market alone has solved a lot of the problems that were created in the subprime and “stated income, stated assets” loan profile industry.  Those of us who continue to run a high quality business have survived.

The sad part about it is that I’m starting to see the really good people—true mortgage professionals who provide great advice and care for their clients—start to consider leaving the business.  The loan process is too complicated and sophisticated for anyone to learn in a 60-day escrow. Most financial planners understand the basics of loans, but often rely on mortgage professionals to help them integrate the loan choice into a client’s overall long- and short-term financial plans.  Where will good advice come from if not from a seasoned mortgage professional?

What can you do?  If you’re politically inclined at all, write your Congress representatives and tell them that you believe the Federal Reserve’s proposal to fix the income of mortgage professionals on any size loan will not serve consumers (particularly those with lower loan amounts), that you appreciate the work of mortgage brokers and bankers, and that the regulations put in place so far have not served the industry well.