“I love a challenge; not just the challenge of a sale or overcoming an objection, but I like to look adversity in the eye and show it will not defeat me. ”
CONTENT QUICK LINKS
Did you know February is National Library Lover’s Month? (Among many other ‘national something’ months, including National Cherry month, National Hot Breakfast month, and National Grapefruit month.) I have been in love with libraries and books since before I could read. My nose and fingertips are often smudged with ink shed from the pages of a treasured book.
Have you noticed the smell of a room full of books? Any library I’ve ever entered smells the same. One can move to a new place, know not one person, and enter the local library to find friends lined up on the shelves waiting.
I’d like to turn your attention to the fantastic book review written by Peter Wietmarschen this month. His review caused me to rummage through my own shelves (and sad to say boxes since some are still packed) to find my own copy of Tuesdays with Morrie. I recommend you take a few minutes and appreciate his well-written review and by all means read or reread the book!
Other features this month include Laura Brandao writing for the Coaches ConnXion, Suha Zehl writing in the Spotlight, as well as Meg Anderson from MBS Highway, and Ruth Lee from Big Think prognosticating 2022’s future.
As always, a big Thank You goes out to all who have subscribed to both magazines. I hope you enjoy today’s issue and will share www.TheVisionMag.com in social media. Reach out and congratulate your peers whose bylines and profiles appear in these pages. Tag us in your posts #thevisionmag and #2020visionforsuccesscoaching. We love the feedback!
Happy Valentines Day!
Building a Life You Love is something I think happens only intentionally and when you think of what it is you do love. Is it your work? Your family? Traveling? Whatever it is, we often do not think about it when we start out as young professionals, we think of making a living or pursuing a career. It’s not until long after our journey begins when we think about pursuing a life that makes us happy. We find our purpose and direction after traveling down the wrong roads and long paths, trudging along, and then through trial and tribulation, we realize what we want. It is when we have these epiphanies we correct our course.
Building a Life You Love is this month’s theme; it’s February and when Cupid comes calling he reminds us of the friends and family who make us feel loved and he also reminds us to give love. Why not apply this mindset to your work this year? We hope you are building a life you love and we hope with our continued editorial resource we are helping provide real value.
Along with this, I have been speaking on many platforms and on many podcasts, including my own, about the need to pivot, and this year will require a hard turn towards where the business really lies. Many think we are in a tough market but the truth is we are in a vast market, ripe for the picking. But do you know where to pick your business strategies?
I challenge you to join us on our 20/20 Vision Coaching FB Group so you can receive all we have to share to help give directives to our community. We also invite you to join us on our journey in our consulting firm so please reach out to us if you want more info at Info@visionyoursuccess.net and let us know.
We hope Cupid is kind to you. Happy Valentine’s Day!
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THERE'S MAGIC IN THE MORTGAGE WORLD!
Written by Christine Beckwith
Tom Mancuso’s story is one of incredible triumph. It is a story riddled with tragedy and tribulation. It is a story of hard-won success following a path stacked with obstacles most do not experience.
Tom was born in Chicago in 1981, the son of Gloria and Michael Mancuso. Tom has a great appreciation for the many gifts and values he lives by in his life, including, but not limited to, challenging work, respect for others, patriotism, and integrity. At 18 years old Tom began selling cars at a company called Daewoo. His father was also in the car business as a finance director. As happens for many young men who seek to make their mark on the world, Tom was thinking hard about military service. He turned to his dad, who was a veteran, for advice. Michael Mancuso said the world had changed since his time in the service. He talked him out of a military career, telling his son to make his career choice one that kept him at home for his family. His advice was prophetic as two years later, the elder Mancuso would pass away due to cancer.
I met Tom Mancuso many years ago on the social media airwaves. I remember Tom saying something incredibly poignant and immediately grabbing my attention. I also recall thinking it wonderful to see a man willing to show vulnerability, which to me is a trait showing distinct strength and confidence.
I recently learned the depth of Tom’s story after watching him present as a keynote speaker for the Summerlin Financial event. His tale totally floored me and my family as we listened to an audio session one Sunday over breakfast. Tom’s story is as compelling as it is devastating, heartbreaking, and relatable. Tom will tell you he is flawed, he had a terrible accident on his motorcycle when, attempting to avoid colliding with child pedestrians, he crashed into a jersey barrier. His leg was pinned between his motorcycle and the barrier, severing his leg at the calf. Tom lay quiescent on the cold roadway, truly in shock, unconscious, and unaware of the destruction of his leg. His life resided in the hands of others to save him. As he lay immobilized and bleeding out, a series of amazing events came together to save his life.
In both irony and angelic intervention, by dodging to spare the children’s lives Tom played a part in his own salvation. One of the children called 911 which put into motion the life-saving events of that terrible day. Another angel emerged in the guise of a retired veteran and his wife who, stopping at the scene of the accident, jumped from their truck to apply a tourniquet to Tom’s gushing leg. A veteran equipped for this sort of measure appearing at the right time, in Tom’s mind, places his story in the hands of the angels.
In the end, Tom did lose his leg; an incredibly horrible, life-altering outcome. And yet, it could have ended differently. He was not breathing when the paramedics arrived and, ultimately, had to perform an emergency tracheotomy in his throat. Tom was kept in a coma for eight days due to the severity of his injuries. Over the weeks and months ahead Tom experienced debilitating setbacks including a deeper amputation brought on by infection and another injury caused by falling on a newly amputated leg.
Tom also experienced a debilitating brain injury causing severe memory loss for two years. To say perseverance was required is an understatement. As I listened to Tom share this story, I realized the degree of his tenacity. I also realized Tom has lost a lot in his lifetime and has had to fight through obstacles that could have left him depressed or lost. Tom is not lost, no, Tom is found!
In every interaction, you will find Tom being the angel to others today. He gives to many. He takes time to talk with people who he knows need the same shoulder and ear he used to need. Tom is a leader today as a thriving branch manager and loan originator for NEXA Mortgage. He is a funny and charismatic leader.
Over time I have seen and followed Tom’s incredible body of work as he stepped up to coach his peers. He hosts a regular classroom called NEXA TNT (Technical and Tactical Skills Class) and he is also often the host of Brokers Workshop or Business Bootcamp here at 20/20 Vision, lending his clear voice and incredible leadership. I could personally sit and listen to Tom forever. He commands the audience both live and on stage. He is authentic and so he draws his audience in deeply as he speaks vulnerably and in ways allowing people to connect. His is a natural voice born out of tragedy, endurance, and strength.
Tom will tell you he has not always been this kind, and he has not always been this good. But I often wonder to myself if people just become great out of life-changing events or if they simply have a course correction, and their souls were always shaped for such work as Tom does today. I am betting the latter.
As social media interaction is online, Tom and I were deep into our virtual relationship and learning about one another long before meeting in real life. Was it ever important for me to know Tom was missing a leg? This less than minor detail had no bearing except perhaps in how knowing this about Tom changed my perspective. In coming to know this about Tom, my perspective grew more insightful as I could relate to how Tom grew through pain and process to prevail and find his strength. Not to minimize the trauma of loosing a limb, being able to help others find their own road out of pain and suffering is a gift Tom Mancuso readily shares and as such makes his story relatable to all who travel that road, whether one’s maiming is physical or emotional.
When you find Tom on social media, you will see an enthusiastic speaker and a poignant author of incredible lessons. You’re also going to see someone who also draws you in on the net, someone who is brave and admirable, and someone you want to know. I am always enamored by his magnetic draw. I see him share gifts of his mindset and in doing so he magically has hundreds sounding off in his direction.
I recently spoke with Tom to learn what he thinks of the world ahead for him and the mortgage industry he and his following share. This is what he had to say:
“In ten years, I hope to be leading a group of professionals in their desire to perfect their craft but also to lead them in finding their true selves and being comfortable with their life’s challenges. I also hope my children will look back and be proud of their father no matter what I am doing. I hope to teach them not to avoid challenges but how to overcome any challenge they may encounter in their lives. I know I will not live forever but if any part of my story can live on after me to help inspire my children and others that is the greatest accomplishment I could ever ask for.”
Tom what excites you? What angers you?
“I love a challenge; not just the challenge of a sale or overcoming an objection, but I like to look adversity in the eye and show it will not defeat me. What angers me is those who choose to take advantage of others in their time of need. I do not just mean in their business transactions I also mean just in life. We are all in this together and the faster we all realize it, the faster we will all live the lives of which we are truly capable.”
This is the February edition of our magazine appropriately titled, For the Love of It. What is your LOVE and true passion?
“Being able to provide someone hope in their darkest hour. It is the people who make the difference in life. It is the people who lent me their strength to help me overcome my own challenges. I want to lend my strength to others so they can save themselves. My father’s favorite quote was, ‘It is what it is.’ Little did I know how it would stick with me in life.”
These five words are a profound truth, to which I would add, it’s not what happens in life, it’s how we react that matters. As I wrap up this brief interlude to Tom Mancuso’s story, there is really no way to truly explain how beautiful a soul and tremendous human Tom Mancuso is. Look for him and find him, you will see for yourself. You will be treated to passion and power, purpose, and principle. If you are looking for inspiration, for motivation, and for direction, please seek Tom out on social media and connect. You will not regret it.
Tom Mancuso is Vision Master at 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching. He is a student leader who has put in the work with coaches and curriculum, spent tireless hours supporting his peers, and helped our firm grow through referrals on an unparalleled level. Why does he generously give of himself when no actual payback is given? It is not about pay or recognition. It is about being driven by purpose. He understands his magic and he uses it exactly as it’s intended to be used.
Christine “Buffy” Beckwith is an award-winning executive sales leader who has spent the past 30 years in the mortgage finance industry. Her life and career are filled with a progression of success stories reaching all the way back to her childhood. A Best Selling and Award-Winning Author, Christine branched out in 2018 to begin her dream job as the founder and president of 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching & Consulting. After breaking glass ceilings in the mortgage and banking industry, Christine is now a columnist for professional magazines and is a special correspondent anchoring the news and interviewing experts in her industry. She is an advocate for women, dedicating a complete division in her own company to the cause and communities she touches at a vast level.
Christine spends her days on the national speaking circuit, lecturing on topics focused on sharing her expertise in finance while highlighting her personal stories of inspiration and motivation to deliver both tactical and practical advice. Breaking mainstream in 2019, Christine has appeared on huge stages to speak, kicking off the year at the Miami Garden Stadium with Gary Vaynerchuk Agent2021 as the real estate expert panel moderator. Among her many speaking engagements recently, she has spoken at the Anaheim Convention center in Los Angeles, The Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City, NJ, and for multiple prestigious organizations and media companies.
Christine will tell you writing, teaching, and speaking are at the core of who she is, and her legacy work she is committed to making a difference in the lives of professionals and youth everywhere.
Christine is a mother, a girlfriend, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a homemaker, and a lover of laughter, good health, home and heritage. She calls herself a happy human.
Be sure to subscribe to both magazines: The Vision and Women With Vision Magazine. Subscription is FREE and the only way to be sure you won’t miss a single issue of either magazine!
NEXA Mortgage is a Mortgage Broker lending to consumers looking to own a home or refinance their existing. Our mission is to serve our customers with honesty, integrity, and competence while providing an exceptional customer experience.
Our goal is to provide home loans to consumers nationwide while supplying them with the lowest interest rates and closing costs possible. We pledge to help borrowers overcome roadblocks that can arise while securing a loan and strive to offer the best payment plan along with the best terms imaginable.
Beckwith Unplugged and Uncensored
Season 1, Episode 3: You Drinkin’ The Hatorade?
We all know them, we all have them, we all MAY have been one of them…
Do you know what I am talking about???? HATERS.
“Haters” is such a buzzword that in our Beckwith Unplugged and Uncensored fashion, we took a poll and learned why the word “Hater” has taken off.
Christine unpacks this along with her own personal experience as well as how to handle it.
It’s the whole package in this episode!
Tune in and remember to always be self-developing and learning about yourself!
Check out https://www.visionyoursuccess.net to reach us.
ABOUT THE SERIES
Beckwith Unplugged and Uncensored is video podcast designed for Christine Beckwith, a long-time business executive turned executive coach in the banking, mortgage, and real estate industry. In this totally transparent and sometimes raw monologue, Beckwith tells it like it is…publicly. Emotion is the driving force behind all human intellect, accomplishment, and success. If you cannot feel where you are going, you cannot SEE it either. As the visionary behind 20 / 20 Vision for Success, Christine brings her personal and professional philosophy to the mic. Listen in because these are lessons you will want to learn here instead of anywhere else.
Andrea Ward - EVP of Operations - Paramount Bank
Written by: Leora Ruzin, CMB, AMP
The future is now!
A nyone who has been on the operations side of the mortgage equation knows it is not a glamourous job. Those of us in operations are the silent victors. We provide endless support to loan officers often without the fanfare that comes from breaking sales records. We don’t get the trips to Cabo, the fancy awards, or the accolades in the weekly sales calls. But not receiving those things hasn’t stopped Andrea Ward from pushing the operations envelope forward.
Andrea has been in the mortgage business for 20 years and her time has mostly been ensconced in operations. She has been the underwriter, the operations manager, the one making credit policy decisions. As most in operations have experienced, these positions, while vital to the integrity of the mortgage process, are under-appreciated. Andrea has made it her mission to change this narrative.
As Andrea explains, “I was lucky enough to work with some incredibly talented women who took the time to mentor me and teach me every aspect of operations. After graduating from college, I decided I wanted to get into the underwriting aspect of the business and found that taking a ‘human’ approach to lending was something that a lot of companies failed to do. For most of my career, I was involved in developing guidelines and credit policy for larger organizations that were looking to tap into markets that were either underserved or simply not served at all. In developing these programs, I quickly realized efficiency in operations was something that had been vastly ignored other than the occasional offshoring of operational duties (which often proves disastrous).”
What makes Andrea unique is she has a sales background from her early days in the industry, so she has a foundation most people in operations don’t have. This gives Andrea a level of empathy and compassion that is sorely needed when determining the credit qualifications of a loan file. “I have focused my efforts of developing an operations team that had a sales heart but also understood the inherent risk of lending,” Andrea states. “Most of my senior leaders have a sales background so they understand the trials that loan officers go through and the need for top-notch service not only to the client closing the loan but to the loan officer originating it. My main goal in business is to show that operations and sales go hand in hand. Synergy is not just a buzzword, but something that must exist between sales and ops to do the right thing every day.”
At her heart, Andrea is a Midwest gal. Born in Little Rock, AR, raised in St. Louis, and having spent most of her adult life in Chicago, Andrea brings that down-home charm into everything she does. She values the connection that comes from really getting to know people and understanding their passion. She sees herself and each person she encounters as different and unique. This is something she wishes she had known when she was growing up, and if she had the ability to go back and tell her teenage self anything it would be to “believe that what makes you different is a good thing. It’s more important to be who you truly are than who people want you to be.”
When asked how she sees herself as a leader, it is no surprise that her leadership style ties in with how she was raised. “I am a servant leader; I work for those under my umbrella. I am beholden to their needs and am put in a position that has a huge responsibility to those who have trusted me with their livelihood. While my goals are driven by metrics that benefit the organization, my success in leadership is only determined by those I lead.” Further, Andrea does not see the fact she is a woman to be a factor in how she operates as a leader. As she boldly states, she runs her part of her business not as a woman, but rather as a person. She understands her answer may be less than popular, but she fully expects her work (and the work of others) to be judged on the merits of their efforts, not based on their gender. Andrea firmly believes what makes her a strong leader transcends gender. “My strengths come from my thought processes; not whether I pee standing up or sitting down. I’ve been mentored by some of the most powerful men and women in the organization and think both genders bring equal value.”
In fact, Andrea has held strong in her beliefs that gender should not be a basis for leadership positions or the fact she is a mother of two children. Her main goal is to provide everything she can to ensure her children are healthy and happy, but not at the expense of her morals and convictions. As she digs deeper, she describes how she has had to draw a line in the sand when it comes to putting her morals above climbing the next rung of the corporate ladder. “There have been opportunities I have passed up in my career because the first questions pertained to being a mother and whether I could handle the responsibilities of the role with small children. Rather than get angry and feel victimized by the line of questioning, I felt lucky that I knew the value system of that organization in one simple question.”
It is not easy to balance the needs of a mother with the desire to be successful, but Andrea understands it takes a village to make it all work. Returning to her Midwest upbringing, she coins her greatest success not as a singular event, but rather as the cumulative efforts of others. She does not hesitate to proclaim she would not be where she is today without the support and expertise of those around her. As Andrea further explains, “my greatest success professionally is surrounding myself with a team of talented individuals who have worked together in a tightly knit group and recognizing untapped talent who have, in turn, become leaders in our industry. There is no greater success than helping someone realize their true potential. I work with some of the most thought-provoking individuals and my definition of success is looking around to see the type of people surrounding me.”
As an up-and-coming leader, Andrea is often asked where she thinks our industry is headed and how her company will factor into that future. Because the core of Andrea’s purpose is to be of service to others, she simply states that everything surrounds making lives better; no matter who participates in the mortgage process. This includes creating new credit boxes to serve a greater swatch of the typical American consumer while being a steward to our future mortgage leaders. As she describes, “I believe we are headed into a time of alternative lending with guardrails that maybe didn’t exist in times past. I think the next generation of leaders in our industry are coming in now and it’s important that those who have been doing it for a while take the time to take someone under their wing and teach while also listening to their ideas about how to take this industry to the next level.”
Throughout the course of her career, Andrea has repeatedly proven she is one of the best operational leaders in the business. As John Palmiotto, chief of retail production at Guaranteed Rate stated, “Andrea was a tremendous partner to the division and was a great asset to Prospect Mortgage. Her attitude and willingness to help is awesome and it really provided our team confidence in selling. She truly was a key to our success!”
In closing, when we asked Andrea what her Vision for Success is, she provided us with her favorite quote:
Every time you see me, I’ll be doing better than I was before. It’s Me vs Me.
As she states, “I have no clue who said it but it’s something I truly believe. I am my greatest competition. I owe it to myself and my teams to be better than I was the day before. Success for me is knowing I left something or someone in a better place than when I first arrived.”
The quintessential response from a servant leader. Most wouldn’t expect anything less from an exceptional leader such as Andrea.
Leora Ruzin, CMB is the senior vice president of lending at Coloramo Federal Credit Union. Leora is also the managing editor of two magazines, The Vision and the Women with Vision Magazine and is currently serving on industry boards including Folds of Honor. A 14-year veteran in the mortgage industry, Leora is passionate about spreading awareness on helping everyone achieve the American Dream of homeownership. She is a fierce advocate for housing finance reform and common-sense credit policy. Leora is the winner of prestigious industry awards, including HousingWire’s 2020 Women of Influence, National Mortgage Professional Magazine’s 2020 Women of Inspiration, and is a two-time winner of the Women With Vision Award, given by 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching.
As a veteran of the United States Army, she understands the importance of ensuring no one is left behind and truly feels anything can be achieved through perseverance and teamwork. Her experience with trauma, both as a cancer survivor and a survivor of sexual and physical abuse, has given her the drive and passion to help other women find hope and strength during similar circumstances. When Leora is not spending her time advocating for homeownership and spreading the word about the importance of investing in personal goals, she continues to expand her own knowledge through reading and attending industry workshops.
Leora holds degrees in Associate of Accounting and Bachelor of Business Management. She currently resides in Palisade, Colorado with her husband and daughter.
Andrea’s Tips for Success
- Listen more than you talk
- Challenge your beliefs on a regular basis
- Surround yourself with those people who aren’t afraid to be honest with you
- You can’t control everything!
Written by Suha Zehl
It’s 2022 The management consulting landscape is teeming with firms, big and small, old school and new. And then there is BlackFin Group, which burst on the scene in 2018, changing the rules and proving you can be different, you can challenge the status quo, and you can deliver exceptional service to your clients without breaking the bank!
While the organization itself may be young, the leadership and partners at BlackFin are no strangers to the financial services and mortgage lending ecosystem. With well over 100 years of combined experience, each member of this leadership team brings a fresh outlook, an unprecedented level of boldness, and an engaging attitude that delivers time and again.
BlackFin Group is not your ordinary management consulting firm. Everyone on the team is laser-focused on creating the best experience for each client, ensuring each client engagement is aligned with the vision and mission of BlackFin. Everyone on the team embodies the values of being a client-centric organization, it’s in their DNA, in their culture, and at the heart of everything they do.
Leading with integrity, diversity, and transparency, this team delivers on its promise. By placing heavy emphasis on helping each client with their most important challenges as well as unearthing their greatest opportunities, the team enables each client to build on their success and achieve their desired goals.
BlackFin’s client engagements vary from discovery and analysis to advisory and in-depth workshops, from doing the heavy lifting to testing and training, from implementing business strategy or technology and innovation initiatives to advising on change management. The partners at BlackFin and their teams are veterans of the front line. They bring deep industry and functional expertise and understand the challenges their clients face. They play a key part in defining the path connecting business strategy with successful execution. They guide and advise on the design, build, and implementation of critical initiatives by partnering with their clients from start to finish and providing world-class service.
And at a time when most companies are concerned about customer loyalty (according to KPMG, 88 percent of CEOs rate this as a high priority concern), the BlackFin team fosters a positive customer experience at every phase of each client engagement, creating lifetime, loyal customers.
We sat down with Keith, Cecilia, Suha, and Wendy to talk about their views, their purpose, their outlook for 2022 and beyond, and the impact they believe BlackFin will have on our industry.
Share with our readers a story from your history in the mortgage business that was pivotal to your achievements today?
Keith: Throughout my career, I have willingly taken on countless roles that had no clear definition. Subsequently, I have been thrust into new and exciting experiences, developed a powerful network of connections, and have a life full of challenges which made me a better person. I didn’t pigeon-hole myself so I could learn all sides of the industry: strategy, people, process, technology, and culture. This was a lonely path, filled with uncertainty for over 20 years, but it made me one of the strongest people I know.
Cecilia: I was a young mortgage banker in the middle of the housing crisis. That challenging experience taught me how to weather storms, how to avoid driving right into the middle of the storm, and how to know when to pivot and make adjustments. I learned early on that we must be agile. Living and working through one of the most significant down turns in our industry showed me that I can survive anything if I am focused and flexible. I also learned that it is critical to be surrounded by smart people and trust in those that came before me!
Wendy: Six years ago, I challenged traditional thinking with reverse mortgages by introducing the concept of generational lending. Serving your borrowers for life. This has led to where I am today; here at BlackFin Group. With this consulting platform, I can actively advise lenders on the importance of strategically, financially, and ethically serving borrowers where they are in life with the lending program that best benefits the borrower objectives.
Suha: Wow, these are all great. Mine goes back to my very first year in the industry. It was 2002. I had just returned to the US from living overseas for 10 years and I couldn’t find a job. This was right after 9/11. I was a senior leader with over 15 years of experience in technology, higher education, and research, but no one was willing to talk to me (talk about lack of diversity or inclusion). I ended up signing up with a temp agency, and my third assignment was doing data entry at a startup mortgage company. Talk about pivotal moments, huh?
What is your favorite thing about our industry?
Suha: I love that our industry in inclusive, contrary to the experience I had when I returned to the US. In this industry, whatever your background (cultural, educational, whatever), there is a place for you at the table. Look around you, there are people from every walk of life, from every cultural background, and we all have the potential to succeed. Oh, I also love the people. I have met so many amazing people in our industry, many of whom I count as friends now.
Cecilia: I love that our industry is forever changing. No one day is the same and you can never get bored! If you are bored, you are doing something wrong! The sky is the limit!
Wendy: One’s home is a place of safety, memories, and the foundation many times of life. This industry makes that possible. This industry fundamentally allows for safety, security, and wealth building for Americans.
Keith: First, every day, I get to learn something new, try something new, meet someone new. Learning never stops in this industry. Second, everything we do contributes to the success of our clients, whereby our clients can do more for the communities they serve, growing and supporting continued homeownership. While we all play our unique role in the industry, collectively we are the backbone of the United States economy. When you think about it, that’s a rush!
So, tell our readers what success means to you?
Cecilia: Partnerships and helping others achieve success. There is no greater joy than seeing a project end successfully. When an organization realizes ROI, when obstacles have been removed from the front-line team members and when the customer has an amazing experience, that is success for me! Success is when everyone achieves their goals! Every project can be successful. There is always a way!
Wendy: Keeping my word, being financially responsible for my customers and my team, and doing work I can be proud of. Here at BlackFin, I want to increase boomers’ retirement lifestyle by helping lenders responsibly lend to people over 60 by at the very least showing them every lending program available to them. If the needle in reverse mortgages can move from less than 1 percent of borrowers ever seeing the program to 10 percent of the estimated 16 percent boomers who applied for mortgages in 2020, I will have achieved success.
Keith: Success is knowing our clients recognize and appreciate our commitment to their success. Success is knowing my team has an amazing workplace, our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) policy sets an example for the industry, our culture is world-class, and we provide challenging work to every team member, giving them the opportunity to grow, both personally and professionally.
Suha: You know Keith, I love that you mentioned “personally” first! It definitely speaks to who you are as a leader. As for me, success is knowing I am living my purpose and being true to myself. If I like the person reflected back at me in the mirror, then I’m good. Whether it means being there for my family, helping my clients find solutions for their most challenging problems or recognizing and celebrating the next generation of leaders in our industry, all of that means success.
What do you want to do for our industry and how do you see the landscape changing over the next several years?
Wendy: Disrupt and change how we leverage home equity in retirement. I really believe homeownership and leveraging home equity in retirement will be the norm over the next 10 years. It is the norm already in countries such as Canada, New Zealand, and the UK. The US is lagging behind and we need to change the narrative.
Keith: While we have started already, I want to continue to do my part to revolutionize the consulting space in the mortgage banking industry. Delivering on an established value system through our integrity, character, and services, defined as honest, transparent, integral, get-in-get-out, humble, not arrogant, and a commitment to not live on our clients’ P&L.
Suha: Customer expectations and innovation will continue to disrupt and transform our industry. I am excited to be standing at the precipice of all that is yet to come, and I want to be right there making those changes happen, challenging the status quo, and doing things differently.
Cecilia: Our industry is always evolving, and I feel it is important to contribute myself to the cause. That may be by supporting a client in a project, volunteering with the local, state, and national mortgage associations, or simply by giving advice to a friend that is on their home buying journey. We serve our country in one of the greatest values to helping families achieve homeownership. I recently heard a speaker at a conference challenge the entire room of mortgage bankers stating “everyone in this room has the knowledge and power [to help achieve homeownership for all]. How are we going to accomplish that and what are you going to do [to contribute to that goal]?” With that statement on my mind and from the incredibly talented people I work with every day, I see our industry making significant strides in supporting families in homeownership by removing biases and obstacles in the process therefore creating a level playing field for all. I simply want to be a positive influence on the future of our industry and our communities.
What would say is one of your greatest lessons?
Suha: OK, so I am going to share two. A mentor once told me it is better to listen to understand than listen to respond. Another mentor once asked if I wanted to be right or if I wanted to be effective. Those two were really powerful lessons and I try to apply both every day.
Wendy: “Do not assume” is my motto. I am able to see the patterns of behavior and quickly evaluate if actions and words are aligned. I listen and ask questions many people may be afraid to ask or don’t understand the importance of asking. “Do not assume” is a great lesson for anyone, especially a leader, to learn and embrace.
Keith: Over the years, I have learned that it is the right decision to pass on a prospective client if we are not aligned on our culture and our values. Consulting is a relationship – and if you do not respect and trust one another, how can that last?
Cecilia: Wow, there are too many lessons to pick just one. With so many lessons from the past, I would have to say all of them combined is my greatest lesson: we learn and succeed, we learn and fail, we learn to adjust and then learn more and succeed. All of the lessons taught me that you must be agile and never stop learning!
If you could go back in time and tell yourself as a teenager looking for guidance what to do with your life, what advice would you give yourself?
Keith: First, I would tell my teenage self he can do and be anything he wants; the only person stopping him is himself. I would also tell him to have his own plan, otherwise, he’ll always be part of someone else’s plan. And don’t be afraid to do it your way; the road can be lonely, but true happiness, goal achievement, and life satisfaction are always on the other side of challenges, pain, and very unconventional steps or risks. Own it.
Cecilia: Read more, learn more, study more.
Suha: Stop trying to fit in. Be you. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Be patient. You ARE enough. Don’t put yourself down. They are lucky to have you. Ask for help. You know, all the things I still struggle with sometimes.
Cecilia: Oh, and listen to your mother, she knows way more than you do! Mom knows best!
Wendy: Do the little things that the majority overlook. I had a college professor once say, “if you will spend 30 extra minutes in research, you will know more about a topic than the vast majority of your counterparts.” This applies to work, health, parenting, or even relaxing (which I have struggled with during Covid).
Would you like to give the readers three tips for Success?
Keith: Never stop learning, be agile, continue to reinvent (yourself), and keep going no matter how hard it gets.
Cecilia: Be willing to listen to all opinions. Be willing to consider those opinions. Be willing to be wrong and give credit where credit is due. Those other opinions will help you become a more well-rounded decision-maker.
Wendy: Read and learn every day about something new, challenge the status quo, and don’t be afraid to fail, it’s only (a) failure if nothing is learned.
Suha: Surround yourself with people who challenge and elevate you, don’t be afraid to ask for help, treat people how they want to be treated.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Wendy: I am passionate about quality of life; we are in one of the wealthiest countries, yet when it comes to serving retirement-aged people, we are falling short. Lenders have a unique opportunity to serve their borrowers for life if they will adopt the attitude and be the change that is needed.
Keith: I want to thank The Vision magazine for this opportunity to highlight our company and our exceptional team. I am extremely grateful. Consultants are perceived as arrogant, accused of measuring their success by billing hours, while delivering little value. We are working to change this perception and narrative by measuring success based on client satisfaction, having a get in-and-get-out approach, and by bringing humble mortgage experts who only want to help our clients execute and be successful. Unlike other consultants, we are not afraid to roll up our sleeves to get things done. It’s hard to educate the industry on a global scale about why BFG is different; this opportunity plays a significant part in helping spread the word, and I am personally, very grateful.
It is clear this team is already making an impact and disrupting the management consulting narrative with their bold ideas and fresh approach. They care deeply about each other, their clients, and our industry. They continually unlock each other’s potential and collaborate closely to build success, drive business growth, and continue to elevate and promote the financial services and mortgage industry.
Suha brings over 30 years of global, information technology, and business experience in various industries, and most recently in mortgage. Suha started her career as a programmer analyst; she has taught at the university level and ran her own successful consulting company before returning to the mortgage industry as an award-winning technology executive, writer, and speaker. Suha is the Chief Innovation Officer at BlackFin Group.
Written by: Laura Brandao
A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture, and transform. – Diane Mariechild
When I started out in the workforce years ago, there were certain unwritten rules of conduct in the office if you were looking to make it to the executive level. Arriving in the morning meant stopping at the door to don a mask. It was a mask to cover up your individual personhood and blend in with your co-workers.
Just like the more formal office attire required then, the formality of demeanor was expected in the workplace environment. If you needed to cry, you went to the bathroom stall. If you had family issues, you gritted your teeth and waited to let out a primal scream in your car on the way home, and you took your phone call in the hallway. To show any personal distress or emotion could affect the way you were viewed by your peers and erode any respect you had garnered through hard work.
Personal life and emotions had no place in the boardroom. Issues with kids, spouses, and parents and the messy, real parts of an office worker’s life, were to be kept private and off your desk. I was one of those workers and I kept my private life to myself in that respect.
Until 2007 when I started AFR Wholesale, few of my staff or colleagues knew I had children. They assumed I had a spouse, and my wedding ring told the story. But other than that, personal details were either off-limits or not included in the conversations we had at work. People who overshared or spent time waxing poetic about their home life were looked at as time-wasters. It was far more reasonable to simply pretend we had no lives outside the office doors.
The biggest waste of an opportunity is the opportunity to tell someone how much you love them. ― Akash S. Bansal
But, when I look back now, I feel a pang of sadness for the people who I didn’t get to know. I probably missed some wonderful aspects of the people I worked with during that time. Perhaps some friendships which might have grown or people who might have needed help and didn’t receive it, or what personal victories should have been celebrated with the people you spent more time with outside your family at home.
The same applied to clients. It was business first and no time was made to learn more about them on a deeper level. Sure, there were lunches and dinners to keep the business coming in but those were shallow events with most of the talk centered on business. It was not the norm to ask a client how many kids they had or where they grew up. It was considered extraneous to the matter at hand and corporately inappropriate.
I went along with the conventional way of working and keeping my heart under my jacket and off my sleeve. It was not only considered acceptable but necessary for me to be taken seriously as a professional woman in the business climate of the time. And this mindset continued for me as my career progressed and flourished.
Improving your life doesn’t have to be about changing everything – it’s about making changes that count. ― Oprah Winfrey
But, when I started AFR Wholesale I made a promise to myself: I was going to lead like a woman and show my heart and my love for my team and clients, but this went to an entirely new level when I was presented a talk at the first AIME conference in Irvine, California. After I finished speaking and stepped off the stage, I was approached by several women, and what they had to say changed how I thought about myself in a profound and lasting way.
Most of the women at the conference were mortgage brokers. They were my peers and so their feedback had even more meaning for me. What they were telling me was I had made an impact on them. My energy, attitude, and perceived success in our industry had inspired and motivated them.
What struck me so strongly about this was they were telling me about me. Me, as a woman, a person, and a human being. They weren’t referring to a particular loan or business transaction. They were talking about me. Laura.
This moment changed my mindset. It changed how I thought and felt about myself as a woman in business and as a person.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change. ― Brené Brown
All those years of wearing the office mask and crying in the bathroom fell away that day. I suddenly understood it was me, the person named Laura, who was being seen and recognized. I felt connected to these women in a way I had not felt or allowed myself to feel with colleagues before. We were connecting with our hearts and minds on a personal and business level.
It felt like a blanket had been lifted off my head and I was able to see my audience in a different light as well. A sea of faces, but individual faces. Different smiles and facial expressions. They became friends and loved ones to me as well and at that moment, I decided I needed to show them how much they meant to me and share a piece of my heart with them by supporting and lifting other women in our industry.
To me heart means human. Who we are on the inside contributes as much to our professional lives as who we show to the world. The two can co-exist and be productive, efficient, and satisfying. I no longer feel the need to pretend I am two different people between work and home.
I am happy to say I have seen our industry change and we now embrace the notion that the people I see in the office every day have fully rounded lives and are not simply cardboard cut-outs placed at desks around the space. Likewise, I can have a difficult day now and then and not feel I need to paste a smile on my face and pretend my pet didn’t just pass away, or my uncle didn’t just receive a frightening diagnosis at his checkup.
All these things are what make up the whole person. I feel when we have a holistic approach to management and work together, we can make the experience of work and professional life more enriching and fulfilling. Nothing makes me happier than celebrating the wins and celebrations of my team and clients and in the age of social media; we can now experience it together.
The more of me I be, The clearer I can see. ― Rachel Andrews
Being yourself is more important to a fulfilling and happy life than we realize. I understood it that day in 2018 because I received the gift of feeling the weight of hiding myself being lifted off. I want to share my gift with you too.
The title of this article is putting heart into your business and your life. For me, heart means human. Your heart, soul, and empathy are what makes you human, and they deserve a place in your daily life, and your life includes work and home. Finding a balance between work and home includes the authentic you and is vital to being a whole person in both spaces.
My personal experience has led me to understand the greatest gift we can give is a piece of ourselves through our love and care for one another.
You can have everything you want if you can put your heart and soul into everything you do. ― Roy T. Bennett
Putting your heart into the workplace means allowing others to be open and comfortable sharing a piece of themselves so they can feel they are recognized and respected as their unique selves. It feels good and gives everyone a sense of bonding and renewed energy for the daily tasks and projects we tackle together as a team. Being yourself and putting your heart into your business is empowering, freeing, and enriching.
We are so blessed to be part of an industry not only celebrating its victories but also acknowledging and celebrating the individuals who make it successful and the important moments in their lives. The babies born, the grandchildren. Getting a new puppy, getting married, or losing a bunch of weight as a personal goal. All these milestones deserve recognition at work and at home. Even the sad moments like the loss of a loved one or a personal defeat in a sports event should be honored by our work family.
Putting the heart in your business means honoring the human and personal lives of your colleagues, coworkers, staff, and clients. Putting your heart in your life means sharing, growing, and learning about yourself as an individual, and using what you have learned helps your loved ones know you better and gives children a healthy example of balance. Telling them you love them, unabashedly and often, means strengthening bonds and reinforcing respect.
It is Valentine’s Day this month, so what more appropriate time to work on putting your heart into your workspace and letting it see the light of day in the corporate setting. The benefits are enormous and can transpose into the daily rhythm of your home life as well.
And remember to tell your clients you love them too! Because, if you don’t tell them, someone else will!
Laura is the driving force that has catapulted AFR Wholesale to the top of Manufactured Home and Renovation lending in the USA. She has seamlessly rolled out new products based on market demand, including VA renovation, USDA repair escrow, and One-Time Close Construction to Permanent Loans for the FHA, VA, and USDA. Laura’s hands-on approach also propels AFR to remain on the cutting edge of technology with mobile-friendly applications that cohesively integrate the borrower, realtor, broker, and AFR.
This year, Laura has already been featured as one of The 10 Most Influential Businesswomen to Follow in 2020and among The 20 Most Successful Businesswomen to Watch, 2020by Insights Success magazine. Laura was among the 50 Best Women in Business named by NJBIZ in 2019, has been recognized as a HousingWire Women of Influence for the last three years, and named one of Mortgage Banking’s Most Powerful Women by National Mortgage Professional. Laura has also been one of Mortgage Professional America’s Hot 100 Mortgage Professionals in 2017, and an Elite Women of Mortgage in 2014, 2016 and again in 2017.
Laura is also actively engaged with several organizations and initiatives including the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts and is one of the founders of AIME’s Women’s Mortgage Network (WMN).
By Popular Demand...returning to the Water Street Marriott in Tampa!
MARRIOTT 550 WATER ST, IN TAMPA, FL
JUNE 28 – 29, 2022
What's Ahead in 2022
Written by: Ruth Lee, CMB
At the end of every year, there are a host of great articles, interviews, and panels put together from across real estate finance identifying new trends on the horizon. This year I took part in the first What’s The Big Deal in 2022 with Christine Beckwith, Ray Befus, Joe Panebianco, Barry Habib, and the ineffably wonderful Laura Brandao. There’s so much great information in those presentations; I encourage you to Google it today.
Let’s face it, 2021 was marked by a few major trends we should probably recap before wading into prognosticating about 2022.
- The mergers and acquisitions (M&A) market in mortgage FinTech was hot and if there was a solution to sell, there was probably a buyer with big dollars available. That means consolidation, but it doesn’t always mean innovation or commitment to your favorite solution. Keep your eyes open for big personnel, pricing, and vision changes about a year after the acquisition. It’s just what happens.
- eMortgages and online notarization made significant headway but remain hindered by operational and secondary market risk, it’s coming, just at the traditionally glacial pace our industry enjoys due to the importance of what we create: the mortgage asset. Look to thought leadership in the space who’ve long understood the metaphor of going digital to changing the oil in an airplane while it’s over the Atlantic. We will do it, and then we will automate it, but it will take time and leadership.
- Housing prices made believers in real estate investment with a 19.5 percent appreciation, faster growth than during any other year in US history. And while this made a lot of homeowners happy, it didn’t help all the new entrants into the market.
- Crypto went into the stratosphere then fizzled in Q4 and Q1 2022 causing many crypto-nairs to rethink quitting their jobs. I even experienced a 9-year-old making digital art, aka non-fungible tokens (NFTs), becoming an overnight millionaire selling fourth-grade art. It’s a jungle out there.
- FHFA announced it would finally allow Fannie and Freddie to leverage the “ginormous” Uniform Collateral Data Portal (UCDP) database to greenlight more desktop appraisals. Getting a cost-effective, on-time appraisal has turned into the freaking Hunger Games.
- And the LSU Tigers had a bad year. The Cincinnati Bengals did not. Geaux Burrow!
For 2022, there are some important trends and disrupters to keep your eye on.
- Yep, it finally showed up. I was nine the last time the US had double-digit inflation, and in college the last time it was over 5 percent. Predictions, which are just that, see inflation returning to “normal” in the 2s sometime in Q4. This segues nicely into my discussion of the next trend solidified through 2021, the “ACO” or “All-Cash Offer.” Real estate will continue to look like a strong investment for cash reserves.
- All-Cash Offer. The ACO puts a thumb on the scale for sellers looking to get out of their homes quickly and without the risks associated with the buyer’s mortgage financing. From home inspections to appraisals to uncertainty in credit risk, sellers are “over” fielding the risk of a contingent contract when they can easily accept an ACO. This leads to another new mortgage business model with Accept, Better.com, Ribbon, Unlock and Homeward. These companies make a cash offer on a home on behalf of the borrower and later finance the mortgage. These companies raised serious capital in 2021 and will start picking up market share.
- Despite Zillow’s very high-profile slip in getting their algorithm right and paying too much for homes, it doesn’t look like the new business model is going anywhere. These are companies that will buy a home for sale, usually at a slight discount, freeing the borrower to purchase a new home with an all-cash offer. OpenDoor and OfferPad are looking strong.
The market is always in a state of flux, but 2022 should see a lot of interesting disrupters as the ever-innovative mortgage originator vies for market share.
Ruth Lee is a well-known, highly published industry expert on mortgage operations, compliance, servicing, and technology. Having built and sold two companies in the mortgage industry, one a mortgage lender out of Austin and one a mortgage services firm out of Denver, Ruth offers a unique perspective on the marriage of sales, operations, and overall business growth.
Ruth graduated from Future Mortgage Leaders in 2007 and most recently co-authored the MBA’s Servicing Transfer Best Practices. Ms. Lee seeks every opportunity to consult and counsel on the practical implementation and impact of operational, regulatory, and legislative changes.
Ms. Lee holds a B.A. in Economics from Mount Holyoke College. She resides in Lakewood, CO with her husband Mike, her black lab Ned and two cats, Jefferson and Adams. Winter months find her and Mike riding every peak they can find.
SETTING YOURSELF UP TO SUCCEED IN THE NEW YEAR
Written by: Megan Anderson
The housing market was on fire in 2021, with low rates and strong demand, but what’s in store for housing in 2022? Exploring this can help you navigate the opportunities while best advising your clients.
In this article, we will discuss the impact inflation, along with Fed actions, may have on housing and mortgage rates this year. We will also look at Fed actions from recent history that can help us understand the effect those same decisions may have today, including critical wild cards that could also play a key role in this year’s outlook. Finally, we’ll highlight important MBS Highway tools to help you thrive during these very volatile times.
The Fed, Tapering, and Inflation
Back in 2020 during the heart of the pandemic, the Fed began buying $40 billion in Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) and $80 billion in Treasuries each month to inject liquidity into the markets and keep long-term rates lower. These ongoing purchases were meant to stabilize the markets and aid in our recovery.
As inflation heated up, the Fed came under pressure last year to start tapering or reducing these purchases. In their meeting last November, the Fed initially announced they would begin tapering their purchases of MBS and Treasuries by $15 billion a month.
However, in December the Fed decided to accelerate the reduction of their purchases of MBS and Treasuries from $15 billion per month to $30 billion. The Fed stated they would not shock the markets by tapering these purchases and hiking their benchmark Fed Funds Rate at the same time. Note: the Fed Funds Rate is the interest rate for overnight borrowing for banks and it is not the same as mortgage rates.
Said another way, the sooner the Fed reduces their purchases to zero, the sooner they can use the one tool they have to curb inflation, which is hiking the Fed Funds Rate.
Why is this significant?
Last year, we began to see widespread inflation in everything from gas prices to our weekly grocery run. In fact, 2021 marked the highest inflation readings in 40 years.
Inflation is the archenemy of fixed investments like Mortgage Bonds because it erodes the buying power of a bond’s fixed rate of return. If inflation is rising, investors demand a higher interest rate to offset the faster pace of erosion of the buying power of the fixed-rate payments they receive. This causes interest rates to rise.
The 1970s and the Great Inflation
While history may not always repeat itself, we can look back for clues regarding how certain actions may impact us today.
Arthur Burns was Fed chair in the 1970s and during his tenure, the Fed ignored inflation, which was rising rapidly. In fact, they incorrectly insisted inflation would be “transitory” or not permanent; much like current Fed Chair Jerome Powell erred last year. During Burns’ time, inflation went from 7 percent in 1978 to 14 percent by the time he left in 1980, while mortgage rates also rose from 12 percent to 18 percent due to inflation.
In the 1980s, Paul Volcker became Fed Chair, and he is known for ending high levels of inflation. To help fight inflation, he hiked the Fed Funds Rate from 11 percent to 20 percent. By taking these aggressive measures to fight inflation, Volcker was able to reduce inflation from 14 percent to under 5 percent.
How did the market respond to lower inflation? Mortgage rates moved from 18 percent to 12 percent. And while it was great to see mortgage rates and inflation drop, there were consequences, as the S&P sharply declined by 30 percent. This large drop in stock prices along with tighter monetary policy pushed the United States into a recession in 1982.
In the 1990s, Fed Chair Alan Greenspan saw inflation double from 1.75 percent to 3.5 percent. Mortgage rates also rose from 7 percent to 8.5 percent for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
Instead of waiting to fight inflation like Arthur Burns, Greenspan wanted to be proactive. In 1999, he hiked the Fed Funds Rate by 1.75 percent to match the rise in inflation, taking the Fed Funds Rate from 4.75 percent to 6.5 percent in just one year. In response, inflation dropped from 3.5 percent to 1 percent. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped from 8.5 percent to 5.5 percent, creating opportunities to refinance.
Yet, as history has taught us, there are positives and negatives to this strategy. By hiking the Fed Funds Rate, the S&P 500 fell by 50 percent from spring to fall. With the stock market losing half its value in 2000, the United States entered another recession.
Looking back at these points in history, the actions taken to fight inflation led to a tantrum in the stock market, and both times in fighting inflation, we entered a recession.
The Fed Today
Last year, Fed Chair Jerome Powell saw inflation increase from 1.75 percent to 7 percent, and he let it increase because he thought this rise in inflation was transitory. This higher inflation caused mortgage rates to rise from 2.5 percent to around 3.5 percent, though this increase was moderated by the Fed’s ongoing monthly purchases of MBS.
While the Fed is currently tapering these purchases, remember, the Fed has vowed not to hike their Fed Funds Rate and reduce these purchases at the same time. If they end their purchases of MBS and Treasuries by March, as they are currently on pace to do, expectations are they may also begin hiking the Fed Funds Rate at or before their March FOMC meeting.
The Fed is targeting three hikes to their Fed Funds Rate in 2022 and two or three more in 2023, though all of these will depend on how the economy and equity markets are performing.
It’s important to understand that inflation and mortgage rates can still rise until the Fed starts hiking its Fed Funds Rate. Along with inflation, mortgage rates will likely rise towards 3.75 percent during the first part of the year, then decline towards 3 percent in the second half as the Fed hikes its Fed Funds Rate.
As we have learned, COVID can change the world in a blink of an eye. During the lockdown, consumer behavior changed. When people could no longer go out, they shifted spending their money on services to goods. This caused major issues with our supply chains and labor.
To help with COVID, the government pumped major stimulus into the financial markets, which could happen again if needed. More stimulus means consumers have more money to spend on goods, and with the ongoing supply chain issues, this also means more inflation, and as we know, a rise in inflation could cause mortgage rates to rise. If this happens, it will make the Fed’s job of fighting inflation much harder.
Another wild card is if the Fed decides to run off its balance sheet. The Fed holds about $9 trillion in Mortgage Bonds and Treasuries, which means they receive principal payments from those holdings which would normally reduce the amount of their balance sheet over time. Some of those securities would naturally mature as well. But the Fed has been taking these proceeds and reinvesting them back into Mortgage Bonds, which has prevented their balance sheet from getting smaller. These reinvestments amount to a massive additional $70 billion per month. But if the Fed stops these reinvestments, mortgage rates could move higher than previously thought.
Stocks, meanwhile, are very expensive. This is by almost every measure one of the most expensive stock markets in history. And as we have discussed, the stock market has not liked it when the Fed has hiked the Fed Funds Rate.
Our forecast is we will likely see a near 10 percent decline in stocks this year; maybe a little more. We’re predicting that drop in stock prices based on what has happened historically and because now the Fed will be less accommodative due to the make-up of voting members this year.
Housing Market Outlook and Tools to Thrive
We believe the demand in housing will remain strong in 2022. However, it may not be as strong as in 2021 since low rates and COVID fears potentially brought future sales forward, and mortgage rates will likely not be as low in 2022. But when we consider yearly birth rates and the average age of first-time homebuyers, we see strong demand entering the market.
On the tight supply side, we should see slightly more inventory hit the market in 2022, but this will take time as there are still semiconductor and labor shortages. Semiconductor shortages hurt new construction because you need semiconductor chips in everything from refrigerators to dishwashers, and these shortages and lack of appliances delay the completion of new homes.
On the rental side, we see prices continuing to rise by more than 5 percent per year. This is where it’s your job to illustrate the benefits of buying over renting. You can use our Buy vs. Rent Calculator to help articulate this to your clients.
Our forecast is for homes to appreciate by mid-to-high single digits.
If you want to present this 2022 forecast to any referral partners or clients, we turned it into a PowerPoint presentation our members can download, edit, share, and present. This can be found in the Presentation Expressway library.
Our Buy vs Rent Calculator and 2022 Forecast are just two of the many tools that can help you thrive in this year’s market. Investing in an MBS Highway membership where you’ll have access to tools like our Bid Over Asking Price, Buy vs. Rent Comparison, Loan Comparison tool, daily coaching videos, lock alerts, and more, means you’ll have everything you need to turn prospective homebuyers into clients and become the type of advisor they need to guide them in today’s market and for years to come.
Take a free 14-day trial of MBS Highway and see for yourself how we can help you grow your business and benefit from the opportunities 2022 will bring.
Megan Anderson is a well-known professional speaker, teacher, and winner of HousingWire’s 2020 Women of Influence award. She is also the winner of the 2019 40 under 40 award and 2019 Women with Vision award. She has introduced systems and platforms that effectively create content and increase engagement.
She is vice president of Marketing at MBS Highway, the industry’s leading platform for mortgage sales professionals. Megan has helped eliminate the fears and obstacles mortgage and real estate salespeople have in creating video content. Her innovative pieces of training have transformed salespeople into local celebrity advisors.
Megan is a highly sought-after speaker and coach who is passionate about helping others grow their business and gain more confidence in themselves. She is also the host of the podcast Behind the Breakthrough, a podcast telling the untold stories of success.
LIVE A LIFE SO YOU'LL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN
Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom
Written by Peter Wietmarschen
I want to begin this New Year with a new perspective on life and business. This month the book I am sharing has absolutely nothing to do with business yet when you take a closer look has everything to do with business. Join me as I take the last course of Professor Morrie Schwartz.
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom is the story of a student reconnecting with his favorite college professor. But this is no ordinary reunion for this is the story of Morrie teaching Mitch (and all of us) his last lesson, his course on dying.
See, Morrie was a beloved sociology professor at Brandeis University who was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Mitch was working hard as a sports journalist in Detroit. He’d have what we call hustle and drive. Work came first and his relationship with friends and family and his favorite college professor quickly fell to the wayside.
One evening Mitch catches an episode of Nightline and who does he see sitting across from Ted Koppel? His favorite professor Morrie sharing with the world his journey of dying.
From here on out everything was set in motion for Morrie to teach his last ever class; his lesson on dying.
This is a book I highly recommend everyone reads. If you read this book with an open mind and most importantly, an open heart, you will come away with a unique perspective on life, love, society, business, and so much more. There are many lessons we can learn from Morrie, and I want to share the three lessons I took away from this book.
The word culture seems to permeate our lives. Have you heard a company advertise its culture when hiring? Do you see new organizations and politicians spout on about our culture? What does culture mean to you?
Morrie believes culture is important but we each need to have our own definition of culture. Too often we become sucked into the culture forced on us by those around us. The culture of overworking. The culture of now. The culture of indifference. What Morrie teaches Mitch is we can, and should, “be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it. Create your own.”
Take some time to think about what culture you want to have in your life. Do you want to have a life with family and friends? Do you want to help those less fortunate? Do you want to share the wealth of knowledge and experience you have with others? When you have a clear idea of the culture you want to have, you can do two things. First, you can act in a manner that matches your culture. Second, you fill your life with those who have the same culture you want.
So, take off on Friday afternoon. Dance (just like Morrie loved to do) your heart out. Watch your child’s sports, music, or theatre show. Make your culture match the life you want to live.
The Importance of Food
Each and every Tuesday (“We’re Tuesday people, Mitch”), Mitch brought food for Morrie. In the beginning, the two of them have their weekly conversation over this meal, and what is more human than sharing a meal with others?
We all need food to survive; it’s one of the most basic necessities that connects humans across the world. It’s no wonder food plays such a significant role in our lives. Food is central to pretty much every celebration and has a part in nearly every cultural and religious ritual. Think of watching the Super Bowl without a tray of Buffalo wings, a wedding without a dinner reception, a birthday without a cake. These are all central parts of living and connecting as humans.
The lesson here is not that we need to eat. The lesson is we need to share ourselves with others. Morrie was an affectionate person. He hugged his friends, kissed his children, and craved personal touch. What better way to show affection with those we love than over a meal? Even towards the end of Morrie’s life when he was only able to eat soft food or nutritional shakes Mitch continued to bring food, even as he saw the leftover containers add up from weeks before. There is no greater honor than breaking bread with friends and family.
So, take time during your week to have meals with your family. Take time to eat lunch with your co-workers. Share dinner with your friends. But each time you do this, be sure to be present. Share yourself with others, listen to their stories, connect with them.
When You’re In Bed, You’re Dead
Morrie came up with a few mantras while teaching his last course. My favorite is “When you’re in bed, you’re dead.” Morrie truly believed that each day he was able to be out of bed was a day worth living.
There were days when the sadness and grief of his upcoming death would overcome him, but Morrie taught Mitch to let “yourself feel your feelings.” He shares how there were days when he would wake up with a bout of depression and the best way to make it through these times was to allow himself to feel those feelings. We cannot move past our feelings if we push them deep down.
There is nothing wrong with showing emotion. There is even a kind of closeness that comes from showing our emotions in front of our family and close friends. Morrie even joked about how his last goal of this course was to have Mitch shed a tear in front of him.
Each day we wake up is a day to live life to the fullest extent. Take advantage of whatever ability you have; you never know what challenge you will face tomorrow. It might be a bit cliché but you only have one life to live. Wake up and face the day. Feel your emotions when they come up but whatever you do, make sure you take today to live your life. What are you going to do today to climb out of bed and live your life?
Never Be Forgotten
As Mitch wraps up Tuesdays with Morrie, he shares how Morrie suggested this book to share his journey of death. Morrie wants others to live their lives in a more meaningful way. He treats this as Mitch’s last thesis.
During the conclusion of their last course, Morrie asks Mitch to come and visit his gravesite, but to not just stop by. He asks Mitch to bring a blanket, some sandwiches, and plan to stay awhile. To “talk to me, just like we’re talking now.” Mitch, at first uncomfortable, does go visit Morrie after his death and finds it remarkably easy.
During one of these visits (naturally on a Tuesday because “We’re Tuesday people”) Mitch talks with his old professor. As he talks and Morrie listens, Mitch comes to the realization of why Morrie wanted him to come and visit. Morrie was afraid his memory would be lost.
I highly recommend everyone read Tuesdays with Morrie. There are many lessons we can all learn about how to better live our lives personally and professionally. I’ll leave you with the single most important piece of advice I learned:
Live a life so you’ll never be forgotten.
Rating: 5 stars
Peter is a proud, lifelong resident of Cincinnati, Ohio. A graduate of Morehead State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music in Saxophone, Peteris a music lover at heart. In his daily work, Peter has turned his creative mind towards writing and works as a publishing consultant for authors. Peter enjoys working with local marching bands as an instructor.
Peter joined the magazine team at 20/20 Vision For Success in June 2020 and has been working behind the scenes on several projects such as the Women With Vision Awards and the Vision Summit. Besides the magazine, Peter also writes for other clients and advises writers on their book projects.
Outside of work, Peter is an avid soccer fan who supports FC Cincinnati. He is a member and former board member of The Pride: FC Cincinnati Supporters Group. Besides FC Cincinnati, Peter watches the US Men’s and Women’s National teams.
Be sure to catch these great reads from Christine Beckwith. Feel free to go grab them now on Amazon!
Breaking the Cycle is filled with engaging stories wrapped around a theme of power words and is an invaluable treasure trove of practical, hands-on advice. Jam-packed with easy-to-implement suggestions, you’ll read sage advice from two women whose diverse career paths literally write the book on how to create your version of success!
In Wise Eyes: See Your Way to Success, Beckwith tells her life story in a style that is real and raw, but brutally honest. Wise Eyes is a handbook for professionals wanting to walk a direct path to incredible success.
And in her most recent book, Win or Learn: The Naked Truth, Beckwith joins more than a dozen other C-Suite professional women from across the mortgage, real estate, and finance industry for frank discussions about what it takes to succeed as a woman in the top eschelon of business in today’s world.
Are you a reader who likes to share the wealth and benefit received from consuming a great book? Just as we welcome Peter Weitmarschen and Leora Ruzin to these pages as book reviewers, we would be delighted to welcome you as well. We consider all submissions. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk books. –Editor
MORTGAGE X PODCAST
On this Special Thanksgiving Episode of the Mortgage X Podcast, Christine and Frazier also discuss business planning for 2021.
Christine Beckwith of 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching and Jason Frazier of Mortgage X Creative bring you the Mortgage X Podcast. Guests range from visionaries working hard to evolve our industry to meet the needs of the modern consumer to the industry’s biggest producers, advocates, legends, thought leaders, partners, and lenders.
After you listen to this great podcast, be sure to take a look at the January issue of the Women With Vision Magazine where Kelsey Rauchut was featured as the cover story! WWVMag.com
Suzy Lindblom named COO at FGMC
Industry veteran Suzy Lindblom was recently named the new chief operating officer at First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation and will be overseeing all operations within the organization.
Lindblom comes to FGMC with over 30 years of experiencing in mortgage and finance, with a variety of roles with companies such as Bank of America, Stearns Lending, Planet Home Lending, and Kind Lending. Suzy is also on the Board of Directors for NEXT and is a MISMO senior advisor. She has won many prestigious awards and is well-respected within the industry.
Nicole Poole hired as VP of Lending at The Police Credit Union
Nicole Poole has been named vice president of residential lending at The Police Credit Union of California, where she will lead and direct daily operations and production of real estate lending including loan origination, sales, and service, as well as closing and servicing.
In a recent LinkedIn post earlier this week, Poole stated, “I start my dream job tomorrow as VP of residential lending for The Police Credit Union. I realized after a few years of ‘soul searching’ and being able to really think about what I want to do, I ended up in a place that I dreamt of many years ago; a small credit union in a role where I can lead others and make a change. Most people don’t have the luxury to take a step back and assess.”
Before joining the credit union, Poole held several executive positions in the mortgage space. Most notably, she worked for Redwood Credit Union for over 16 years. She was also mortgage sales manager
on the community mortgage team with AnnieMac Home Mortgage, and home loan manager working on external and regional sales for Patelco Credit Union.
Ijeoma Obilo Faison promoted to Head of DEI at JP Morgan Chase
Ijeoma Obilo Faison has been promoted to head of diversity, equity, and inclusion for market leadership teams at JPMorgan Chase. Faison has been with the company since March of 2017.
Before joining Chase, she was the senior director of engagement & strategic partnerships for the Food Bank of New York City. Before that, she was director of membership and communications for the Council of Urban Professionals.
Faison also serves as executive director and board member for the Nigerian Healthcare Foundation and executive producer of the African Diaspora Award Show for Applause Africa.
Rocket Companies to Acquire Truebill for $1.275B
Rocket Companies has entered into an agreement to acquire Truebill, a personal finance app helping consumers manage every aspect of their financial lives, for $1.275 billion in cash.
Truebill offers an app to help consumers manage subscriptions, improve credit scores, track spending, and build budgets. The company also renegotiates bills on its clients’ behalf. Truebill claims to have 2.5 million members and has doubled its user base in the last year.
With the addition of Truebill’s financial wellness services, Rocket Companies says it will have both new organic growth opportunity and significant channels to nurture clients, keeping them engaged in the company’s FinTech ecosystem by providing value between the large financial transactions Rocket Companies is known for.
Self discovery is now part of the buying process. Pre-framing can help you control that.
Learn how Vonk Digital can help you leverage the New Way to build your brand, authority, and credibility with our website platform and tools. Visit us at www.vonkdigital.com
Read this vlog episode, if you prefer, on the Vonk Digital blog!
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