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For Rosa Romaine, landing as the COO of a tech company specializing in lead generation is all about the vision and people and how to future-proof the mortgage industry.


Vision Partners in Success
Regular Features

Note from the Editor in Chief

There are many activities in life that are better, more fun, or simply only possible when performed in tandem or partnership. I’m thinking of dancing. Not the pageantry of a ballet or even the amazing acrobatics of most stage performances. I’m thinking of the everyday person who enjoys dancing and takes the time to find a partner with whom to dance as a couple. Have you ever been out for an evening and enjoyed watching a practiced couple on the dance floor who were simply in sync with their dance? What is perhaps not as obvious as the joy they find in dance is the trust they have in each other. To lead or be led, to have confidence in the next steps to take and know that your partner will be mirroring those steps takes trust and a fair amount of practice to make it look easy. Putting out a magazine has need of exactly the same kind of trust between writers and editors and designers and the entire team who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the dance we call a magazine comes together in a performance our readers appreciate.

Long way around to say thank you to our team of writers, designers, sales reps, advertisers, and even our publisher who provides the platform for our dance each issue. We welcome a new writer to The Vision with today’s issue. In our Books section, Peter Wietmarschen shares his perspective in the first of what we hope will be many reviews of books he has found to be impactful or just plain good reads. Well done, Peter!

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 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!

Message from the Publisher

Where has this year gone? Once again, the time has just flown by. It’s almost hard to believe I am writing this note to you all for the October edition of The Vision. Another amazing and remarkable media contribution by the 20/20 VSC magazine team. The cover is a beautiful example of leadership with a company that has grown exponentially in the past few years, leadPops. Please dive in and be sure to take advantage of all of the rich content. These are the types of articles we hope to see shared in sales meetings and companies, online, and in our social networks.

There are so many amazing conventions taking place this fall, and we hope to bring you some amazing recaps in future editions of the travels with our professionals attending these incredible events.

We continue to help mortgage professionals find their path this year in this volatile market; there truly is so much abundance to be harvested if professionals are looking in the right places. Please subscribe and tag us if you share this edition of The Vision. We know our media will grow most through word of mouth so please grab the link here and share or drop a comment or a screen shot of your favorite article. The greatest compliment you can pay us is the sharing of your story, so we thank you in advance.

In light of all of the world’s turmoil, 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching hopes to bring wonderful, useful, and inspiring media that help professionals be part of a caring and like-minded community in their pursuit of excellence.


Yes, we do accept submissions. If you are a writer interested in being featured in a national publication, we will be happy to consider your ideas and your article submissions. We are also interested in recurring columns centered around our featured topics. The place to start is by clicking the button and inquiring.

20/20 Vision for Success Coaching

The Ladies of leadPops

Written by: CaZ (Candy Zulkosky)

For Rosa Romaine, landing as the COO of a tech company specializing in lead generation is all about the vision and people and how to future-proof the mortgage industry.

A focus on people interacting with technology has always been Rosa’s career path. From her start handling the day-to-day operations in a high-volume call center to managing national marketing and lead generation campaigns to launching mortgage and real estate websites and even managing her own branch while originating and closing deals, Rosa excelled every step along the way.

Rosa has long held a familiar Wayne Gretzky quote as pivotal in her life,

“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

The often-used quote resonates on several levels for Romaine, who is fond of sports analogies of all kinds. She grew up with two brothers and is comfortable with a sports-driven leadership style. In her career, both in mortgage and tech, she has had to manage a lot of men, and using sports analogies allowed her to speak a language most of the men she worked with understood. Of course, it helps that she genuinely loves sports and being active.

Romaine is a leader who prefers doing to telling. She leads by example, puts in the work, and does not hide in an office. A proponent of listening and gathering information, she believes when a leader is able to see and uses those optics, she gains both respect and tremendous perspective. Rosa explains, “I like to praise and recognize hourly, daily, monthly, and quarterly. Pushing the team while making it fun is a huge part of my leadership style.”

As might be expected in a tech leader and an experienced efficiency coach, she is an advocate of benchmarking and goal setting. Being also a hands-on leader, she prefers to set the benchmarks herself, saying, “I like to be able to add value so they can achieve the goals we’re setting. I also like to plan and set the benchmarks the first few times so I can guide my team towards the goal. We do assumptions and benchmarking and because I lead by example, the managers who are beneath me now are duplicating the processes and leading by example.”

“Leading by example means getting in and using the optics, being able to say things like, ‘I saw you guys hand typing those, let me give you some macros to automate this.’ I do side-by-sides every six months or once a quarter. And I do a weekly scorecard to make sure we’re listening and hearing. It’s easy to get caught up in hierarchy so I look for where we can make quick wins and identify things we can’t fix now but can fix later.”

To drill down to the core of Rosa’s leadership style, it’s about action, automation, efficiency, and listening. There’s also a strong layer of education in the mix. It comes as no surprise to learn she shares her why with her team and asks every new hire to explore their own why based on tenants outlined in the Simon Sinek book.

Rosa shares the importance of helping each team member identify their why and understanding their job is not about punching in and punching out or taking phone calls. “It’s pretty simple, really. Why do I get up every day? Uncovering your why is a really good team exercise if you’ve never done it and it works.”

Leadership is not limited to internal personnel in Rosa’s world. “My ear is to the ground consistently, listening to my team, yes, but I really care about what the customer outcome is. The end result, the crossing of the chasm and getting the end-user the best result is the real reward.”

As a leader and a coach, she is passionate about helping others find their desire to approach every working day with excitement about the challenges being faced. “We have to be forward-thinking, to anticipate, and predict,” Rosa continues.

“Gretsky’s words are relatable because future-proofing is the outcome of everything we do. At the end of the day, that’s the point of all this, to provide technologies that are meaningful and when applied to a situation or scenario, solve problems. Technology is meant to serve a purpose and for me, skating where the puck is going to be is part of who I am in terms of holding a vision and anticipating the future. You can’t be in tech and looking at VHS tapes.”

“It’s not just lead generation. It’s about leading the new generation across the chasm. The robots are coming. Automation and more tech is coming. We need to master what will remain for humans and embrace the artificial intelligence (AI) and technology that is becoming the new norm. It’s up to us to help our clients achieve their dream and teach them to navigate the confusing pieces of the online puzzle. It’s up to us to simplify and do more on behalf of the client to let them focus on having a great experience.”

One of the questions asked of Rosa during the prep for this story was about her main goals in life, both business and personal. She had answers ready for both questions. It is evident in what we’ve already revealed about Rosa Romaine that she will max out any opportunity that arises and will always provide her team opportunities to grow and thrive. Less obvious is the strong desire she has to leave a legacy for her children. It is important to her that they are proud of who she is and what she accomplishes. There have been losses in recent years that have driven this desire, including the death of one brother and more recently, the loss of her mother, an absence in her family life that can evoke emotion at unexpected times.

“Life really is short,” Rosa shares, “we need to make it count. My family is amazing. My husband Kevin has supported my career while always promoting our work-life balance. He is from New York and I am from Northern California. We recently spent 20 days with his sister, nieces, and parents in the Hamptons. I have two charming children, a boy and a girl, who are growing up quickly. Our recent losses have brought me closer to my younger brother. My family is my inspiration and the biggest reason for my drive.”

“My kids are great.” Rosa’s face, already animated and quick to smile, lights up as she speaks of her family. “They both started high school. They’re only 18 months apart. My son is in a marketing class and did a SWOT analysis yesterday and they want to hire him as an intern which is amazing.

My daughter has a social media account for our puppy, Biggie. He’s got more followers than any of us, I think. He’s up there as a puppy influencer because she powers it so. They definitely know how to use the internet. I would say my family is active. We do a lot of staycations. My husband’s teaching me how to golf. Eventually, we want to travel and do some fun things together, so we always joke with the kids and say we’re gonna come stay at their houses.”

Ladies of leadPops

It is important to Rosa to remember success has not come from her efforts alone. She has been mentored, by both men and women who rose ahead of her in the field, and is now in a position to pay it forward and mentor others entering the field behind her.

Rosa recalls being inspired by the movements like the Women’s Network and Women With Vision and was blown away hearing Laura Brandao and Christine Beckwith speak. When her partner, Andrew offered to sponsor an outside activity, Rosa knew immediately she wanted to create her own version of a woman’s network and the Ladies of leadPop was born.

“The idea for how to make this happen came to me one day when I realized how often girls in my office were asking for help. I thought it would be great to consolidate all the questions and turn the learning into a fun thing. Now we have our own channel. We have our own shirts, they’re like tunics and say leadPops on them; they’re in the photo.”

The ladies of leadPops is more than a coffee klatch networking group. This is truly a mentored group of vital young women dedicated to learning how to grow both their careers and achieve personal development. The ladies spend time cultivating strong professional relationships, learning about the power of influence, the personal side of change, self-assessment, and collaboration.

Rosa expands on this saying, “My favorite thing is to train their brains for resilience. I think sometimes they’re not aware of what they’re capable of. Leading this young team of women is my real, personal passion. One of the big things we do is we build their personal brand. We even go as far as doing role play for working at the booth and the etiquette that’s allowed and not allowed. We give them an open, transparent forum, and I would love to see that grow.”

The key learnings embraced by the group include leading with impact, managing workplace stress, and topics like those including enhancing your professional presence and staying inspired, motivated, and positive. A book they’re reading right now is called Presence and is written by Amy Cuddy. According to Rosa, the book was chosen because the author gives amazing TED talks and has interactive assignments that are fun and funny, like close your eyes and roar like a lion or strike the superhero super-power pose. She teaches how to power up and offers common-sense advice.

“The girls are feeling more equipped,” Rosa says, “I think, to do things like make video messages and speak publicly. They are more confident in themselves and have exceeded expectations. There is another book we’re reading called Relentless. There’s a section there about being a cleaner arm. I want to inspire other girls to be cleaners. It’s cool to see their strengths. An event we did, which I loved, was to go to an escape room. It was awesome to see their talent at all levels in situations like that. We do things that aren’t just, you know, nerdy book reading.”

Rosa and the Ladies of leadPops can often be found together enjoying downtime while also taking on the commitment to learn and teach important lessons built around their common agenda of Personal Branding, Strong Professional Relationships, Powerful Influence, Workplace Collaboration, and mastering the Personal Side of Change.

“It’s awesome to see women at all levels now doing the loans and actually helping, being in the mortgage space and being advisers and using tech and being social media experts. It’s awesome to see my team, to see everyone, working together on this ecosystem, which is really cool.”

Ladies of leadPops Agenda

  • Creating our personal brand
  • Cultivating strong professional relationships
  • The power of influence
  • Collaboration in today’s workplace
  • The personal side of change

The Ladies of leadPops

Remi Newman, what has your journey in the mortgage industry been like?

“Two years into the mortgage industry, my journey so far has been transformational. I feel so lucky working with leadPops because I’ve learned about what it takes to truly be successful when it comes to mortgage marketing. Being able to help mortgage professionals grow their businesses and reach their goals every day has been deeply rewarding because I know the more I help my clients, the more families’ lives they are able to change. Each day is a new challenge, and I am thankful to be part of an exciting and growing industry!”

Hanna Pack, what do you like most about working with mortgage professionals?

“Their eagerness to excel! The daily conversations I have with mortgage professionals shows me how eager they are to be the best loan officer or broker they can be. They are excited to speak with our advisors to learn ways we can help lead them further down the path of success!”

Stephanie Sacks, what aspect of working in the mortgage industry do you enjoy the most?

“What I like most about working in the mortgage industry is partnering with passionate and motivated individuals. It fuels me to be able to help their business grow by using the leadPops platform and coaching from our customer success team. Working with a mortgage professional can be an intimidating process and having a reputable online presence is such an important part of a successful business.”

Suzanne LaFlamme, what do you like most about working with mortgage professionals?

“Each person is a different character and I am always learning something new from each of them! I also admire the hard work they put in to make sure their client is able to purchase the home of their dreams or help them refinance their mortgage. They put in a lot of time to do this and that is true dedication!”

Lexi Smiley, what has your journey in the mortgage industry been like?

“My journey in the mortgage industry has been interesting and exciting, to say the least. We get to work with many unique types of people in this industry so, every single day is different. I can definitely say some days are more stressful than others, but at the end of each day, it is always worth it. The people I have gotten to work with have left an impact on my life without them even knowing it. The mortgage industry is exciting, fast paced and addicting, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Aubry Valenzuela, what aspect of working in the mortgage industry do you enjoy the most?

“I enjoy working in such a fast-paced industry with people who are eager to learn more and do better. The mortgage industry is competitive and watching a lot of our clients’ success journeys is what excites me the most. I’m one of the first points of contact but still work closely with the rest of our teams so I truly get to watch people grow their business and become successful.”

About the Author

CaZ, the Writer Success Coach, wears many professional hats all earned through experience as a professional writer, editor, coach, marketer, educator, and entrepreneur. Aside from her nom de plume when writing, she’s known as Candy Zulkosky and is the editor in chief of this publication.As the Writer Success Coach, CaZ specializes in supporting writers. She finds joy in helping others to write and experience the joys of being published. CaZ coaches writers whose skills and experience range from the novice to the multi-published author.She tailors the coaching experience to best fit the needs of each writer and business professional she works with.On the publishing side, CaZ is a multi-book published author and has edited or assisted in bringing dozensof authors to both print and to the best seller lists!CaZ is pronounced KayZee in case you were wondering.

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LISA PATTERSON: Never Stop Learning!

Written by: Leora Ruzin, CMB, AMP

It takes a tremendous amount of courage and faith to take on a venture in a startup company. Even with the best laid-out plans, quality leaders, and a rock-solid business model, variables still exist and can dismantle a brand-new company. Luckily for Cole Taylor Mortgage in 2009, they had Lisa Patterson on board. “We started with nine people working out of an old lawn mower shop and, with limited technology and tools, successfully built that organization up from zero to doing a volume of $600 million per month in less than three years.” Having this experience has been instrumental in helping Lisa develop the tools needed to strike a balance between navigating through huge volumes of work while making sound decisions around priorities and focus while guiding others to do the same.

Now at Homepoint, as the Chief Originations Officer, Lisa is responsible for ensuring all of their brokers and correspondent partners are delivering quality loans and are also successful in running their own business. As a female leader, Lisa is conscious of the fact she has a unique responsibility to help other women in the industry achieve greatness. “I help bring awareness to others of what opportunities exist in the mortgage business and are available to them, especially for women in such a male-dominated industry. I was fortunate to work for very strong women early in my career who really helped me see what the opportunities were in the mortgage industry and encouraged me to pursue them, and I try to pay that forward.”

Home Point Financial is a relative newcomer in the mortgage wholesale lending space, yet over the course of the last six years, the company has skyrocketed to the status of being the third-largest wholesale lender in the country. Founded in 2015, Homepoint is headquartered in Ann Arbor, MI, and supports more than 6000 independent mortgage brokers and correspondent partners across the country. Lisa Patterson has been with the company since the very beginning and given her experience with building successful companies from the ground up, it is no surprise Homepoint has grown fast in a short period of time.

Lisa has been in the industry for 34 years and like most folks in this business, her entry into mortgages was not intentional. “I went to school to be a teacher. I couldn’t afford to be a substitute teacher so I got a job in the mortgage administration department at a savings and loan. That actually turned out to be the best thing that could have happened for my career because I was able to learn multiple facets of the business.”

While Lisa started at a savings and loan, she found her calling when she entered into the wholesale lending space over 20 years ago, and it is where she has been ever since. As she learned more about wholesale lending, she dug  into every facet of the business, including operations and sales. “I spent 17 years at Interfirst Wholesale Mortgage Lending, which turned into ABN AMRO Mortgage Group at one time the No. 1 wholesale lender in the country. At Interfirst, I held various roles in operations and sales so I had a diverse background, which is somewhat unique.

Homepoint is the third startup lender that I’ve worked for. I initially started my career as an underwriter at Interfirst in 1991 and was afforded the opportunity to work my way up to where I am today, as the chief originations officer at Homepoint.

Lisa came from humble beginnings, growing up in a very small farming community in South Dakota, and she recalls with fondness how her upbringing has guided her principles in her life and career. “All I could think about was getting out of that town of 1,000 people that was in the middle of nowhere, but I often reflect on the lessons I learned about hard work, and how our family succeeded because of that hard work.”

This impeccable work ethic has served her well in her career and is at the core of what makes her such an effective leader. “I am results oriented and  big on transparency and effective communication around expectations. I believe in giving my team the appropriate levels of autonomy and being open to diverse thinking and being adaptable and flexible.”

Like many in this industry, Lisa has a deep passion to learn and grow, and there are definitely plenty of opportunities in this ever-changing landscape. When asked what Lisa finds to be her favorite aspect of mortgage lending, she opined on those opportunities. “There is a constant change that occurs, which can be a blessing and a curse at times. There’s always an opportunity to learn. I feel like I learn something new every day, even after 34 years. There are always new goals to strive for, so you never really feel stagnant. There’s always more to do and strive for.”

As the average age of the mortgage loan officer continues to tick up (now approaching 60 years!), Lisa is keenly aware the industry is desperately in need of finding the next generation of mortgage professionals. Many of those professionals might be just like Lisa was when she started in this industry; energetic and ready to take on the world, graduating from college, riddled with student loan debt, and looking to make a true impact on the world. Lisa expands on how important it is for her to help others find their path into the business, and what Homepoint is doing to usher in the next wave of lenders:

“As an industry, I think it’s important for us to continue focusing on creating opportunities and awareness around how amazing the mortgage industry really is. It’s a phenomenal career path, and it’s important to help people realize how rewarding a career in mortgages is and the impact you can have on others. Especially with Homepoint being a wholesale lender, that impact on others is two-fold: we have the opportunity to help families achieve the dream of financially healthy, happy homeownership, while at the same time supporting our mortgage broker partners who are entrepreneurs in their quest to live their dreams as successful businessowners.”

When Lisa isn’t striving to positively change the future of mortgage banking, you may find her playing golf with her husband, spending time with her three children, or reading. When asked what her main goal is in life, it is clear that everything she does comes from a place of helping others and putting her best foot forward. “I want to be the best I can be, as it relates to my family, my children, and doing my best to leave a legacy on how I’ve impacted other people and helped them be better people.” What is especially endearing about Lisa’s story is she attributes much of her success to the support of her husband. “My husband has been a stay-at-home dad for 20 years. The level of support he has provided was instrumental in me being able to experience the career growth I have had over the years.”

Lisa is a powerful force in this business and it is no surprise those who work with her hold her in such high regard. Perhaps it is also no surprise when she shared what her favorite quote is, and how it closely mirrors her philosophy on life and leadership.

“My favorite quote is by Ralph Waldo Emerson: ’To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the beauty in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded.’- I love it because success isn’t necessarily about how much money you make or how many levels you’ve climbed in an organization. It’s really about the impact that you’ve had on others.”

We need more selfless leaders like Lisa, who put the needs of others before their own, and who don’t focus on the title or accolades. It is all about giving others the opportunity to learn, grow, and shine!

About the Author

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.

Lisa’s Tips for Success

  • Focus on what you want, not the obstacles you think might be in your
  • Be very intentional in your strategies and
  • Don’t sit back on your laurels because something comes easy to always strive to
  • learn and be

Perhaps the greatest testament to just how powerfully passionate Lisa is about her work is to see her through the eyes of her co-workers, who provided these enlightening quotes:

Senior Managing Director of Origination—Teresa Reber:

“There are many wonderful things to say about Lisa. She challenges me to think beyond the norm, but she does it in a way that is not critical but collaborative. She sees things through a different lens that allows her strengths to be magnified. More importantly, she is a compassionate leader who knows the times to push and the times to let you find your own way. Lisa demonstrates human leadership, which in the mortgage industry is incredibly hard to find. She is incredibly smart and wickedly funny!”

Chief Credit Officer—Kathy Herig:

“Lisa is able to lead with what I call a 360-vision. She engages all of the partners across the organization so that decisions are beneficial to the business overall. Lisa engages in a wholistic view of leadership making sure that partners from all aspects of the organization are engaged and aligned, her style is not a singular focus, making her highly respected and effective both externally and internally.”

Laugh Lend & Eat: Behind the Scenes
with Fobby and Tony Thompson

Written by: Fouad (Fobby) Naghmi, EVP

When I think of June 2020, I’m overcome by various feelings created by the memories I have of that month. The country was in the midst of a pandemic and many of us had no idea how long it would last. At the same time, the television news was replaying the brutal killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, and the streets of my hometown, Washington, DC, had become the flashpoint of all protests.

In the midst of all this, Tony Thompson, the founder of NAMMBA (National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers Association) joined me on an interview for episode number 13 of Laugh, Lend & Eat. The interview had been scheduled weeks prior, and I could not have asked for a better guest to speak with at this moment in time.

For some added clarity, I think it’s important to understand before NAMMBA, I never felt like I belonged whenever I walked into an industry event. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I did what I had to so I could network with everyone. I always spoke with whoever I wanted to, but whether real or imagined, I felt I was missing out on some industry secret.

I can still recall the first time I walked into a NAMMBA event in Orlando, FL in the fall of 2018. I was instantly hit with this high energy; I could feel the openness of everyone, and the inclusivity drew me in as I had never been drawn in before. I looked around the event and saw a diverse group of industry professionals, all wanting to grow in their chosen field. It’s easy to understand why I hold Tony in high regard. Tony has created a space where myself, and other minority mortgage bankers, first felt like we were part of the industry.

During the recording for episode 13, I wanted to find out from Tony if he saw a shift in perception from within the mortgage industry rooted in what we were seeing daily on the TV news. His answer was, “Yes.” He expanded on the thought saying there were companies reaching out to NAMMBA to seek assistance on how to best make all their employees feel like they belonged. More leadership teams wanted to set the proper tone to allow for more open dialogue on the topic of race.

A week prior to joining me, Tony had released a personal and moving taped recording of himself talking about the unmistakable racial tensions occurring in the country. He mentioned his two sons in the video and how they perceive America today and their hopes for the future. The big takeaway was “glad the conversation has started; let’s keep talking.” In the first few minutes of Tony’s recording, it was clear he had touched some nerves and had also allowed for the door to swing open further to begin the conversation of inclusivity within the workplace.

Tony mentioned his video during our LL&E episode and the call to action in it, let’s talk to one another about race. It was such a simple idea, yet most simple ideas make the greatest impact. I knew in my life, both personal and business, the greatest unease I felt was when someone wanted to ask me more about my origins. But I could feel they were not sure how to open the dialogue. So here was Tony Thompson saying what I had wanted to say for so many years: just ask! Let’s not assume but let’s talk to one another for the sole purpose of how we may better understand one another.

Tony went on to add how, as an industry, we needed to include more women and minorities in leadership roles. This would give a voice to many potential homeowners whose voices have been excluded in the past. Allowing mortgage lenders to give access to more minorities through mortgage programs to assist them with their specific needs would also allow more minorities to be able to identify with a certain mortgage lender representative. There are multiple benefits a company could experience if they executed Tony’s statement.

What I’ve learned in my short time of interviewing people is there comes a time when the guest has found their stride in a certain topic. My job then becomes to allow them the space they need and support them to continue on their topic of conversation, which is exactly where I found myself in such a short time with Tony. I could sense Tony was not only saying what he believed, but this area of conversation was something he was passionate about.

I delved deeper into the topic of talking about our differences. More specifically, people becoming more comfortable asking questions they were confused about, but in the past did not feel comfortable asking. Tony responded with what I deemed to be the quote of the entire interview, “It’s ok to say, I understand I will never understand, but I’m here for you.”

His statement’s simplicity was overwhelming to me. It was full of humility while being supportive of another individual. It allowed people the freedom to talk openly about their differences, while neither party was going to be judged. Maybe I’m imposing my own personal feelings on the statement and making more of it than there is. But in the end, isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? When we hear something and it resonates so deeply within us, aren’t we supposed to be moved?

I told Tony that as the protests were occurring in Washington, DC during the ten days leading up to our interview, I had felt a strange urge to go join them. I further added, of all the protests that had occurred in my hometown, I had never felt compelled to join them. But I found myself in downtown DC with the crowds protesting the injustice that had become even more evident by the video showing the murder of George Floyd. I had seen a few of my industry friends take part in the protest and I just had to be a part of it as well.

The video Tony had shared the week prior had received an outpouring of support. While I was encouraged by this, it had also provoked a question which I need to ask Tony: how I should respond when I see someone publicly supporting Tony’s video about race relations, but I know they don’t really believe in Tony’s message based on my own personal interaction with the individual?

While this question may seem like a question right out of Debbie Downer’s playbook, I had been disturbed by people who celebrated Tony’s video message online, yet, shown me through their actions they did not believe in inclusivity in the workplace. I knew I could not go into details of the actions I had witnessed, or been on the receiving end of, from some of these individuals. I also knew in my heart a social media platform was not the best place to talk about them. So, I refrained from posting my feelings online, but I wanted to know what Tony thought.

In true Tony Thompson fashion, he gave a quickly thought out, yet measured response saying, “It’s not what you say today, it’s what you do three months from now, six months from now, one year from now.”

In other words, your actions are stronger than your words will ever be. Over a certain period of time, life will go back to some form of normal. But the issue of race and being inclusive in the workplace will remain. Will we, as an industry, pivot enough to allow for new thoughts and actions to take hold? I came out of this interview believing the answer to be yes.


I am pleased to say it’s been one year since this interview, and I have seen amazing changes within our industry. I have seen more women step into prominent leadership roles. I have seen minorities lead companies to new heights. More and more opportunities are given for promotions within a company to people who had been overlooked in the past. Change has come, regardless of however slow it may have been arriving or, however far we may still have to go.

It has not been lost me that NAMMBA’s sponsorships from mortgage lenders and mortgage-related services have also increased exponentially. With the help of those sponsors, NAMMBA has been able to put into action some of the initiatives it may have not been able to launch without the assistance from industry sponsors.

The first and most important one comings to mind is Mission 2025 to connect 50,000 graduates into careers in the real estate finance industry. I will spare you the mortgage banker average age here, but needless to say, adding 50,000 recent grads by 2025 could begin to reduce the average age.

As of the writing of this article over 1,000 students have signed up for NAMMBA’s talent hub. June 2021 saw the first group of students in NAMMBA’s NEXT GEN program, which will provide them valuable insights into the mortgage industry.

For someone who started in the mortgage business in 1994, this is an amazing time to be in our industry and to witness the seismic shift occurring firsthand. I have always enjoyed my talks with Tony Thompson, public and private, but this particular interview will stick with me for a long time to come. This will reflect to be a point in time when our industry chose to become inclusive.

About the Author

Fobby is a card-carrying 20/20 Vision Master. Evidence of his inherent professionalism and humanity is exhibited through his words. Not quite as apparent is the great sense of humor he brings into his relationships, both professional and personal.

“Starting in the mortgage industry in 1994 as an inexperienced loan officer, I understand the challenges my sales teams may face on a day-to-day basis. While the industry has changed, I truly believe the blueprint remains the same to achieve success.

I have been blessed to be able to build cross-cultural teams over the past years, which in turn, has really challenged me to better understand people’s individual needs as no two salespeople are identical.

My WHY is knowing every single day there is someone out there who needs a little push in the right direction to take their career to the next level. Once that push is given, the satisfaction I feel in seeing them achieve the desired results is unmatched for me.

Leadership is not about blazing a trail; it’s about supporting your team with the trail that they want to blaze.”

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Written by: The Vision Staff Writer

Have you ever wondered what it takes to launch a series of live webinar courses? Over the past several months, coaching students of 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching have been both participants and observers in such an event. A dozen live symposium-style courses launched successfully in the month of September to critical acclaim from attendees and organizers alike.

There is a perception of coaching as being only a singular relationship between the coach and the recipient of the coaching. And while it is certainly a true description of one coaching model, coaching services are broader and made richer by the availability of a range of delivery methods. Certainly courses, education, and training are considered invaluable tools by the coaches as well as those benefiting from the coaching. Ray Befus and Bill Foss, two of the coaches creating and delivering coaching services under the 20/20 VSC umbrella, spoke to our editorial staff about the symposiums they each created, the thinking behind this unusual structure, and their reasons for choosing to deliver coaching services in this format.

Coach Bill Foss is presenting a course titled: Introduction to Creating Your Business to Serve Your Life, Your Way. In it he uses worksheets, questionnaires, and other material to help attendees align their businesses with who they really are, placing them beyond competition, self-limitation, and the effects of outside influences.

“I am excited about the symposiums,” Bill Foss shared. “The coaches that Christine and the team have assembled have varied, vast reservoirs of experience and expertise. The symposium framework allows each of us, as coaches, the opportunity to go deeper with the members of 2020 Vision for Success Coaching.”

Symposium courses are scheduled and run in one-hour Zoom sessions. Each session is a deeper dive into the course topic, creating a symposium running over the course of four sessions: one session per month for four months. This format allows for engagement as well as implementation and progress based on activity taken and lessons learned.

“From my 40 plus years of coaching and leading real estate salespeople and brokerage owners,” Bill Foss continues, “I see many fall for education disguised as entertainment, especially in the video delivery world we are in now. I see many take course after course, attend program and program but never go deep enough or adapt and implement the content to align with who they really are. There is a hope that simply imitating the success of others will be some kind of an ‘Easy Button’ to personal success. I can assure you it is not!  Imitation may be flattering for the imitated but can be devastating to the imitator!”

Coach Ray Befus is delivering two separate symposiums. One is titled, Management Foundations for Maximum Team Engagement, and provides management tools and processes for those who have been given the position but not the training to build and manage teams.

“National studies suggest that up to 60 percent of managers have received no explicit training for their position,” Ray Befus shares. “They often feel like they’ve been thrown into the deep end of the pool and left to learn to swim. The result is that managers and team members are often frustrated with each other. This symposium is providing managers with foundational tools to lift their teams to a new level of engagement and alignment.”

In his second symposium titled, Your Organizational Heartbeat, Ray puts a stethoscope to a successful business demonstrating examples and exploring the founder’s vision, values, and priorities leading to business and personal success. He explains, “Your business has a heartbeat and, everyone—team members and customers—senses it even if they cannot explain it. And some organizations have serious heart conditions! The problem isn’t their business intelligence; it’s their business health.

Taking this a step further, he points to the reality of people problems being less about the people and more about management weaknesses, saying, “Across our industry, many leaders and managers have grown their organizations without explicit training in foundational management tools and processes. As a result, their enterprises tend to be personality-driven, not built around a shared vision, values, and effective management tools and processes. Both of these symposiums explore the energy that powers a world-class enterprise, helps reduce chaos, raises employee engagement, and increases alignment across an organization.”

While coming at the topic from different directions, Bill Foss and Ray Befus are aligned in their reasons for providing these symposiums. “True growth and change take effort,” Bill Foss says. “I believe great content, no matter how powerful, needs to be modeled and adapted to who you really are to be effective. Coaching helps guide one to a deeper understanding of how-to concepts, adapt them to suit THEM, to then take action and get results rather than learning for learning’s sake.  The symposium format is a step in the right direction because it enables our membership to engage fully in what is being offered. It also will expose our coaches to the membership and foster deeper relationships on both sides. 20/20 coaching members can gain a better sense of how a particular coach will resonate with them and meet them where they are on the way to where they want to go.”

Here is Bill in a short video message extending an invitation to join his symposium.


By Popular Demand...returning to the Water Street Marriott in Tampa!


Written by: CaZ

Leadership is the capacity a person has to influence behavior toward the achievement of a goal and to do things they would not otherwise have the skills or motivation to achieve. Being in a position of power and influence does not automatically make you a leader.

Leadership matters more today than ever before. Aside from contextual factors such as economic conditions, industry factors, and a company’s overall health, leadership factors have a highly predictive impact on company performance. In a recent study, the quality of those in management positions accounted for at least 70% of employee engagement. Exceptional leaders have been found to contribute 48% higher profit than average managers. Deciding who to appoint to positions of authority is important.

A leader is an agent for change in most companies. It requires mastery of one’s self and the complexity of relationships with other people. While there is a belief some are born to lead, the fact is the skills and beliefs required to lead others can be practiced and perfected by anyone with the sincere desire to do so.

Do you know if you are a leader? Oddly enough, many who lead, and are readily followed by others, do not understand or recognize their inherent ability to lead. To know if you are a leader or whether you have the qualities to become one, managers need to honestly answer the following questions about themselves.

How do you deal with yourself and your environment?

Are you future-focused? What aspects of your environment do you tend to focus on? Do you constantly keep your eyes on the horizon and insatiably crave new knowledge? Are you concerned more with what’s next than maintaining the status quo?

Great leaders must have a forward thinking mindset. The heart and mind of a leader is focused on understanding tomorrow’s problems, opportunities and making the changes needed to capitalize on it. Instead of tinkering with existing processes, leaders are those who can completely reimagine today’s business models. Leaders innovate while managers administer. It is fair to say many corporations across the globe are overmanaged and underled.

Do you fear change? Often, the higher managers are promoted, the greater they seek safety and fear losing personal control. Leaders fear something even greater—the loss coming from doing nothing as the world inevitably changes around them. Great leaders drive change before circumstances force their hand. From time to time, a business must seek to become what makes them obsolete, because it will surely eliminate competitors that aren’t prepared for it.

People resist change for a number of reasons. We are creatures of habit, so when routines become automatic, change can be uncomfortable. This is especially true when the need for change has not yet become obvious. Leaders who continue to play it safe when the need for change has become obvious risk losing the respect, trust, and loyalty of others in the organization.

Do you view risk as opportunity? Risk must be a leader’s best friend. There is great risk in making important decisions without all available facts. Making wrong decisions means bearing much of the blame. It is because of their strength in the face of the unknown and in the face of resistance that we admire successful leaders. Leaders are opportunists and optimists. Leaders see opportunity in every difficulty while a pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity.

While there is a strong link between successful entrepreneurs and optimism, it is important to also remember that blind optimism can have consequences as well. Optimism that is not tempered by realism can cause people to overestimate their abilities and underestimate their challenges.

Leaders do not fear failure because they understand the road to success is paved with setbacks and they the agility to learn from past experience. All business leaders must be able to handle failure, recover by actively seeking feedback, then seek new challenges where they can apply their experience and not repeat past mistakes.

Do you have clarity of purpose? Whatever your reason, conviction and an unwavering personal identity will keep you going despite inevitable resistance. Great leaders have strong self-awareness and are passionate visionaries. This increases their odds of success through perseverance and draws others toward their compelling vision. While it’s possible to build a brand in the short-term without such passion, it’s also impossible to sustain it in the long run. Do you understand what is important to you? Do you have faith in your purpose? Are you able to communicate your purpose, your faith, your vision, and your passion?

Clarity of purpose is a necessity for great communication. Leaders must be able to consistently articulate their values for the organization. When leaders are unclear about their goals, they look unprepared, confused and disorganized. Inconsistency in communication will dilute important messages. Strong leaders often emerge from crisis. People need a clear sense of direction and will rally behind those with a story and strategic vision for the company. Consistency is even more important for flat organizations as the more decentralized work becomes, the more everyone needs to remain focused on the vision and forging ahead to achieve the same key issues.

Purpose should be clear and inspirational. From a branding perspective, companies must promote a goal that is higher than succeeding in the competitive landscape around them. Such passion can lead to infectious enthusiasm among employees and, ideally, improve the experience for customers as well. True belief in these ideals means that leaders will walk-the-walk, not just talk-the-talk. People quickly abandon a leader who does not embody the principles they are trying to impart on others, just as consumers abandon a brand that does not live up to its promise.

There is a difference between clarity of purpose and clarity of strategy. Because the world can change quickly, operational strategies must remain fluid. Like a compass that can always be trusted to point north, this sense of direction will always ensure the company remains consistent with its overall direction, no matter how much strategic change is needed. Employees will be accepting of tactics that change as long as they are consistent the same vision, but if the vision keeps changing, employees will begin to tune out.

Are you a great manager? Leaders must also have a strong foundation in management skills of planning, measurement and strategy. A leader that seems disconnected from the practical aspects of changing a complex organization will not rally people behind them. Leaders need to possess both capabilities. Developing a vision of the distant future requires an understanding of what type of jobs are going to be needed do it and delegating responsibility to the right areas of the organization.

How do you deal with other people around you?

The true definition of leadership is whether you are followed. The following skills will dictate your success. Leadership requires exceptional interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. No matter how forward looking, self-actualized, or visionary you might be as a leader you still must master interactions with people above and below in the hierarchy.

Are you versatile? In a world where everyone is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all leadership strategy. Great leaders must have the ability to align and coalesce diverse groups of people, personalities, ages and cultures around a common vision for things to run smoothly. To ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction, leaders must have the adaptability to treat everyone a little bit differently.

Versatility begins with empathy and understanding. It is easy for us to project our own worldview onto other people but, to lead, we have to understand each person’s unique perspective and the experiences that have shaped their perspective. Stereotyping is always dangerous. Each person’s life experiences are fundamentally different.

The best leaders manage individuals the way that they want to be managed, rather than the way they prefer to manage. In the end, it isn’t the style of leadership that counts, it is the effectiveness. Versatility allows for effectiveness. The best leadership style is not to have a style at all – but a process.

Do you empower others? Leadership from the top alone cannot succeed. While management is about control, leadership is about empowerment – the ability to motivate others to overcome obstacles on their own. Managers tell people what to do while leaders spur their initiative and creativity – often giving them more autonomy than they might deserve in order to develop their skills.

Empowerment gives people a sense of accomplishment, making their daily tasks intrinsically motivating. Empowerment also multiplies leadership, creating other leaders throughout the organization – the greatest achievement of all. When a manager creates a team that can operate without them, it means they can focus on adding value elsewhere. Although it sounds counterintuitive, the ultimate goal of a leader should be to make their role redundant.

Are you selfless? To empower others, managers need to exercise a great deal of restraint in order to do what’s best for the group. Too many people think leadership is about control. Rather, leadership is about inspiration, guidance and support. Are you willing to let others have the spotlight and courageous enough relinquish the control you have on them?

Leaders have to resist taking over. Rather than instinctively answering difficult questions themselves, leaders guide their people through the process required to solve them. If telling someone a solution is worth one point, getting them to find the solution themselves is worth 10 points. A leader’s job isn’t to be the smartest person in the room, but to fill the room with smart, creative, capable people, give them the right tools, develop their skills and get out of their way.

Are you a leader?

Even though all of the above attributes seem obvious as leadership qualities, they remain the exception rather than the rule. Research has found that companies fail to choose the right candidate for such important roles 82% of the time.

While some people are born with a few innate leadership qualities, the rest are self-taught from experience under the right set of circumstances or are the product of coaching. Therefore, understanding the essence of leadership is vital for companies to find and develop their future leaders. In every organization there is an employee with high leadership potential waiting to be discovered. It is even believed that one in ten people possess the necessary traits of a modern leader.

Do you embrace and accept change as inevitable? Are you driven to solve tomorrow’s problems and challenge the status quo? Are you steadfast in your beliefs? Can you adapt yourself to each person you interact? Do you sincerely desire the best for other people? Do you have the courage to step aside and let others lead? To inspire and empower, your influence as a leader must be built upon trust, respect, rapport, energy, a compelling vision and the desire to fulfil the basic human needs of others – not yourself.

Would you like to dig a little deeper, personally, into your qualities as a leader? Consider this set of self-assessment questions designed to help you assess your ability to understand and learn your strengths and weaknesses. There are no right or wrong answers and this survey is not necessarily meant to be shared. These questions help you identify your potential to lead and become a good leader.

  1. On a scale from 0-6, with 6 being outstanding, how would you rate yourself as a leader?
  2. Do you like setting up goals and targets?
  3. What is your response to someone who questions your decision-making abilities?
  4. In your opinion do you respond fairly to the issues in the team?
  5. Are you open to suggestions from employees and co-workers?
  6. Are you willing to take responsibility when a team member fails to deliver against expectations?
  7. Do you feel employees should only take orders without asking any questions?
  8. Do you personally think that a leader should be reasonable?
  9. A leader must not hold any grudges or biases against anyone in the team. Do you agree with the statement?
  10. Do you feel being correct is more important than being right?
  11. Do you feel providing guidance without any pressure is a trait of a good leader?
  12. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

As in any self-assessment, review of the responses is important. The questions prompt thought and deep consideration of emotional and logical responses to various scenarios a leader might encounter. Be sure that you put aside your answers then return to them after a short while to truly review and think about the meaning of your answers in terms of your current situation a leader.

About the Author

CaZ, the Writer Success Coach, wears many professional hats all earned through experience as a professional writer, editor, coach, marketer, educator, and entrepreneur. Aside from her nom de plume when writing, she’s known as Candy Zulkosky and is the editor in chief of this publication.As the Writer Success Coach, CaZ specializes in supporting writers. She finds joy in helping others to write and experience the joys of being published. CaZ coaches writers whose skills and experience range from the novice to the multi-published author.She tailors the coaching experience to best fit the needs of each writer and business professional she works with.On the publishing side, CaZ is a multi-book published author and has edited or assisted in bringing dozensof authors to both print and to the best seller lists!CaZ is pronounced KayZee in case you were wondering.



Written by: Ruth Lee, CMB

The art of the 1:1 meeting is under scrutiny in our remote hybrid working landscape. Let’s face it, being on camera in Zoom meetings all day is exhausting. We all have a ton of meetings. As convenient as a zoom call is to set up and experience with a group and as tempting as it is to reduce the number of meetings by adding more and more people, don’t count out the value of a 1:1 connection, whether virtual or in person.

A 1:1 meeting is a scheduled, bi-directional touch base between a manager and an employee. It provides an opportunity to discuss progress, obstacles, resolve issues, ask questions, and focus on growing each other’s roles. The 1:1 meeting is a critical component of a successful feedback model, which, in a remote world can be shuttered at a mouse click. Employees and managers who hide behind a group, a lens, or a door are equally disadvantaged, and a disorganized, poorly planned 1:1 can be confusing, emotional, and counterproductive.

Today I want to share important tips for organizing, executing, and reviewing the critical 1:1 meeting. Research shows the 1:1 meeting is the number one communication strategy between management and their employees, beating out email, people dropping by unannounced, and all-company meetings for efficacy and efficiency. With a little strategy and planning, you can turn the meeting into an engine of growth, employee satisfaction, and overall productivity. So, let’s talk about the four elements to a strong 1:1 meeting: goals, impediments, opportunities, and actions.

Goals: If you aren’t setting goals with your employees, you are missing one of the most fundamental ways of communicating with your team. If you don’t know where they are going, then who does? At every meeting, you should be discussing what your employee and or their team is working to achieve: receiving a status update, readjusting goals, and proposing new ones. Make sure to set clear milestones which are both concrete and measurable. And agree on deadlines, because a vague someday is much harder to achieve than September 20th.

Impediments: After discussing goals, it is an easy segue into talking about what is holding them back and what obstacles are in the way of their success. You want to know. Then it’s a simple matter of brainstorming solutions or offering them the benefit of your experience. Challenges come in many shapes, from employees to training to technology. Build a plan to address their obstacles and let them know not all solutions work. The message is: We are in this together and you can rely on this partnership to make it through challenges.

Opportunities: Always spend a few minutes discussing additional opportunities, either for improving their processes or engaging their teams to taking on new training or projects. This is also a great time to discuss prioritization and consider what needs to happen first and what can wait. In a truly open relationship between manager and employee, the sky is the limit on opportunities to improve and achieve their deeply held goals.

Actions: Every meeting has an end, but does it peter off into silence or does it conclude with a bang. Always spend a few minutes to recap both of your next steps. Say them out loud. These will ensure you are both accountable to each other for what happens next. This allows each of you to have a great starting point for your next meeting.

Finally, there are a few administrative tips for your consideration:

  • Plan your meetings. Spend ten minutes a few days before your meeting to sketch out a loose agenda and share it with the employee. This allows them an opportunity to think and prepare rather than react.
  • Be specific. Stating, “I heard you came in late last week” is worthless. However, saying, “I heard you were late on Tuesday and your team was looking for you” starts a discussion. Likewise, stating, “You don’t communicate clearly” is not the same thing as “I struggled to understand the flow of your presentation on compliance.” You are looking to offer specific feedback, rather than a judgment that will be resented.
  • Be honest. Being honest is NOT being mean. Honesty is not cruelty. Honesty is a gift you give someone when saying something is uncomfortable. Practice saying those uncomfortable things, like “Your team relies on you to be on time.” Leave the conclusions and assumptions you’ve heard or built up in your own mind to the said. Let them explain themselves, and often it will be a challenge you address together.
  • Be present. Set the expectation upfront: no phones, no emails, no distractions. This is a requirement for both of you. You are both in the meeting to discuss an important issue, change, or challenge, and staying on task fosters productivity which in turn can lead to a valuable yet brief discussion. If you don’t treat it as such, then it really isn’t.
About the Author

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.



Written by: Megan Anderson

With today’s competitive homebuying landscape, bidding wars are common and many homes are selling above asking price. During these times where people really want or need a new home, competitive spirits may cause them to make emotional decisions about placing an offer on a home rather than analyzing if bidding over asking price really makes sense for them.

In this article, we will discuss how you can best advise homebuyers whether bidding over asking price is the right choice for their unique situation. We’ll specifically address how you can help buyers:

  • Overcome a market with tight inventory and multiple offers on homes
  • Evaluate how much they should bid above asking price based on forecasted appreciation
  • Compete against cash buyers with a creative way to offer more, without needing additional cash

We’ll also show you how MBS Highway’s Bid Over Asking Price tool can help with this analysis.

Is Now Even a Good Time To Buy a Home?

With home prices appreciating at record levels, you probably already have many clients asking you if now is a good time to purchase a home, let alone whether they should bid over asking price. You can answer this question in multiple ways.

It’s still a great time to buy a home because:

  • Home loan rates remain near historic lows.
  • The hot housing market will not remain idle and your clients could miss out on appreciation gains if they decide to delay their purchase. Plus, there’s the additional benefit of amortization that they’d lose by waiting.
  • In addition, the record low inventory of homes that has helped prices appreciate likely won’t be changing anytime soon.

Quite simply, there are fewer homes available for sale because inventory has declined. According to the National Association of Realtors, the total housing inventory of existing homes at the end of July was down 12.0 percent from July of last year.

However, the demand for homes is very strong and should continue to be strong because of favorable birthrate demographics. Millennials are taking over the housing market and there should be even higher numbers of them looking to purchase a home in the coming years due to birthrates. This has made it even more challenging to buy a home because there are more people looking to buy and fewer homes available.

Plus, it’s even harder for builders to complete homes right now due to constraints on the supply chain. Take for example the chip shortage making it harder for appliances to be  delivered and delaying the completion of new homes.

All of these factors come into play when we consider what’s going on in the housing market. The high demand and tight supply should continue to be supportive of home price appreciation, plus with rates historically low, there’s still a big reward for people ready to purchase a home.

But What About All the Talk in the Media About a Housing Bubble?

Home prices have risen 41 percent since 2006 per Case-Shiller’s Home Price Index for June. This has prompted another round of media fearmongering implying a housing bubble is imminent. As you know, the media has been talking about a housing bubble for the past several years, only to see home prices continue to be well supported.

Comparing today’s housing market to the market in 2006 requires us to understand some key differences to help us see the full picture. Let’s break it down.

The majority of individuals who buy homes do so based on the monthly payment. Therefore, we must consider differences in mortgage interest rates, as well as differences in household income between the market in 2006 and today.

Mortgage rates in 2006 ran about 3 percent higher than the interest rates available today. This helps make the monthly payment today much lower, even in some cases where the amount borrowed is higher.

Meanwhile, average hourly earnings have increased by 55 percent from 2006 to today, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because of the rise in income, as well as the decline in interest rates, the cost to purchase a home today appears to be significantly more affordable than it was in 2006.

Additionally, as mentioned above, today’s appreciation is due to record low home inventory levels and strong demographic demand, which wasn’t the case in 2006. Share this data with your clients and don’t let the media scare them out of all the wonderful benefits of homeownership.

Should I Bid Over Asking Price?

To help your clients answer this question, there are two important things to determine. First, how long will it take for the value of the home to come back up to the price they’re paying for it? In other words, how long will they be upside down?

Second, will your clients have enough resources to bid over ask if the appraisal puts them in the position where they might need mortgage insurance? Also, what if they don’t have enough cash to meet the difference between the mortgage amount they qualify for due to the appraisal and what they’re paying for that home?

MBS Highway’s Bid Over Asking Price tool was created to help you answer these questions for your clients for any property in the country using the address or NMLS number.

Let’s look at a sample property in Tampa, Florida, which is on the market for $499,000. It has multiple bids, so in order to win the deal, a buyer may need to bid $20,000 over asking price at $519,000.

Next, you can also pull up data on what the home is currently approximately worth, and right now it’s worth about $502,000. This would make the offer about $17,000 more than what the home is worth.

So, the question for your clients becomes:  How long do we have to wait for the home’s value to be $519,000?

Based on the forecasted appreciation for this market (4.13 percent average/year), it’s going to take just four months. Considering it may take two months to actually close the home, this would only leave two months after your clients own the home for the value to equal what they paid for it.

In addition, the Bid Over Asking Price tool also analyzes forecasted appreciation over the next five years based upon the average annual rate of forecasted appreciation in that particular zip code. In this case, the five-year forecasted appreciation is $111,800.

While bidding over asking price can feel risky on the surface, breaking the numbers down like this can help your clients evaluate if the choice makes good financial sense to them. And in this case, if your clients are planning to stay in the home for at least five years, the $20,000 bid over asking price sounds much more appealing than it may have without this data regarding the five-year forecasted appreciation of $111,800 presented to them.

How Do I Compete Against Cash Buyers?

Now, what happens if buyers are prepared to bid over asking price, but they don’t have the resources to do so?

Continuing the above scenario, if your clients were to take a $400,000 loan with a 30-year fixed 3 percent rate, their payment would be $1,686.

But what if instead of a 3 percent rate, the buyers use a rate of 3.375 percent, which would give them a buyer credit of $6,000 they can use towards the purchase of the home to make the higher offer. While this higher rate would raise your client’s monthly payment to $1,768 (or $82 per month higher), it could also help them fulfill their dreams of purchasing this home and take advantage of the opportunity to gain $111,800 in appreciation over the next five years.

Being able to help your clients navigate the dynamics of today’s housing market with tight supply and high demand is crucial to becoming an advisor they trust to help them make the right home buying or refinance decision for their family.

With an MBS Highway membership, you’ll have access to tools like our Bid Over Asking Price analysis, Buy vs. Rent Comparison, Loan Comparison tool, daily coaching videos, lock alerts, and more; everything you need to turn prospective homebuyers into clients and build referral relationships.

Try all of these tools and more for free with a 14-day trial and see for yourself how an MBS Highway membership gives you the market insights and tools you need to build trust and increase conversion with your customers and referral partners.

About the Author

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.


Written by: Jenny Mason

It starts with believing in yourself. Believe in this truth: when you put in the effort and add perseverance, you can reach your ultimate potential!

We live in an Insta-society, filled with microwaves, air fryers, Insta Pots, and Instant Messaging. We have become programmed to receive instant results which leads to frustration on many fronts. Consistency and persistency are conducive to instant results. It’s important to retrain our thinking and remember consistency and persistency are keys to success in most undertakings. When we are consistent and persistent in our actions and we are conscious of our behavior, we develop regular habits which help us reach our desired outcomes. In every case, reaching a goal increases our motivation to continue and creates forward motion and lasting results. Focus on the process and not the results. Improve yourself by one percent every day. This quickly adds up to hefty compound interest. Focus on the activity, and the results will come!

“An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion.” Once you have momentum you are in motion and far more likely to stay in motion.

Think about how many times you have stalled in the process of attaining a goal. Perhaps you became overwhelmed; believe it to be  too much, or impatience won out and the goal was too far off. By breaking goals down into small steps you achieve the results you want. Attaining small goals adds fuel to our fire and keeps us moving forward instead of stalling out. Progress is fuel to propel us to keep going forward. Make the goals too small to fail. Let’s say you decide to make five calls instead of 100, lose five pounds instead of 50, do five pushups instead of 50, crush the next 50 minutes rather than the entire day.

It’s hard to feel inspired when you feel like your goal is so far in the distance. But, when you crush one task, you have the steam and the momentum to do one more, then one more, and the next thing you know you are the little train starting the climb saying, “I think I can, I think I can. Before you know it, you will be saying “I know I can” and you will be chugging up the hill.

Celebrate each step forward. After a call give yourself a fist pump, drink a glass of water instead of a soda, fist pump, make five calls, fist pump, work 50 minutes uninterrupted, fist pump, and so on Celebrating those tiny wins really helps with motivation. It boosts our emotions knowing we are making progress in the right direction. It makes us happier and we know we are most productive when we are happy. Did you know holding your hand in a fist or standing in a power pose makes you feel stronger? (Think it’s silly? Try it!)

Don’t become caught up in the speed of the progress or looking at someone else. This is your race meant only for you. Enjoy the journey and increase at a manageable pace. Many times, comparing our race to someone else’s results in frustration, depression, and leads us off the path we are meant to run. Oftentimes, we miss out on what’s happening in front of us by looking at the guy next to us. Missing the path results in ending at an unfulfilled destination.

Remember this. Results, even insta results are like slow cooked brisket or  BBQ ribs; faster isn’t always better. For instance, I guarantee you they taste a lot better when they are cooked low and slow, instead of on high in a microwave. Many times, trying to be fast causes us to lose our flavor, if you will, our zest. It tires us out mentally and physically. Slow and steady progress is better than developing burnout on both ends and throwing our hands up in disgust. Do a temperature/doneness check from time to time to ensure you are cooking and not burning.

Allow yourself time to rest. Think of working with yeast to make bread. You have to let it rest after it’s been kneaded so it rises to its best form. The same is true with you; this life is kneading you and at times beating you down, so you have to allow yourself times to rest, times to be still, to reflect, then you move on and rise.

Don’t let yourself become impatient during those times of rest, even though it seems like you aren’t getting anything done. Studies have shown that rest boosts your immune system, improves your memory, stimulates creativity, helps you stay mentally and physically fit, improves productivity, improves your health, and makes you happier.

Nurture your growth! Take time to find out what may be affecting your growth; it may seem minuscule like when you are baking, adding a little too much of one ingredient can result in a flat cake instead of a fluffy risen one or cookies that are hard and crispy instead of soft and chewy. It’s critical in our growth to find the issues affecting us and replace them with the answers to help us grow to create an atmosphere where you can thrive. What’s controllable and what’s not? It is those seemingly insignificant small things that make a difference.

What is your big goal you are having a hard time gaining traction on? What is a super small simple action you can take to move yourself in the right direction? Make sure consistent forward movement is a regular occurrence in your life. Set clear goals, hold your vision, use your resources, respect yourself, encourage yourself, be persistent and give yourself positive affirmation, and remind yourself of who you are at your best.

“The river cuts through rock not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” ~ Jim Watkins

Keep pushing forward. Your ultimate potential is in front of you waiting. You’ve Got This!

About the Author

Jenny Mason is a regional business development manager with Movement Mortgage. She is 100 percent a servant leader building relationships, encouraging people, igniting passions, and adding value for all. Jenny is passionate about encouraging, serving, and inspiring people to overcome their limiting beliefs, to reach for the sky, excel more, ascend higher, and live life more abundantly personally, professionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually!

Jenny is one of the many incredible Coaches at 20/20 VSC.



On this episode we hear from some of the Top Mortgage Brokers and Women With Vision Award winners. Jackie Dunlap, Chasity Graff, Amorette Hernandez, & Lil Abee join Frazier to talk about what it means to be a Woman With Vision.

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!

Residential Acquisition of Caliber Home Loans Complete



New Residential Investment Corp. has completed the previously announced acquisition of Caliber Home Loans, Inc. Upon close of the acquisition, New Residential intends to bring together the complementary mortgage platforms of Caliber and Newrez LLC, New Residential’s wholly owned mortgage originator and servicer. The strategic acquisition expands New Residential’s capabilities, products, and presence across mortgage origination and servicing.

“The completion of the Caliber acquisition is another significant step in growing a leading mortgage company with tremendous earnings power within New Residential,” said Michael Nierenberg, chairman, chief executive officer, and president of New Residential. “We are very pleased to reach this milestone and officially welcome Caliber into the New Residential family. With this acquisition, we have extended our ability to offer a broad spectrum of mortgage products to borrowers throughout their homeownership journey. We expect the combination of Caliber and Newrez to contribute meaningfully to New Residential’s growth in 2021 and beyond.”

Eric Skates named new Executive Vice President (EVP) of Marketing at First Option Mortgage


Eric Skates was recently named the new EVP of marketing for First Option Mortgage. Skates, a marketing veteran, is an innovative and imaginative professional with 10 plus years of experience with marketing development and strategy, organizational planning, and corporate communication. He has overseen omni-channel marketing plans and successfully built a creative team to deliver stellar results.

Prior to starting at First Option Mortgage, Skates ran the marketing and culture initiatives at Equity Prime Mortgage (EPM) for over five years. His past experience includes planning and managing marketing and communication efforts within real estate and non-profits rooted in the finance and insurance industries.

Alanna McCargo nominated by Biden Administration to serve as President of Ginnie Mae

President Biden nominated Alanna McCargo, to be the next president of Ginnie Mae. The announcement was made on September 13, when the President announced 10 key nominations for government agency positions, including roles at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the FTC, the Expert-Import Bank, Department of Commerce, and HUD.

McCargo’s career in housing spans decades and has centered on how America’s housing finance system can equitably provide credit and capital to households and affordable housing stakeholders.

She joined the Biden-Harris Administration after serving as Vice President of the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute, a social and economic policy research firm where she led and developed research programming in collaboration with key housing industry, nonprofit, and government agencies to support housing policy research.


Offerpad going public through SPAC

Offerpad, Inc., a platform for buying and selling residential real estate, and Supernova Partners Acquisition Company, Inc., a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, have completed a transaction that will serve to take Offerpad public. The newly formed company, named Offerpad Solutions Inc., will remain an iBuyer.

Founder and CEO Brian Bair and Offerpad’s management team will continue to lead the combined company. Brian Bair will also serve as chairman of the Offerpad Solutions board of directors. “We are excited about the tremendous opportunity ahead of us as more and more buyers and sellers opt for our digital-first experience,” Bair said.

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

Read this vlog episode, if you prefer, on the Vonk Digital blog!

Vonk Digital, an industry leader in website and marketing tools for mortgage originators across America, is a proud sponsor and hosting partner of The Vision Magazine.


Travel is Back! Check out a few options happening soon.

October 16, 2021, m powering you: MBA’s Summit for Women in Real Estate Finance

Details and Registration

October 17-20, 2021 MBA Annual Convention and Expo 

Details and Registration

For an invitation to our private student events or to our public virtual events contact us at

HAPPENING NOW! Success Symposiums

There’s time to register. Even if you miss the first of these deep-dive courses, the recordings will be available to registered students.

ONLY registered attendees will have access to the success symposiums. Want to register?

For an invitation to our private student events or to our public virtual events contact us at


Have you checked out the 20/20 VSC website lately? Our dynamic, talented, and experienced coaches have their own page! Visit to read all about this amazing team.

The words 20/20 Vision for Success are not in the name of this company by accident. Coaching is about building a foundation for results and knowing how to step into action based on that foundation. Turning vision into reality requires trust that the bedrock beneath the vision is sound. Coaching with 20/20 Vision begins by building and strengthening your foundation and ensures that, as coaching progresses, you and the 20/20 team behind you remain focused on the vision for success.

Getting Serious about Being Productive

By Peter Wietmarschen

Hello everyone! Before I delve into the first book I’m going to share with you, I want to take a moment to say hello! My name is Peter and while this is my first article byline, I have been working behind the scenes with both the Women With Vision Magazine and The Vision over the past year. When I’m not working with the magazines, I am an avid reader and have been for quite some time. In fact, I once was told I read too much! I’ve been known to stay up into the wee hours of the morning just to finish a book. I also know the power a book can provide, whether for self-improvement, business strategy, or writing advice.

This month I want to share with you The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey. This book was first suggested to me by my business coach and has become one of those books I refer to every few weeks.
There are two reasons I am keen on this book. First off, Chris Bailey provides great advice on how to accomplish more by managing your time, attention, and energy.

Second, his book was borne out of his own passion to become the most productive person he could be. His desire to better himself and become more productive meant he turned down job offers after college to experiment with his productivity for one year. He did anything and everything he could during the year to test how productive he could make himself. In the end, he learned many facts about himself, what works the best for himself, and what he will never do again in order to be productive.

What I love about this is Chris took the plunge to do what he loves the most. While the book itself is about productivity, behind the facts and advice is the story of one man who trusted himself and worked his behind off for something he knew was needed. That is a lesson in and of itself.

Let’s take a quick look at why I appreciate this book; the productivity tips. One thing I take pleasure in is Chris Bailey shares all of the tips and tricks he tried, and not just the ones that worked for him because what works for him, might not work for you and vice-versa. These are the three tips I believe we can all use:

  1. Three daily tasks
  2. Empty your brain
  3. Drinking for energy

Three Daily Tasks
This might be the most important tip I learned from The Productivity Project. It is as simple as listing out three tasks to accomplish during the upcoming day. In the morning sit down with a clean sheet of paper and list off three, and only three, tasks to complete for the day. What I find valuable about this is it leaves room for interpretation. Some days might be filled with travel or meetings and your productive time might be less than a normal day, so the three tasks to list might be less involved or have a critical due date. You can choose tasks based on however best they will fit into your day. Other days, you might need to complete three larger projects so you could create a list of three larger tasks to complete. The important takeaway is to adjust your list to always finish the three tasks you write down each day.

Empty Your Brain
Another great way to become more productive is to clear your brain of all the ideas floating around: I need to buy groceries, I need to follow up with three clients, my in-laws are coming over for dinner this week. We fill our heads with many thoughts, both small and large, important, and trivial.

The idea behind emptying your brain is to perform a brain dump. What’s that? Take a few minutes to jot down any and all tasks you need to complete. They can be related to life or business. When you take the time to clear your mind of all the clutter it is easier for you to focus on your three daily tasks.

Drinking For Energy
Here is one productivity tip I never took into consideration until I read The Productivity Project. Plan your caffeine intake around your energy levels. How many of you start your day with a coffee or a caffeinated soda? There is nothing wrong with giving yourself a little jolt of caffeine in the morning but how many of us drink caffeine throughout the day? This is where you can begin to tread into choppy waters. Caffeine can provide you with a nice start to your day but continued consumption can negatively affect your concentration and even lead to a mental crash in the middle of the day. Even worse, sometimes one too many cups of coffee can affect your sleep patterns and negatively affect you the next day. Chris’s advice is to find the times where you are most productive and the times where you naturally fall off a little. Plan your afternoon coffee around the time you are naturally at your lowest energy level.

These are just three of the many great tips Chris Bailey shares in The Productivity Project. No matter what your career is, we can all find a bit more productivity in our lives. I highly suggest this book to anyone, especially anyone who is a businessowner or has the ability to create their own schedule. Chris Bailey shares the important lessons he learned through his own experiments and research into productivity. He begins each chapter with a quick glance at what you should take away from the chapter and the approximate reading time. He ends most chapters with a short exercise you can use to implement the chapter’s takeaway. The productivity advice Chris shares can be used individually, but the sum of the parts is greater than the whole when you use two or more tactics together.

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Productivity Project– Chris Bailey

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 and let’s talk books. –Editor

Be sure to catch these other 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.

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