Are you optimistic about 2016? The economy? Why?
There are many reasons to be optimistic about 2016. Key economic indicators suggest stability and growth. Unemployment is decreasing and consumers are more financially savvy.
The real estate market is strong, and while inventory may be tight, historically low rates coupled with more stable consumer confidence and decreasing unemployment are all factors resulting in people entertaining and pursuing homeownership.
Beyond the broader economy, home ownership is more than just an economic decision. For example, according to the National Association of Realtors 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the primary reason for purchasing a home, at 30 percent, was the desire of people to own homes of their own.
The housing market? Why?
This fall, Lenders One conducted a survey with our members regarding the outlook of mortgage bankers on 2016. According to the findings, mortgage bankers indicated that 2016 is expected to be a seller’s (rather than a buyer’s) market.
While the supply shortfall is good for sellers in the short term, longer term it is likely to prompt homebuilders to develop new inventory to meet demand. The market is also making great strides in aligning itself with the expectations of millennials — a generation on the cusp of being a huge wave of first-time home buyers — appealing to the high value this group places on convenience and accessibility.
Case in point: technology has recently started to take hold in a much more sophisticated way than simply listing inventory online with capabilities such as paperless and mobile mortgage applications, and increasingly being able to complete more than simple home browsing online.
Your success? Why?
In 2015, Lenders One continued to drive mortgage lenders’ strength and growth by adding new preferred vendors and financial partners, presenting opportunities for the industry to work with charitable organizations and perhaps most important: delivering millions of dollars in savings to our members.
Each of these accomplishments has contributed to our mission of supporting member profitability, networking and education. 2016 success will continue to be defined by our ability to help the members grow their businesses and become more efficient.
Are you making plans to expand, contract or maintain your business this year?
Our momentum this year has opened doors for continued growth and success at Lenders One. There is increasing recognition of the value our cooperative can provide, and in today’s fiercely competitive market there is incredible interest in the edge our members have in the marketplace.
We’re currently planning our winter conference in March, which we’ll use to help our members learn from one another, expand their businesses, and as an extension of that — grow the cooperative. Our members are our greatest advocates because we all benefit from a larger, stronger cooperative.
What is your biggest challenge in the coming year?
For Lenders One, we continue to need to educate the market on the notable return on investment lenders can achieve through a cooperative. This is a proven concept, but there are still some bankers that aren’t familiar with the benefits: savings, profitability, networking and education.
For our members, intense competition is always a challenge. That’s where a cooperative can provide an edge. To look at a more specific theme, in 2015 there was a major focus on being ready for TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID). Moving into 2016 this dialogue will need to shift from being TRID-ready to becoming TRID-successful. A large component of this will be continuing to offer exemplary education to our members to ensure that each party in the process of acquiring mortgage financing has the appropriate level of understanding and comfort in speaking to consumers about the change.
The process to apply for and secure a mortgage now involves a greater degree of education and familiarity with new policies to help, and we’re working closely with mortgage bankers to digest the rules and share best practices for managing them, and maybe even using them as a competitive advantage.