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DS5 Retrospective Part 1: Exclusive Conversations With Mortgage Leaders

When the country’s businesses and institutions began closing doors and working remotely, Five Star Global’s media arm launched DS5: Inside the Industry, a video newscast format that highlights economic and industry updates from its executives and leaders.

Now MReport readers can watch and hear industry leaders in a quick, easy-to-consume format, streaming to any device or desktop. The following are selected insights from some of DS5's top conversations with subject-matter experts in 2020.

In the first of this series, on March 26, we heard from Steve Bailey, COO for PennyMac; Mike Dubeck, President and CEO of Planet Financial Group; and Terry Smith, CEO of Rushmore Loan Management Services about how the COVID pandemic is impacting vendor management, working with homeowners during a pandemic, and the roles that both technology and subservicers can have in the current environment. Bailey spoke about lessons learned in the 2008 crisis and how they might apply to the COVID-19 crisis.

“While all crises are unique, what is consistent is the need to move quickly and to understand the rules that are changing,” Bailey said.

Suzy Lindblom, COO, Planet Home Lending

She discussed the biggest challenges lenders are facing during the national health crisis, and she provided insights into ongoing efforts in some regions to move away from single-family zoning.

“There are two major events that mortgage lenders are facing, one definitely is COVID-19, and the other is historically low interest rates,” she said before detailing how her company is responding. “I do think, as a country, we need more affordable housing and should watch what some of the states [such as California] are doing across the nation,” she added.

Charmaine Brown, Diversity and Inclusion Expert; Senior Consultant, Alignment Strategies

Brown previously served as the Director of External Outreach and Engagement for the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion at Fannie Mae. She discussed how companies can promote diversity and inclusion in a remote-working environment.

“We need to be really clear about what inclusion is," she said. “Inclusion and belonging are really intertwined. Employees who feel included are more likely to speak up.” She offered tips on how to accomplish this in a remote-work environment.

Eric Kaplan, Director, Milken Institute of Financial Research; Vice-Chair, Consumer Advisory Board, CFPB

Kaplan delved into how COVID-19 has impacted a potential homeowner's ability to achieve homeownership, as the access to credit continues to tighten.  

“We’ve seen a significant restriction in the access to credit,” Kaplan said. Keep in mind that the COVID crisis looks a lot different than the financial crisis of 2008. There we saw a slow rollover, whereas now we are seeing an unprecedented wave at breakneck speeds … of job loss income curtailment … devastating to wide swaths of the community.” It all leads to a restriction to credit access, he explained.

Aaron Samples, CEO, First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation

Samples discussed the trends, challenges, and struggles facing the non-QM industry due to the impact of COVID-19. Samples also delved into why the industry had "paused." 

“I think across the market, we’ve seen most lenders kind of drawback, hit the pause button [on non-QM lending],” he said. “I think it’s important to know, though, this is not due to credit, or risk, or asset performance. This is 100% a liquidity issue. The asset, quality, and performance of these loans have been very good for the last several years. It’s unfortunate that the market’s on pause. I think a lot of people need the credit, need the availability to tap that credit and that product.”

About Author: David Wharton

David Wharton, Managing Editor at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received his B.A. in English and minored in Journalism. Wharton has over 15 years of experience in journalism and previously worked at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm, as Associate Content Editor, focusing on producing media content related to tax and accounting principles and government rules and regulations for accounting professionals. Wharton has an extensive and diversified portfolio of freelance material, with published contributions in both online and print media publications. Wharton and his family currently reside in Arlington, Texas. He can be reached at David.Wharton@theMReport.com.

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