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DS5 Retrospective Part 2: 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.

Michael Oursler, COO, NewDay USA

Oursler spoke about rising purchase applications and how the pandemic may cause originators to re-examine their business models.

“I think mortgage originators have, first of all, been forced to innovate,” he said. “I think you’ve seen a lot of mortgage lenders streamlining their internal processes to allow their human capital to work well with technology.”

Austin Niemiec, EVP, Quicken Loans Mortgage Services

Niemiec discussed the role technology will play in the mortgage process post-COVID-19, and also what the industry can do to protect homeowners from foreclosure once they exit forbearance.

“Post-COVID, I think [tech is] going to play a significantly larger role,“ Niemiec said. “In general, in America, folks are becoming more comfortable with technology... sometimes brokers think, ‘Is technology going to replace me?’ No—technology is going to help brokers. It starts with a mindset shift.”

Mike Eckrote, SVP Quality Control, Planet Home Lending

Eckrote discussed how homeowners can protect themselves from fraud. He also delved into how the mortgage industry and mortgage servicers have changed since the last downturn. 

“One of the things is that you want to make sure [of is that] any of the forbearance schemes that were there in the past, and to some extent current, you don’t get caught up in as a consumer … the servicing industry [in 2008] was not prepared for the wave of foreclosures that came through. Servicers have gotten a lot more nimble around all the rules and regulations....”

Laura Escobar, President, Eagle Home Mortgage

Escobar discussed how companies can maintain employee engagement and stay connected, especially now. She said, at Eagle, from interns to top executives, everyone is empowered to change the company for the better. She emphasized the importance of innovation, engagement, and connection.  

“Last week we sent out movie and popcorn tins … to remind associates to stop and exhale with their families.”

Jeffrey Tesch, CEO, RCN Capital

RCN leader Tesch discussed single-family rental (SFR) investing now and in the year to come. 

“Going into the COVID crisis … there was already unprecedented demand for single-family housing across the United States,” he said. A pivotal question facing the industry is, “How quickly will single-family homeowners who have experienced distress be able to get back to work?”

About Author: David Wharton

David Wharton, Editor-in-Chief 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 nearly 20 years' 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. He can be reached at [email protected]

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