s worried that business would suffer when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new rules took effect Jan. 10. But Open Mortgage, one of the top reverse lenders in the country, made sure to be prepared when the new regulations hit.
“We’ve actually been working on the rules with our director of compliance and our attorneys for the last four months,” said Greg Block, Open Mortgage’s vice president of lending. “We’re holding daily training sessions for all our branches every day. We go over all the procedure changes and policy changes we’ve implemented.
“The rules have certainly had an effect on the industry, but if you understand them and really implement the new policies and procedures, it doesn’t affect business at all from my standpoint,” Block said. “…We were absolutely prepared. I do know of other companies that are just now – even after the rules have been implemented – are trying to play catch up. There are some people who had the theory, ‘Well, come January 1st
, they’re going to change their mind.’ They were never going to change their minds. The new rules are like whitewater – they’re constantly changing. So you just have to adapt and overcome.”
Adapting did mean making a lot of changes, Block said – but he felt those changes would allow Open Mortgage to take the rules in stride without a disruption of business.
“We’re had to change many of our internal policies and procedures, but knowing what the rules were and having four months to prepare for it, come January 10 we were 100-percent ready, and had educated our branches,” he said.
Block said Open Mortgage would educating the 150-plus loan officers at 90 branches as the new rules were tweaked.
“I think it’ll be, at minimum, a monthly ongoing process,” he said. “We want to make sure our originators are educated, so they don’t delay closings because they didn’t understand something. We’re in the business to help people get into houses. We want to make sure when loan officers close, there’s no delay because of all the recent changes in the rules.”
And all that preparation, Block said, is already paying off.
“If you don’t properly prepare for change in industry, the effect on your business is significant,” he said. “If you do properly prepare, it’s business as normal.”