Are mortgage brokers an endangered species?

by MPA16 Dec 2014
We asked three industry leaders if they thought that regulatory changes and public perception were endangering the mortgage brokering profession. Here’s what they had to say.

John Councilman, President, NAMB:
"I don’t think they are an endangered species. As long as I’ve been in the mortgage business – which is about 30 years – we’ve always wondered if mortgage brokerage would be here tomorrow. And surely enough, it always has been there tomorrow. I think that we’re always in a position that leads to people who don’t understand what we do – especially Congress and regulators – and that creates problems for mortgage brokers. If more mortgage brokers were willing to support their industry more than they do, this problem would disappear. I think that’s the key – and the answer to the problem.

There are quite a few things that every person who’s not just an owner should do – but originators, processors, underwriters – these are the people that make this industry run. First off, every one of these people should join NAMB. If we had all these people joining NAMB, we could have such an advertising campaign that it would spin the way mortgage brokers are viewed in six months at the most. … We would be able to create an environment that would give us the education that we need, the guidance that we need, and such. Everyone should join NAMB, because the industry needs everyone to be there and be counted, and quite frankly, we need the funds to accomplish the things that the industry needs us to do."
Scott Gordon, Founder and CEO, Open Mortgage:
"On the traditional mortgage side, brokering is a tough way to go right now. Regs favor the bigger players, and brokers can't afford the tools bankers can. Right now, instead of brokering, individuals should partner with strong mortgage bankers who can help them grow their production to the next level. 
On the reverse side, regulations and the market are different. If you don't want the help of a big banker (which you should) you can still go it alone as a broker. Just keep an eye on regs and don't get caught off guard when the world changes again."
Jonathan Marcoline, Branch Manager, FBC Loans:
"It seems to be that way. I see fewer and fewer brokers out there, and there’s becoming less and less availability for them to be out there. Nowadays everybody seems to be able to get their own branch from a bank or correspondent lending.

Nowadays all my competitors in the area seem to be branches of banks. I couldn’t name you a mortgage broker right now that pops up in my mind as a competitor. So it does appear to be that way, that they’re on the way out the door.

I just don’t see that it has the advantages that it once had. I was with a broker when I first got into this business. We had everything that the banks at those times didn’t. … The mortgage bankers, if they could do those things, I don’t think people knew it. Now everybody seems to be a correspondent or a banker, the non-conforming stuff seems to be mostly gone – so what’s the advantage now of being a mortgage broker when the mortgage banker is doing all those same things anyway? You’re not making any more money as a broker now, and so many people have been weeded out. It seems like the only people who are still out there are those that had the capital to survive. And if you have the capital, you’re probably going to be a banker."

This story originally appeared in the December 2014 issue of Mortgage Professional America Magazine. Click here to view the magazine.