Allyson Kreycik has had a good year. She had a baby and became the seventh highest female originator in the country, with $164m in originations in 2012. She jumped ship from a failing mortgage business, joined Guaranteed Rate, a franchised mortgage banking company, and started a new life in Boston.
Where did you begin your career in the mortgage industry?
A. I started in 2002, as an assistant to a high-producing loan officer. I moved to Boston, not knowing anyone, and I learned the industry by being thrown in the fire. Business was busy, and I learned by taking applications and putting the packages together. I did this for a few years.
What was your next move?
A. I started to do my own sales and, in 2007, I became a loan officer. I didn’t have much volume, so I worked for Wells Fargo in its new construction division. It was difficult to establish real estate agent referrals at that point because I was so new, so new construction seemed like the right fit. Plus, it was kind of an untapped market at the time.
How did you get to Guaranteed Rate?
A. I chose Guaranteed Rate last year because of its incredible condo department in Chicago. Guaranteed Rate is expert in condominiums and it has helped a great deal when we are trying to get condos approved by the GSEs. It would be very difficult to do [condominium lending] without it. Lenders just can’t get it done. Condo lending is always changing and Chicago knows how to structure its documents.
How is its model different?
A. Most banks take a loan, send it to a processor, which needs to meet the conditions of the underwriter, and then goes back to the processor for any missing conditions. It’s like a volleyball game.
At the correspondent model, which has still been a challenge learning what real mortgage banking is, I have a team and my assistant processor, a mortgage consultant in-house… it never goes back to the processor, it goes to a coordinator and then underwriter for sign-off. The main idea is the process is always forward moving and everyone is under strict timelines. The only way I know how to describe it is a widget manufacturer, where if you put ’em in and put ’em in right, production is a smooth process.
What are the biggest future challenges?
A. The biggest current challenge in this market is shifting to a purchase market. Refinances have been a huge chunk of originators’ business and some won’t be doing any at all anymore, following huge rate rises. There will be irrational pricing on purchases in the market because there are originators out there that won’t be able to sustain the loss of refinances. Some will still do a deal they can’t make money on just to get the client. This could be a good thing, though, because it might signal they are on their way out of the industry.
We will also see interest rates continue to rise and FHA be a less viable option for consumers. It is also becoming a major challenge to get condo approvals from HUD. Sellers sometimes will drop out because of FHA’s slowness.
What does the current mortgage market look like to you?
A. Rates and supply are the two main factors right now. Over the past few years, demand has been pent-up, but there is still not enough supply in the market. I’m very optimistic, but both mortgage professionals and real estate agents have to do more work. They have to run pre-approvals on 10 or 20 buyers because it is difficult to get an offer accepted [since supply is so low].