Wave has subsided, but GSEs will still represent 90% of bolstered market
It’s beginning to look a lot like convention season. A week after the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts staged its trade show in Las Vegas, the National Association of Mortgage Brokers put on its own gathering in the same city for three days’ worth of hands-on instruction and networking.
NAMB National 2022 took place at Caesar’s Palace from Oct. 7-10. Mortgage Professional America was there, interviewing attendees in gaining insight into the significance of the event for their industry. In gaining insights into the industry from key players, MPA interviewed those involved in each aspect of the business – prime/conventional; reverse mortgages; appraisals; commercial/investor; and non-QM.
“Look, this is going to be a different market the rest of the year, ’23 and maybe even ’24 than what we’ve seen the last couple of years – ’20, ’21 were a fantasy land,” Austin Niemiec (pictured), executive vice president of Rocket Pro TPO, told MPA at the conference. The last two years mentioned referenced the unprecedented level of refinancing ushered in by historically high property values – yielding low-hanging fruit for brokers achieved with minimal effort. For the foreseeable future, those halcyon days of refinance are gone and it’s time to put in the harder work, he suggested. “It was great,” he said of refi, “but we’re entering more of a normal market than we’re used to.”
The sugar high of refi has ebbed, as reflected in the convention crowds: “What I’ve noticed about the crowd here is that it’s different than years past. It’s very focused. People really are here to learn, to collaborate and get better where in years past it’s been more of a celebration. And it’s exciting.”
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With rates rising as the Fed tries to slay the dragon of inflation, housing activity has slowed. Yet Niemiec – whose firm has been in business some 20 years, witnessing the industry’s cyclical nature along the way – has encouraging advice to brokers: “What I’ve been telling brokers is this: I don’t care if rates go up to 9%. or all the way down to 2%. Conventional Fannie, Freddie or Ginnie, FHA – it’s still going to be 90% of the market. We’re rolling out some non-QM to help create a little more diversity and excitement. But Fannie, Freddie, FHA, VA – no matter how you look at it is still going to be 90% of the market. So, continue to get good at that, continue to build relationships with agents. We’re going to see record-setting purchase years in ‘23 and record-setting purchase years in ‘24. There’s still a lot of business to go get.”
Despite a turn in the tide, brokers are navigating along despite choppy waters, Niemiec said: “People are excited to look at the business a little differently,” he said. “Before it was a capacity game – everyone, their friends, family, every lead they talked to – was in the money to refi in the last couple of years. Now you gotta get crafty and look at the world a little bit differently. I think although brokers enjoyed the last few years, they’re excited to attack it in a little bit of a different way. If you’re a pro who’s in it for the long run, it’s a great time to lean in and build your business.”
Members in the thousands among the rank and file of NAMB – self-described as “the voice of the mortgage industry” representing the interests of mortgage professionals and homebuyers since 1973 – swooped down in Las Vegas to hone their skills while reconnecting with colleagues. The breadth of talks reflected a changing landscape: How tech is changing non-QM mortgage lending; how to be a pro in a changing mortgage environment; growing your business in a shrinking market; powering what’s next in TPO; capitalizing on non-QM opportunities; how third-party processing can recharge your business; choosing a non-QM lending partner; and more.
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And what would a convention be without galvanizing keynotes speakers? NAMB had that covered with best-selling author Randi Zuckerberg who expounded on her efforts in placing intelligent, tech-savvy, entrepreneurial women and girls at the center of pop culture and media. Other speakers included Julienne Joseph, deputy assistant secretary, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, federal housing administration; and US Rep. Steven Horsford (D=NV).