Will McDermott is editor of Scotsman Guide Residential Edition.
Reach him at (800) 297-6061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
John G. Stevens
NAMB, The Association of Mortgage Professionals
By Will McDermott
John G. Stevens is president-elect of
NAMB, The Association of Mortgage
Professionals, and vice president
of business development for RPM
Mortgage, the No. 17 ranked retail
nonbank lender in the U.S. He has
been actively involved in NAMB and
industry thought leadership since
2010. Stevens has been recognized
as one of the most influential and
connected mortgage professionals
in the industry.
NAMB works for all mortgage professionals
The mortgage industry is in transition. Rising interest rates and home prices, increasing origination costs
and processing times, along with regulatory uncertainty out of Washington have many professionals searching for ways to stay competitive while economic and political sands shift beneath their feet. We talked with
John G. Stevens, president-elect of NAMB, The Association of Mortgage Professionals, a trade association that
has represented the interests of industry professionals for almost 45 years, about these issues and NAMB’s role
in representing the industry.
What is the biggest issue facing the mortgage industry?
The biggest thing we’re facing right now is an urgent need to simplify our industry. It needs to be as easy …
as working an iPhone or ordering something on Amazon. There are too many people out there trying to make
it difficult to do a mortgage, and it’s not difficult.
What about the threat of rising interest rates and home prices?
Yes, rates are going to rise and yes, home prices are going to rise, but the difference this time is that the rise is
being sustained through this rate cycle. We don’t have home prices being fueled by … falsely inflated or changed
guidelines. They’re being fueled by the market. And that’s what is key for us here. Right now, we’re based on the
real economy and not the stated-income economy of the past.
You don’t think we’re in danger of another bubble?
Throughout any free-market economy there are always going to be course corrections, and through the
upcoming years, we’re going to see many course corrections being done by the market. The best thing you
can do is to prepare yourself by having your company, or being partnered with a company, that is prepared
with purchase business because any time rates rise — any time there is a correction in pricing — it’s purchase
business that will sustain you.
What is the biggest issue NAMB is looking at on a national level??
Right now, our main focus is ensuring that the new administration is being pro-housing industry. With the
uncertainty that is looming in Washington, D.C., we are wanting to make sure that they understand how
important the American Dream is, and NAMB is willing to work with them, and we look forward to working
with them, throughout the upcoming years to make that dream a possibility for all Americans.
What advice would you give originators for dealing with regulatory uncertainty?
Laws are laws, and the rest is just chatter. My advice is to abide by the law and forget the rest as chatter.
There is a big difference between chatter and directly engaging with lawmakers. NAMB is where the chatter
ends and the direct engagement with lawmakers begins. We engage lawmakers to collaborate and help them
understand how lawmaking can create the best outcomes for the consumer. So, by being involved with NAMB,
you’re going to be made aware of proposed regulations. You’re going to be made aware of how it affects you
and your business. … Being a part of NAMB and being a part of that difference-maker is key to the survival of
our industry, and to go more granular, key to the survival of your career.
Any advice for originators looking to increase their business in this market?
My advice is to build their company or be partnered with a company that is heavily-focused on growing their
business. Do they have the advanced approvals and well-trained underwriters who understand that we’re in a
purchase market? If you’re not approved before you go to the table, you’re going to miss out because someone
else will be. If you want to beat those cash offers, you have to have that advanced approval.
How does NAMB help its members achieve success?
NAMB is all about education, advocacy and communication. … At the end of the day, there are two types of
members of NAMB — because every [mortgage professional] is a member — there are the members who pay
and the members who don’t, because NAMB will continue fighting for them on a national level to ensure they
can stay within their careers. So, my advice is to become involved. My advice is to make sure that you are aware
of the issues that are being faced and maintain your education levels because our industry, whether we like it or
not, is changing on a daily basis, and if you’re not at the forefront, you’re left behind in the dust. n