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Nancy Alley, vice president of strategic planning at Simplifile, likes the "sponsor" model of helping advance young peoples' mortgage careers.
Nancy Alley, vice president of strategic planning at Simplifile, likes the "sponsor" model of helping advance young peoples' mortgage careers.

To Prevent Repeats of Mortgage Disasters, Mentor Future Leaders

JUL 22, 2014 10:23am ET
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One of the reasons the mortgage business cycles from boom to bust so frequently is that the industry's collective knowledge doesn't get passed along (or does and is forgotten).

What other explanation (other than magical belief) can account for the fact that negatively amortizing mortgages were at the core of the last two mortgage collapses?

Fortunately, there's a way to mitigate this problem. And it has the side benefit of being extremely gratifying for those who do it.

I've just come back from an exciting week of mentoring young people in Santa Clara, Calif. And while my experience was with young journalism students, I'm sure mentoring young mortgage recruits or finance students could be equally rewarding.

Mentoring has obvious applications for increasing minority and female presence in the mortgage industry. But it is not limited to that. For instance, the mortgage business is rich in trainers. When I was editor of Broker magazine, I got to work with many of the top trainers in the business, including Greg Frost and Karen Deis, who still writes marketing columns for us in National Mortgage News and Origination News.

And while training usually is for-profit rather than volunteer work, a considerable amount of mentoring of young trainees did go on in the mortgage seminars I attended. I remember Greg Frost giving one young guy a list of potential mortgage leads to try, each of which was deemed undoable by the extremely green mortgage originator. Greg didn't give up but went on until he came to something the trainee said he could do. That was passing out pamphlets in his apartment building, which potentially was filled with people wanting to move up to ownership.

Another young guy raised his hand and asked, "How do you get referrals from a real estate agent?" Sounds like a dumb question, but obviously this guy's whole career had been in refinancings and now he was facing the prospect of having to go out there and get leads for the purchase market. That young originator also got some valuable mentoring that day.

The trade groups, like the Mortgage Bankers Association, have their own education programs that can be used for professional development and mentoring. But some mortgage officials have obviously given a lot of thought to mentoring and recruiting issues on their own.

Nancy Alley, vice president of strategic planning at the electronic recording vendor Simplifile, has her own take on the value of mentoring. A lot of mentoring programs have "mixed results," she said, because they don't get practical enough. She prefers a "sponsor" approach, where a manager or mentor gets behind a person's career, talking about them to people in the industry, putting them out there in the way of opportunities or interviews, and pushing them to challenge themselves. The sponsor approach "really resonated for me for my own career," said Alley, a veteran technologist who won the Mortgage Technology magazine Steve Fraser Visionary Award in 2012. I'd call this approach mentoring on steroids.

Alley participated in a panel on attracting women to mortgage technology at this year's MBA tech conference. The focus of the panel, she said, was "why do women opt out of mortgage technology?" Research indicates women may be opting out of seeing themselves in tech careers "as early as grade school." And that's because some women have a perception of themselves as not being capable to succeed in technology, she said.

Debra Still, MBA chair for 2013 and only the second woman to lead the group in its 100-year history, has said mentoring mortgage women was a key part of her term. In her exit interview with National Mortgage News, she described women repeatedly reaching out to her for advice on professional advancement after many of the dozens of appearances she made around the country during her year in office.

By mentoring the new recruits in the business or the kids who are thinking about entering the field, mortgage executives can give new meaning to the term "mortgage pass-through."

Mark Fogarty, editor at large for National Mortgage News, brings more than 30 years of observing the mortgage business to his analyses of the industry.

Comments (1)
SOMEBODY NEEDS TO MONITOR GREEN TREE SERVICING.GOOGLE THEM AND LOOK AT THE HIGH NUMBER OF VICTIMS.THEY ARE STEALING HOMES,LOSING PAYMENTS,NOT PAYING THE INSURANCE TO FORCE THE CUSTOMER TO BUY THEIRS,THEY ARE NOT PAYING THE LAND TAXES,TAKING MONEY FROM ESCROW ACCOUNTS AND NOT TELLING THE CUSTOMER WHERE IT WENT.CUSTOMERS AKA VICTIMS ARE CRYING FOR HELP AND NOBODY IS LISTENING!! WHEN A PERSON HAS NEVER BEEN LATE ON A PAYMENT IN 17 YRS THEN GREEN TREE STARTS SERVICING THE LOAN THEN THEY ARE TOLD THEY ARE LATE.THEY SIT ON THE PAYMENTS FOR UP TO 3 MONTHS,DEMAND PAYMENT IN FULL FROM CHECKING ACCOUNTS,THREATEN FORECLOSURE WHEN THEY HAVE THE PAYMENTS.HOW MANY TIMES CAN A COMPANY LOSE WESTERN UNION QUICK COLLECT PAYMENTS?ROBO SIGNING TO FORECLOSE ON A HOME WHEN THE CUSTOMER WAS PAYING AND DIDN'T KNOW THEY WERE BEING FORECLOSED ON??!! WHERE IS OUR HELP?SOME SAY THE CEO'S ARE REAL ESTATE INVESTORS,THEY BUY MORTGAGES THAT ARE HALF WAY PAID OFF OR ALMOST PAID OFF.THEY CHANGE THE TERMS OF THE MORTGAGE AND LAUGH WHEN A CUSTOMER ASKS ABOUT IT.THEY TELL CUSTOMERS THE ONLY WAY THEY WILL POST A PAYMENT IS IF THEY GIVE THEIR BANK ACT INFO THEN THEY TAKE OUR MORE THAN ONCE OR MORE THAN AGREED.NOT PAYING THE INSURANCE?NOT PAYING THE LAND TAXES?WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING?THERE HAS BEEN NOTHING NICE SAID ABOUT GREEN TREE.GOOGLE LOST PAYMENTS GREEN TREE.WHEN SOMEONE REFINANCES TO GET AWAY FROM THEM THEY ARE TOLD THEY WILL BE FOUND BY A GT REP AND GUESS WHAT?THEY ARE AND GT WILL SERVICE THE LOAN AGAIN! THEY GET BONUSES FOR FORECLOSING ON HOMES THAT WERE NEVER BEHIND!! IS THIS WHAT THE MORTGAGE INDUSTRY HAS TURNED INTO? WHERE ARE THE RULES AND WHO ENFORCES THEM? ATTORNEY GENERALS ARE BEING TOLD,LAWYERS HIRED AND YET GREEN TREE DOESN'T SEEM TO CARE.GT EMPLOYEES OR COLLECTION REPS HAVE BEEN REPORTED PHYSICALLY GOING TO A CUSTOMERS HOME AND TELLING THEM THEY WILL HAVE THEIR HOUSE.TO MOVE OUT NOW WHEN THE CUSTOMER IS NOT BEHIND ON PAYMENTS.GREEN TREE WILL NOT DO SEARCHES FOR THE PAYMENTS BUT MAKES THE CUSTOMER DO ALL OF THE SEARCHING.HOW CAN THEY DENY THEY HAVE A WIRE TRANSFER WHEN THE COMPANY SHOWS THEY HAVE IT?THEY WILL DENY THEY HAVE THE FUNDS FROM YOUR BAND WHEN THE BANK SHOWS IT?THEY ARE RUINING PEOPLES LIVES.SOMEBODY IN THE MORTGAGE INDUSTRY HELP US PLEASE!!(Desperate homeowner here .Have owned my home for over 15 yrs without any problems until GT came in and my payments went missing!!I was told that they wanted my property because I am half way through the loan and its worth more than I owe.There are many more people like me just do a search and you will see.President Obama why aren't you helping us??)
Posted by sherrie m | Tuesday, July 22 2014 at 5:29PM ET
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