Craig Blunden started Provident Financial Holdings' mortgage shop in 1987, and has witnessed a lot of cycles. The "craziest" time, not surprisingly, came in the mid-00s. Real estate in California's Inland Empire was white hot, and lenders willingly tossed fuel on the fire.

"Stated-income loans were big here; option ARMs were big. You had four hairdressers pooling their money to buy a house and flip it," recalls Blunden, now Riverside, Calif.-based Provident's CEO. "We had to participate in those things to compete. If we didn't do it, we would have needed to lock up our doors."

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the mortgage industry

30-Day Free Trial

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the mortgage industry