National Mortgage News is proud to celebrate its 40th anniversary this month.
The publication was founded by Stan Strachan, John Glynn and Wesley Lindow as a biweekly newspaper called National Thrift News. Strachan, a former assistant managing editor of American Banker (now our sister publication), oversaw the journalism operation as editor, while Glynn, a former executive at Sperry Corp., and Lindow, a former president of Irving Bank, handled the business side of things.
It was 1976, the year of the U.S. Bicentennial, the dawn of Apple Computer and supersonic commercial flight aboard the Concorde jet. The average rate for a 30-year mortgage was 8.87% and the median sales price of existing homes was $38,100.
As legend has it, an apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side served as National Thrift News' first newsroom, where the bathtub was used to store newspapers.
It was a decent filing system. We still have physical copies of every issue of the paper, save for the very first issue, volume 1, issue 1, dated Sept. 30. (If you happen to still have a copy, please let us know!)
The paper really started to make waves with its coverage of the growing savings and loan crisis in the late 1980s. Reports on a 1987 meeting between S&L executive Charles H. Keating Jr. and five U.S. senators blew the doors open on what would come to be known as the "Keating Five" corruption scandal.
The publication's coverage of the S&L crisis — well ahead of any attention paid by the mainstream media — earned National Thrift News the prestigious George Polk Award for Financial Reporting in 1988.
With the S&L business collapsing all around it, the paper had to evolve. The publication was renamed National Thrift and Mortgage News in June 1989, and then simply National Mortgage News in April 1990, to reflect the changing nature of the industry it covered.
NMN's parent company was acquired by Thomson Corp.'s Faulkner and Gray division in 1995. Faulkner and Gray, along with other Thomson assets, were later sold in a transaction that led to the creation of our current parent company, SourceMedia.
There have been numerous other changes throughout the past 40 years. A wide range of sister publications to NMN have come and gone as industry needs have evolved. And as digital media offerings have become the focal point of our business, we strive to serve our readers with comprehensive and timely news and analysis of the mortgage industry.
To commemorate our anniversary, we're looking forward. This month's magazine cover story features the insights of four veteran industry executives and examines the future of mortgage finance from the perspective of four key pillars: people, policy, technology and capital.
But that's not all. On NMN's website this month, our 40th anniversary coverage will explore the defining moments and trends of the past that will shape and influence the future. Plus, we've created an interactive quiz that will really test your knowledge of the history of the industry.
While I never personally knew Strachan, his legacy is still felt in our newsroom today and it's an honor for my colleagues and I to contribute to and carry on the proud tradition he established 40 years ago.
Austin Kilgore is editor in chief of National Mortgage News.