52 December 2017
can settle down, start families and build equity.
Skeptical? Then, take note of a study from Ellie
Mae earlier this year which shows that 84 percent
of the home loans closed at the beginning of 2017
went to mortgages for millennials.
Millennials aren’t just craving homes of their
own—they’re on the cusp of emerging as the most
influential force in the housing industry (TransUnion
estimates that 17 million first-time homebuyers will
enter the housing market in the next five years).
That means endless opportunities await mortgage
lenders that understand this generation’s wants
SPARE THE TREES
Another facet of change in the mortgage
industry is technology. Gone are the days when
borrowers were willing to trek to a bank, sit down
with a loan officer and spend hours combing over
a 500-page loan application.
Nowadays, in the age of Amazon, customers
want speed and convenience. They want to apply
for mortgages online, which is the same way they
want to search for homes.
Savvy mortgage companies are partnering
with Silicon Valley developers, tdevelop mobile
apps and other products that make applying for
a mortgage easier. They’re developing products
that meet customers where they are, and make
applying for a mortgage accessible and less of a
DIVERSIFY YOUR C-SUITE
There's also a shift happening in the workplace.
More than ever before, diversity is essential to
recruiting and retaining top talent. Plus, it helps
lenders establish trust with consumers.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
earlier this year released a report examining why
diversity in the mortgage industry is paramount.
In part, it said that diversity creates space
for perspectives that challenge “groupthink”
among people with similar backgrounds. It
helps companies tap into new market segments
and develop innovative financial products that
meet the needs of customers across multiple
And more diversity, at the executive and
operations levels, lessens the chance a mortgage
company will make tone-deaf statements that
offend members of certain communities — a boon
for any organization in the age of social media.
Company leaders must shift their thinking and
stop treating diversity as an industry buzzword that
indicts or perceive it as an excuse for employees to
bring up uncomfortable topics. Diversity is simply
JOIN THE SHIFT
I know this because I’ve seen it work. Each
year, NAMMBA (which stands for the National
Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of
America) hosts a conference, dubbed “Connect,”
to bring together some of the biggest and
brightest players in the mortgage space. The two-day gathering in Atlanta helps mortgage bankers
of all types learn from some of the best, and
leverage networking opportunities to take their
business to the next level.
NAMMBA’s upcoming conference next April
features a who's who of mortgage industry
innovators. Nima Ghamsari, founder and CEO of
a digital platform that helps lenders close loans
faster, and Lisa Skeete Tatum, founder of a tech
platform that helps women navigate their career
paths. Both are prime examples of the shift that’s
happening in the lending space; its’s no longer an
industry run by white men for white men.
The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2044,
the nation’s minorities will become the majority,
and rise to 56 percent of the total population by
2060, versus 38 percent in 2014. As the country’s
racial makeup changes, so will the demographic
makeup of homeownership.
The mortgage industry should embrace and
adapt to that change.
Tony Thompson, CMB is the founder and CEO of
the National Association of Minority Mortgage
Bankers of America. He can be reached at Tony.