PERSON OF THE WEEK: Jason R. Marx Takes The Industry’s Pulse

This week, MortgageOrb chats with Jason R. Marx, vice president and general manager, mortgages, at Wolters Kluwer Financial Services in Minneapolis, on what he is hearing from mortgage bankers on the current state of affairs.

Q: From your experience, what are mortgage bankers currently focusing on?

Marx: Most of our customers have shifted their attention into three primary areas: keeping pace with regulatory changes and the pace of regulatory compliance updates, staying abreast of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) servicing and lending and the new Hope for Homeowners program, and loss mitigation.

Q: What are your customers telling you about the shape of their operations?

Marx: I don't think anyone is having a banner time in this tough market. Where they are focused, and what we're listening to, is centered around workflow efficiencies, automation and improvement of their pipeline. A lot of that activity has migrated to FHA lending. Right now, 38% of our business has shifted to FHA lending.

Q: Do you expect to see even more FHA lending in 2009? And what about Ginnie Mae-related lending?

Marx:
On FHA lending, from the document side, sure. We're seeing more call for it. With Ginnie Mae, we're seeing that less frequently, but I would suspect that will pick up.

Q: So where is the industry heading? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

Marx: I think we're going to be in the tunnel for a while. We believe there is still another 18 to 24 months of work on the loss mitigation side, based on what we are hearing from our customers.

Q: And if we were to reconnect next year, where do you see the industry?

Marx: I don't think everything will be fixed in 12 months. We still have some issues to work out as an industry. The foundation we look to is based on valuations, so when there is some stability in home values, we think that will be able to bring some foundation to build upon.

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