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Residential Department: From the Editor: December 2009


From the Editor

I received a lot of apologies at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Annual Conference in October.

And no, no one stepped or spilled on me. I don't believe anyone was even late for a meeting.

The "sorries" and "I really hate to do this, buts" instead prefaced attendees' thoughts on mortgage brokers and the wholesale channel. Example: "No offense, but third-party originators? They're certainly not in a good spot right now."

Don't get me wrong — I'm all for sensitivity. But at times, this tiptoe around hurting a broker's feelings felt a little unnecessary. For one, I'm a magazine editor — which I guess does warrant its own pity party, for other reasons. And on a larger level, gloom-and-doom forecasts for third-party originators are less than a surprise. They're almost expected.

I get these folks' caution, though. I've felt it myself — most notably, upon my first read of David Olson's article on Page 20 of this month's Scotsman Guide. Was the Access Research president too negative in his analysis of the wholesale channel? Would it really take 10 years for brokers to recover their industry position? And who really stays in one job for 10 years anymore?

I shopped the article around the office for feedback. I got shrugs. The general sentiment: "Seems like it's accurately summarizing the situation. Shouldn't alarm anyone."

I don't think we were being cynical. We're certainly neither cheering on a broker apocalypse nor adopting a passive resistance to it. We're stating the facts. Because the fact is, there's more to the story.

I'm thinking back to one MBA conversation in particular. Early in the evening, at a table generally shielded from the hotel-bar cabal that only trade shows can spawn, I heard the requisite broker-related apology, followed by references to dry wells, horizon expansion and toolkit makeovers.

But then one of my tablemates turned to another and asked: Who closed your family's last home loan.

"My broker."

Who would you call to refi?

"Well, my broker."

And where would you go for a quick, straight answer and the most attractive rates?

"Well, my mortgage broker has never let me down before."

Likely, that broker will have that chance again.


Tony Stasiek was an editor at Scotsman Guide. For questions on this article, call (800) 297-6061 or e-mail

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