PERSON OF THE WEEK: In March, Jeff McGuiness was named CEO of Lenders One, a St. Louis-based national alliance of community mortgage bankers, correspondent lenders and suppliers of mortgage products and services. McGuiness, who succeeds Lenders One co-founder Scott Stern, was previously executive vice president of consumer banking and originations at St. Louis-based Aurora Bank, where he managed the consumer deposit and mortgage business units. MortgageOrb spoke with McGuiness about his first few months at his new position.
Q: What do you see as the primary challenges facing today's community mortgage bankers?
McGuiness: The overriding issue I hear about when talking with Lenders One members is the uncertainty around the current regulatory environment, pending legislation and how it will affect the way they currently originate mortgages.
Q:Â Since you joined Lenders One, what have been your primary goals for the organization?
McGuiness: I've known Lenders One and its operating model since its inception in 2000 and I was one of the first investor partners to sign onto the co-op in 2001. Since March, I've been working with our members and partners to identify opportunities in our service offerings and outline the basis for new competencies and custom products that will improve operations at the member level and can be developed from within using the resources of our skilled Lenders One team and parent company, Altisource.
Q: The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is launching a new trade conference in November aimed specifically at independent mortgage bankers. In your view, does the industry need a conference concentrating solely on independent mortgage bankers?
McGuiness: Independent mortgage bankers are the lifeblood of our industry. I support any effort to provide them with the tools, resources, representation and information they need in order to help them weather the current uncertainty and set them up for long-term success. Our biannual member conferences have proven invaluable, and I'm encouraged that the MBA has recognized the contribution of independent mortgage bankers to the industry and is providing a forum for them.
Q: The recovery of the housing market has been on the slow side. Where do you see the housing markets heading in the next 12 months?
McGuiness: I think there is strong data to support a continued recovery. Interest rates are likely to remain low, creating opportunity for buyers. It may be slower than everyone hopes, but I believe it will continue to trend toward the positive and even pick up a little steam, based on the considerable efforts put forward by the agencies.
The second version of the Home Affordable Refinance Program will support some of this momentum for at least the next 12 to 18 months, and the reinvention of how we manage real estate owned disposition via rent-back programs and expedited short sale processes will further help clear out some of the excess inventory putting downward pressure on the market. That said, new legislation in certain states has the potential to slow down foreclosures, increasing shadow inventory and suppressing home prices for a longer period of time.