Deeper Thoughts
A Few Thoughts on Community — October 19, 2021

By now, you probably know that LodeStar has launched our new website and, with it, rounded out our mission statement. That’s built upon what we call “The Three C’s:” Clarity, Connectivity and Community. We’ve already talked a little bit about the concept of clarity and how we believe it fits into the mortgage lending world. Now, with the MBA Annual Convention upon us, we thought we’d dive into the concept of community. 

Ours is a competitive industry. We’re entering into what will likely be an especially competitive market right now. That will probably be the environment we work in for at least a while. And while spirited, fair competition is what makes a capitalist economy function, it’s also time to come together with regard to the bigger picture.

In times of uncertainty, community is important.

And yet, that bigger picture has a couple of uncertain variables to it at the moment. There’s the lingering (continuing?) pandemic, and the early reckoning with some of the longer-term effects (WFH, labor shortages, mental health). There’s also an uncertain world economy. We’re not mentioning these things simply to predict doom and gloom. But there are some real changes happening out there. We’d be foolish to deny that the mortgage industry, in spite of its resilience over the past few years, is completely detached from the global economy in more than a few ways. Thus, now more than ever, the need to promote and reinforce the concept of the industry as a community.

When enforcement agents target the mortgage industry, it’s time to circle the wagons.

Let’s not forget, also, the rising likelihood that housing, real estate and mortgage will again be in the legislative and regulatory spotlight, and not necessarily in a favorable manner. We’ve been hearing rumblings and saber rattling from both inside The Beltway and more than a few state capitals since the beginning of the year.  And while we sometimes bring aggressive enforcement upon ourselves as an industry, it remains true that there are few industries as heavily monitored, or poorly understood, as ours. We’re also on the wrong side of a really easy equation: municipal, state and federal cash shortfalls plus a mortgage industry few consumers or legislators and rule makers truly understand will likely equal fee and tax hikes on real estate transfers and mortgage transactions. 

An industry is gathering in San Diego

Again, none of this is intended as a forecast of doom and gloom. Far from it. Instead, as we come together in San Diego in person rather than via Zoom, we’ll be relieved to be talking business. We’ll share Zoom-related “war stories” from the Refi Boom of 2020. We’ll vet potential partners; pitch potential clients and talk about who’s acquiring whom. We might even discuss mortgage customer retention. But let’s also think about what we need to do to present an authentic, united front when it comes to our value proposition. 

The mortgage industry, when it all comes down to it, is a unique community. Just like any community, there are unique subsets (the title industry, real estate professionals, appraisers, etc.). But we all play a role in helping people gain access to the American Dream. From Zillow to the humble closing cost calculator, we all play our part in helping everyday people make a very important transaction. As an industry, let’s keep that in the back of our heads, even as we find new and better ways to win greater market share. 

Community starts with a mindset.

We’ve lamented here the siloed nature of the mortgage transaction and number of different touchpoints it can require. We’ve called for technology providers to work harder at bringing various elements from the tech stack together, rather than vying for dominance. But all of that starts with the acknowledgment that we’re a part of a larger community. A lot of that community will be coming together in San Diego shortly. So let’s do our part in letting the world know that we do some very noble things in this industry as well.

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