I don’t have to use the hackneyed phrase “unprecedented times” for you to understand none of us have ever experienced a year like this before. But remember when, sometime around June, it was popular to say “And the year’s only halfway over?!”
In just the last week, we may have been given a hint or two as to what may be ahead for the mortgage industry as we plunge toward the 4th quarter.
I’m not going to dwell on COVID yet again in this space. But we don’t have many indications that it (and its economic impact) is going away any time soon. Let’s just say that’s the giant X factor for every industry in the economy, for at least the rest of this year.
Now, let’s consider that we’re about to experience perhaps the most volatile national election we’ve seen in over 100 years. I’m not going to make this a political column. But let’s just say there’s no way the election—and its results no matter who wins—won’t have major ramifications for things like the privatization of the GSE’s; new HUD policies; regulatory enforcement and housing policy as a whole.
Even further, let’s consider (and thanks to Housing Wire’s Clayton Collins, who mentioned this in the August 29 LendingLife e-newsletter) that, while what’s being called the “refinance fee” recently imposed by the FHA has now been delayed until December 1, it’s not hard to anticipate what comes next: a mad dash to close as many refinance loans as possible beforehand. If you thought life in the production pipeline was hectic for the first 8 months of 2020…
I’m not performing this exercise just to find a way to use another hackneyed term (“new normal”). Instead, it’s a reminder that flexibility, scalability, and the capacity to pivot or adapt remain, in my opinion, some of the most important ingredients in a mortgage-related business. Yes, we’re constrained by regs on top of rules on top of laws, all overlapping from state to state. But the businesses who can make adjustments on the fly—especially when there’s almost no way short of a Magic 8-Ball to see what’s around the corner—are the businesses that will be in the best shape when 2020 finally does let us off of the roller coaster.
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