Employment Opportunities in the Mortgage Industry

Written By: Bonnie Wilt-Hild

I have been working in the mortgage industry for the past 25 years and have seen a lot of highs and lows. When I began, the GSE’s were just gearing up and the secondary market as we know it today was still in its infancy. Originators took applications in person using a pen and blank 1003, processors recognized a final typed 1003 as exactly that, something you rolled into the typewriter and typed, and almost every contract of sale had a settlement date at least 60 days from the date of contract, because it really took that long to process them. Appraisers, not AMC’s, where provide with appraisal orders usually via telephone because fax machines and the internet were not standard office equipment, and provided the final report via the U.S. Mail because the photo’s of the subject property were developed at Ritz 


 or perhaps a Rite Aide and required a legal size manila folder for delivery. Investors as we know them today were few and most mortgages made by local community banks, savings & loans or larger commercial banks were shelved and serviced by the lender. In short, the mortgage community, although intimate, was small.


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The early 90’s brought several changes to the industry but most noticeably a tremendous growth as brokers and mortgage lenders opened shop all over the country, selling the mortgages they originated on the secondary market. Accessibility to the GSE’s as well as the entrance into the wholesale lending market by many large commercial banks, offered these small shops the necessary capital they needed to continuously lend money while constantly replenishing assets by effecting a sale of the completed mortgage on the secondary market. Additional options such as table funding became available and before you knew all someone really needed to open a mortgage shop was a license because they could ultimately conduct business from their home basement if need be and so the industry continued to grow. Throughout the 90’s, it became more streamlined, almost mindless really with the introduction of technology tools such as Automated Underwriting Systems, credit scoring models and Loan Origination Systems and the industry was bursting at the seams. I can remember brokers and lenders basically hiring warm bodies to order credit reports and appraisal and put borrower documents in files to just get them out to the investors. It seemed during that time that originators no longer needed to know the principals of mortgage lending; they just needed to know how to sell. Processors of course really didn’t need to know much in the way of mortgage guidelines because the AUS findings would tell them what to procure from the borrower and finally underwriters went with the checklist underwriting method by mid 2000.

So here we are, four years after the bubble burst, the federal government and congress trying to make it right by implementing new laws to more closely govern the financial sector of America and we, mortgage industry professionals watch as the industry continues to shrink. The commercial investor giants of the past continue to pull out of the wholesale market as well as layoff thousands of employees, the GSE’s, once mega employers in the mortgage industry also continue to lay off thousands of workers. Brokers and small correspondent lenders shut their doors each day, failing under the burdens of and somewhat unfair lending disadvantages of Dodd Frank and the new loan officer compensation laws as well as a diminishing wholesale market and more stringent credit standards where the secondary market is concerned which of course results in continued layoffs of the people employed in the mortgage industry. So as the employment market is further flooded with people laid off from the likes of
Bank of America, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Wells Fargo the question is where these tens of thousands of people find employment.

Throughout my tenure as a Sr. Instructor for FHA Online University, I have had hundreds of students who were participating in FHA and VA lending training courses to improve their resumes, ask me for suggestions as to where they should be looking for employment, what to expect if they had no government lending experience and what other types of training if any they could take to improve their chances at obtaining employment in the mortgage industry. Needless to say, the question is a complicated as it is simple. Many of the employers these days want FHA/VA experience when hiring processors, originators and underwriters because of course the large majority of originations these days are government loan types. But it is also important to remember that there are several thousand unemployed processors, originators and underwriters out there, some extremely qualified, looking for employment. With that in mind it’s important to recognize that there are other segments of the financial industry where a particular skill set may be useful enough to gain employment within the industry, just not as a processor or underwriter. For as important as production is, the servicing aspect of mortgage lending is just important and the large commercial banks typically maintain a servicing portfolio. Let’s not forget about small community bank and credit unions, both of which typically operate in the government lending arenas. Finally, if you are unemployed and have been so for several months or longer, consider administrative occupations of consumer lending opportunities, it’s possible that you may possess skills that may work nicely in these occupations.

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In closing, I will say that I realize how hard it is out there these days, particularly if you are currently laid off and looking for employment. Improving your resume by furthering education and training is a great first step but also remember to broaden your search for employment somewhat, you never know what you might find. Have a great week.

About The Author

Bonnie Wilt-Hild - As an NAMP® staff writer, Bonnie currently serves as a senior instructor for FHA Online University (www.FHA-Classes.org) as well maintains a full-time mortgage underwriting position as the Senior FHA DE Underwriter for a major lending institution. With over 25+ years of senior-level FHA/VA Government underwriting experience, Bonnie is considered the "Queen of FHA Loans". If you're interested in becoming a writer for NAMP®, please email us at: contact@mortgageprocessor.org.

Opinion-Editorial (Op-Ed) Disclaimer For NAMP® Library Articles: The views and opinions expressed in the NAMP® Library articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official NAMP® policy or position. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world application as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of NAMP®. Nothing contained in this article should be considered legal advice.