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Barbara Yolles is a force of nature. Her 25-year career includes everything from launching the Dollar Menu at McDonald’s to driving global growth for advertising agencies and clients as CMO at McCann and Campbell Ewald. Within the mortgage space, Yolles’ resume includes building world-class marketing teams at both United Wholesale Mortgage and TMS.
In 2019, Yolles launched LUDWIG+, a brand transformation and business acceleration company. LUDWIG+ provides full-service strategic consultancy, brand positioning, architecture and identity, creative, media, and production services across every media platform (owned, earned, paid).
Yolles was motivated to launch the company after seeing the gap between advertising agencies and in-house marketing departments. The brilliance of ad agencies doesn’t always translate into the needs to run and accelerate a business.
On the flip side, in-house marketing departments aren’t always able to attract world-class talent. The LUDWIG+ sweet spot is the convergence of creative, strategic consultation, and go-to-market brilliance, that transcends every inch of a company to ignite the brand internally and externally.
In a matter of months, LUDWIG+ landed 15 clients, including global healthcare, packaged goods, and financial services, with some of the largest players in the industry. In many of these relationships, LUDWIG+ uniquely serves as the client’s marketing department.
Which is why we’ve invited Yolles to share her hard-won expertise as part of our engage.marketing virtual summit June 11-12. HousingWire Editor in Chief Sarah Wheeler will interview Yolles on a topic that is more important than ever: How to Make Marketing a Revenue Center.
While not everyone can start a whole new agency, Yolles will discuss ways marketers can add value in ways that make them indispensable to their companies.
It’s all part of our focus on The Agile Marketer — someone who collaborates across teams with nimble creative execution and the ability to pivot quickly when priorities or market conditions shift.
It’s the skill set marketers need in this unprecedented environment, and HousingWire has designed every facet of this virtual summit to deliver the expert insights and connection you need to succeed now.
Reserve your spot here.
The post Barbara Yolles to speak at engage.marketing in June appeared first on HousingWire.
Many lenders are tightening lending standards as COVID-19 spreads, but is there room to increase credit access to help first-time homebuyers and others achieve their goals of homeownership?
While lenders are seeking to ensure access to credit, they should also do their diligence to ensure they are originating safe loans, explained Donna Corley, Freddie Mac executive vice president and head of single-family business.
“Every lender may be different in their approach, but we all must play our part to ensure we’re putting borrowers into homes that they can keep,” she said.
HousingWire sat down with Corley to discuss handling credit and risk as the pandemic spreads.
HW: How should lenders balance opening access to credit with risk during this time?
Donna Corley: Every lender may be different in their approach, but we all must play our part to ensure we’re putting borrowers into homes that they can keep. Freddie Mac is in the market every day providing liquidity, stability and affordability to the industry. We’re buying loans that meet our underwriting guidelines to ensure that we keep the mortgage money flowing to lenders, who can provide financing to prospective buyers. That is the countercyclical role Freddie Mac was created to play.
HW: Do you foresee a substantial drop in credit performance as we come out of the pandemic?
DC: Right now, we are focused on making sure homeowners with Freddie Mac-owned mortgages who are directly or indirectly impacted by COVID–19 are able to stay in their homes during this challenging time. We’re doing this by offering mortgage relief options for those who are unable to make their mortgage payments due to a decline in income.
For example, we are providing mortgage forbearance for up to 12 months, and waiving penalties and late fees during that time. We have suspended all foreclosure sales and evictions of borrowers living in Freddie Mac-owned homes for at least 90 days. And we are offering loan modification options that lower payments or keep payments the same after the forbearance period.
HW: What kinds of things can the secondary market do to help keep the access to credit open? Or is there anything they can do?
DC: Freddie Mac has already taken a number of actions to make it easier for the mortgage industry to buy or refinance a home during a period that requires social distancing. Among others, we are offering flexible approaches to allow lenders to verify the employment status of borrowers, knowing that traditional verbal verification may be difficult to obtain.
We’re also allowing alternatives to interior appraisals to keep appraisers and homeowners safe. These actions will help us provide much-needed liquidity and stability to the housing market in this difficult time. That’s fundamentally our role – to be here in good times and in bad to keep the market going.
HW: HousingWire recognized you as one of our 2019 Women of Influence. What is your secret to success?
DC: I wish I could say there was just one secret to success. From my experience, success is the result of a lot of hard work. The way I managed my career was by focusing on excellence and doing my job well. There’s no substitute for excellence if you want to be successful and move ahead. Furthermore, I think the true definition of success isn’t just in what you accomplish, but how you accomplish it.
A final thought: once you do make it to the top of the ladder, success means more if you lean in and lend a hand to women coming up behind you.
HousingWire’s nominations are now open for our 2020 Women of Influence. But they won’t stay open long – nominations close on April 24, 2020. So nominate your Woman of Influence today, we want to get to know them!
The post Can lenders balance access to credit with increasing risk? appeared first on HousingWire.
Nareit Senior Economist Calvin Schnure said in an April 6 REIT Report podcast interview that uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus and its impact on the economy and markets will remain high, certainly through April and likely into May.
Schnure also noted that while REITs and broader stock indices are at a deep discount compared to pre-crisis levels, they are up from lows reached several weeks ago.
Home equity co-investing pioneer Unison cut almost 50% of its team Friday, and no, this doesn’t mean housing and fintech doom for two reasons.
First, cost-cutting is crisis leadership 101.
React fast and smart. Job and budget cuts are extremely painful for all souls involved. And fear is the first reaction among team members, investors, boards, counterparties, and customers. But nerves calm down as people digest smart rationale.
Second, survival is job No. 1 in a crisis.
We started March 2020 evangelizing industry visions from bright conference rooms and ended it triaging careers and companies from crowded kitchen counters. Vision means nothing if you don’t survive, and the bigger your vision, the faster you must adjust in a crisis.
Fast adjustments buy you time to weather today’s coronavirus storm.
Two weeks ago, category-leading iBuyers made hard, fast decisions to win the long game.
Friday, co-investing (aka shared appreciation) category leader Unison cut 89 sales and marketing employees, contractors, and consultants for the same reason.
Is Shared Appreciation Your Coronavirus Home Equity Solution?
Unison created the shared appreciation category in 2004.
Companies like Unison, Point and Noah (formerly Patch Homes) give a homebuyer about half their down payment in exchange for about a third of the appreciation.
Homebuyers who give up some future appreciation conserve cash now and don’t take on the extra monthly cost. But the more interesting play right now is shared appreciation for homeowners.
Let’s say a homeowner with some equity loses their job because of coronavirus.
A lender can’t do a home equity or cash out deal for them, but they may qualify for a shared appreciation deal.
Unison and the other players look at debt-to-income ratios, but they’re not making a loan, they’re making a co-investment.
So they may do a deal like this if the equity profile works long-term (and they may require their cash to pay off other debt at funding).
“Today, the coronavirus is shutting down entire industries; we are already seeing more homeowners turning to Noah for help,” Gupta said. “Noah is dedicated to being a long-term partner to homeowners by making our products more accessible during this time so we can put even more money in their pockets.”
Like everything in a crisis market, it’s case by case, but lenders should keep an eye on this for clients who need to tap home equity at zero monthly cost.
It could be a great niche-y solution in a tough market phase.
And shared appreciation companies that survive have huge potential later because about 65% of U.S. home equity is owned by folks 55 or older –– these people need a way to tap equity without breaking monthly budgets.
Can Shared Appreciation Companies Win The Long Game?
So will shared appreciation companies survive?
Many of you mortgage folks reading this are saying “Nope, the model won’t weather a down cycle.”
That’s your transactional revenue brain talking.
Unison makes transactional revenue as each deal funds, plus they make recurring revenue by managing a shared equity portfolio for the investors who fund their deals.
But their investors aren’t warehouse lines like mortgage banks use to fund deals.
Pension plans and other institutional money managers who want housing exposure give Unison money to manage.
Unison invests that money in people’s homes using these shared appreciation deals and takes an investment management fee for doing so.
This fee revenue continues even as home buying transaction revenue slows to a trickle. So they trim sales and marketing until transaction revenue comes back.
Who Will Survive The Short Game?
It’s another story if the coronavirus causes massive home price declines over the years.
And there’s certainly strain right now. Here’s Point CEO Eddlie Lim on stark realities:
“The growing number of necessary shelter-in-place orders has had a widespread effect on many people and industries,” Lim said. “It affects our ability to order appraisals, notarize documents, and record crucial documents with the county, causing delays throughout our process. The changing economic climate is also dramatically impacting home valuations. We are seeing valuations drop significantly and continuously.”
But it’s still early to accurately predict home price impacts and when home transactions resume a normal pace. Which brings us back to where we started.
It’s tempting for some to predict doom for fintech models like shared appreciation and iBuyer when they see stark adjustments to stark reality.
But cost-cutting is crisis leadership 101, and survival is job No. 1 in a crisis.
Mortgage lenders learned how to fight this kind of fight in August 2007. Now it’s the fintechs’ turn. And I predict we’ll see some true warriors emerge.
Good luck out there.
The post Does Unison’s 50% job cut signal doom for housing fintech? appeared first on HousingWire.