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Archive for the ‘Market’ Category

2012 Forecasts for Insurance, Mortgage, Higher Ed

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

January 19, 2021 — Ah, the New Year.  January always offers a chance to move forward with a clean slate and an eye for the future.  In that spirit, here are some blog posts that offer a look forward to 2012 and some predictions and previews for what the year has to offer in private-sector higher education, mortgage and insurance.

#1 - Five reasons why for-profit schools are here to stay via @washingtonpost – In this column, Jay Mathew’s begins his look at the future of for-profit education with a clear and definite bias against the institutions, and initial reluctance to review the book titled “Change.edu: Rebooting for the New Talent Economy” written by Kaplan’s Chairman, Andrew S. Rosen. While the book didn’t shake Mathew’s feeling completely, he noted “Rosen convinced me that for-profit educational ventures are here to stay.” He went on to detail five reasons why. http://wapo.st/sSAwCQ

#2 - The Mortgage Battlefield of 2012 via @NatlMortgagePro – John Walsh offers up his predictions for the embattled mortgage industry from the frontlines of the struggle, including continued low rates and the reemergence of innovative products. http://dlvr.it/12P29W

#3 - Experts 2012 Rate Outlook via @MortgageNewsMND – Rob Chrisman gives an overview of mortgage rates and industry predictions based on outlooks from industry experts Freddie, Fannie and others. Predictions anticipate a similar year to 2011, with HARP 2.0 and expected low interest rates throughout the year likely to have a positive impact. http://tinyurl.com/cwl8zfe

#4 - Three Ways Insurers Will Compete on Data in 2012 via @insurancetech –  highlights how analytics is likely to change insurers approach to underwriting, claims, and risk management in 2012 http://ow.ly/87ZXG

#5 – Health care reform you can expect in 2012 via @Bankrate – The piece looks at what patients, doctors, and insurers should expect from the pieces of the affordable care act going into law in 2012. http://bit.ly/zuUE7U

#6 – Insurance Veterans’ Forecasts for 2012 via @ijournal – The piece discusses the future of the industry in the coming year with nine different industry leaders to get a better grasp on what to expect. http://bit.ly/yjGcS0

#7 – 3 Key Challenges Facing Agents in 2012 via @ijournal - In this podcast with Bob Rusbuldt, CEO of Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, Bob articulates what he believes are the three biggest challenges facing independent agents and brokers in 2012. http://bit.ly/z6gNSb

Your Sales Team Is The Life Blood Of Your Business. Give Them The Best Chance To Succeed

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

You hire a sales team to do one thing, Sell. All too often, managers frustrated with their ROI, tend to go to what they think is the root of their problem, their sales department. Who could blame them though? Going through their checklist they think they are doing everything they can to convert the most sales. Adequate lead generation quantity? Check. Quality Leads? Check. Target market Research? Check. So it must be the sales team’s lack of effort right? WRONG. In today’s market, ensuring those items on the list only takes you half way there. Your company needs to maximize the potential it already possesses by creating an environment that is conducive to selling. Lead management technology in conjunction with tools like predictive dialing, create the best environment possible for your sales team to SELL. Think about how much time is wasted dialing people, waiting for them to pick, leaving a message, and then hanging up. With tools like predictive dialing, hundreds of numbers are automatically called and then routed to sales people once a lead answers the phone. This allows more time for sales people to properly engage the lead and make the most of it.  With all the extra time saved from the predictive dialer, an environment is created that maximizes performance and encourages success. Click to view  Leads360 and Five9’s whitepaper. 1+1=3

The Blame Game—Who are you pointing a finger at?

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

“Home prices in 20 major U.S. cities have dropped a record 15.3% in the past year. We are back to where we were in 2004, according to the Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday by Standard & Poor’s.” Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article started a firestorm of opinion and thoughts amongst my friends and colleagues and I wanted to share it with you. While home prices are at their lowest in the last five years, market saturation is at its highest; no one is buying or selling homes.


I started reaching out people in the industry to chat about the implications of a market where low home prices were not selling and it spawned quite a few responses. Even the guy sitting next to me on the airplane had something to say about it. This seems to be a topic on the tip of every American’s tongue. See what just a few of them had to say: (Note these are not necessarily my opinions but opinions of my peers and past clients in and out of the mortgage industry.)


“Home buyers are irrational – 2 years ago subprime & prime buyers bought second and third homes. Now even prime buyers are not buying in sufficient numbers. Why not? Are they crazy?! Irrational enough to buy in a market driven by a trifecta of poor lending, brokering and buying decisions but now when it makes the most sense to buy, not buying. Just crazy.”

-Anonymous Real Estate Client

“The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. In a restricted liquidity market, the middle to lower class almost always suffers. Credit costs soar for lower FICO holders, while limited purchases and lending leads to incentives for those with ‘prime’ credit. Go to any car dealership this weekend and ‘Prime’ credit holders can buy a car with no money down, $2.99 gas for two years and a $5000 rebate; got bad credit, don’t waste your time.”

-Noel Collins (Myself)

“Banks caused the problem. Bad lending practices caused ancillary markets to collapse. If banks had not lent to borrowers with lower FICO scores or offered brokers the ability to borrow money for 0% down payments we would not be in trouble. In the past, the average down payment needed for a home purchase qualification was at least 10%. Because of the lack of liquidity time shares, rental cars, hotel reservation rates, food costs, restaurants and tourist attractions are failing.”

-Passenger on flight from LA to Phoenix

“The home buyer is at fault. Even subprime buyers obtained a good loan, paid off credit cards and inserted a positive cash flow in their banks. What happened? They spent the money, got new credit cards, bought a new car or home and paid their mortgages late. If they had followed our financial advice they would be able refinance at prime rates even in today’s market.” –

Chris Stone – EDMC – California

“It is the President’s fault. If George W. Bush had lowered interest rates sooner and not hedged his bet on big oil and the Iraq war, the financial industry would not have collapsed.” —

Anonymous Human Resource Director – Mortgage Industry

“Hedge funds and overreaction compounded the problem. If people had not focused on making money during this crisis we would be better off”.

-David Staral – The Staral Group

“Inexperienced loan originators. Many loan officers – I use the word loosely were inexperienced and only learned how to take orders. One bank/broker I talked with said it was fine when lending was like “Clubbing baby seals” but in today’s market a loan originator/agent needs to b a financial EXPERT! - Period! Inexperienced loan originators looking for a quick buck didn’t point our customers in the right direction; they pointed them into their bank account. I cannot reach my agent any longer; he went back to selling cars.”

– Subprime Customer stuck in an ARM


“My agent went bankrupt and is now facing felony charges in Georgia.”

-Failed Mortgage Banker/Broker


How far will the downturn in our economy take us? Some of my more outspoken colleagues say this will only lead to more money making by the richest of the richest and that more needs to be done for the middle and lower classes. Didn’t we take the financial decision making out of the hands of the wealthy and extend it to our poorer peers? Where did that put us? Banks, buyers, Bush—whose fault is it?

The Enterprise Platform Battle is Joined… by Intuit.

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

The enterprise platform space has been crowded for a long time, but Salesforce’s AppExchange platform model has been allowed to reign relatively freely, until recently. Today Erik Schonfeld blogged that Intuit has announced that they are opening their Quickbase platform to developers for small business applications. Intuit joins a growing list of enterprise platform contenders including big dogs Google and Salesforce. Read the article here.

So what? Well here’s the what. Competition in this space is very interesting because of three main factors:

1. As the competition and interest in “cloud” application platforms increases, and the number of big players increases, the more development interest will be generated overall. Why? If the largest and most successful software companies are getting into this game, it’s going to be a game worth playing for many developers. The ability to reach large customer bases, almost overnight, will be irresistible for many.
2. As the number of competitors increases it creates confusion in the marketplace as developers are unsure which platform will best suit their objectives and their target market. This is especially vital in the B2B world as business systems are often asked to smoothly integrate with one another. Suddenly the risk of being on the “wrong” platform is increasing drastically.

3. The “closed vs. open platform” factor. The interests of the developers and the interests of the platform-hosting companies are almost diametrically opposed, even thought they can profit from the same customers. Developers benefit from easily portable platforms where they could host their aplications on any of the platforms, quickly transition from one platform to another, and potentially run the same application on multiple platforms. In contrast, the platform-hosting companies want to lock in their developers and create a closed system, where by it forces users and developers to stay loyal to it’s platform-otherwise the model self-destructs.

How will it all shake out? How does this news impact the Lead Management space? Time will tell.

NOW OPEN FOR BUSINESS: FHA Conforming Loan Amount Limit Increase

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

People, you heard it here first, okay maybe second, or third, but you heard it here nonetheless. As of now, you should be marketing to all of the old leads in your database so you can capture business that you missed out on in the past. There are strategies to make you successful doing this, they are called Best Practices, and we would like to share them with you.

I like to call times like this “Found Money” times. There is found money sitting in the lead manager of every mortgage company out there, no matter what kind of system you use. Whether there is a stack of old leads piled up in a filing cabinet, or whether you are using the best and most sophisticated lead management system on the market, if you play your cards right, you will come out with a BIG W.

Below is a table of new FHA limits. Take a look at it, then get to work. If you need help, just ask.

County Median Home Price New FHA Limit
Alameda County $995,000 $729,750
Alpine County $438,000 $547,500
Amador County $355,000 $443,750
Butte County $320,000 $400,000
Calaveras County $370,000 $462,500
Colusa County $318,000 $397,500
Contra Costa County $995,000 $729,750
Del Norte County $249,000 $311,250
El Dorado County $464,000 $580,000
Fresno County $305,000 $381,250
Glenn County $230,000 $287,500
Humboldt County $315,000 $393,750
Imperial County $260,000 $325,000
Inyo County $350,000 $437,500
Kern County $295,000 $368,750
Kings County $260,000 $325,000
Lake County $321,000 $401,250
Lassen County $200,000 $271,050
Los Angeles County $710,000 $729,750
Madera County $340,000 $425,000
Marin County $995,000 $729,750
Mariposa County $330,000 $412,500
Mendocino County $410,000 $512,500
Merced County $378,000 $472,500
Modoc County $125,000 $271,050
Mono County $370,000 $462,500
Monterey County $599,000 $729,750
Napa County $615,000 $729,750
Nevada County $450,000 $562,500
Orange County $710,000 $729,750
Placer County $464,000 $580,000
Plumas County $328,000 $410,000
Riverside County $400,000 $500,000
Sacramento County $464,000 $580,000
San Benito County $790,000 $729,750
San Bernardino County $400,000 $500,000
San Diego County $558,000 $697,500
San Francisco County $995,000 $729,750
San Joaquin County $391,000 $488,750
San Luis Obispo County $550,000 $687,500
San Mateo County $995,000 $729,750
Santa Barbara County $615,000 $729,750
Santa Clara County $790,000 $729,750
Santa Cruz County $719,000 $729,750
Shasta County $339,000 $423,750
Sierra County $228,000 $285,000
Siskiyou County $235,000 $293,750
Solano County $446,000 $557,500
Sonoma County $530,000 $662,500
Stanislaus County $339,000 $423,750
Sutter County $340,000 $425,000
Tehama County $250,000 $312,500
Trinity County $200,000 271050
Tulare County $260,000 $325,000
Tuolumne County $350,000 $437,500
Ventura County $599,000 $729,750
Yolo County $464,000 $580,000
Yuba County $340,000 $425,000

Recent Market Developments

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Wall Street started the session today racing toward gains however the latest economic data helped confirm investors’ fears that the economy is falling into a recession.  Investors were looking for data that would be help to stave off a sharp economic slowdown, and at the same time still warrant further cuts of the federal funds rate. Investors pulled the plug on trading for gains when a report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showed manufacturing fell more than forecasted. This manufacturing reading is the Conference Board’s gauge of leading economic indicators and it is used to predict which direction the economy is headed. It has posted its fourth straight drop.

As a result traders are already pricing in another interest rate cut, as much as an additional half a percentage point, after minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s last policy-setting meeting were released indicating that the central bank will remain aggressive in regards to  fending off recession. Most economists realize the cuts to the federal funds rate take months to work their way through the economy and may not stop the economy from weakening further.

The Dow, the NASDAQ and S&P 500 all fell sharply as a result of today’s economic news. And finally for the good news, treasury bonds improved today as we see the 10yr note improved by 3.40%, or by -0.133, closing at 3.784. Of course you know this improvement will be reflected in tomorrow mornings rates. Tomorrow may be the right time to lock, however we may see things improve more as the next Feds meeting draws near and the FOMC, Federal Reserve Board, is scheduled to meet again on the 18th of March. The last meetings notes forecast for slower growth and continued risks to the economy from housing and credit markets.

Now is the time to talk up this market information using our drip marketing feature in your LMS. Also redistribute your old leads and prepare to work them with improved pricing. Realize you need to move quickly as the market has been extremely volatile and has moved as much as 9.0% and back again in a 12 hour period recently. In the last two and a half weeks the 30 yr fixed at par went from 5.125% back to 5.875%. Chances are tomorrow we’ll see 5.75% and possibly 5.625%.

As you prepare for the influx of applications be sure to contact us so we can help! Thank you for reading and have a great evening!

Be The Market Expert

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Hello all. I’d like to piggyback on what Matt is saying by throwing a Wall Street spin on things. As mortgage professionals it is not only important for mortgage lenders to know who to contact and when regarding a mortgage, but once you have the ear of a potential loan client it is important to keep their interest, capture their trust and most importantly you want to be the one to close their loan instead of the other guy. By keeping abreast of market activity, economic data, and following the Ups and the Downs of our economy, you can be the expert instead of an order taker just throwing out rates.

Wholesalers will start rolling out conforming products with a much higher loan amount than the $417,000 loan amount our industry has worked over the past 2 years. This comes as part of the stimulus program recently passed by Congress and it will only apply to specific markets where jumbo loans have reigned supreme in years past. A key factor is this loan amount increase expires December 2008, so it is for a limited time only. In addition to the conforming loan increase due to the stimulus package, be aware that the Big 3 of the stock market, the Dow Jones, S&P 500, and NASDAQ indices has hovered in the same range since the first of the year. Fortunately they have not spiraled out of control nor have they gained any ground. This is due the balancing act of rising inflation, poor economic results, and poor earnings being coupled with efforts from the Federal Reserve and Capital Hill to keep our country out of recession by creating action plans, auctioning off money, working with foreclosure relief, and reducing the cost of money by cutting the federal funds rate.Realize that around the time each meeting involving a decision on the Federal Funds rate, historical data shows us that often times treasury bonds with improve which in turn will cause lower long term rates. So in a sense when the Feds do their magic the mortgage market sees a benefit. Just yesterday Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve mentioned that our economy will be sluggish in 2008 not picking up until the end of the year. He and the rest of the Federal Reserve board are prepared to cut the Federal Funds rate further. With that said be on the look out for the Feds next action. As the time comes closer use the historical data to help fuel your email campaigns. When things happen like you mention in your emails, customers will be ready to listen when you begin to advise them on the right moves to make for their mortgage.

Thank you for reading and have a great weekend!

Brokers, here is a task for you this weekend…

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Hello, and welcome to Friday. [APPLAUSE]

It is President’s Day weekend. Some of you will be at work on Monday, and some of you won’t. To those of you who won’t…Lucky. To those of you who will…Smart. A good amount of people will be off work and at home on Monday. Your task for this weekend is to set up your system so that you can reach out to all of them, and I am going to tell you how.

First and foremost, you need to identify the leads in your system with a loan amount between $417,000.00 and $729,750.00 within the United States Metropolitan Statistical Area that you paid for, but never closed. With a good lead managment system, this should be easy. With us, this is simple. If you are a Leads360 client and need assistance, call us TODAY, because this is due by Monday! When you identify these leads, go back one to two months and everything previous, truncate the logs, and throw them into your shark tank. Do an email marketing blast to them talking about how they may be able to benefit from the recent change to the conforming loan amount limit and low rates. Then on Monday morning, or Tuesday for those of you who don’t like to close business, when your loan officers come in, direct them to the shark tank and all of the new leads in it. New leads in this case of course being leads that you paid for in the past but did not close.

The loan officers love the shark tank because they have a ton of new leads to call. Tell your loan officers that you have already sent an introductory email and that they ALL need to be called immediately. Our clients who do this experience a surge in applications every time, and this is without the email marketing, and messaging the facts surrounding the conforming loan limit increase. I’m a huge proponent of the KISS principal. This is a simple task that takes minimal outside of the box thinking, and it shows results.

So, brokers, this is your homework. Whether you are using my LeadManager, or someone else’s, get to work! This is due on Monday, don’t forget.

Hillary’s mortgage reform plan…

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

I am going to keep this post very, very short and simple. I can only write about Hillary for about 30 seconds before I start getting political and this is not the right forum.

So with that said, I would like you all to take a look at a very intriguing blog post I just read over on the Blown Mortgage blog. Take a look, what do you think?