Q&A with Phil Guth, Freddie Mac Vice President of Single-Family Business Development
January 31, 2017
As the persistent pace of change in the mortgage industry continues into 2017, Freddie Mac is dedicating more resources to help you succeed in meeting your lending goals and grow your business.
In our Q&A, Phil Guth, Freddie Mac Vice President of Single-Family Business Development, talks about how his Community Lender Support Team will continue to deliver these resources to you in the new year – and beyond.
What inspired Freddie Mac to establish the Community Lender Support Team?
We wanted to dedicate a group of Freddie Mac experts to focus solely on addressing community lenders' unique needs, so in the Fall of 2015, we created the Community Lender Support Team.
Comprised of experts from various areas within Freddie Mac – sales, operations, credit, quality control and others – the Community Lender Support Team loves working with our community lenders. The team is passionate about delivering the products and services that will help you help more borrowers. For example, you can originate and deliver mortgages with certainty through the Freddie Mac Loan Advisor Suite®, and you can help first time homebuyers with our low down payment Home Possible® and Home Possible Advantage programs.
What experience does your team bring?
I challenge the Support Team to know as much as they can about a lot of areas of Freddie Mac. Many of our team members have more than 15 years of experience in the mortgage industry, in both the primary and secondary markets. The team is comprised of experts in credit, affordable lending, customer relationship management, servicing-released execution, early funding execution, bulk sales, correspondent lending, technology integration and other key areas of the business.
The result is a collaboration of competencies and a broad knowledge base. But when they don’t know something, they know where to turn within Freddie Mac to find the answer. Because of strong relationships with subject-matter experts across the company, we can share a deeper and wider knowledge base with you.
What is your team's approach to supporting customers?
Your business is unique, so we tailor our focus to understand and meet those unique needs and goals. If your Freddie Mac representative can't answer your questions, they'll work with the appropriate Freddie Mac expert to get you the information you need.
Normally your first call will be to Customer Contact Center at 800-FREDDIE, and the representative you speak to can usually resolve your issue. If your issue is more complex, we'll bring in the experts from the Community Lender Support Team.
And for information you can use on a day-to-day basis, you can visit our Community Lender Resource Center, which is a hub for news, announcements, training and special articles related to your business needs.
What trends do you see in 2017 that could impact the housing market and the mortgage industry?
Last year was housing's best year in a decade, and we talked about that in an Economic Outlook we published on December 21. You can get an excellent overview of what to expect in 2017 here.
One trend to watch is the continuing shift in the diversity of the U.S. population. As Freddie Mac's Chief Economist Sean Becketti pointed out in his Executive Perspective back in November, non-Hispanic whites comprise 73 percent of the Baby Boomer generation today. We conducted a study last year that looked at how the 55+ers continue to impact the housing market. You can read a summary of the results here.
But we'll be keeping an eye on the Millennials. As Baby Boomers recede from the scene, the U.S. will become more ethnically diverse, as the more-diverse Millennial generation takes a larger piece of the homebuying pie. I suggest this recent article on how student debt impacts homebuying possibilities for this demographic.
As to the new Administration, uncertainty around economic and housing policy could have an impact on the market, but it's too soon to tell what the actual impact will be. As to interest rates, we know the Fed is predicting two to three interest rate hikes in 2017. You can get our take on rising interest rates here.
What are the most significant mortgage data changes in 2017?
Though UCD changes will not go into effect until September of this year, you should start preparing early. It's not something you can put in place in a month or two; you'll have to build out your systems, whether that's done on your own or by using a vendor.
But remember: You're not alone in this. We'll help you meet the requirements of the UCD mandate. You can use Loan Closing AdvisorSM to deliver the UCD to us. Our team is ready to help you get familiar with this tool.
Likewise, the Community Lender Support Team is fully equipped to help you understand and comply with the upcoming investor reporting changes, which will fully implement in October of next year.
Do you have any additional thoughts for your customers?
Business is booming for community lenders across the country – and that has meant increased business with community lenders for Freddie Mac. In fact, we've been pleased to see our customer satisfaction rating rise as we've delivered a growing and deepening level of service to you.
On that note, with the tougher economic forecasts and continued development of mortgage data delivery requirements for the new year, we want you to rely on us to help you through this challenging environment. We're committed to continuing to grow and deepen our understanding of your business needs and meeting them with the best products and services available.