As 2022 gets underway, we asked nine of the NEXT community’s top executives what they anticipate for the year ahead, and what they hope the industry accomplishes in 2022.

Each executive brings a unique viewpoint, from a decades-long inside view of mortgage lending operations, to fresher tech-centric eyes, these executives reveal their expectations for 2022, and share their hopes and dreams for what the industry can become, starting this year.

Read on to find out what they say.

Suzy Lindblom, COO at First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation, would like to see a bigger focus on mentorship.

In 2022, I would like to see more companies embrace mentorship to help bring the next generation into the mortgage industry.

We have a tremendous opportunity to help people obtain employment by mentoring our younger generation, which gives them the opportunity to have homeownership. Plus helping others obtain homeownership in the process.

By mentoring and working with newly or inexperienced people, we are also building a company culture of respect, teamwork and empowerment to younger generations.

Tawn Kelley, President, Financial Services at Taylor Morrison Home Funding, expects a successful 2022, and would like to see increased opportunity across demographics.

I expect 2022 to be another successful year for most in the mortgage industry. We will see lenders that capitalized on the refinance volume shift to adapt workflows and processes to serve the growing purchase business. 

Some will be successful while we should also expect consolidation, right-sizing of staff and deep margin erosion to drive volume with price.

I also see 2022 as a year for lenders to prioritize customer experience. With all the trajectory of digitization and automation adoption throughout the financial services journey, lenders will need to balance the right mix of technology and personal touch service that customers seem to prefer, especially when they are purchasing a home.

I’d like the industry to meet today’s needs in a way few industries have the power to do. Working with each other, regulators, and housing leaders to improve opportunity for families and the way people live, grow wealth, and create community.

Whether we are speaking about demographic shifts, expanding opportunity through equitable practices, education programs and assistance, our industry can positively impact so many family’s lives. We have the power and the responsibility to be the change, and we should embrace it.

Brian Zitin, Co-Founder and CEO of Reggora, anticipates appraisal timeliness and predictability to become even more important.

In 2022, if it does turn out to be a heavy purchase market like predicted, the timeliness and predictability of the appraisal will become even more important because of those closing date deadlines.

For the borrower, the appraisal is one of the most stressful parts of the process because it’s an unknown variable, and the price the appraisal comes back at can seriously impact a deal. So for lenders who haven’t invested it in the right technology or processes, we foresee a huge weakness for them as borrower expectations continue to rise.

Vickie Butler, SVP – Operations Manager Warehouse Lending at Texas Capital Bank, would like to see a “Community of Hope” emerge in the industry.

In reading and keeping up with the MBA Annual forecast and other article projections, I believe we can expect:

  • Fewer refinances and more purchases
  • Potentially higher interest rates 
  • Rising home prices 
  • More of an affordable housing crisis 

I would like to see a Community of Hope emerge in a big way. What does this look like?

A smart use of home equity: With the value of homes rising, I would like to see homeowners take advantage of the equity in their homes, using the cash for emergencies, home improvements, college tuition, investments, etc. If interest rates rise, some may not refinance their mortgages, but may want to look at home equity loans.

A rise in reverse mortgages as a vehicle to help keep our loved homes in their homes rather than in a long-term care facility. With COVID restrictions, nursing homes/long-term care facilities have to limit visitations or have several restrictions to help protect their staff and residents.

Having the funds available to hire round-the-clock care for a loved one is so important. Years ago, I learned from an attorney that specialized in reverse mortgages, that initially when he got into the business it was because he wanted to create “hope” for aging loved ones that needed help. Family and friends mean well, but long-term care can be tough on caregivers and they need support as well.  

An increase in Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU). With the new hybrid work schedules, children affected by COVID and having to home school, and lack of affordable housing, the new norm could be Accessory Dwelling Units. It could be a converted garage or a detached dwelling unit on the property, etc. Space is now needed in the home. If students or other family members are having to move back in with their parents, extra space is often needed.

Helping Hands (like Women that Soar).  We live in a country where people still have good hearts.  When there’s a disaster, people come together and help one another. Even in the midst of COVID, we see people like an agency called Women that Soar. 

I was able to take one of the single moms that I’ve been mentoring for the past nine years to this event in 2021. The ladies are learning about credit scores, banking and savings and getting to just take a tour of how to look for a new home and what to expect. It’s changing their minds through exposure and helping them to develop the dream of homeownership. It’s also a way for the “haves” to help the “have nots” through education, empowerment, and resources. I would love to see more corporations and individual donors come together and purchase land all over this country and build affordable homes and provide a Community of Hope!

Kenon Chen, Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy at Clear Capital, anticipates exciting changes in the appraisal process.

The supply of homes available for sale will remain extremely limited in 2022 compared to historical standards, which means houses will continue to go under contract quickly and at strong prices.

We shouldn’t expect another year of 20+% home price appreciation by any means, but supply and demand dynamics will continue to tilt in favor of the seller for now. So don’t expect some sort of massive home price correction downwards in the near future. First-time home buyers will still face headwinds as higher prices lead to higher down payment requirements, and fast bidding wars during the listing process.

The process to get a home under contract may be fast, but unfortunately, the process of closing a purchase mortgage still takes entirely too long, driven largely by the lengthy, expensive and uncertain appraisal process. The FHFA’s announcement that they’ll be starting to offer consumers the much faster and frictionless Desktop Appraisal on GSE loans in early 2022 will be an important turning point in appraisal modernization. And it should drive exciting new efforts to collect robust property data up-front in the listing process, in order to facilitate a smoother buying experience on the mortgage side.

Sue Meitner, President and Founder of Centennial Lending Group, expects technology to be a strong differentiator, and hopes for greater expansion of financial literacy.

I believe the mortgage industry will see a lot of fluidness in 2022. The biggest item everyone will have to keep up to date on is technology. Embracing technology and developing relationships will allow each in the mortgage industry to thrive.

I would love to see the industry continue to help every American become more financially literate and to build wealth through owning homes or refinancing.  

Like anything in life, consistency is key and while social media marketing efforts can be hard to quantify at times (if you aren’t driving leads or implementing paid content, especially), consider how social can create a “halo effect” around your personal brand in tangible/intangible ways.

Ben Miller, Co-Founder of SimpleNexus expects the ratio of loan types origintated to shift, and advises how lenders can maximize the opportunity.

In 2022, I expect a continuation in the strong purchase market and for refis to decrease. Margin compression and rising rates will require lenders to better calibrate their capacity. More mergers and acquisitions are also likely, as some lenders will continue to recruit and grow, while others will shrink or go out of business. And with $1 trillion less mortgage volume predicted, there will be a need for lenders to become more efficient.

There is every reason to be optimistic about the opportunities in store for the mortgage industry this year. Lenders just need to have their eyes on the right prize. In 2022, lenders must be able to execute a strategy of engaging borrowers and real estate partners from the pre-application phase. On the refi side, everyone knows to expect fierce competition for a smaller number of loans.

What’s less talked about is that the nature of those loans will also change. Whereas last year was dominated by rate-and-term refis, 2022 should see a lot more cash-out activity driven by appreciating home values. Lenders can prepare by offering a competitive product mix and by ensuring mortgage advisors have the tools and know-how to support this chapter in their clients’ homeownership journey.

Looking ahead, I want to see eClosing adoption continue to accelerate in 2022, not because of social distancing, but because those who have experienced the superior convenience and efficiency of eClosing won’t want to turn back. Nationwide legislation standardizing RON will be key in the coming year to further an industry-wide embrace of the advantages of eClose technology. It would also be encouraging to see more affordable housing supplies hit the market in 2022.

Erika Martens, CFO at FirstTrust Home Loans, expects the mortgage industry to continue its strong position in the U.S. economy, and would like for more people to see the industry’s career opportunities and rewards.

The mortgage industry will continue to be a bright spot in the economy by providing jobs, financial security and a safe place to call home for families across the country. My hope is that the focus on leveraging technology for added efficiencies and finding ways to safely and soundly expand the credit box to include borrowers of all walks of life, in all communities, stays at the top of the list for all industry stakeholders.

I’d really like to see more awareness in the general public about the many different and rewarding career opportunities that exist in the mortgage industry and for that awareness to bring an influx of new talent and ideas.

Amy Daniel, Senior Vice President, Default Services at ServiceLink forsees growth in online auction sites, especially among millennials.

In 2022, we expect to see the popularity of purchasing a home through online auction sites continue to grow, particularly among millennials (ages 25-40). ServiceLink’s recent consumer survey revealed that millennials, more than any other generation, are most open to purchasing a home at auction.

Seventy-five percent of millennial respondents said they would consider buying a home at auction, compared to 65% of Gen Xers (ages 41-56) and 54% of baby boomers (ages 57-75). While housing inventory begins to rebound slightly, there is still not enough on-the-market to sustain the high demand from homebuyers.

As tech-savvy millennials may have experienced the pain of losing out on a home – or, multiple homes – due to intense bidding wars and all-cash offers over the past year and a half, we suspect that they will seek out alternative ways to achieve the American dream of homeownership through online auction sites, which provide them the option to browse available properties, bid remotely and reduce travel costs.

I’d like to see the mortgage industry continue to lean into innovation and technology, with a specific focus on how it can improve the consumer experience. With the pandemic, we witnessed the acceleration of technology firsthand, and it’ll be difficult – if not impossible – to pull back on that type of progress now; and why would we want to if it makes our lives and the lives of our customers a bit easier?

From online auction sites, to consumer-scheduling platforms for appraisal and closing appointments, to RON/RIN, we’re truly on the cusp of something special in the mortgage industry and I hope that focus on innovation will continue into the new year.

Leora Ruzin, SVP of Lending, Coloramo Federal Credit Union, anticipates challenges from a constricting market. She’d like to see more affordable housing and a relationship-centric approach to the homebuying process.

The interest rate levee will break, and the market will begin to contract. We are already seeing pre-emptive moves to offset the anticipated margin compression, reduction in refinance volume, increased foreclosure activity and increased rates.

Layoffs are occurring, and it will continue into 2022. We will finally see what we were expecting to see in 2020, before the pandemic upended our economy — mergers, acquisitions and a flight to the comfort and safety of the aggregators. The organizations who continued to push for the purchase business during the refi boom will make it out alive…. The rest, well…. We all know how that story ends. Thus, the life cycle of the mortgage industry continues to spin.

I suppose I am biased in this answer, but I would love to see the power of relationships to return to the overall process of homebuying. I see that happening through the foundational stability that comes from the local community banks and credit unions. In order for that to happen, however, these smaller financial institutions need to get out of their own way and get on the tech train, before it is too late.

Above all, I really want lenders, builders, regulators and policy makers to find a sustainable solution to the ever-present lack of affordable housing. It sickens me to know that the current value of homes continues to single-out low-income families, and while there are viable solutions (tiny homes, converted commercial properties, etc), we just can’t seem to get the right people to come to the table to make these solutions a reality.

Katharine Loveland, VP of Customer Success, Reggora, sees consumers’ tech savviness putting pressue on the industry to move forward.

As we have seen over the past few years, buyers are becoming more tech-savvy and expect their lenders to keep up. 2022 will be no different, and those pressures coupled with a highly competitive purchase market will elevate the lenders who are able to embrace change, push the boundaries of innovation, and modernize their appraisal ordering process for the benefit of the borrower.

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