HousingWire sat down with AIME Chairman Anthony Casa to discuss the rise in independent mortgage brokers and the changes in today’s mortgage market.
Q. How do you see the market for mortgages evolving?
A. As borrowers become more comfortable with researching their mortgage options online, further down in the transaction, they want to discuss options with a person. Millennials in particular seem to be pushing a resurgence in mortgage broker popularity as they are more likely to shop around and learn about how brokers operate. 1 out of 3 millennial homebuyers are using mortgage brokers in comparison to the national average of 1 out of 4 homebuyers. Basically, millennials are doing more research and finding that mortgage brokers provide more savings, personalized service and no fees. While there is always a place for increasing and improving automation in the lending space – and mortgages being no different – we believe in the value of human touch. Millennials understand the value of looking at many lenders to get a great deal on a mortgage, but they really understand that it pays to get an expert, a mortgage broker to do that for them; it saves time and money in that regard.
Q. Why do mortgage brokers need a trade group such as AIME?
A. As more borrowers turn to mortgage brokers, more loan officers will look to become mortgage brokers. This cause-and-effect relationship pushed the mortgage broker market share into double digits in recent memory and we’ve just passed 14.1% share and we believe that the market share will grow to 20% by the end of 2019. At AIME, we think that we can go as high as 25% market share by 2020. That’s a lot of special interests and perspectives to be looking after. We’re different in that we are digital in our DNA. We try to get out in front of potential homeowners, real estate agents; everyone who touches a home loan. And we do it via mainstream media, trade media and social media. We understand that we need to get in front of everyone, wherever they may be, and to let them know they aren’t alone.
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Q. AIME garnered plenty of attention when it launched, how have things changed since?
A. Thank you. When we launched AIME our strategy was certainly more attention-seeking than with other, traditional trade groups. Our efforts to get our message out publicly were more assertive than orthodox, but appropriate considering the state of the mortgage market: broker share is growing rapidly and therefore needs a strong, unified voice. We believe we successfully got the message across. Today, AIME seeks to adopt a more inclusive approach to the industry and our introduction of ARIVE to mortgage brokers as a member service, best exemplifies our day-today. ARIVE offers a complete platform for independent mortgage brokers, a single portal to bring together lenders, loan originators, third-party vendors and consumers. ARIVE is exclusively partnered with AIME and will only be available as one of our membership benefits. When we say “Brokers are Better” we also believe Brokers are also Independent. Together.
Q. Is there a larger vision behind how AIME intends to serve the lending community?
A. Absolutely, and this area is where we hope to make the greatest impact; getting the best deal for each and every potential homebuyer. One philosophy behind AIME is to serve all borrowers big and small, that’s including low-and-medium-income families. When you can look at several different loans from lenders and pick the best value for your client, that’s what drives us, regardless of the borrower’s credit score, down payment size or DTI ratio. Those are important numbers, of course, but not as important on serving the needs of all Americans who look to purchase or refinance a home for them and their families. By using a broker, consumers can save a minimum of half a percent on their mortgage rate. On a $300k loan, that’s a $100 a month, for families on the lower end of income scales, that money can go toward groceries and that’s a huge win for us and them.
Another philosophy is linked to how well we can improve the day-to-day operations of our members. The mortgage broker works for the consumer, so their success is tied to the success of the consumer. Our success is tied to the success of the broker, who operates their mortgage lending business independently, so we help maintain this circle of inclusion, so no broker needs to feel isolated from their community and potential clients. And we do this not just through traditional mainstream and trade media partners but also through our social media outlets on Facebook and LinkedIn, where it’s not unusual for someone to drop in a message: “Anyone know a good lender in Florida?” or “Looking for a great Realtor in Orange County.” Someone is always there with an answer, an answer, ultimately, AIME provides.