This week’s HW+ member spotlight features American Pacific Mortgage CEO Bill Lowman. Joining the company in 2002, American Pacific Mortgage named him president in 2004, and in 2016 he became CEO. Leading one of the largest independent mortgage banks in the country, Lowman is active in the industry, serving as immediate past chairman/treasurer at the California Mortgage Bankers Association, along with serving on the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Residential Board of Governors.
Below, Lowman answers questions about the housing industry:
HousingWire: To start off, what is your current favorite HW+ article and why?
Bill Lowman: As a grandfather to three little girls, I appreciate the annual “Women of Influence” publication highlighting the significant contribution and leadership of women in our industry. We are working to instill in my granddaughters the belief that there is no limit to what they can pursue, accomplish, and achieve, and publications like this prove that point. HousingWire Daily is also part of my daily routine that I reference to stay on top of industry matters that affect decisions I make as CEO.
HousingWire: What has been one of your biggest learning opportunities?
Bill Lowman: The challenges of the 2008 and 2020 housing markets all brought different learning opportunities for me as a leader — and in hindsight some of the biggest gifts. The most recent was in 2020 when APM deployed 98% of our workforce across 35 states to a remote, work-from-home environment within days. Like many in the industry, we also experienced staffing challenges and a year of record overtime hours worked to keep up with the unprecedented volume and achieve a record funding year for the company. With all that happening in 2020, as a company, we received our highest NPS score (employee satisfaction survey) since inception. Our leadership team deployed new strategies for communicating and connecting with our employees, and they responded well to them. In fact, some of these strategies made our team members feel more connected to the leadership of APM than they did prior to 2020.
HousingWire: Could you name a time where you felt successful in your job?
Bill Lowman: To add to my biggest learning opportunity, I feel most successful professionally when I know the people of APM, our APM Family, are more than satisfied with the company, our leadership, their work, the support they’re receiving, and the company culture we’ve built.
HousingWire: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Bill Lowman: My father’s advice to “know your audience” has guided me both personally and as a leader for my entire career.
HousingWire: What do you think will be the big themes for the housing market in 2022?
Bill Lowman: A major focus for the housing market in 2022 will be on affordable housing and closing the gap in the ability of underrepresented populations to achieve homeownership. It’s apparent that we have a shortage of housing and are experiencing severe affordability challenges. What I think few understand is the racial gap in homeownership and how it impacts cities, neighborhoods and communities across the country.
As an industry, we know the gap between white and Black homeownership is the widest compared with any other racial group. While 76% of white Americans own a home, only 46% of Black Americans do. Closing this gap is a top priority and a passion of mine. Along with other industry leaders and executives, I will be focused on these initiatives as part of the MBA’s Convergence Initiative in 2022.
HousingWire: What’s one thing people are not paying attention to that you think they should be paying attention to in 2022?
Bill Lowman: Non-QM and expanded credit products will become more important as the rate-term refi business goes away. Alternatives that are safe and sound loan products will be required to serve everyone’s needs and help the industry tackle the housing affordability crisis.
The HW+ member spotlight series highlights the impact HW+ members have in the industry and the trends that they’re closely watching. To become an HW+ member, click here, and for more information on HW+ benefits, click here.