|Profession||secondary marketing specialist at a mortgage banker that does residential lending|
|Work Benefits||Vision, Dental, health, 1 paid day off per month|
|Hometown||El Segundo, CA|
|Current Location||Long Beach, CA|
1. How did you get to where you are today?
I was working at UCLA for two years after I graduated. Got furloughed a couple of times. My uncle got involved with the company I currently work for, and they were looking for tech-savvy people to help with advertising. I learned all of my mortgage-banking related skills on the job.
I have a degree in Italian. I took out loans through my parents. We refinanced their house and lumped that in, so I don’t have personal student loans.
2. What do you do at your job? What does your daily routine look like?
In a nutshell, I manage a pipeline of residential mortgages. I price out home loans to make sure there’s enough money in them to be profitable for the company, and I follow along the process.
We get borrowers through online advertising or referrals. People come in, we work on their home loans, and we work on selling that loan to a new investor after we pay it. I manage the pipeline to make sure the loans have money when they start, and that at the end of the day the loans (can be covered) by another bank.
3. As a child or a teenager, what did you want to be when you grew up? What is your ultimate career goal now?
I wanted to be a doctor. Something in the science or medical field. Now I want to run a business on my own. What kind of business, I’m not sure yet, but I want to do something entrepreneurial on my own.
4. What would you say your general political leanings are? Not party affiliation, per se, but your stance on work-related issues like social security, overseas manufacturing, and unions.
I’m generally a centrist liberal. Depends on the issue. My family is mostly entrepreneurs. My dad runs a shipping company, my uncle owns this business, another runs another company doing home contracting. It’s hard to make a dollar here, so I understand why people ship jobs overseas, but I also understand how doing that hurts our workforce and makes the economy weaker.
My industry has become heavily regulated. When I worked in mortgage banking doing clerical work in high school, there were no regulations. There was no regulation in 2004-ish. People were able to get what’s called a “stated income loan,” where you didn’t need documentation to prove your salary and get a loan. You just said how much you made and they took your word for it. They were ARMs – adjustable rate mortgages. A lot of people ended up with mortgages where they could squeak by on the payments, but as the market changed, their monthly payments increased and they couldn’t keep up. That’s why a lot of people are in foreclosure now. It was a free-for-all. That led to the meltdown.
Now, on the contrary, the regulations are really tight. People who are qualified for a loan but aren’t top tier – high FICO score, no late payments – they might have a really hard time qualifying for a loan because the regulations are really strict now. The stated-income loans were intended for people who actually could make their mortgage payments, but their income wasn’t recorded – people like waitresses, freelancers, people who make money but underreport it on their income taxes. That’s what it was intended for, but people obviously took advantage of that for other reasons.
5. How have the past four years of economic instability affected your career?
When I was an employee at UCLA, the California state budget forced me to become furloughed two years in a row. So fresh out of college, I was making less money each year. After that, I’m a salaried employee here, not commission-based, so my salary is guaranteed here. I’m better isolated from the market.
I briefly had a food truck. The state of the economy put a lot of people in the position where it was hard to get a 9-to-5 job, so having a food truck seemed appealing. You make your own hours, it’s cash-based, you’re your own boss, there are perks. When we started out, there wasn’t much competition. We could make $800-$1,500 just doing lunch service, and overhead was low. But as word got out that this was an easy way for people to have their own business and work for themselves and make money, the market got crowded. When we started there were maybe 30 trucks out there. By the time we left, there were more than 200. It was hard to find locations that didn’t get poached, hard to make a buck.
6. What worries you the most about your job? What worries you most about your life outside of work?
On a day to day, because I do manage a pipeline of loans, and the revenue of those loans depends on stock market movement, I can make a mistake that happens pretty easily – click the wrong button, forget to send one email – it can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Big picture: Businesses in my industry sometimes disappear overnight. They take a hedge position in the market – to make more money with, in theory, less risk – but if you don’t do it right and the market moves quickly, a lot of companies like mine find themselves bankrupt overnight.
I bought my first house, a little condo in downtown Long Beach. It was a Fannie Mae foreclosure. I got a good deal on it, overall it was a good choice, the market was low. If I rent it out in the future I can make money. But to make that payment plus the insurance plus my credit card bills... I wish I was saving more money so that if something happens to me – either I lose my job or get sick and can’t work – I don’t have the cash reserves to rely on that I’d like.
7. Are you in a union? Does your industry have unions? Do you think your industry should unionize?
No, I’m not in a union. I don’t think we have unions. I don’t know if I can make an educated guess on (whether we should have them).
8. What is your proudest career accomplishment?
To get to the position where I am, as a low-level manager of sorts. I run a team of four people. I basically had to, when I started working at Americash and my job transitioned from social media and tech, I took initiative and learned stuff on my own. I didn’t have any formal training in this industry. Every responsibility I have, I earned it on my own. I worked hard to get where I am.
9. If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
I would change my hours. My work is tied to stock-market movement. Sometimes we lock loans at 9 p.m. – making a commitment with the third-party bank – we have to do that on a rolling basis because the people want to make sure the rate we quoted is the rate they get. We do that until 9 p.m. or beyond, and as a result, sometimes I have to get up for the open of the market as well. So I go home at 10 p.m. then get up at 6 in the morning.
10. In one sentence, what's one thing you'd like America to know about you and people like you?
Whenever a borrower calls in, they’re wary of us. When a client calls in, they’re wary. They think that we led to the financial crisis that we’re in right now, and that’s not the case. There are honest people in this industry whose job is to help homeowners save money and hold onto their greatest asset: their home. I work with a lot of loan officers, and I think our clients see them as fat cats raking in the dough, and the truth is a lot of my coworkers are happy to help people, and that’s it.
–By Jessica Roy / current.com / @CurrentJess