Low Rates Won’t Last Forever

Along with the rest of the economy, the housing market has been dealing with the fallout of a global pandemic, leading to an uncertain “new norm.” In a HousingWire panel on Tuesday, Rohit Gupta, CEO and president of Genworth Mortgage Insurance, and Tom Wind, executive vice president of consumer lending at U.S. Bank, discussed adapting to sudden winds of change and how to focus on what’s next.

In a typical recession, Gupta noted, increased unemployment and lack of consumer confidence slow the market as delinquencies rise and origination volume begins to decline. But 2020’s pandemic threw that trend out the window. With record high unemployment in April and increased delinquencies that may last through 2022, low interest rates triggered solid originations for nearly six months – and companies pivoted quickly.

“We had to refocus our efforts, both from an energy perspective, and from our resources perspective. Our focus became both putting people in homes on the front end so our customers were well positioned to close loans and then also on the servicing side, to make sure that we were taking care of families that were encountering financial issues and were in forbearance or delinquency,” Gupta said.

In a boom cycle, however, Wind said it can become more tempting to fulfill every loan possible. According to Wind, staying ahead of the volume includes more than just completion – growing a powerful team, digital adoption, customer engagement and automation require management past a strong season.

“The day will come, and it’s not that far off, when things start to slow down and if you’re not thinking about the future, and investing in the future, when that next day comes, you’re going to be on the outside looking in in terms of competitive position,” Wind said. “I think as much as you want to take advantage of today, particularly for the leaders of the company, be thinking of tomorrow.”

Posted on housingwire.com on 10/15/2020.