Resignation or Firing of John G Stevens as President of NAMB
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Mortgage Brokers to NAMB: You have failed us.
We DEMAND the immediate removal of John Stevens as President of NAMB
I would like to respond to the letter John Stevens, the current President of NAMB, recently circulated to wholesale lenders (not to its members) describing their view of BRAWL and its guidance to lenders on BRAWL moving forward. I want to specifically point out that NAMB, the trade group of mortgage brokers, circulated this letter exclusively to lenders that it does NOT represent. It left its members in the dark about its view on BRAWL, and their guidance to lenders on BRAWL. The guidance by John Stevens instructs the lenders to ‘hush’ any communication related to BRAWL, and informs the lenders that NAMB will ‘protect’ them from the topic. This letter exposes NAMB for what it has become: a puppet of the lenders. It is not transparent with its members, and cannot be trusted by mortgage brokers. (NAMB Letter can be viewed here https://gshl.box.com/v/NAMBletter
First, I would like to address the suggestions made in the letter that BRAWL somehow violates anti-trust laws. Even though I know this suggestion is false, I sought legal opinion and this was the response:
While NAMB is correct that certain organizing of group boycotts and anti-competitive behavior can be a violation of Federal Antitrust Law, what it misses completely is that neither of those circumstances apply here. To say otherwise would be a tortured interpretation of Federal Antitrust Law. What is even more concerning, is the nature of the letter from NAMB’s President, John Stevens and the position NAMB has decided to take on this issue. It demonstrates that NAMB either does not understand BRAWL’s cause or, more importantly, is turning its back on the very members of which it purports to support.
BRAWL created a voice for individual brokers to bring to light those lenders who participate in the wholesale channel with the objective of converting the broker’s clients to clients of their own. In other words, BRAWL is whistleblowing on hidden unsavory business practices and bringing awareness to the broker community to allow brokers to make their own informed decisions. One would expect that an organization like NAMB would be championing such a cause, not discouraging it.
My response on the John Stevens, NAMB letter:
Shortly after I launched BRAWL, I was contacted by a member of the NAMB board to participate in a call with John Stevens and the rest of the NAMB board. During that call, I shared my position as a mortgage broker and the founder of BRAWL. I told them that wholesale lenders have exploited mortgage brokers, discarding the brokers' relationship with their customers entirely and abusively churning past wholesale customers. Wholesale lenders took full advantage of the fragmented nature of the mortgage broker community, the absence of a vocal and devoted trade association, and without any pushback they took control over brokers and the wholesale channel. The response from John Stevens and the NAMB board was disappointing. They had zero interest and basically told me to get lost. Things quickly changed in the several weeks after that call took place. The BRAWL message spread with eight thousand mortgage brokers and loan originators across the country came together to support the BRAWL movement. The leadership teams of wholesale lenders could not get in touch with me fast enough to propose changes to their policies and requested guidance on adopting policies that would better protect and support mortgage brokers. It was clear to all that the time for the chickens to come home to roost was upon us.
The mortgage industry is at the end of a nearly seven yearlong refinance driven low rate environment where the vast majority of the loans closed by mortgage brokers have been churned. In some cases, multiple times by the lenders brokers entrusted those customer relationships with. Harsh realities are upon us and mortgage brokers are doing inventory of their damages. Wholesale market share has remained stagnate for several years, but data is now available that shows 40% of all wholesale loans from 2011 to 2015 were refinanced by the lenders those loans were brokered to, 18% of all wholesale loans during that same period of time were refinanced twice. If the policies, procedures, and resources that BRAWL is advocating for were in place over the last six years the wholesale market share would have grown by 30-40% per year. Instead the lenders were the beneficiaries of that growth. Brokers were left to fend for themselves, designated by lenders as an insignificant transactional participant in the process. Nothing more.
BRAWL is not about boycotting lenders. It is about bringing transparency and disclosure of lenders practices to the mortgage broker community. We are in communication with the same wholesale lenders that betrayed our trust and repurposed our past customers for their own benefit. We are proactively working with those lenders on improving their wholesale platforms to support and protect mortgage brokers moving forward. Are we demanding for lenders to stop predatory churning practices? You're damn right we are and so are regulators. The real question is why aren't you, John Stevens? Why aren't you, NAMB? The answer is because you do not want to rattle the cage of the same lenders that sponsor your shows, subsidize your membership fees, and in some cases, are your employers. John Stevens is the Vice President of National Retail Business Development for PRMG, a large mortgage banker. The primary objective of his position is to recruit retail branches. Of course he does not support brokers! He is focused on growing retail. The conflict of interest is apparent to the mortgage broker community that does not support NAMB, the lenders that walk all over NAMB, and any coherent industry professional that communicates with NAMB. It is unfortunate that NAMB has lost all credibility and connection with the people they are meant to be advocating and working on behalf of: the MORTGAGE BROKERS! NAMB is completely dysfunctional and made a reckless choice in John Stevens as President. This is the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, with all do respect; John Stevens has never been a mortgage broker, he has been the 'VP of Retail Business Development' at five different mortgage bankers in the last two years. This guy cannot hold a job long enough to get a cup of coffee and he was elected the President of NAMB? It is a shameful embarrassment to all of the people that worked so hard over many decades to build NAMB and to its founders who clearly set out to support mortgage brokers, since it’s in the name.
In closing, I want to thank the thousands of mortgage brokers and loan originators that send me messages of support, believe me it helps. Your support is what is allowing BRAWL to influence the changes that are occurring and will continue to occur. 2018 will be the year of the mortgage broker, wholesale market share will grow by double digits, and we will work together to support our wholesale lender partners.
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