• Strategic Information Resouces, Inc. is a BBB Accredited Credit Reporting Agency in Holyoke, MA


New England Mortgage Bankers does it again!

As a proud committee member, corporate sponsor and exhibitor of the NEMBC for almost 30 years, Strategic Information Resources (SIR) found the conference this year a total success! With all the changes and new compliance requirements in lending, this conference certainly was the “go to” source for mortgage lenders in New England once again.

It gave lenders and industry professionals a venue to learn, network and even participate in a new program called “Operation Gratitude” as a way to say THANK YOU to our Military Heroes!

The program started on Wednesday with Golf at the Newport Country Club, those that played had a beautiful New England Day to play!  If folks did not golf, they had a great chance to be involved with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac training workshops that were scheduled on Wednesday morning as well as FHLB Boston had a training workshop to help lenders learn about recent enhancements to their MPF program.  A bit later on Wednesday we had a great panel on the return of the Non-QM Loans- Risks vs Rewards and hiring the next generation of mortgage bankers done by a strong panel of speakers.

The official Gala Welcome Reception was at the Rosecliff mansion, one of Newport’s most elegant settings.  This Gala was sponsored by our friends at CATIC. Guests were greeted with a flute of champagne and music while networking with fellow industry professionals.

Thursday morning was kicked off with a session for appraisers titled “What Lenders Want:  Minimize Callbacks by Identifying and Meeting Client expectations.”  This program was very well received, SIR’s own Preston Pruett was part of this panel.  The session demonstrated to the appraisers that not all AMC’s are bad, some like SIR, pay the appraiser the full fee set by the lender, making sure we keep the appraiser  whole and the lender happy.

Another well-attended session was titled “How to Improve a Loan Closing for Your Clients since TRID”  it was moderated by Mike Krone from Kriss Law, Rich Hogan from CATIC and Greg Radding from Norcom Mortgage.  This group was lively and focused on CFPB’s imposing liability on lenders for all vendors they use, including Settlement Agents, Attorneys, as well as the rest of us who support the Financial Industry.  Lenders now need to select and/or recommend attorneys and title companies that meet the minimum standards imposed by the ALTA and CFPB.   As a 3rd party vendor we need to be sure we protect our customers and their customer’s information and privacy.  Data breach and cyber crimes continue to be big concerns for the industry.  This group talked at length on how educating our staff as well as paying attention to our business’s physical security is so important.  Mike had a personal story about his own experience where a hacker was able to transfer calls that were meant for Mike’s cell phone forward directly to the “bad guys” phone as a way to be able to verify a charge on a credit card that was still in Mike’s wallet!  Scary stuff!   Another panelist mentioned how they send dummy phishing emails to their staff to ensure that the staff is protecting data and not opening phishing emails!  The theme here was “Trust by Verify”.

The next session I attended had a high powered line up!  Rich Hogan, Seth Bogdan, Ruth Dillingham, Sandy Gausch, Ben Giumarra, Beth Phelan, Sue Quilty and Sharon Asar, Deputy Ombudsman, CFPB Ombudsman’s Office.  Interesting conversations from all of these folks and I found myself thinking there is a trend here, they also talked about CFPB’s discretion over 3rd party due diligence!

Brian Bacci and John Battaglia also put on a great session for lenders on “Efficiency = Profitability” they worked out a spreadsheet to track and measure profitability after TRID.  A few points I took away from that was to make sure you update job descriptions, understand where you may have shifted the burden of compliance, do not make decisions based on assumptions and another suggestion was to add an entry level specialist whose sole function is initial disclosures and re-disclosures it will greatly free up your more experienced staff and also add to your bench strength by adding a young person to your “seasoned” staff.

Back to operation-gratitude-imageOperation Gratitude. While I was setting up our booth and putting out beanie babies as a way to support the NEMBC committee’s request on how exhibitors could participate in this effort, a fellow attendee who had served in Afghanistan told Steve Sousa and I the story behind “why the beanie babies”.  He told us that the beanie babies were the best shield he had when going out on patrol.  This was a great way to ingratiate with the locals who then became advocates rather than enemies.  The Operation Gratitude station was set up just outside the exhibit area and where lunch was set up; many of the exhibitors had Note Cards to write thank you notes and beanie babies to donate, like we did at the SIR booth.  Giving back is an important part of our mission at SIR and it was great to participate in this great event.


MaMDevine Headshot2ureen Devine is the President of Strategic Information Resources.  With nearly 40 years of experience in the industry, she is recognized as an industry expert with a passion for customer service. Maureen is certified in the Fair Credit Reporting Act and plays an active role in the National Consumer Reporting Association.