Oct. 2: Supply & demand in real estate; advice for newbies in our biz; personnel moves; Saturday Spotlight: Spring EQ

Remember the foreclosure tidal wave that experts thought was going to devastate real estate around 2010-2012? It never happened. In a similar fashion, the forbearance policies and numbers don’t appear to have capsized real estate values either, and we’ll probably take 1.2 million houses coming out of forbearance in stride as tens of millions of people born between 1981 and 1996 want to own homes but don’t (yet). Homes continue to appreciate, given supply and demand. Houses aren’t the only things going up in price. National asking rents rose 10.3% in August, measured on an annual basis, according to Real Page, a rental-management software company. And plenty of community banks and lenders know that cropland values hit a new high this year at $4,420 per acre. With prices for agricultural products up and American farmers feeling flush as a result, many are buying up new equipment. The USDA is projecting net farm income will hit $113 billion in 2021, up 20 percent and the highest since 2013, even though federal payments to farmers will drop 39 percent this year. Retail sales volume for new high-horsepower tractors is up 27 percent year-over-year in the first eight months, and John Deere saw its profits from large farm equipment up 50 percent in the most recent quarter.

Saturday Spotlight: Spring EQ, offering an innovative proprietary platform to TPO partners that provides customers fast and easy access to the equity in their homes.


In 3-5 sentences, describe your company (when was it founded and why, what it does, where, recent growth, and plans for near-term future growth).  


Spring EQ, headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, was founded in 2016 by industry vanguard Jerry Schiano to focus on the underserved home equity market as an alternative to cash out refinancing. Offering both adjustable rate HELOC’s and 30-year fixed rate second liens to 97.5% CLTV, Spring EQ uses an innovative, proprietary platform that provides wholesale partners and their clients fast and easy access to the equity in their homes. Traditional loans can be painful: data, documents, unrealistic demands. Our technology and process are designed to make things smoother, so our partners can focus on what’s important: selling. As a result, our loans typically fund faster, with less frustration for all. We also allow our partners to make traditional compensation if they choose. With an experienced team of Account Executives and lending in 40 states, our goal is simple:  To be the top wholesale Home Equity lender in the country.


Tell us about what type of volunteer work employees are encouraged to engage in, or charities your company supports, and why.  


Spring EQ believes in supporting the areas where we work and live. We encourage our team members to engage in charities and volunteer work that is meaningful to them and their communities. As a company we participate with local groups that have recently included: the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House where we prepared meals for families caring for their sick children, and a neighborhood cleanup project in North Philadelphia where our team members helped to restore a section of the city.


Tell us how your company maintains its culture in a work-from-home environment, or how you plan on bringing employees back into the office, if applicable.  


We are maintaining our culture in a work from home environment through several forms of communication including hosting virtual team meetings, a virtual monthly town hall meeting with all team members hosted by our CEO and senior managers to share company plans and progress, as well as a virtual monthly happy hour to add some fun. While many of our team members work remotely across the country, our offices are open for business, and vaccinated team members can enjoy a hybrid work style. We remain informed of the national, state, and local guidelines and look forward to having the opportunity to spend more time together as we move forward!


Things you are most proud of that don’t have to do with sales.  


At Spring EQ our entrepreneurial culture is everything. We are a transparent company full of talented individuals who are obsessed with finding a better way to serve our partners and their clients. This spans the entire organization, from our account executives, operations, technology teammates, and beyond.


Fun fact about Spring EQ.  


Jerry Schiano named the company Spring EQ because he wanted to help customers “spring” equity out of their houses!

(For more information on having your firm, employee growth, and your charitable side featured, contact Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt.)

Advice for entrants into our biz

I asked people of color and women in the industry about their early careers & advice for new entrants, and appreciate the time they spent responding. I will happily circulate more responses if you care to write, and have more already to publish. “What do you think the best advice you can give those starting out in the mortgage industry?” or “What is the boldest move you made that helped advance your career?” or “What do you wish someone would have told you about being successful in this industry?”

For fans of video, here is an interview with Wells Fargo’s Kristy Fercho: Women in Leadership.

Allison Johnston, CMB, President of Success Mortgage Partners, sent, “A few people have asked me over the years what advice I would give women who would like to grow in their career. I thought about it and would say hard work, dedication to your goals while staying true to your core beliefs, and learning to adapt to whatever obstacle that is in front of you.

“I cannot even count the times I have been told ‘no’ in my career. I remember thinking is that a real ‘no’ or a maybe ‘no’? I decided it is only a ‘no’ for now, not a ‘no’ forever, unless I allow it to be. If you set your mind on accomplishing a goal or plan, nothing should stand in your way. You should surround yourself with positive people that will help you along the way and be your biggest cheerleader. For those not interested in helping you succeed, my thought process is step aside, as they will only get in the way. Tell yourself every day you can accomplish what you set out to accomplish.

“Make sure you communicate your goals to your employer and let them see what you are capable of. If you find you are not in alignment with your employer on your career goals, then find a company that aligns with what you want, and who sees your true value, and what you are able to accomplish. Determination and perseverance will always lead to success, never give up on yourself.”

And from Washington DC, Courtenay Dunn, Counsel with Intercontinental Exchange (“ICE”), sent, “Figure out what makes you talk fast! Growing up, my Mom used to say she could tell what excited me because I would ‘talk fast’ about it. The same principle applies in the professional context in terms of what interests you and what you’re good at. To me, these ‘soft’ qualities are as quantifiable as statistics or jobs on a resume. In fact, I recommend putting pen to paper to intentionally (and honestly) chart out and analyze: 1) what you like, 2) what you’re good at, 3) what you don’t like, and 4) what you’re not good at. You can craft your professional story and strategy from there.

“There is something special about each one of us that no one else can replicate, so the sooner you can identify and articulate your ‘je ne sais quoi!,’ the more you can advocate for yourself and the work and life you want, as well as focus on issues in need of improvement. In the end, having an executable plan with measurable results will help build confidence, provide a sense of control in an otherwise chaotic world and industry, and ultimately lead to great success!

Personnel & company moves

In the Dallas-suburb of Frisco, Texas, Evolve Mortgage Services announced a reorganization this month, creating three new business units and naming a new president for each unit. Gregg Meyer, who has served as president of Evolve since 2017, has been named president of its originations unit. The company’s capital markets unit is led by Mark Hughes, who joined Evolve in January 2020. A third, eMortgage unit is led by mortgage technology veteran Tim Anderson, who rejoined Evolve in August after more than a decade away from the company.

In July, Evolve announced it had acquired e-Notary Seal, which enables mortgage borrowers to remotely sign and notarize a document from anywhere on any device. The founder of e-Notary Seal, Felicia Grimes, has joined Evolve as vice president of its eMortgage division. Before founding e-Notary Seal in 2019, Grimes worked for NotaryCam, Notarize, and Grimes Notary Signing Services.

Kim Castigiloni has been hired as VP of market growth and national condominium program manager at Middletown, Rhode Island-based Embrace Home Loans. Castiglioni is mortgage industry veteran who has spent the bulk of her 30-year career at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, most recently as VP, national condominium manager.

With its June acquisition of INVISR, Chrysalis Holdings LLC hired INVISR co-founder and CEO Tal Gozhansky as its chief technology officer. Baltimore-based Chrysalis made the strategic acquisition to establish a unified, end-to-end information ecosystem integrating marketing, origination, credit risk, and loan servicing data. Gozhansky previously served at Citigroup, Salesforce, and Redkit.

AXIS Lending Academy reported in June that it appointed three new directors to its board: Sue Woodard, a former top producing originator and winner of multiple industry awards who serves as senior adviser at STRATMOR Group, Kevin Peranio, the chief lending officer for PRMG, and Brian Vieaux, president & COO of FinLocker. San Francisco-based AXIS offers free hybrid education training to people seeking a career in the mortgage industry

In April, Cherry Creek Mortgage announced that Reid Nelson was promoted to VP of software development. Nelson, who started with the Denver-based lender in 2020, has a 25-year track record of leading software development teams at LenderLive and Computershare. That same month, Cherry Creek reported Claud Payne was promoted to VP of project management. Payne, who joined Cherry Creek in 2016, previously spent time at IBM, BMC Software, and JD Edwards.

The new VP of client success at BSI Financial Services is Michael Bugbee, according to an April announcement. He has nearly two decades’ experience, including more than a decade at Mr. Cooper and more than seven years at Freddie Mac. Bugbee replaced Fred Whitfield, who will transition into a senior project management role to focus on several key initiatives at the Irving, Texas-based provider of mortgage-centric financial services.

In March, Brandon Montgomery was hired as national sales director at Entra Solutions, a BSI affiliate that provides of title, escrow, real estate, valuations, and default solutions. For more than 10 years, Montgomery has been developing high-performing sales strategies and helping clients to achieve profitability in their business ventures. Most recently, he served as a title and escrow lead at Old Republic Title and has also worked at Wells Fargo.

Also in March, it was announced that 14-year mortgage vet Tai Christensen was appointed diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) officer at CBC Mortgage Agency. Christensen, who joined the Cedar City, Utah-based provider of national down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers in 2018, will maintain her existing role of director of government affairs.

An Arizona Highway Patrol officer stops a Harley in Tucson for traveling faster than the posted speed limit, so he asks the biker his name.

“Mike,” he replies.

“Mike what?’ the officer asks.

“Just Mike,” the man responds.

The officer is in a good mood, thinks he might just give the biker a break, and write him out a warning instead of a ticket. The officer then presses him for the last name.

The man tells him that he used to have a last name but lost it.

The officer thinks that he has a nut case on his hands but plays along with it. “Tell me, Mike, how did you lose your last name?”

The biker replies, “It’s a long story, so stay with me. I was born Mike Johnson. I studied hard and got good grades. When I got older, I realized that I wanted to be a doctor. I went through college, medical school, internship, residency, and finally got my degree, so I was Mike Johnson, MD. After a while I got bored being a doctor, so I decided to go back to school. Dentistry was my dream! Got all the way through school, got my degree, so then I was Mike Johnson, MD, DDS. Got bored doing dentistry, so I started fooling around with my assistant and she gave me VD, so now I was Mike Johnson, MD, DDS, with VD.

“Well, the ADA found out about the VD, so they took away my DDS. Then I was Mike Johnson, MD, with VD. Then the AMA found out about the ADA taking away my DDS because of the VD, so they took away my MD leaving me as Mike Johnson with VD. Then the VD took away my Johnson, so now I am just Mike.”

The officer walked away in tears, laughing.

Visit www.robchrisman.com for more information on our industry partners, access archived commentaries, or to subscribe to the Daily Mortgage News and Commentary. If you’re interested, visit my periodic blog at the STRATMOR Group web site. The current blog is, “An M&A Snapshot.” The Commentary’s podcast is live and at any place you obtain your podcasts (like Apple or Spotify).


(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. This newsletter is designed for sophisticated mortgage professionals only. There are no paid endorsements by me. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to www.robchrisman.com. Copyright 2021 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job & product listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold, or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)


Rob Chrisman