by Bob Sparrow
Mortgage: a French law term meaning ‘death pledge’. For me it must be a ‘death wish’.
There’s a phrase in the mortgage industry that describes someone who is either new to the business and doesn’t know anything or someone who has been in the business a while and is still clueless. That phrase is, “He doesn’t even know where the ‘t’ goes in mortgage”. After a 27-year career in the business, I once again find myself wondering if I remember where the ‘t’ goes, as I was recently presented with an opportunity to get back in the business. As I considered this prospect, I reflected on my nearly three decades in the business and concluded that I could have been a poster child for the ‘Peter Principle’. For those unfamiliar with Peter Laurence’s 1969 book, The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong, it goes like this: if someone is good at something, they get promoted, and if they’re good at that job, they get promoted again, and that keeps happening until they are elevated to a job and stay there because they’re not good enough at it to get promoted. More simply put, it says that people are promoted to their level of incompetence. In 1983 I started in the business as a loan originator and was pretty good at it, so was promoted to branch manager and continued through the management ranks until I ended my career as president of a joint venture. No matter what your political bias, we know that we’ve all seen our share of incompetent presidents. I was no exception.
If you’re saying, ‘Wait a minute, why are you telling me about the mortgage business, you’re suppose to take us on a journey to some off-the-beaten-path place?’ Hey, if I’m going back to work, you’re coming with me!
My reasons for contemplating a return to a business that was a major player in bringing our economy to a screeching halt in 2008 are two fold: 1) I don’t seem to be adjusting very well to a life of retirement, and 2) perhaps I wanted to end my mortgage career doing something that I was good at. So after twenty hours of on-line course work and hours of studying and passing both a state and a national exam, I received my mortgage license and last week started working as a loan originator for Metropolitan Home Mortgage, a mortgage banker based out of Irvine, CA. (949) 428-0134.
It’s bad enough that I’m getting back into a business that doesn’t enjoy the best of reputations, but to put some whip cream on this mortgage meadow muffin I’ll be specializing in reverse mortgages. Reverse mortgages or as they’re know in some quarters, Perverse Mortgages, have a rather sullied reputation in spite of the efforts of Fred Thompson, Robert Wagner and ‘The Fonz’ – all espousing the benefits of the loan that pays you. I call it the ‘Hollywood Loan’, not because of the celebrity pitchmen, but because every loan requires the applicants to go to counseling, which is code in Hollywood for therapy. I’ve learned that it’s a very complex loan that has changed dramatically since its inception in 1990 and that it’s not for everyone, but it’s a great loan for the right people.
So sister Suzanne and I have sort of switched rolls with me staying close to home and she off cavorting in Washington DC – a trip that you’ll hear about next week. In the mean time, if I work hard and use spellcheck I may once again find the ‘t’.