This week’s HW+ member spotlight features Reina Ramos, senior vice president, mortgage market leader at City National Bank of Florida. She joined CNBF after more than a decade with Seacoast Bank, where she served as senior vice president, residential lending production manager.
Below, Ramos answers questions about the housing industry:
HousingWire: To start off, what is your current favorite HW+ article and why?
Reina Ramos: I don’t have a favorite article but rather enjoy and appreciate the coverage HW provides on all subject matters that are affecting the mortgage industry as well as Realtors. The reporting is unbiased and provides relevant information for today’s industry.
HousingWire: What has been one of your biggest learning opportunities?
Reina Ramos: My biggest learning opportunities were working for both large and small institutions. Early in my career I worked for one of the country’s largest mortgage lender during the early 2000s. Having previously worked for a small community bank, it was like drinking out of a fire hose.
There was so much information to absorb and retain. They did a comprehensive job at teaching lenders how to sell, honing in on skills. If you weren’t careful, you’d feel like a number, so you had to focus on what set you apart from others. Working for smaller community banks, you are nimble and typically have a seat at the table for decision-making where your opinion and experience is valued. These opportunities allowed me to fine tune my leadership skills and find value in what I offer my team and the organizations I worked for.
HousingWire: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Reina Ramos: The best pieces of advice I’ve ever received pertained to learning how to work and communicate effectively with all stakeholders in the transaction and that knowledge is power. Lenders need to be mindful that clients don’t purchase homes often and using acronyms to describe the program, terms or process can create confusion.
While borrowers can shop online these days and follow an automated experience, it doesn’t equate to working with a seasoned professional loan officer and learning what to expect first-hand. As the loan officer, the more information I can share with my borrower and referral partners the more valuable I become to the transaction and future referrals. I never want to lose sight that I own the client and the experience.
HousingWire: What do you think will be the big themes for the housing market in 2022?
Reina Ramos: I think the theme for 2022 will be housing starts and affordability. We know refinance volumes will dry up due to rising rates, borrowers not exiting their homes due to the reduced inventories. With limited and or extended housing starts and delays obtaining materials, we’ll see greater challenges in meeting the needs of clients looking to buy.
All of this means compressed affordability and inventory. The good news is that there’s a lot of cash in the market. Clients have seen positive yields in their investments which will allow for larger down payments and stepping up in purchase price. Compared to 2007 and 2008 there’s more due diligence in mortgage qualifying.
HousingWire: What keeps you up at night and why?
Reina Ramos: Inventory and affordable housing keep me up at night. We’ve seen escalating pricing throughout SFL and basically up the East and West coast of Florida. While a client can sell their home at today’s premiums, the lack of inventory and affordable housing means that they can’t typically replace the home without paying that same premium, in most cases for a smaller home. The rental pool is also escalating in costs.
Renters, who would typically be looking to buy, face the same challenges of the low inventory and escalated prices. Clients who have historically rented looking to purchase a property and save in housing expense are finding it difficult. Not to mention, their rents are increasing too.
I’m focusing on preparing my lenders with the right tools to be successful and stay sharp in this ever-changing industry. I worry about the average age of lenders and other parties that participate in the process such as appraisers. I’ve been in the industry for 30+ years and it’s a love and hate business, certainly not for the faint of heart.
The HW+ member spotlight series highlights the impact HW+ members have in the industry and the trends that they’re closely watching. To become an HW+ member, click here, and for more information on HW+ benefits, click here.