Wednesday, December 15, 2010

FNC Founder Bill Rayburn Honored

Bill Rayburn, co-founder and CEO of mortgage technology company FNC Inc., Oxford, Miss., was inducted into the Mississippi Technology Alliance’s Innovators Hall of Fame at a gala event in Jackson earlier this month.

A former University of Mississippi business professor, Rayburn and fellow faculty members Dennis Tosh, Bob Dorsey, and John Johnson, invented software now used by seven of the top 10 U.S. mortgage lenders to streamline workflow and help ensure regulatory compliance.

Also inducted were John D. Bower, MD, whose work at The University of Mississippi School of Medicine significantly advanced the care available to kidney patients, and Will Primos, founder and director of Primos Hunting Calls. Ole Miss Chancellor Emeritus Robert C. Khayat received the MTA’s Legends Award.

“I am truly humbled to be included among such esteemed individuals and honored to be recognized by the MTA, an organization that has meant so much to me and to FNC throughout our company’s history,” Rayburn said.

Bill Rayburn has served as FNC’s CEO since the company began in 1996. Raising $50 million of capital to grow the firm, Rayburn led the development of the revolutionary software platform – Collateral Management System® (CMS®) – which is now used by the nation’s top lenders to process more than 40% of appraisals in the U.S.

At FNC, Rayburn is responsible for steering the company’s mission and vision through the Age of Collateral. Recently, he led the company to develop a new standardized software platform, Collateral Headquarters™ (CHQ), an automated appraisal compliance, ordering, and tracking system designed to help regional and community banks.

He also has made a name for himself by staying ahead of the curve. Due in large part to Rayburn’s expertise and creative insight, FNC has been surviving and thriving despite the economic downturn. Rayburn has proven time and again that he is able to anticipate the directional transformations of the industry and accommodate clients’ changing needs with efficiency and aptitude.

A finance expert and visionary, Rayburn intimately understands how collateral underpins the mortgage industry and has a special talent for imparting that knowledge to others. An accomplished writer and speaker, Rayburn often is invited to speak or sit on panels at major industry conferences, including the reputable Predictive Methods Conference and the Piper Jaffray Financial Services Private Equity Conference.

Along with FNC co-founder Dennis Tosh, Rayburn quite literally wrote the book on collateral – actually, a few of them – including Sheshunoff’s Bankers Guide to Real Estate Appraisal Compliance and Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice: Applying the Standards.

With a Ph.D. in business finance from the University of Memphis, Rayburn also has earned a Chartered Financial Analyst designation as well as Appraisal Institute MAI and SRA designations.

Before founding FNC, Rayburn served as a tenured business professor at the University of Mississippi and also led a consulting firm specializing in seminars for bank regulatory agencies, financial institutions, and appraisal firms across the nation.

I have personally known Rayburn to be an excellent source who is never afraid to approach a story. I have also heard him speak, an experience I highly recommend for anyone who likes to be entertained and schooled at the same time.

FGMC Mortgage Chairman Publishes Book about Mortgage Meltdown

Kenneth Clark, founder and chairman of FGMC Mortgage Corporation of McLean, Virginia, has written a book about the mortgage crisis he says was intended for people who live in the real world. Clark claims that the many books available on the meltdown and housing crisis were primarily intended for people who are highly familiar with the financial world, making them less useful for ordinary folk.

“The Story Behind the Mortgage and Housing Meltdown: The Legacy of Greed” is a thorough but easily understood explanation of the events that brought about the crisis, and Clark feels it is important that everyone understands its message. He describes it not as a “business book” per se, but rather a book about the business for mainstream readers.

“If the average American can understand the reasons it all happened, it will greatly minimize the chances of something like this ever happening again,” says Clark, a mortgage lending professional with more than 20 years of experience making residential loans. “And much of the information in currently available books is barely comprehensible to most consumers. Ask ten people what caused the crisis and you’ll get ten answers. Some feel it is all on the lenders, others feel it was all about Wall Street, and many blame the government."

Clark says he wrote the book because he felt it was time to face facts and recognize the real structural defects that precipitated the downfall of the best housing finance system in the world. Those defects were a long time in development, Clark feels.

Clark spent most of his career making FHA loans and was nearing retirement when the alternative, or “Alt” lending programs took root in the mid-2000s. When he became alarmed about the way his industry and company were relying on loans he deemed unsafe, he returned to active management and steered his firm away from the riskier lending practices.

“These alternative loans were very lucrative for lenders and there were plenty of people that wanted them, because getting into real estate was a sure-fire way to build wealth – or so it seemed,” Clark recalls. “But the trend was unmistakable for those who could look beyond the money that was being made.”

For example, according to Clark, "Wall Street was insisting that we repurchase loans we had sold them before they became skittish, and then someone else would call from the same firm and beg us to originate more of the same kinds of loans. It was madness, and I knew it was just a matter of time before the business melted down.”

Among the systemic issues that had eroded the industry’s foundations over time, Clark feels, is the reliance on credit scoring and other technologies that took the place of human judgment in lending decisions.

“Our mortgage system enjoyed generations of stability and liquidity, even making loans to people whose credit wasn’t perfect,” Clark explains. “But with volumes going through the roof and Wall Street clamoring for even more loans, good judgment was sacrificed in favor of three-digit credit scores that ultimately had no meaning. As predictors of default, credit scores did far more harm than good, and they are still being overly relied upon today.”

Clark elaborates on these and other serious issues that threaten the future of the mortgage finance system in his book.

“I wrote this book to bring some easily understood insights to lawmakers and regulators, as well as to consumers," Clark said. "The government’s role in helping us work our way out of this mess is a critical one, but elected officials are seldom more expert in financial matters than the average citizen. They need to read the book, too, in order to gain the perspective they need to govern properly when it comes to the nation’s most important industry – housing.”

More information about “The Story Behind the Mortgage and Housing Meltdown: The Legacy of Greed” is available now at and at popular ordering web sites, such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and others.

Disclosure: I don't represent this book or its author and will not be compensated for clicking on the link.

Valuation Partners Hires National Account Executive

Valuation Partners, Sugar Land, Texas, a national appraisal management company with access to over 10,000 independent fee appraisers in all 50 states, has hired Dawn Svedberg as vice president and national account executive. Svedberg brings more than 24 years of appraisal and mortgage industry experience to Valuation Partners as well as thorough knowledge of credit, flood, title, income tax verification and real estate information products and services.

Svedberg will be responsible for broadening the company’s sales reach in the Western United States. “Dawn is an absolute pro in the valuation field with a proven track record of helping lenders and others with their valuation needs,” Valuation Partners CEO Bill Fall said. “We’re extremely fortunate to have her, as she will play a key role in spreading the Valuation Partners brand throughout the West.”

Since starting her career as an appraiser, Svedberg has held numerous senior level sales and sales management roles in the appraisal and real estate services industries with particular expertise recruiting and training sales professionals. Most recently Svedberg served as senior vice president of national sales for Informative Research, where she was responsible for sales throughout the Western U.S. and became the highest producing salesperson in the company. Her other roles include first vice president of national sales for LandSafe Real Estate Origination Services; vice president and national account manager for Chicago Title and Market Intelligence; and vice president and national account manager for First American Real Estate Loan Services.

“With all the volatility in the real estate market, there’s never been greater demand for reliable, high-quality appraisal products,” Svedberg said. “Valuation Partners has been filling this need while building a reputation for speed, quality and customer service. I’m thrilled to be on board, and look forward to assisting lenders with all their valuation needs.”