Modern Lending Podcast | Tony Thompson

This week we are making a pivot and talk about increasing the reach of our industry with Tony Thompson and NAMMBA's VISIONARY program. We are going to dive into the origin of NAMMBA and what it's doing in mortgage industry today.

In this snippet of the Modern Lending Podcast...

  • NAMMBA's Origin
  • The Visionary Program
  • What we need to do for our industry now for the future
  • How you can help increase the reach to the next generation of mortgage

Episode Transcribe

[Alec] Ladies and gentleman, welcome! To another Modern Lending podcast live! By the way if you're watching this in the future, hit me up with the hashtag bypass, I love it. But today, we're gonna be talking about a really great organization called NAMMBA. NAMMBA is the National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America. It's a trade association dedicated to the enrichment betterment of minorities and women in the mortgage industry. We're gonna get the origin story. We're gonna talk to the man who founded it, Tony Thompson, we're gonna bring him on, but we're also gonna talk about the visionary program that just launched. Now friends, this is a radical thing. I'm excited to personally be apart of it because the goal of the visionary program with NAMMBA is to connect to over 50,000 high potential counted undergraduates and recent graduates. Giving them internships and career paths into real estate and finance. It's about time, we show the next generation this incredible industry. So, let's bring on Tony Thompson. What's up, Tony? Good to see, you buddy.

[Tony] Hey, thanks a lot for having me today, man. I'm excited to be here. So, hey, much love, much love and appreciation to you for having me today.

[Alec] Well, look man, you're doing the real work and I wanna talk about it cause I'm super pumped. I've been saying forever, man I wish there was a way we got our industry exposed to college students. I mean, I fell into it cause my dad was in the business. It's like people fall into the mortgage industry and they don't realize this is one of the greatest industries in the country. And so, before we talk about that and visionary, which I'm so stoked on, Tony you started a really rad trade association dedicated to helping minorities and women in mortgage banking, can you unpack like, where did that come from? You were in mortgage banking, what made you pull into that space and open this whole thing up? Let's talk about the foundation of NAMMBA.

[Tony] Yeah, I mean, essentially what happened is over the years, I used to speak at a lot of great events throughout the industry and every time I got up to speak, the only thing that I would see were a lot of old white men and bald hair and gray hair.

[Alec] I was gonna say..

[Tony] I kept telling myself, "You know, wow there has to be more to our industry. We need more young people in the room. We need more women, we need more people of color." And so it was one of these things that as I traveled across the country people kept saying, "Man, I wish there was a place that it didn't matter who I worked for, whether I was a broker or a banker or a credit union." I could just have a network that I could really grow and tap into to grow my career and to grow my business, and that was really the genesis of how NAMMBA came about.

[Alec] So you launched this thing and it's almost five years old now, is that right? Did I get that right?

[Tony] We're coming up on our 5th year, next year is our 5th anniversary. We are so pumped, so excited. We're in kindergarten you know? We feel like a toddler, but we're having fun and it's been great in terms of the impact we're making and what we're getting ready to plan for the future.

[Alec] So, real quick, and I wanna hear more about what work NAMMBA's doing, Mikey turn comments on for me, in addition to the visionary program, but you know we're live on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, if you are with us guys, throw in a comment, share the love, we need to spread the message about what this organization is doing. There's a lot of visionaries out there who are putting up tons of posts and sharing the content so if you're watching this now or in the future, share, spread the love and let's talk about what NAMMBA's been doing. So, Tony, before visionary came into play, which I know you have a passion about for the students, just share organizationally what NAMMBA's been doing.

[Tony] Just kind of [Tony]

[Tony] Yes.

[Alec] Yeah, dive in.

[Tony] So, first of all, NAMMBA's got a two part mission and I want to make sure even though it says the National Organization of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America, anyone who has ever been to a NAMMBA event, a NAMMBA conference, they will tell you NAMMBA is for everyone. Our mission is two[Tony]fold. First, we want to provide training, education, professional development to women and minorities who are in the industry, although it says women and minorities, we don't really care who you are. In fact, most people don't know, 25% of our members are white. And the reason for that is real simple. We focus on education, content and training. We want you to be the best originator possible. We want you to be the best operations professional. We want you to be the best you and everything that we do at NAMMBA is built around giving you the training, professional development, and the education very similar that executives receive at the events and conferences that they go to with the Mortgage Bankers Association. The second part of our mission is also to connect and introduce college and high school students to careers in our industry and to provide them with financial literacy education. You and I know, the future homeowners, three out of four homes last year sold, three out of four homes this year sold, have been to women, single women, minorities, or millennials, so we understand a future home buyer demographic, we wanna make sure that those segments understand and have the tools that they need to become homeowners in every community across the country. But then last, but not least, you have a story, I have a story, we all, except for you, you came up with a family and a pedigree of the mortgage, but most successful mortgage practitioners will tell you, they fell into the mortgage industry. With NAMMBA, our goal is to intentionally introduce and connect college students across the country to careers and organizations and companies like yours and our partners to help them understand the wealth of opportunity no matter what kind of job they're looking for, we have that in our industry.

[Alec] So hey, but everyone watching right now, if you fell into this industry or were dragged in by family, comment, 'cause I know you're right, Tony. 'Cause how do you find this industry? It's exactly what you're talking about. You don't unless somehow, so if you're watching right now and you fell into the industry too, please share like how, cause I love to play with that and I love to see what's going on. Okay so, five years, you're in kindergarten, you're kicking around here. Let's talk about the visionary program. So when did this become a thing in your mind? Walk me through kind of the process and what's going on and what the intent you're trying to drive with it is.

[Tony] Well you know, it became kind of a game, one of the genesis about NAMMBA was I'm a person of action, I believe, hey, instead of talking about stuff let's do it, right? So, you know, four years ago, everyone kept saying we need an organization, there needs to be a network there needs to be a place that again, whether you're a broker, a banker, a credit union, it doesn't matter, if you're black, white, green, yellow, it doesn't matter, where can I go to get training and that can help me grow? Bam! That's NAMMBA. Also, every time I turn around, every executive or every CEO is sitting there saying, "We need more young people in our industry the average age of a loaner is 53 years old. Oh my gosh, you know, we've gotta do something." Guys, let's stop saying we gotta do something. Let's be real leaders. And most importantly, the idea for the visionary came, it's real simple, it's like, Tony, you fell into the industry, but you have a chance to make this industry better when you leave it than when you found it. And so for every leader, or for every mortgage professional that's been out there and you want to make this industry better then you want to intentionally find your next Alec, your next Tony, your next CEO. The visionary allows you to come and be a part of helping us to give back to the future by speaking with college students, speaking with professionals who are trying to grow and develop their career and may need the right career guys. So we created the visionary program as a way for anyone and everyone to give back to the future but also to pay it forward by leaving a legacy in the industry.

[Alec] I love this so much, I feel like this is like a rallying cry everybody in the industry can get behind because it's saying a neutral message, it's going after the youth, it's letting them know this is an incredible industry to be a part of and it's opening the door for it. And I've seen so many people, myself included, who saw this and was like I want to be involved. So how does somebody be involved? How do you get involved in this, Tony? How do you become a visionary? How do you help this? How do you be in the game here?

[Tony] Absolutely, it's really simple, they can go to nammba.org. That's N[Tony]A[Tony]M[Tony]M[Tony]B[Tony]A.org. And when you go to the site, you can look and see our programs and products. For programs, we have the visionary, you just click on that visionary, it tells you all the benefits and the information that you can get and learn about being a NAMMBA visionary. But most importantly, what it does, is it gives you an opportunity to connect with the future of our industry as well to give back and share your insights, share your guidance, as well as your wisdom, to other professionals who are currently in our industry, as well as the college students that we're reaching out to on a daily basis to connect them and introduce careers in our industry.

[Alec] Good and there's an incredible portal that I'd love for you to share 'cause when I logged in and got registered you have a box you can click and say, "Hey I'm open to mentoring people."

[Tony] Yes.

[Alec] So, I love this. And so explain how this would work, right? So like, the goal of this is I click that and now these students have access to these portals, they're going in there and they're finding people who they're like, "Hey, I should connect with Alec and get some internship, get some, ask some questions." And by the way too, I know you're passionate about this, but COVID has crushed a lot of opportunity for some of these kids in college.

[Tony] You know, so 2 things, you're absolutely right the first, Alec, the beautiful part about the visionary program is when you sign up you also get a form and you can tell us to what extent that you wanna be involved and engaged in terms of giving back. "Hey, I wanna talk to college students when we do a college town hall, so we're doing college town halls every month now to give students real life, what's a recession? Hey, hear from a teacher of commerce, hear from a CEO, hear from HR executives on how to improve your chances to land a job. You can also raise your hand and say, "Hey I wanna volunteer to speak on NAMMBA Webinars, podcasts, or some of the live events in the future sign me up, I'll be there." You, as a visionary, choose how much you want to engage and be a part of it, so that's the first thing. The second piece is most of us understand that we are very blessed right now. Our rates are an all time low, we're working our butts off, we're making money and there's a segment of the marketplace that I call the unforgotten segment, which is our college youth. There are currently 18 million students in school right now in some form of full time or part time. This past May, just 3 months ago, 4 million of those students graduated. And unfortunately, over 50% of those students do not have a job right now. And yet, we can't get enough operations professionals, we need more loan officers, we need more Jr. LOs and we need more LOAs. Think about this guys! We have a chance to impact somebody's life and use this moment of uncertainty as a moment of life changing, a positive moment in their life where if they get a job, they find out about our industry and most importantly, they get to help their community, they get to help other families, and other individuals, young individuals just like them. And so our college program, you know we really are trying to do four things right now with our #StudentChallenge. Because we have so many students that are out of work, we're obviously connecting them to companies that are looking for great talent in all aspects of their organization. The second thing is we're gonna provide career guidance and education to these students around how to interview, how to have a resume, how to look for a job on LinkedIn and other areas. Third, we're gonna handle financial literacy. And last, but not least, we've also built a component of mental wellness. I mean, think about this, in some households in communities across the country right now. A college student who has worked their butt off for four years, they had two or three jobs in college, they did everything right, they didn't even go to the parties on the weekend because they were focused on trying to make a good grade so that they could graduate and get a great job and then there's something called COVID[Tony]19 that just changed their entire life. And without anything that they did has created an opportunity for them not to achieve their dream or at least a dream deferred. There's a lot of mental wellness, sadness, how I'm gonna pay my student loan debt. My mom, my dad, maybe both of my parents are laid off right now. So, what's our future looking like? And so we wanna to provide them with mental wellness and let them know that we're here for them and it is gonna be okay. That's what we're doing to college students right now. All of these services are free. I'm gonna say that again. Everything we're doing at NAMMBA is free to college students no matter who they are, no matter what school they went to because we wanna help them and that's how the visionaries can help us by joining and supporting that mission.

[Alec] I love that, Tony, and I think that right now I mean, you've been outspoken on this and even my little podcast here, everybody that's watching or is watching in the future or is listening on the podcast networks, our job is to go to these college students and let them know there's resources here. Our job is to point them to resources and say, "We have an incredible industry over here you probably haven't seen it. Come look at what's available over here." From the services that NAMMBA provides from the education to the opportunity. I mean, that's really our responsibility and I think anybody who's considering signing up to be a visionary should know that your job, if you want to go mentor and help, that's great! But one of the biggest, best things you can do is just help college students get exposed to the resources that's available to them through Tony and NAMMBA. That to me is that doesn't take much effort, guys. That doesn't take much effort. We're surrounded by college students. There's college towns everywhere. And it's an incredible opportunity for loan professionals out there. Executives down to processors I mean everybody. Now it's we were all college students. I mean, many of us, so it's amazing.

[Tony] Well if you think about it, Alec, we're gonna rewind a decade ago, we were the villains.

[Alec] I know.

[Tony] A decade ago, we were the cause for the great recession as an industry. Now, fast forward 10 years later, we did not create this environment we're in today, but we have an opportunity to lead our communities and lead our country through this by now giving back and helping to move the industry and community forward through helping someone else. And if we do that, imagine how people will look at what we do and maybe my goal is that they will be inspired enough to say, "I wanna be like Alec, I wanna be like that person. I wanna work in that industry, 'cause they make a difference."

[Alec] And by the way, I know it's this is pandering a little bit but like guys, everything's digital now. All these kids are digital now, use social media!

[Tony] Yes.

[Alec] Share with them what's going on like you don't have to go to walk the college cause most of them probably aren't meeting in person right now. But like this digital space, they're all here, they're all here.

[Tony] Yeah.

[Alec] And what an incredible opportunity to spread a resource and gift to a lot of these people let alone bring them into the industry. So, Tony, where does this go? Like what's your objective? What's your goal in this thing?

[Tony] We have, in the month of September, we're trying to get over 250 visionaries signed up to support this program, 'cause here's the reason why: we are launching out nation[Tony]wide college initiative. We need leaders, we need visionaries. We need people that can be part of this college program, be part of our professional program and help us be able to begin to give back. And so we want an opportunity and our goal this month as we move forward is to get all 250 leaders and we're making progress.

[Alec] Yeah, where are we at? Where you at?

[Tony] I think right now, we're almost approaching 100.

[Alec] There you go.

[Tony] But we need 100 more this month and so it's really simple, nammba.org, you can sign up, learn the information about becoming a visionary and most importantly, then help and get someone else to become a visionary and give back to our industry as well.

[Alec] By the way, this is such a no[Tony]brainer for leaders in our local markets, if you're a branch manager in a college town, this is the biggest no[Tony]brainer ever. Like, there's the kids, go be a visionary, go help them see the resources and give them a chance to pull in the industry, help yourself! You know, for all of our executives, this is an incredible opportunity for everybody out there. I'm so passionate about this topic, Tony, I love that you're doing this. And I think it's gonna make an impact. So how many college students are we going after here? You want 250 visionaries by September, what the goal?

[Tony] The goal for us right now, originally we stated that for the five year goal, we wanna connect 50,000 students. But again, you just heard me say, Alec, 4 million students graduated in May of this past year. So we literally can get and connect and help 50,000 students over the next year, if one, everyone helps us get the word out to students that they can use all these resources for free and that our industry has jobs and internships and we're hiring. Secondly, if we get the 250 visionaries to step up and support, they can also be the mouthpiece that we as an industry can go to the communities across the country and let them know we're here and we're going to do something that you care about our young people.

[Alec] This is a little bit of a story, Tony, but I think you'll appreciate it, so I've been talking forever and pushing my sales team to go into schools to try to find opportunities to talk to young kids, specifically seniors that are graduating and going into college 'cause you know when you go into college, the first thing you walk into is a guy selling credit cards on the door of the college union, putting you in a big credit card debt. Right, as you're 18, walking into school. And so how impactful could you be as a mortgage pro in your community to sit down with seniors or people in college and start to talk about credit. You start to talk about things like buying a house in the future and how important is that to you and start prepping now and start paying attention to this stuff now. And now, taking in what you're doing. Coming in with more resources to that community 'cause here's the deal, every single one of those college kids has parents. And every single one of those high school kids have parents and a lot of those parents are homeowners. So if you go and you're helping, serving their children, gives you a direct marketing connection to the parents. Of course it does! Because any time you do an education class on credit for high school seniors or college kids, guess what they're gonna do? Probably tell their parents about this guy who came down and talked to them about credit and all the sudden now you're expanding your network and connecting and now if you look at what visionaries doing with NAMMBA, man, you've got more resources to support the kids and the communities. And it's incredibly awesome.

[Tony] Let me help you in on a little extra secret, Alec. All these kids that we're talking to are actually homeowners over the next decade.

[Alec] Yeah absolutely, absolutely. 100%, and you have a chance right now to go into their life, support them, also give back, right? And I love that you said this because our industry right now is extremely blessed. And there's pain because capacity is a problem and there's just more loans than the industry ever expected. So there's pain that comes with that, but at the same time, they're not unemployed, they have a steady, guaranteed job, they're gonna probably make more money than they've ever made in their career. And so, now is the time to give back. And now is the time to bring the next generation of mortgage professionals into the game. I could not agree more with that.

[Tony] That's what we're trying to do at NAMMBA. That's what our visionary program is about and so, you know, I wanna first say thank you to all those who have signed up, stepped up. Two, I wanna ask you to challenge a friend, a colleague, a peer to also become a visionary. And 3rd, if you haven't become a visionary, I wanna challenge you to do something today for someone else. Do something today for someone else.

[Alec] I mean, I think if we could do something for somebody else every day, we'd be better people.

[Tony] Well, we're trying, we're trying.

[Alec] I know, I know, I love it. So, let me do this, if you guys are listening right now and you are a manager, a leader, a mentor of people, you gotta go to nammba.com right now, you gotta click on the visionary tab, you gotta explore what it means to be a visionary. And there's different levels of ways you can play. You can be all in and you can be a mentor and you can be like engaged and wanting to speak at NAMMBA events or on Webinars or you can just be someone who's gonna help connect college kids into the resources that are available to them and kind of be be a passive supporter that way and both are great. Jump in, the water's warm, it's an incredible program. So, Tony, I know you're five years old, I wanna kind of pivot the conversation a little bit from NAMMBA being five years old. What's NAMMBA gonna look like at 10 years old? What are you trying to do? Where are you going? I love sharing the, I love people of when they share the vision of where they wanna take this stuff. 'Cause it's amazing.

[Tony] So, you know, at the end of the day we wanna be the premiere association for the entire industry. And our goal even though it says National Association of Minorities Mortgage Bankers of America, our vision and our goal is real simple. For people who are passionate about growing their business and their careers, we want NAMMBA to be that source that they connect with to give them the training, the education and professional development. The 2nd piece is 10 years from now, I hope we're on this podcast and there's many college students doing testimonials, "I lost my job in COVID[Tony]19 and I came across this organization called NAMMBA and they had jobs and they were talking about a town hall and 10 years later, look at where I am in this industry." That's what I'm focused on over the next decade.

[Alec] That's incredibly cool, man. I'm excited to have my small role with that process.

[Tony] Thank you.

[Alec] And I'm just so in line with what you're doing. I hope that everyone out there that's hearing this right now is getting inspired to go find a new opportunity, to give back to our industry, to support our college kids and it's just, I'm just stoked, so let me do this as we kind of wrap down here, Tony. What would you say to the people that are listening right now as kind of a send off message? What would you encourage people to do? We've kind of hit a lot of key points and I know that's kind of wrapped up, but in summary, right, someone who just tuned in for the last few minutes here, share with them the message you have for them.

[Tony] Yeah, it's real simple. If you believe that we need to help the next generation of leaders by intentionally introducing our wonderful, exciting industry to them, become a NAMMBA visionary. If you believe that we need to increase financial literacy, amongst college and high school students in every community across the country, as an ambassador of our industry, become a visionary. If you believe that you want to make a contribution to the future of this industry and you wanna be someone to pay it forward because you've been very blessed in this industry, just simply become a visionary, that's all.

[Alec] And that's the best. I could not agree with that more, Tony. Thank you for your time today. Thank you for just building something brave, man. Thank you for going out and creating someone amazing for our industry and for the communities we serve. I think that you deserve a ton of praise for that and it's gonna do a ton of good. And for all the visionaries that are out there that are on the journey with us, I'm so thankful for all those people as well because they're stepping up to say I actually wanna be in the game. I wanna get involved, I wanna do something besides just talk and I wanna help this next generation in a real way and you've given a platform for so many people to do that. So, I'm very very appreciative of you, my man.

[Tony] No, no, thank you, Alec. I appreciate you for being an ambassador, for being a visionary, but most importantly for helping us to get this word out. And I just wanna close on, you know I tell people all the time this is not my industry, this is our industry. And you know, we owe it to ourselves to help out industry become better and to help out industry to become more diverse and most importantly, just to give back. And so, I wanna thank every visionary that has stepped forward, I wanna thank those that are getting ready to step forward as a result of you helping us get the message out today.

[Alec] Absolutely, Tony, I appreciate you, brother. Everyone, you're gonna see a ton of this logo right here all over the internet. Keep looking out for it. When you see it, you understand that this is the game we're playing. Tony, thank you for all you do, my man. And everybody else, we will see you guys on the next episode of the Modern Lending podcast, take care.

[Tony] Hey thanks Alec, take care.

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