Saturday Cup of Joe: a lending and tech(ish) newsletter

Friends & Colleagues:

What a week. Am I right? Whether you were at work Wednesday morning well rested because you were smart enough to go to bed early or bleary-eyed from a lack of sleep, there were a lot of blank stares. The election dominated many of the conversations, articles and social media posts but by Wednesday afternoon at least some work was getting done here and there. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum we can all agree on one thing: Thanksgiving dinner should be pretty lively for most families.

This week we look at:

  • Trump (Have You Heard?)
  • Credit unions making moves (Of Interest)
  • Hackers (Got Me Thinking)
  • A profile of Miami x 2 (Update and more)
  • Today’s Thought

Have You Heard?: Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. Many are jumping to conclusions about Trump’s potential effect on Wall Street, corporate regulations, Dodd Frank Act, and housing. Acknowledging for a minute that I am a compliance attorney, I will still provide this theory on the immediate financial impact. A rise in the stock market is not necessarily indicative of investors believing in Trump as much as indicating Trump will create conditions for corporations to make money. This might be at the expense of consumers and the overall economic health of the country but it will be good for the Fortune 500. The voters that experts tell us elected Trump in a handful of swing states are not the folks likely to benefit from Trump’s casual oversight of the Fortune 500 and Wall St. So, I’m not sure a positive Dow Jones Index is cause for celebration just yet.

A Look Ahead: One of the games I play waiting at the gate in the airport or standing in line at the deli is to try to imagine the future of real estate agents. Or lack thereof. This week I attended a lecture series called CityShare about how best to grow our city. Carol Coletta of Kresge Foundation made an interesting comment that the common element of Northeast cities that have failed to grow is lack of innovation. These cities believe an old narrative and fail to imagine a new vision for the city. Desire to see the world the way they want to see the world instead of the way it actually is. And hubris. I wonder if the National Association of Realtors (NAR) may be suffering from a similar condition. In that context, I found it interesting to ask, what’s the future of Zillow? Technology and consumer expectations seem to be threats to realtors, generally, and I’m curious if NAR has spent so much time protecting its current turf and avoiding legislation like Dodd-Frank that the industry missed the memo on mobile/digital.

Of Interest: Credit unions, taking a page from NAR, are looking to limit federal regulations coming from CFPB. This week the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) publicly requested the CFPB wait until Trump assumes office to publish new or pending regulations. It is difficult to know whether CUNA is channeling a President-Elect Trump. As the article states, Trump told the National Association of Home Builders in August that the volume of regulation is “horrible.” In fact, Trump would have the authority, through the executive order process, to place a moratorium on all new federal regulations. It is likely, though not guaranteed, that the order would extend to independent agencies like CFPB.

Sidenote: Perception matters. I’ve written that two or three times in the context of marketing or leadership but it also applies in more discrete ways. Inman wrote this week that trees can make a big difference in home sales. Perhaps I should say ‘Presentation matters.” Trees present well. It’s like I say about sardines — they are good AND good for me. So it goes with trees, apparently.

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Good Advice: In a brief Forbes blog post this week, one housing expert defined the housing policy in this election (and frankly, at the federal level overall) as “no boldness, no newness.” The second interesting takeaway was the elimination of the mortgage interest disclosure. Though later this week sources began indicating that Trump not threaten the mortgage interest disclosure. Back to the blog post, I’m still skeptical of home ownership as the main vehicle of wealth creation in the middle class. Not because home ownership is not a positive force in the economy and community, it is. Home ownership provides stability and a sense of purpose. As a long term bet on making a significant gain, home ownership is no longer the sure thing it once was. The advice here must be to continue to investigate, research and innovate around housing policy and housing solutions. That’s the only way to move forward in what is likely to be a somewhat unstable economy for the next few years.

Quick Hit: Investors have already begun to speculate on the future of GSE reform. Investments in Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac have increased since Trump won the election. The theory, in part, is that Trump’s close relationship to John Paulson, the hedge fund giant, who has pushed for shareholder value and privatizing Fannie & Freddie.

Got Me Thinking: One of the biggest questions in a Trump administration is what will get the attention. Politics, fundamentally, is about the allocation of limited resources. This is true of energy as well as money. One example is a Trump Justice Department (no, that’s not an oxymoron) where the Attorney General (Rudy?) can shift the resources to terrorism type cases instead of banking type cases. There are myriad examples of this. One that concerns me the most is an inexperienced or decreasing focus on cybersecurity. Not only because Trump has discounted the success/reality of these types of hacks but also because Trump’s inner circle has shown no propensity for the thoroughness or expertise required. Perhaps that could change with influence from Silicon Valley (see, Peter Thiel).

Quicker Hit: Which one are you — coffee mug washer or coffee mug denier? There’s good news. Apparently you are ok either way.

Update from Previous Note: A lawsuit reached the Supreme Court this week that the city of Miami filed in federal court against large banks for the loss of property taxes related to foreclosures during the mortgage crisis. The banks argued the type of damages the city is claiming (loss of possible tax revenue) is not the type of damage contemplated by a fair housing statute.

More on Miami: The Miami New Times highlighted some key issues in the housing market in Southern Florida. According to the article, Miami had the lowest approval rates among minority customers of any market in the country. Miami had a 25.9% denial rate which is the second highest rate in the nation. Historically this market had a history of redlining but more recently it is more about broad economic factors facing the region. Systemic issues tend to result in lower income on average in African-American and Latino populations. On top of that, Miami has high housing costs sometimes taking up a larger percentage of income than other communities around the country. All in all, a useful profile of a major city.

Presented without comment: Are you CEO material?

Today’s Thought: Answer well. This has become a personal motto of mine. The idea is this — no matter the question life throws at you; answer well. How you define “well” is what makes you, you. For me, I think integrity is the ability to respond consistently, thoughtfully and, in most cases, calmly according to the values and priorities you have established for yourself or your organization. A lack of integrity is akin to a lack of courage in that when put on the spot, we fail to respond consistently and calmly in keeping with our stated values (see, Paul Ryan). The moments that define us are the tough ones. It is also important to “practice” for the tough times but maintaining integrity in the series of small choices that happen all the time. Keeping this in mind has been beneficial for me in two ways. A daily reminder to take all my choices seriously as well as the larger mission statement for the really big, difficult moments. When you get in a bind, simply remember to — answer well.

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Quote: “Life is about making an impact not simply an income.” — Kevin Kruse

Continued Success,

Written by

Thinker, curious leader, once an attorney…always trying to answer well.

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