December 2018 Print

President's Report

As we approach the end of 2018, I wanted to take a moment to wish each of you all the best for the coming year.  For me, 2018 has been extremely rewarding in my personal life, my professional life and in my role as your president of the Nebraska Mortgage Association.  As my term as your NMA president comes to a close, I wanted to recap the activities of the past year and recognize a few key people in our organization.

In 2018, your association focused on educational events, social interaction, industry advocacy, community service and celebration of our members successes.   The spring educational events focused on multiple “Seeds for Success” presentations that were hosted in Omaha, Grand Island and Kearney.  This series was followed up later in the year with our “Success Starts Now” presentation.  Members enjoyed gathering for golf in the spring and fall along with our recent holiday reception.  While social interaction was the main reason to gather together, we also gave back to the community with these events.  Recent beneficiaries of your generosity are the Food Bank, Wounded Warriors Family Services and Children’s Hospital-Newborn Intensive Care Unit.  Thank you for your support of our programs and your generosity.

Lastly, in my year-in-review commentary, but certainly not last in importance is our Annual Fall Conference.  In September, we gathered in Omaha to renew friendships, celebrate successes, and develop our mortgage skills while hearing the latest and greatest from our valued mortgage industry vendors and sponsors. Read on for a review of the Conference and other highlights of the 2018 year - and thank you for your continued interest and support!

Justin Pinkerton

2018 President, Nebraska Mortgage Association

Back to top

NMA Annual Conference


Kelli Thompson, Vice President of Strategic Development for Reality Based Leadership presented on “Hardwiring Accountability Into Your Workforce.”  Kelly shared valuable information on breaking down the core competency of personal accountability while providing no nonsense, workable strategies to build accountability in lenders workforce.

Randy Dean, MBA and The Email Sanity Expert presented “Taming the E-mail Beast.”  Randy’s energetic delivery grabbed your attention.  Then, he delivered great tips for reducing the mess in your inbox and avoiding annoying junk by developing a personal e-mail infrastructure. 

Dan Grattan, Associate Vice President for Legislative & Political Affairs – Mortgage Bankers Association provided us with an update from Washington.  Dan provided important updates on pending legislation impacting our mortgage industry and provided timely comments on the mid-term elections.  Important issues included GSE reform and Dodd-Frank regulatory relief proposals.

Bill Acheson, presented “Nonverbal Communication Skills for Greater Understanding.”  Bill shared interesting insights into how to know when someone is ready to say YES.  Bill generated excellent survey scores for his “funny and entertaining” presentation that wrapped up our 2018 conference with people wanting more. 

Champions Circle

Our Champions Circle of excellence continues to grow.  In 2018, we recognized over 70 lenders from 18 different companies for their mortgage lending achievements.

Lender of the Year

Each year at the NMA Fall Conference, the association honors one of our members as the Lender of the Year.  This award recognizes one of our members who, in the opinion of his/her peers and the selection committee, has brought honor not only to themselves but also our industry. 

Past recipients have been Janet Tinney, Marlin Hupka, Gina Jerauld, Jack Hobbie, Mark Johnson, Gary Otteman, David Stemper, E. Dean Niedan, Jeff Garrett, Mary Jo McClurg, Jo Lewis, Rodrigo Lopez, David Hartman, Ralph Palmer, Bob Gondering, and Bob Rutan.  I was honored to receive this award last year in 2017 and had the privilege to present this year’s award at the Fall Conference to our 2018 recipient.

Your 2018 Mortgage Lender of the Year is Mike Fecht.

Mike’s mortgage career started at Platte Valley Bank (a part of the FNB family) as a loan processor.  Mike later moved to Omaha where he has served First National Bank as a mortgage loan officer.  Mike then moved on to a role as sales manager and then on to his current role as regional sales manager. 

Mike has maintained a long relationship with the Nebraska Mortgage Association.  That and his desire to further serve the mortgage industry, led Mike to join the Board of Directors of the NMA in 2016.  After his term as president of the NMA in 2017, Mike now serves on the board as the immediate past president of our organization.  Mike has been recognized by First National Bank of Omaha for his commitment and excellence and we are very pleased to honor Mike Fecht as our 2018 NMA Mortgage Lender of the year. 

Back to top

Board of Directors

As we honor Mike Fecht as Lender of the Year, we also want to thank him for his guidance in 2018 as our immediate past president.  Mike is invaluable for his leadership and contribution to our team.  Thank you, Mike. 

We also want to recognize the special talents and contributions made to our Association by four individuals who are completing terms on our board of directors.  Thank you, Lynette Arrasmith, Rob Denning, Shawn Lang and Kevin Ottman.  Each of you have made significant contributions to the success of our association and are true leaders in the mortgage industry.  Your commitment of time and energy behind our programs and initiatives has helped us successfully achieve our goals as an Association.

This group has done a great job at looking for ways to provide educational opportunities to members while also giving back to the community.  We are constantly working to improve the value of membership in the NMA to lenders across Nebraska.  Here is your 2018 Nebraska Mortgage Association Officers and Board of Directors:

Immediate Past President: Mike Fecht, FIrst National Bank

Vice President:  Danielle Swerczek, MGIC                  

Treasurer:  Rob Denning, Guild Mortgage                

Secretary:  Michelle Sawicki, Five Points Bank

2018 Directors:

  • Lynette Arrasmith, New American Funding
  • Shawn Lang, Liberty First CU
  • Alan Loos, West Gate Bank
  • Mark McGregor, Arch MI
  • Sue Mohr, Cobalt CU
  • Kevin Ottman, Home Federal Savings
  • Becky Sandiland, First National Bank
  • Jennifer Strand, Nebraska Title Co.                           


We also want to thank NMA’s Executive Director Joe Pittman and his team with Creative Association Management Co. for their great assistance to our organization and coordination of NMA events and activities.  Thank you, Joe!

Back to top

Thank You To Our Sponsors

Thank you to the following companies that provided sponsorship support during the 2018 year!

  • Arch Mortgage Insurance                            
  • Core Logic/Mercury Network                    
  • Mortech, A Zillow Group Business
  • National MI                                                       
  • Title Core National                                          
  • Essent Guaranty
  • NIFA                                                                     
  • MGIC                                                                   
  • Credit Information Systems
  • West Gate Bank Mortgage                         
  • Home Point Financial                                     
  • Department of Veterans Affairs               
  • Factual Data                                                      
  • Genworth MI                                                   
  • Heritage Financial Services
  • Radian MI                                                           
  • USDA Rural Development                           
  • DRI Title & Escrow
  • Liberty First Credit Union                             
  • US Bank                                                              
  • Franklin American Mortgage
  • Focus Printing                                                   
  • Creative Association Management         

Back to top

2019 and Beyond

I am thrilled to share a few thoughts with members of the Nebraska Mortgage Association as we prepare to embark on our journey through 2019.   As with any journey, there is a starting point that helps define what you must do to get where you are going.  Thank you to Justin Pinkerton for his excellent leadership in 2018 and his talent for motivating others.  Please know that your Nebraska Mortgage Association is in a great place.  Just like the mortgage industry in Nebraska, the Nebraska Mortgage Association is strong in talent and we are strong financially.  We hope to use our resources to help educate current and future mortgage lenders while also advocating for our industry both locally and in Washington.  To succeed, we need everyone pulling together to support mortgage lending in Nebraska while working to exceed the mortgage expectations and enhance the mortgage experience of borrowers.

Danielle Swerczek, 2019 NMA President

Back to top

We Hear You!

During our recent Fall Conference, we received excellent feedback from attendees on a wide range of topics.  Our Board of Directors has reviewed this information and will be using it as we prepare for the association activities in 2019.  The following 3 items were identified most often in the feedback we received.  Please review these items and feel free to share any thoughts, comments or questions to me.

Conference Location

We have received great feedback the past few years on our conference schedule and on the Scott Conference Center facility.  While the feedback we have received has been positive, members are looking for us to change locations from time to time to keep the Conference fresh.  We are focused on providing a great atmosphere for learning, but we’re also looking to maximize our ability to network and continue to build attendance.  We have heard your request and we are working to finalize a new venue for NMA’s 2019 Fall Conference.

Champions Circle

We are very pleased with the growth in our efforts to recognize individual lenders for their professionalism and excellence.  In 2018, our Champions Circle grew to recognition of over 70 lenders from 18 separate companies.  We are hoping to grow the list of Champion Circle lenders to 100 in 2019.  As this recognition program grows, we recognize and hear from you that it needs to evolve as well.  Upon analyzing your feedback, we are preparing to embark on a program to enhance the quality of the recognition you receive.  Our goal is to provide you with an award that is comparable to the quality of your achievement.  

Speakers & Educational Topics

Everyone on the Nebraska Mortgage Association Board of Directors recognizes and understands that people are busy with their careers and in their personal lives.  We are committed to seeking out quality educational events that our members will want to carve out time for in their hectic schedules.  We all work to improve ourselves, but we must prioritize where education and self-improvement fall within our work schedules.  The mortgage industry has excellent resources to draw upon and we will continue to work with our sponsors and partners for educational programs of interest to Nebraska lenders.  We will also work with our Executive Director to identify additional speaking resources that are both timely and relevant. 

We were extremely pleased with the positive feedback about our 2018 Conference speakers.  One attendee suggested that “these were probably to best group of speakers you have had in all the years we have been attending.”  Our hope is that with continued feedback from our members, we can continue to build on the quality of our programs and speakers.

Back to top

Your Role

We need the talents of each of you, our members, to be truly successful.  Your role begins with representing yourself, your company, and the mortgage industry with knowledge and professionalism to achieve success with your clients and other industry professionals.  Continue to learn and always look for ways to advocate for our industry. 

It’s never too early to start thinking about volunteering to be on the NMA Board or one of our committees.  As mortgage lenders, we have challenges, but we also have great partners like the Mortgage Bankers Association and the Mortgage Action Alliance to help us.  Let your voice be heard. 

Most of all, please let us know how we can assist you.  We are open to suggestion and would welcome your thoughts.

Current Committee Structure

  • Education Committee - chaired by Michelle Sawicki               
  • Membership/Events -- chaired by Sue Mohr                    
  • Legislative Committee -- chaired by Becky Sandiland                  


Please reach out to any NMA Board member or the committee chairs if you would have an interest in participating on one of these key committees.     

Back to top

Start Planning Now for 2019

To kick off the new year, we would like to share with you the Nebraska Mortgage Association 2019 Officers and welcome the New Additions to your board of directors.  We are well underway with planning for 2019 and look forward to working with each of you to successfully achieve the mission and goals of our association. 

Immediate Past President: Justin Pinkerton, Arbor Bank   

President: Danielle Swerczek, MGIC

Vice President: Becky Sandiland, First National Bank

Treasurer:  Alan Loos, West Gate Bank                    

Secretary:  Michelle Sawicki, FIve Points Bank

New Board Members

  • Laura Burford, American National Bank
  • Jessica Blake, Security National Bank                       
  • Kelly Hillman, Union Bank & Trust.               
  • Jeremy Mueller, Home Federal Savings


Returning Board Members

  • Mike Fecht, Arch MI
  • Mark McGregor, Arch MI
  • Sue Mohr, Cobalt CU                   
  • Jennifer Strand, Nebraska Title Co.


Back to top

Calendar of Events

On Thursday, January 17th, your NMA will be teaming up with the Women’s Council of Realtors in the Omaha area to co-sponsor a presentation by Gus Gustafson.  The event will be held at Champions Run Country Club in Omaha and is scheduled to run from 11:15 to 1:15. 

On Tuesday, March 12th, Essent’s Doug Smith will present “Turn Up the Volume” at the Omaha Board of Realtors.

More to come on both special events soon!

Visit us at [email protected] or visit us on Social Media

Back to top