January 2020 Print

President's Report

Wow!  What a year it was for the mortgage industry in 2019.  After an active year of helping home buyers and homeowners purchase or refinance their homes, I hope each of you found time over the holidays to relax and recharge for 2020.  In closing my term as your NMA president, please know that it has been my pleasure to serve our industry and lead this important organization.  Thank you to everyone who assisted me this past year -- you are appreciated.

In 2019, your association continued our focus on member based educational events, social interaction, industry advocacy, community service and celebration of our members successes.   How fitting was it for our Spring educational event to be titled “Turn Up the Volume?”  Obviously, the wave of added mortgage volume came in time for us to celebrate at our Fall Conference with the theme “Keep Calm and Mortgage On.”  Your NMA board showed foresight in titling these events far before the appropriateness of the events became apparent.  Along the way your association played a little golf benefiting victims of flooding earlier in the year via the Home Buyers Assistance Foundation, we celebrated with our outstanding mortgage loan originators by improving our Champions Circle recognition and had fun and comradery while throwing axes at our annual holiday event.  

Please read on as I continue to recap the 2019 year for Nebraska Mortgage Association and we look toward the future. Thank you for your support of our programs and your generosity.

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NMA Annual Conference

2019 NMA Conference Theme Was "Keep Calm and Mortgage On"


Ernie Goss, PhD, Professor of Economics at Creighton University Heider College of Business presented on “A Fearless Forecast for the Mortgage Market in 2020.”  Mr. Goss led the audience through a look back at key economic factors impacting mortgage lending then related these impacts to today’s lending environment using real life stories and humor.  Ernie closed by providing us with insight and considerations for the future.

Joe Micallef, Award Winning, International Sales Strategist and Coach presented “Win More Business by Mastering the Sales Process.”  Joe received excellent scores from attendees for the sales tips and training topics presented in a short amount of time.  This jampacked presentation left us wanting more.  But wait, there is more, as Joe is returning February 6th for an all day workshop! 

Ernie Jolly, Vice President for Legislative Affairs – Mortgage Bankers Association provided us with an update from Washington.  Ernie was refreshing to listen to as he was new to his position to the MBA but not new to Washington DC and mortgage issues, challenges and opportunities.  Mr. Jolly provided us a window into the workings of Washington and the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Paul Long, presented “Connecting the Workplace and Life Through F.U.N. work environment.”  Paul engaged the post lunch crowd with energy and stories that were thought provoking and heart-warming. 

Champions Circle

Our Champions Circle of excellence continues to grow.  In 2019, we enhanced the value of the award to lenders by creating qualifying tiers and introducing new recognition for the top three tiers, Platinum, Gold and Silver.  We received excellent feedback from lenders who are proudly displaying their Champions Circle recognition on their desks for all to see!





Monica Alm

Lender of the Year Renamed Mortgage Professional of the Year

Each year at the NMA Fall Conference, the association honors one of our members for their contribution to our industry by naming them as our 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 great honor not only to themselves but also our industry.  In 2019,

Past recipients of the Nebraska Mortgage Association Lender of the Year 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, Bob Rutan, Justin Pinkerton and Mike Fecht.  What a great group of mortgage professionals.

Your 2019 Mortgage Professional of the Year -- Rod Larsen. 

Rod’s mortgage career has spanned 25 years serving borrowers in Omaha and the surrounding area.  Rod is an award-winning mortgage loan originator and Certified Mortgage Planner.  Rod has served Nebraska through numerous community volunteer activities and personal giving.  Rod is active on a number of mortgage industry boards and in 2019 joined the Nebraska Mortgage Association Board of Directors.  Rod is a Senior Vice President at Security National Bank serving the bank as Division Head for Mortgage.

Congratulations Rod on being named Mortgage Professional of the Year.  Thank you for the contributions you make to our industry and the awesome job you do for your customers.

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Board of Directors

As we honor Rod Larsen as Mortgage Professional of the Year, we also want to thank Justin Pinkerton for his guidance in 2019 as our immediate past president.  Justin was invaluable for his leadership and contribution to our team.  Thank you, Justin. 

In closing, I have been honored to serve as the President of the Association for 2019 and have enjoyed the opportunity to work with our Board of Directors.  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 2019 Nebraska Mortgage Association Officers and Board of Directors:

Immediate Past President: Justin Pinkerton, Arbor Bank

Vice President: Becky Sandiland, First National Bank             

Secretary:  Michelle Sawicki, Five Points Bank 

Treasurer: Alan Loos, West Gate Bank

Laura Burford, American National Bank                            

Mike Fecht, First National Bank

Kelly Hillman, Union Bank & Trust

Mark McGregor, Arch MI

Sue Mohr, Cobalt  CU

Jeremy Mueller, Home Federal Savings

Jennifer Strand, First National Bank

Rod Larsen, Security National Bank

I also want to thank NMA’s Executive Director Joe Pittman for his great assistance to our organization and his coordination of events and activities.  Thank you, Joe!

Executive Director - Joe Pittman, Creative Association Management 

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Thank You To Our Sponsors

Thank you to the following companies that provided sponsorship support during the 2019 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         

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2020 Vision

I am thrilled to share a few thoughts with members of the Nebraska Mortgage Association as we embark on our journey through 2020.   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 Danielle for her excellent leadership during the past year.  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.

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Start Planning Now for 2020

Kicking off the new year, I would like to share with you the Nebraska Mortgage Association 2020 Officers and your board of directors.  We are well underway with planning for 2020 and look forward to working with each of you to successfully achieve the mission and goals of our association. 

Immediate Past President: Danielle Swerczek, MGIC

Vice President: Laura Burford, American National Bank

Secretary: Michelle Sawicki, Five Points Bank

Treasurer: Alan Loos, West Gate Bank

Returning Board Members:

Mike Fecht, First National Bank

Kelly Hillman, Union Bank & Trust

Rod Larsen, Security National

Mark McGregor, Arch Mortgage

Sue Mohr, Cobalt CU

Jeremy Mueller, Home Federal Savings

Jennifer Strand, First National Bank

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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 2020.  The following 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.

Allow Speakers Additional Time - Shorten Breaks

Attendees at our 2019 Fall Conference gave very high marks for the speakers.  There was a clear desire to hear more from the speakers and reduce the break time between conference sessions.  These comments will be given great importance as final plans are made for our 2020 event.

Conference Location

We have received great feedback the past few years on our conference schedule and on the Scott Conference Center facility.  Lincoln was a well received change but we continue to seek ways to enhance attendance and build enthusiasm for our post golf outing/pre-conference reception.  Please share any ideas on what changes you would like to see to the conference schedule or events.

We have received positive feedback about returning to Nebraska City for our Fall Conference and look forward to seeing each of you there.  Start planning now for golf at Arbor Links Sept. 16, and learning at the Lied Lodge on Sept. 17.

Champions Circle

We are very pleased with the growth in our efforts to recognize individual lenders for their mortgage professionalism and excellence.  Improving the Champions Circle recognition was a key take away from our 2018 Conference.  The 2019 switch to tiered Champions Circle qualification and the new awards were a huge success.  Please help us to continue to improve this program by providing your thoughts and suggestions.

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 2019 Conference speakers.  So much so that we are bringing Joe Micallef back for more on February 6th.  Joe will lead off our education events in 2020 with his early February full day training opportunity in Omaha.  Our hope is that with continued feedback from our members, we can continue to build on the quality of our programs and speakers.

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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. 

IMPORTANT!  To gain the most from your membership, ensure you are getting our e-mails about upcoming programs and events.  If you have any questions about our e-mail distribution list and logging in to your Member Profile, please contact Executive Director Joe Pittman at [email protected] or 844-249-8806.  

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

Current Committee Structure

Education Committee -  Michelle Sawicki                       

Membership/Events - Sue Mohr

Legislative Committee - Becky Sandiland & Kelly Hillman

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. 

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Calendar of Events

February 6th –              Joe Micallef, Sales Training at Champions Run

May 14th –                   Spring Golf Outing at Quarry Oaks Golf Club

July/August TBA          Community Service Project

September 16th  -         Fall Golf Outing at Arbor Links Golf in Nebraska City

September 17th -         Nebraska Mortgage Association Fall Conference at Lied Lodge & Conference Center in Nebraska City

December TBA -          Annual Holiday Party 

More to come on each of these and other special events soon.

Visit us at www.nebraskamortgageassociation.com or visit us on Social Media


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