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Giving house keysThe housing market is evolving due to fluctuating market conditions and a shift in buyer perceptions. Now, more than ever, having a lending partner with strong financial and industry expertise in your corner is crucial to keeping real estate agents abreast of the latest resources and options available to help their clients. As a leader in the mortgage industry, Bank of America has made infrastructure and operational changes, as well as new partnerships, as part of its commitment to support real estate agents and their clients at a time when the purchase market is steadily growing.

Creating a Seamless Experience for Customers
With an eye toward creating better customer experiences, Bank of America recently brought together its entire mortgage sales and fulfillment organizations under one leader, D. Steve Boland. Boland, who was named Home Loans Originations Executive over the summer, is responsible for overseeing sales and fulfillment nationwide. The union of the units brings cohesiveness to the bank’s mortgage originations services, ensuring the highest levels of customer service and satisfaction—an often-referenced objective at the bank.

“We’ve put together an all-star team to manage the home loans business,” says Centralized Sales & Online Executive John Schleck, “and having the power of Bank of America behind us allows us to do a lot more for the consumer.”

According to Schleck, putting people in homes is just one part of the equation. He believes keeping people in their homes is even more important, making it crucial that consumers sit down with a mortgage loan officer to look at their financial picture before making a home-purchase decision. “We’re one spoke of a big wheel,” says Schleck, “and working together under one leader allows us to have some really good dialogue about what the customer is looking for.”

Purchasing a home is often looked at as one of the biggest investments a consumer will make in their lifetime. As the purchase market continues to gain strength, Bank of America—and the home loans sector specifically—is poised to grow right alongside the market. With a vast array of mortgage loan products that range in scope from government-sponsored loans to those with fixed and adjustable rates, conventional conforming loans to hybrid ARMs and non-conforming or jumbo loans, choosing the right loan can often be challenging.

“The most important thing we do is look at the entire spectrum of someone’s financial picture in order to truly understand what they’re trying to accomplish,” says Schleck. “Are they trying to put kids through college? How close are they to that? What are their retirement goals? Investment goals?” By looking at the entire picture, consumers can be assured they will be engaging with the correct parts of the bank throughout the entire process.

“Everything we do on the mortgage side—and with all the products we offer—is direct to the consumer,” says Schleck. “We want to work directly with our customers and their real estate agent and give them offers and loan options that are a benefit.”

Providing Expertise through Strategic Partnerships
Having a deep understanding of the housing market is instrumental for real estate agents when it comes to helping clients through the complexities of the homebuying process. Over the past few months, new rules and regulations have changed the way mortgage applications are being viewed and processed. New homebuying trends and ways of doing business have emerged too, all of which are critical for real estate agents to be thinking about as they form their business plans.

Bank of America has formed strategic partnerships with industry experts who are known for their mortgage industry expertise and for providing useful information integral to planning business strategies based on current and future trends. These partnerships provide training and education to Bank of America mortgage loan officers and their real estate business partners to help them guide potential homebuyers through the process amid a dynamic and ever-changing environment.

To that end, in November 2013, Bank of America and Tom Ferry, CEO and founder of “Tom Ferry – Your Coach,” announced a strategic partnership aimed at complementing Bank of America’s efforts to help real estate professionals grow their business during the housing recovery. And mortgage industry veteran and regulatory expert Brian Chappelle, founding partner of Potomac Partners, has been a voice of clarity, helping to keep mortgage loan officers and real estate professionals alike abreast of various regulatory changes and their effect on the industry—and what it means for their business.

“Our partnership with Brian provides an inside-the-beltway view of regulatory matters and their impact on the industry,” says Retail Sales Executive Tim Owens, who notes that Brian’s unique perspective is a conversation starter among real estate professionals who have a desire to understand the importance of regulatory changes such as QM and non-QM business, the ability-to-repay rule that’s now in effect, the implementation of Dodd-Frank regulation over the last year, as well as the RESPA/TILA changes that are coming in the future.

And marketing agreements, including the continuation of a marketing agreement with RE/MAX through 2016, is yet another way Bank of America is strategically positioning itself to play a leading role in making sustainable homeownership a reality for its customers.