Author Archives: Jane

About Jane

A girl trying to live the dream.

GMAC Mortgage sponors welcome home troops event in Phila.

On Saturday, June 20, GMAC Mortgage sponsored a Welcome Home Troops event at the
Philadelphia VA Medical Center to educate veterans about the U.S. Department of Veteran
Affairs’ VA Home Loan Program. Three GMAC Mortgage loan officers from Fort Washington –
all military veterans – were on site to speak to veterans and their families about this exclusive
benefit.

Senior loan agent Phil Gillies was honored to attend the event on behalf of GMAC Mortgage. A
former U.S. Army Sgt. who served between 1982 and 1989, Gillies was interviewed by radio
personality Dom Giordano on a live segment broadcast on 1210 AM, a local Philadelphia talk
radio station.

“VA loans were designed to make it easier for the returning soldier to purchase a home,”
explains Gillies. “The program makes it more affordable for the veteran, who can purchase a
home with no money down, and without the requirement for private mortgage insurance.” Zero
down loans are virtually impossible to find outside the VA Home Loan Program.

Gillies also stressed the importance of GMAC Mortgage’s free credit pre-approval program
during the interview, where many other lenders will charge a fee for this service. With a credit
pre-approval in hand, buyers can shop in the right price range and show sellers that they have
been pre-approved by a reputable mortgage lender.

Veterans of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Reserve and their
spouses are entitled to leverage the VA Home Loan Program as long as minimum credit, income and length of service requirements are met.

“By sponsoring this event, GMAC Mortgage showed the Philadelphia community that we are
proud of the vets who sacrifice so much for our country,” says Alf Markussen, a VA Home
Loans specialist in Fort Washington, who also attended the event. “I have noticed a major
increase in veterans inquiring about their eligibility for VA loans because it is one of the best
purchase programs on the market.”

Markussen served on active duty in the U.S. Army from 1986-1988 and has a passion for helping the military. He adds that many attendees were happy to see a company like GMAC Mortgage offer VA loans.

Joe Yenfer, a Fort Washington loan officer and Bronze Star recipient, says he looks at these
events as like farming. “We plant the seeds of goodwill with local veterans that hopefully we can harvest later to help the company grow,” he says.

Yenfer served as a combat medic with the 101st Airborne Division in 1968 and 1969. This is the same division that held on to Bastogne, France during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, and was the basis for the Mel Gibson film, We Were Soldiers.

The GMAC Mortgage toll-free number for the VA Loan program is 1-800-876-4622.

Message from the president

Dear ResCap Associates:

I can’t begin to tell you how exciting it is to be a part of the Residential Finance Group. I’ve been working with GMAC ResCap for eight months now, and over the last few weeks in my new role, I’ve met with a number of groups throughout the RFG and worked closely with the leadership team. It is clear to me that the company has a rich and successful history, a reputation second to none, and talented associates who have made it a strong force in the industry. Even when facing the toughest challenges of this past year, your loyalty and dedication remain strong, and I am proud to join your team.

Let me assure you that we have a plan in place to restore the RFG to profitability and remain a significant player in the industry. Together, our objectives for 2008 include:

  • Net Income – Our goal is to continue to progress toward profitability. In 2007, we lost $4 billion, but it was portfolio related. Our Target for 2008 is to break even.
  • Operating Expense/People Metrics – With the restructuring behind us, we are leaner and stronger than we were a year ago. Our leaders and associates must continue to remove any unnecessary expenses from our operations and lower our costs to make us more profitable.
  • Performance Culture –We will set objectives and metrics that are vertically and horizontally integrated with mid- and year-end reviews so that there is a clear line from performance to compensation.

We will succeed in meeting these objectives only if we have an engaged workforce. My promise to you is to communicate often so you will know exactly where we stand. The good news I can share now is that we are performing to plan for the first two months of 2008, and we’re off to a good start.

We must continue to work as one company – one winning team – to help us improve our business practices. In addition, while difficult market conditions remain beyond our control, it is up to us drive ahead. It’s not going to be easy, but there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

I look forward to working with all of you.

Paul Bossidy

The new man in town

He’s smart. He’s experienced. And he enjoys a good challenge.

As the new President of the Residential Finance Group, Paul Bossidy came on board at
an unusual time – during the worst industry upset on record. A challenge perhaps, but
he’s confident that the RFG will turn a profit, and once again be among the top mortgage
companies in the nation.

Prior to joining the RFG, Paul was a senior executive with Cerberus, playing a pivotal
role in the RFG’s restructuring. He spent the last eight months getting to know the
leadership team and now looks forward to overseeing the day-to-day operations. Paul
also worked with General Electric (GE) for 13 years, most recently serving as President
and CEO of GE Capital Solutions.

Paul describes his leadership style as clear, direct and candid. He strives to build a
consensus environment within the organization, but realizes that not every decision can
be made that way. He also believes in paying attention to details and asking plenty of
questions, equating both to making better business decisions.

On the personal side, Paul is a self-proclaimed history buff and enjoys reading about the
American Revolution, the Civil War and World War II. He’s been married for 21 years,
and has two sons, Paul, 17 and Brendan, 13. His idea of unwinding away from the office
often revolves around family oriented activities such as travel, sports (his sons play ice
hockey and baseball), exercise and spending time together.

Five Important Questions We Asked Paul

What are your initial impressions of the RFG?
It’s been a positive experience, so far. This is a time of great turmoil in the industry, but
RFG associates are committed to returning this company to success. There is a lot of
talent here, along with mortgage experience. Rest assured we have a plan in place to
return the company to profitability.

What do you hope to accomplish in the first 100 days?
Right now, I’m working with senior management to get our plan to return to profitability
in motion. We have already taken action by making a large reduction in our cost
structure, which will help us meet our financial commitment, and we’re working to get
better controls and practices in place.

Additionally, we’re looking to create a performance-oriented culture at the RFG, which
means that we will do what we say, deliver on our commitments, and be held
accountable. Associates who succeed in reaching this goal will share in the rewards. We have a lot more to do, but we have made a lot of progress already.

In your opinion, what are the RFG’s strengths and how will you build on them?
Associates within the RFG have a lot of industry expertise and experience with the ups
and downs of the market. They are obviously committed to turnaround and they are
focused on recovery.

Two of our biggest strengths include the servicing operations led by Tony Renzi and the
originations team led by John Gray. We have to keep these groups strong and focused,
and take advantage of opportunities when they arise.

Also, I believe it’s important to make sure everyone understands exactly what his or her role is
in the organization and how we will succeed together.

What are your thoughts about the industry’s future?
It will definitely come back. Clearly, we are in a downturn now, and for the past year or
so the industry has been operating in crisis mode. Delinquencies and foreclosures are on
the rise and capital is scarce. We’ve experienced great losses, but so have all of our
competitors.

This industry has always been cyclical and it will be profitable gain. It will correct itself
because people will always need homes. We will be one of those companies who weather
the storm and come back even stronger.

Where do you expect the RFG to be in six months?
The current market continues to be volatile, but we have taken many key steps to stem
losses and position the company for improved performance. As a result, we expect to be
on the road to recovery.

Message from Executive Vice President John Smith

Re: Full Steam Ahead

Dear Associates:

Yesterday, we reached a major milestone that will lead us toward future success. About 250 U.S. Lending associates began using the Eclipse platform.

This is a tremendous win for our organization. Eclipse will help Retail Lending originate and fund loans quickly and efficiently. It will also lower costs, improve service levels and make us more competitive. Best of all, it brings the Retail sales channel and the Operations personnel supporting them onto a common platform currently shared by ditech.com and Direct.

One of our major corporate goals this year, from a technology standpoint, is to work on improving our processes and become consistent across all channels. Yesterday’s success, although only the beginning of the migration onto Eclipse, is a giant step in the right direction.

We have a lot of work to do over the next six weeks, and that begins with migrating U.S. Lending associates onto the platform at the rate of about 250 per week. Once this is complete, we will retire PILOT, Co-Pilot and Loansoft.

The Retail to Eclipse project is truly a fine example of the spirit of one company, one winning team. Many departments throughout the entire organization came together to make the migration a reality. I appreciate your hard work and dedication. I’d also like to thank the tireless efforts of the Eclipse project team, who worked around the clock to help us achieve yesterday’s results.

Finally, I send my gratitude to the U.S. Lending associates who migrated yesterday, or who will migrate over the next six weeks. I certainly appreciate your patience and your flexibility. As you forge ahead on the new platform, keep in mind that we all have the same goal and that is the collective success of GMAC ResCap!

Sincerely,

John

For ditech.com associate, it’s better to join than fight the best

If you own a television, you’re probably familiar with the tag line that has almost become
a part of pop culture.

“Lost another loan to ditech!”

The line (and company) have received national attention, and not because the advertising spots have blanketed the television and radio airwaves over the last two years.

Those words graced the lips of comedian Garry Shandling while hosting the Emmy Awards. David Letterman referenced ditech.com in his Top 10 list. And Saturday Night Live spoofed the company in a skit where the president considered “refinancing” the national deficit.

The above only proves that ditech.com is by far one of the most recognized consumer brands in the country.

All of this added up to success for the online lender over the past two years; the famous phrase muttered by the Frustrated Banker spurred growth volume to over $11.2 billion in ’04 and ’05.

But it’s the people who make ditech.com succeed, not just the catchy advertising slogans. Just ask Brad Taylor, manager of one of ditech.com’s I-leads teams, who used to work with a competitor.

“I had worked at other smaller shops in the past, all the while holding a grudge,” said Taylor, who’s been with ditech.com for five and a half years. “When the opportunity presented itself, I decided to join rather than fight.”

And he’s glad he did.

When he began his career at ditech.com, he aspired to rise to the top quickly. In reality, it took a little longer than originally anticipated, but it was well worth the wait, he says.  As an I-leads Team Leader, Taylor is responsible for managing 30 loan agents. In all, there are three I-leads teams that typically receive 9,000 to 12,000 online applications each month.

Taylor begins the day with a medium coffee with a shot of espresso. After his jump-start, he’s ready to tackle sales reports, lots of meetings and one-on-one time with his staff. Somewhere in the middle of the day, he fits in lunch and an afternoon black tea-lemonade combination, which helps him glide through the rest of the day. By the time he’s able to check his watch, it’s already close to 7 p.m. and time to think about heading home.

“I try to spend as much time as possible with my sales staff, keeping them focused on their goals, helping them solve problems, and sometimes being a sounding board,” said Taylor.

Taylor also stresses the importance of developing solid business relationships with coworkers at ditech.com.

“I believe in forging good relationships with members of the ditech.com community, and it’s something beyond just saying ‘hi’ in the hallway. This practice makes it much easier to handle my day-to-day tasks,” said Taylor.

Keeping the lines of communication open also works wonders when it comes to the relationships he has with his direct reports.

“I’m fortunate to have an excellent staff that shares the company’s vision of what it takes to succeed. Together we rise to the challenge and we haven’t been knocked down yet,” said Taylor.

In 2006, that challenge became even greater for the Taylor’s team. During the first quarter of the year, the market cooled off as interest rates began their slow rise. This resulted in a decrease in overall originations for the entire industry. Unfortunately, ditech.com’s strength over the last five years, the refinance segment, was hardest hit.

The company responded with an aggressive advertising campaign, which produced significantly more lead volume.

“Fortunately, our lead-to-funding conversion is running at an all-time high of 18.5 percent,” said Taylor. “We need to continue this growth by focusing on the purchase money market more aggressively than ever.”

Aside from current market conditions, Taylor says the biggest challenge is standing out in a workplace full of top producers. When you have as many top-notch performers as ditech.com, just being a top producer isn’t always enough, he says.

“Sales agents must be driven, knowledgeable and flexible. But they also must have the right work ethic,” said Taylor.

Sounds basic enough. But Taylor understands leadership and guidance also play a significant role. He offers the following words of wisdom to those who’d like to follow in his footsteps: “If you care about people, set the proper expectations for them, and help them reach their goals, the rest will take care of itself.”

The self-proclaimed baseball fanatic is also a big fan of another sort – the company’s mentoring program.

“I am fortunate to be both a mentor and a mentee,” said Taylor. “I’ve learned a lot participating in the program and get to pass on my knowledge, as well.”

SIDEBAR: ditech.com is a leader in the direct lending industry. The company offers consumers a variety of products including flat fee options, first mortgages, fixed rate second mortgages, variable equity lines of credit and no closing cost option equity seconds.

GMAC acquired ditech.com in 1999 and quickly integrated it into the GMAC Residential family under the leadership of Mike McCarthy, a 21-year GM veteran. Based in Cosa Mesa, Calif., the unit has built its servicing model around a two-part foundation: simplicity and convenience. Today, customers can apply, pick up loan documents, and check application status simply and conveniently via the Web.

ditech.com was an early adaptor in the race to use the Internet to gain market share, boasting a .50% share by the first quarter of 2005. Integrating technology into their business platform has allowed ditech.com to remain highly competitive on price and speed of service, as evidenced by their “Lowest Rate” and “Fees Guarantee.” More than 1,000 associates are on hand to answer over 600,000 annual calls and 140,000 Web leads.

ResCap will provide new growth opportunities for ditech.com. As a key contributor to the Residential Finance Group, the unit will be able to pursue alternative purchase strategies and expand into discounted loan offerings to affiliate relationships. The Correspondent relationship with RFC is a great example of how to leverage synergy across ResCap, allowing ditech.com to expand its product menu into the ever-growing world of alternative lending solutions.

Writing

Jane has spent more than 20 years of her professional career writing for companies like GMAC, SunGard and Lincoln Investment. She has written content for executive messages, the Internet and intranet, tutorials for customers and employees, press releases, newsletters and more.

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