In this Issue
State News & Events
Dear WMBA Members,
On Tuesday October 22nd we celebrated our members achievements at our 5th Annual Best in Business Awards.
Everyone who attended enjoyed great networking opportunities and a fun filled evening with coworkers and industry friends.
Please see the recap of this year’s award winners below:
2019 WMBA Best in Business Award Winners
Take a minute to look at the upcoming events offered by our association.
Warmest wishes to you and your families for the holidays, and Thank You for your membership!
WMBA President 2019-2020
Regional Mortgage Sales Manager
North Shore Bank
Have you renewed your WMBA annual dues? The deadline for dues renewal is November 30, 2019. If your company has an Unlimited Regular or Associate membership, your Bundle Administrator received the renewal email.
October 29, 2019, 6:18 pm By Maleesa Smith
Every 14 seconds, a company falls victim to ransomware attacks.
Richey May Executive Director of Cybersecurity Services John-Thomas Gaietto presented this alarming statistic, which was originally reported by Cybersecurity Ventures, during a tech session at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual convention in Austin, Texas.
During the session, titled “Ransomware and Other Security Threats in Your Backyard,” Gaietto was joined by CyFIR chairman Andrew Ward, FBI supervisory special agent Holly Easter Kelley and Scott Riddick senior special agent for the U.S. Secret Service.
The resounding message from the panelists: cybersecurity threats are only increasing, so companies need to be prepare for them now.
Gaietto was quick to point out that traditional firewalls are not enough to protect companies from ransomware attacks. According to Ward, these attacks doubled from 2017 to 2018, and he predicts this trend will continue.
“In most cases, most organizations have up-to-date antivirus in place, and so your traditional controls are not very effective against these types of attacks,” Gaietto said. “Having a back up is a good strategy, but oftentimes organizations fail to either test those backups periodically, or in some cases, what we found is that all they have their backups in the cloud it’s taking them too long to download all that data for their internet connection again, and that’s another issue that is impacting their time.”
In response to this, he recommended having a process in place for “not if an attack occurs, but when.”
This process, he said, should include having a plan and regularly testing it, as well as knowing when to contact law enforcement and service security insurance. Ward agreed, emphasizing that having insurance for these types of attacks is paramount.
“Oftentimes I think that the biggest objection to really being prepared is this budget and cost to think to that insurance, you know, the attacks not in front of you so you tend to prioritize other things and budget,” Ward said.
“But it really doesn’t cost as much as you would think, and I think if organizations had an understanding of the risks, they might be in a better spot but just simple things,” Ward continued. “Just in the training of the personnel, you see a big difference in organizations that do it and those that don’t.”
And while the FBI and Secret Service can potentially intervene after an attack, Riddick was quick to explain that the government does not play an active role in prevention.
“It may surprise some that the federal government defense does not have an active role in prevention,” Riddick said. “The internet has no borders. There are no checkpoints for us to monitor. Our main focus tends to be on education like we’re doing here today as well as providing resources and partnering with private industry in order to develop software tools to decrypt these ransomware variants.”
When it does come to intervention, particularly in the cases of wire fraud, Kelley, who has worked with municipalities that have come under cyberattacks, emphasized the need for companies to report them quickly.
“Usually, within 24 hours we have about 70% rate of getting wired money back,” she said. “We can’t guarantee it but by the time you get to two days expect down to 38%.”
When it comes to actually paying a ransom, the panelists agreed that the choice comes down to an independent business decision.
October 29, 2019
By Megan Henney/FoxBusiness
Thanks to historically low-interest rates — and cheap mortgage rates — home purchases are expected to continue to increase in 2020, according to a new forecast from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The Washington, D.C.-based organization estimated that mortgage originations will grow 1.6 percent next year to $1.29 trillion. That’s a slight drop from 2019, which could post the biggest gain since 2007 at $2.06 trillion.
Interest rates are expected to remain low next year, with the Federal Reserve poised to reduce borrowing costs for the third time this year on Wednesday. And as the economic outlook remains cloudy, policymakers at the U.S. central bank seem unlikely to raise rates anytime soon.
"Interest rates will, on average, remain lower for longer given the somewhat cloudy economic outlook," MBA's chief economist Mike Fratantoni said in a statement. "These lower rates will in turn support both purchase and refinance origination volume in 2020."
Lower-than-expected mortgage rates gave a huge bump to the refinance market in 2019, resulting in the strongest year since 2016.
"Given the capacity constraints in the industry, some of this refinance activity will spill into the first half of next year," he said.
Sales could also increase thanks to lower prices. After several years of home cost surpassing average wage gains, home prices are also expected to fall next year, as the number of available houses for consumers grows, MBA said.
"Moderating price growth is healthy, as it allows household incomes to catch up with home values," Fratantoni said. "This improvement in affordability will lead to more home sales – especially given the rise in household formation and growing demand from first-time homebuyers."