Q&A Matt Vernon, bank of America.

Position:INTERVIEW
 
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Matthew J. Vernon leads the sales operations for all consumer mortgage lending channels for Bank of America Home Loans. As home loans sales executive, Vernon oversees a team of more than 4,000 mortgage loan professionals. The consumer mortgage lending channels include Retail, Centralized and Banking Center Sales, as well as Neighborhood Lending. [paragraph] Vernon's origination sales team offers mortgage loans through more than 600 retail home loan locations, more than 5,600 banking centers and five call centers. In earlier positions, Vernon led the Retail Sales organization and served as the short sale and real estate-owned (REO) executive. He joined Bank of America as a management associate in 1994 in the Baltimore consumer bank before moving up the management ranks.

Q: What is your role at the bank and how long have you been at Bank of America (BofA

? How many years have you been in the mortgage industry? And are you optimistic about the outlook for the housing recovery?

A: As the home loans sales executive at Bank of America, I lead the sales operations for all consumer mortgage lending channels, which includes our mortgage loan officers on the ground and in banking centers, as well as our centralized sales areas that have more of a focus on refinance and home-equity lending. I also oversee our Neighborhood Lending team, which is responsible for outreach and lending activity to multicultural and low-to-moderate-income buyers, and our group that's responsible for strategic alliances with real estate firms and home builders.

I've been in the banking world for nearly 20 years, and I'm more than optimistic that the real estate market is well on the road to recovery. We've got loan officers on the ground in communities across the country who report that buyers are in the market and buying homes.

Consumer sentiment is improving, and people seem to feel a greater sense of stability with their employment and their economic situations. And, not surprisingly, many of the traditional triggers for homeownership--like a new job, marriage, a child, another child--are back in play. People are moving along with their lives, and homeownership, for many, is a milestone they work toward. I'm proud to lead a group of experienced, dedicated folks who help make the dream of homeownership a reality.

Q: The general perception is that Bank of America has significantly retreated from its once-dominant position in mortgage lending. Is that an accurate perception and what can be said about the bank's strategy for how big a role it would like to play in mortgage lending?

A: The housing market and home loan industry are in a constant state of change. In the last several years, volatility in the economy, real estate market, consumer behavior and regulatory landscape has propelled significant change in the entire mortgage process--from the way customers search for a home, pay for it, remodel and renovate it, build and extract equity from it, all the way to how they sell it and everything in between. And every major player in the industry has had to evolve to manage this new landscape.

In our case, we never disengaged from the mortgage business. Instead, we redirected our focus to work more directly with customers, helping them understand the complexities that exist today. We grew...

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