Treye Hanner: Tell our readers a little about you and your journey to a career in the mortgage lending business?
Josh Moody: My father, Pat Moody, opened his company, The Mortgage Center, in 1992 in Cullman. After graduating from Auburn University in 2001, I went to work for him in what was going to be a “temporary” situation after college until I found something permanent. I found that I really enjoyed the mortgage industry and all the facets of being a loan originator. So, it quickly became apparent that this was going to be something a little longer term.
In 2015, our family felt the Lord calling us overseas to Uganda to serve on the mission field. So, in early 2016, I left The Mortgage Center, and we packed up everything and moved to Africa. We were in Uganda for nearly 2 ½ years before transitioning back to Gardendale. Upon moving back, I went to work for Lifeline Children’s Services and was still involved in international ministry.
Although I thought my time in the mortgage business was over, in late 2019, my dad approached me about coming back to work for the company (which had since gone in under the Hometown Lenders umbrella). I accepted and started back in early 2020 just as the pandemic hit. Nobody saw it coming, but the pandemic ushered in record low interest rates and an opportunity for many people to take advantage of these rates and improve their financial position in a time when it was much needed.
All in all, I’ve been in the mortgage business for the better part of 20 years. I joke with people that I only know how to do mortgages and be a missionary. I’ve never done anything else. I’m thankful now to be with The Mortgage Center Powered by Hometown Lenders. It truly is an incredible company full of the best people in the industry who want to serve their customers with the best products and customer service available.
Treye Hanner: How has the mortgage industry changed throughout your time in the industry?
Josh Moody: Obviously, like any other industries, the technology has advanced rapidly. When I started in the business, we were still handwriting most everything. Loan packages were mailed. One file could literally be hundreds of pages thick. Now, it’s E signatures, emails, scans, and multiple other technology advances that have made the industry much more efficient. Technology is great, but one negative about it is that it has made it so that you might complete a loan transaction and never actually meet your customer face to face. I enjoy interacting with people and meeting new people and shaking hands across the desk. Technology, in many cases, has eliminated the need for that face to face. It can be easier but much less personal. I still try to keep it as personal as possible.
Another major change has been in the loan products themselves. Everyone remembers the housing “bubble” that burst around 2006-2008. The main cause for this disaster was that loans were made that never should have been made because crazy loan products existed. Many people were put into houses they couldn’t afford because income wasn’t verified, and the credit was suspect. These loans have since been cleaned up (as they should have been), and we have gotten back to common sense lending where everything is verified and poured over.
Treye Hanner: What is your philosophy in how you work with folks that contact you about a new mortgage or refinance? Do you feel folks are a little wary of the industry?
Josh Moody: This may sound cliché, but my philosophy regarding customer service is very simply to treat people the way that I would want to be treated if I were buying or refinancing. The mortgage process can be very confusing and ,in many cases, overwhelming. If I am the customer in that situation, I just want someone who I can trust to look out for my best interest (not their bottom line) and put me in the best loan product for my family. Jesus put it very simply when he said, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” I believe that fits into every aspect of our lives, including my role as a loan officer. I believe the way I treat my customers is a direct reflection of my character and I take that very seriously.
Treye Hanner: There has been a lot of activity in the mortgage industry over the last few years with very low interest rates and folks either buying new homes or refinancing. Now the federal Reserve has increased interest rates for a second time, is it still a good time to buy or refinance?
Josh Moody: It’s no secret lately that rates are going up, but we have to remember that historically speaking, they are still not bad. Many people remember the early 80s when mortgage rates were 18- 19%. Mortgage rates in the 5-7% range have been normal for years. We have been very fortunate to see rates in the 2%-3% range over the last couple of years, but those are not going to be “the norm”. We are seeing mortgage rates now get back to a more normal range. As we all know, demand for housing has driven up home values at a record pace as well. Even though rates are a little higher than they were, it may be a great time to take advantage of this and pull some equity out of your house to pay off high interest credit cards or other debt or do those home improvements you’ve been wanting to do. Bottom line is that even in a market where rates are trending upward, you can still take advantage of some things that could help your family accomplish your financial goals. Helping you find these products and making it happen is what I’m here for.