Something to Believe In

Written By: Bonnie Wilt-Hild

Pretty recently I was having a conversation regarding homeownership opportunities for low to moderate income borrowers with an employee of a department of housing and community development agency within the city that I live. The conversation had begun during a discussion with respect to city owned properties and the liquidation of the same. During the discussion we had talked about the ways in which the city intended to dispose of the properties including offering incentives to homebuyers in the form of city grants to be used for down payment and payment of closing costs as well other incentives similar to those HUD offers under the GNND program.

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As the conversation was beginning to come to a close, the individual with whom I was meeting asked me, “So what is in this for you, why would you want to help?” I thought about the question for minute, gave him a few answers including that I had grown up in the city, of course still lived there and loved it, our football heritage could not be beat (everyone deserves all day Sunday football in their own home) but most importantly, I still believed that home ownership was not only something that all Americans deserved but was still attainable. In short, I still believe in the American dream.

I know a lot of us come to work each day, some of us for lenders, others for brokers or banks and we seem to go through the motions of getting business done however after my conversation this week, I have to wonder how many of us ever sit back and think about what it is we are really doing and how much it means to all of us, as a nation when considering the type of society that we live in. I have to say that for the most part, when I am underwriting a loan, it’s very seldom that I rationalize that the decision I am about to make will affect someone or a family’s home life. By this I mean the schools the children may attend, the number or size of family gatherings, if or not the family’s children may have the opportunity to grow up with a family pet as a result of owning versus renting a home, but all of these things are the ultimate consequence of what each and every one of us do each day.

This week, when I was discussing geographical boundaries, stable neighborhoods versus “badlands”, properties to be marketed to homebuyers and the others which were being marketed to developers, it seemed to become a blur of colors, numbers and unfortunately, politics. After the maps were put away however and the discussion began to lean more towards why development of certain area’s was simply unrealistic for owner occupancy (the badlands), I found myself becoming more and more defensive of the position that those very area’s would be perfect area’s to reestablish and revitalize as areas that would provide the opportunity for homeowners for very low to moderate income borrowers. Agreed that many of these areas were now indeed devastated by gross vacancies, boarded up houses and little to no local economy as well as crime, but I really believe that given the opportunity as well as the right incentive, homeownership counseling and lenders willing to make the local investment, that many of these areas could be turned into viable neighborhoods with growing local economies as well as adequate green areas in which many people would love to raise their families. Call me idealistic but when the meeting was complete, I understood the politics but also reiterated by belief in the American Dream.

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In closing I will agree that the past few years have been difficult ones for the mortgage industry as well as homeownership and the value we used to place on such things in the past, but I do believe those values still exist in all of us. When you pick up that next file, I encourage you to take a few moments to read the application and get to know a little about the borrowers, where they work, the size of their family as well as the things we always disseminate including ratio’s and assets. When you work through the case remember, the decision you make will have an impact on everything I stated above as well as the memories which all families for better or for worse, create within their home and remember to believe that it is a home loan that you are underwriting, not just another case. Have a great week.

About The Author

Bonnie Wilt-Hild - As an NAMP® staff writer, Bonnie currently serves as a senior instructor for FHA Online University ( as well maintains a full-time mortgage underwriting position as the Senior FHA DE Underwriter for a major lending institution. With over 25+ years of senior-level FHA/VA Government underwriting experience, Bonnie is considered the "Queen of FHA Loans". If you're interested in becoming a writer for NAMP®, please email us at:

Opinion-Editorial (Op-Ed) Disclaimer For NAMU® Library Articles: The views and opinions expressed in the NAMU® Library articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official NAMU® policy or position. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world application as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of NAMU®. Nothing contained in this articles should be considered legal advice.