Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Banquet Last Night!

After a few nearly sleepless nights, last night the Coalition had its Annual Banquet. In the past it has always been a luncheon, but it was decided to move it to a dinner this year. Our turnout was similar to what we had a year ago, which was a very good sign. We again had it at Giovanni's, and they once again gave us first class treatment. John Hotchkiss of Fannie Mae was our guest speaker. He was quick to point out that he does not work for a candy company. Fannie Mae basically buys mortgages from banks so that banks can have liquid cash to turn around and make more loans. John talked about the changes that have taken place in the mortgage market and some new changes that Fannie has made to some of their own mortgage products. There were some very happy lenders and realtors in the room, as the changes will make it easier for low and moderate income families to purchase a home.

He really drove home the need for education by giving some statistics about how people perceive their homebuying potential. What really came out of his stats was the need for education in the Hispanic community. It is no surprise at all that the Hispanic community is losing money because of terrible loan products sold by loan sharks. The need for education regarding the homebuying process was made crystal clear, especially in the HIspanic community.

Mayor Larry Morrissey was with us for most of the evening. He is always pleasant and has a wealth of knowledge about the housing industry. He was also excited about some of the products that John Hotchkiss was discussing because they can be used by upper income families who want to invest in poor communities. This is important as it allows for the development of mixed income communities to become a viable option again in the future. Jill was very impressed with the Mayor. She said he seemed a bit more personable than during the election campaigns. I agree, but I've also known the Mayor for a few years now, and he's always struck me as personable simply because I've known him since before he ran for office. He is also intense, don't get me wrong, but that's a good thing given the office he's in.

Our guest testimonials were great. People were excited about hearing the stories of people who are succeeding. Jill was very touched by Kordrey's story of moving from the housing projects into his own home. Since he came through our program, I know he's made a lot of sacrifices to get where he's at. Some of his decisions didn't go over well with his children, but now that they're in a home of their own, they are grateful for those decisions!! Anna also was outstanding. I know she was nervous, but it really didn't show at all. She is completely pumped to be working at the Coalition, and she brings a lot of knowledge from the School of Hard Knocks into the work she does for us.

All in all, we had a great night, and I'm already looking forward to next year's banquet being double the size!