THE VALUE OF A HAND MEMBERSHIP: Testimonial from a HAND Student Member
Intern: Brett Weil, pursuing MS Finance University of Baltimore
Organization: Walker & Dunlop, FHA Finance Department
In 2009, with the economy stagnating, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in finance to leverage economic expertise with my experience in real estate sales and project management. During the degree program, I realized that I would also need industry-specific education, training and networking to bridge the knowledge gap from real estate operations to finance. In the spring of 2012, I joined HAND as a student member for the outstanding opportunities the organization provides in the field of affordable housing. It was actually, a director of another local housing organization that directed me to HAND for a superior experience with the largest universe of firms, professionals, education and opportunity.
I was extremely pleased with the opportunities which I found at HAND as well as the professional members who were both friendly and knowledgeable. In March 2012, I attended the seminar “Year 15 and Strategies for HUD-assisted Properties” at L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, next to HUD headquarters. The speakers were highly-accomplished veterans at the top of their field. The purpose of the gathering was to share strategies how to maintain affordable status for tax credit properties nearing the end of the 15 year compliance period.
At that event, I shared my goal of obtaining an internship in apartment finance with various professionals whom I met. One member who is a lender actually arranged an offer with her firm, but the location would not have been feasible. I also spoke with Jerry Distefano, Business Development Manager with Reznick Group accountants (now CohnReznick) who offered to assist in my internship search. Later that day, I sent him my resume which he forwarded to Benjy Krosin, a loan originator at Walker & Dunlop. Krosin passed my resume to the head of the FHA (Federal Housing Authority) Finance department, Michelle Warner. Warner was most recently chief underwriter/program manager for Deutsche Bank Berkshire Mortgage where she oversaw loan structuring, credit risk management, program compliance, HUD relationships and staff across the country. A few days later, an onsite interview followed and I was offered the FHA internship. I can testify to the importance of networking, as the FHA finance opening had not been published.
During my internship, I worked with an originator and underwriter and became familiar with the following tasks: FHA-MAP (multifamily) loan refinance prospects using a HUD loan database, looking for selected loans with large unpaid balances, high interest rates, and acceptable prepayment timeframe. Using company/industry benchmarks and altered scenarios in sensitivity analysis, initial sizing resulting in proposal summary sheets, identifying borrower contact details, utilizing his prospecting skills. I also helped underwrite loans by requesting and filing financial documents and 3rd part reports (appraisal, environmental, capital needs) and inspected the appraisals for flaws in hopes of receiving the most accurate value.
HAND is an incredible resource that connects the affordable housing world and provides top-notch industry-specific education, training and networking. Thank you to the staff, board members, sponsors and members who make it all possible!