That is the message that Governor Christie wants the mortgage and real estate industry to know in New Jersey. It was brought to us yesterday in Atlantic City at the Northeast Convention of Mortgage Brokers. At a private lunch table with Garret Komjathy, the Director of the NJ Division of Banking, he informed us that those of us in the mortgage lending arena should know this and be guided accordingly.
Mr. Komjathy, whose background is in the financial services industry, let us know that he understands the concerns of the mortgage industry and is willing to help to the extent he can to make it easier to do business in New Jersey. He indicated that only through common sense regulation of the industry would the Division be able to protect consumers while still assuring that the dream of home ownership was still attainable.
He also assured us that the Governor understands the plight of the real estate industry in general and the mortgage industry specifically and is looking to help resurrect it in New Jersey. Mr. Komjathy also indicated that he wants to bring transparency and efficiency to the Division of Banking. He personally assured me that if we have any issues with the operations of his Division that I should contact him directly and he would make sure they are addressed.
With all the new federal regulation making it more difficult to do business, it is refreshing to see that there is at least a little bit of assistance in trying to make doing business easier. The Director also “walked the walk” after the lunch in his speech to the full membership of the Convention by temporarily lifting the surety bond requirement on brokers and Mortgage Loan Originators that is required by licensing. He was told of the difficulty in obtaining these bonds at this time and wanted to remove an impediment to licensing. This is the kind of private/public partnership that is often absent in government when ideology rules over common sense.
It is certainly early in the Christie Administration for any conclusions to be drawn. But, from the initial look of it, I am very pleased. From a Division where (i) we could never get our phone calls returned (or the phones even answered for that matter) and (ii) a knee-jerk “No” was the first answer to any request in the rare occasions when we did, to a new Director who cared enough to come in person (and stay for the morning session, lunch and the afternoon session as well), this speaks volumes. So, as Mr. Komjathy told me, which was directly from Governor Christie, I will re-iterate and pass along to all of you, “New Jersey is Open for Business.”