Friday, October 17, 2008

Finding the Good Out of Devastating Circumstances

I received an email from a customer asking me to pray for her and her family as they may be losing their home. So many people are experiencing this right now. It's so close around us that we may have a tendency to step into fear. Please try not to allow fear to take over.

When I was a mortgage banker, I lent according to the then-in-place Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lending requirements. I was an approved lender for jumbo loans which back then was $250,000 and that was a really big deal! The requirements for FNMA and FHLMC mortgages were very strict where all income had to be verified and in place for at least 3 years, savings balances had to be substantial and not used for the down payment and 20% down was imperative in most cases. I was taught that to be a responsible lender you had to be sure that at least these basics were in place in order to ensure the repayment of the loan. More importantly, the way I was trained as a banker, these strict lending policies were also in place to be sure that the borrower could continue to live comfortably while meeting their mortgage obligation.

Back in 1987 I was enjoying a very prosperous Mortgage Banking career. In October of 1987 the stock market crashed and my career ended. I was the Senior Vice President of a Boston S &L held mortgage banking firm. They closed their Florida offices of which I was in charge of. Thank goodness I had months of salary still coming as I was under contract. Regardless of that financial security for about 5 months, my career and my world tumbled around me. I identified myself as a banker and part of the corporate world. Suddenly, I had nothing to do and no where to go with my career. Head hunters found me to be over qualified and couldn't place me. I begged for even a mortgage processing position and they wouldn't put me in it as they knew I was way beyond that.

So, after months of the dark nights, I searched my soul and eventually what emerged was The Crystal Garden in August 1988. During that time though it really was challenging. I went from buying Nipon suites at Neiman Marcus to t-shirts at K-Mart. I collected a tiny unemployment check and ate at my parent's home often. Thank God for my parents! They really helped me.

And if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have been able to afford to open The Crystal Garden.

I'll write more about the adventures of opening The Crystal Garden soon. I'm off to celebrate my birthday with Vincent!


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday (a little belated)! They say "when one door closes, another opens" - you're proof! Tina

Celina McMahon said...

Thank you for sharing. Unfortunately or fortunately what is happening now, in my belief, is our economy is seeking balance for our excesses. In the end it will all be for the better, that doesn't mean that the transition will not be painful.