Blunted Op­por­tu­nity

National Mortgage News - - Editor’s Note - Austin Kil­gore Edi­tor in Chief

with the mort­gage bankers as­so­ci­a­tion hold­ing its An­nual Con­ven­tion and Expo in Den­ver this year, it seemed fit­ting for our cover story to ex­plore the hous­ing fi­nance im­pli­ca­tions of the le­gal cannabis in­dus­try.

Five years ago, Colorado and Washington be­came the first states to le­gal­ize recre­ational mar­i­juana use. Since then, six more states have ap­proved sim­i­lar mea­sures. And 21 other states al­low med­i­cal mar­i­juana use.

By all ac­counts, the emerg­ing cannabis in­dus­try is boom­ing and other states may im­ple­ment their own vari­a­tions of le­gal­iza­tion. But for all the shift­ing at­ti­tudes to­ward the cannabis in­dus­try, its busi­nesses and work­ers face con­sid­er­able chal­lenges par­tic­i­pat­ing in tra­di­tional fi­nan­cial ser­vices, in­clud­ing mort­gages.

As our cover story ex­plains, cannabis in­dus­try work­ers who pay taxes and can doc­u­ment their in­come through tra­di­tional means can’t get qual­i­fied for mort­gages be­cause their wages are de­rived from ac­tiv­ity that’s con­sid­ered il­le­gal on the fed­eral level.

Make no mis­take; many of these wouldbe bor­row­ers meet all the stan­dard qual­i­fi­ca­tions for a mort­gage. The only thing hold­ing them back from home­own­er­ship is where they work.

At a time when lenders are strug­gling to re­place the re­fi­nance vol­ume that’s fu­eled the in­dus­try for the past num­ber of years by loos­en­ing stan­dards for credit pro­files and down pay­ments, it’s odd that lenders and their in­vestors haven’t found a way to serve con­sumers who work in the cannabis in­dus­try.

Re­gard­less of your stance on the cannabis in­dus­try, this is a prob­lem that’s not go­ing away and will re­quire a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort among many in­dus­try stake­hold­ers to ad­dress. It’s my hope that this edi­tion of NMN mag­a­zine will help en­cour­age di­a­logue and de­bate on this topic in the com­ing months and years.

If you’re at­tend­ing the MBA An­nual in Den­ver, I hope you’ll take a mo­ment to stop by our booth in the ex­hibit hall and say hello to our team. We’re al­ways ea­ger to meet new in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als, hear your feed­back and learn about the lat­est trends and de­vel­op­ments af­fect­ing your busi­ness.

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