The year 2020 was a record-setting year for home loans, despite and because of the pandemic and helped by low interest rates. By September 2020, most of 2019’s benchmarks had already been surpassed. This was only possible due to the unprecedented efforts and adaptability of the Mascoma Bank retail lending team.
While the year started strong, by March, most states were restricting movement as well as asking people to avoid visiting other homes. Even as sales were already in progress, bottlenecks arose due to limitations on accessing information from municipalities and states. For example, an appraiser needs to see a home’s condition—both inside and out—to properly determine its value, but many appraisers were not comfortable entering people’s homes, and public health officials were either asking for caution or mandating a pause on such activity.
Yet, even with these challenges, demand was high for mortgages due to record-low interest rates and the appeal of Vermont and New Hampshire to residents of other states. The Mascoma Bank team worked to full, or beyond full, capacity, but the Bank was also committed to giving team members time off to keep their personal batteries charged. On top of that, the retail lending team grew by accelerating 2022 hiring plans into 2020 and 2021. We added several new positions, and the result is a much deeper team, including a mortgage loan officer in Burlington and several team members who live outside our traditional footprint.