Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mortgages, Finance, Home Prices--OH MY!

Throughout my career, I've provided direct marketing services to the mortgage and financial services industry. I've had some excellent years and other years where times were tough. I understand the cyclical nature of things and am usually grateful that the accountability of direct marketing programs helps ensure their (and my!) survival.

But, I have to say that this is about the weirdest time I can recall for the financial services industry.
  • Just reported a few hours ago: Consumer borrowing slows to weakest in 7 months.
  • Pending US home sales are down. The AP reports that "The National Association of Realtors said its seasonally adjusted index of pending sales for existing homes fell 3.2 percent."
  • The government is taking over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The cynic in me wonders how the government is going to be able to run these agencies efficiently (let me be blunt--it'll never happen!). This new government backing may give us a short boost of consumer confidence and some newly funded mortgages. But, I fear that long-term government involvement will simply lead to higher interest rates for home loans--not good for anyone.
  • The financial services sector is laying people off right and left. Some of my colleagues--highly experienced direct marketers--have been impacted by these layoffs.
Anyone who's read this blog knows that I'm typically an optimist. Yes, I'm the type of person that truly believes that the glass is half full. But continued news and personal experiences tell me that this time the financial services sector isn't gonna recover as quickly as it has in the past.

Tell me, am I being too pessimistic here? Are there lights at the end of the tunnel that I'm missing?

1 comment:

Office said...

Did anyone see these numbers out of the CTIA this morning? 75 Billion text messages for the month of June alone. Unreal. When we introduced Interlinked Media to the United States market in July of 2006, we (the USA) were only doing about 12 billion text messages per month. When we convinced the Hillary Clinton campaign that they should be using text messages as a primary means of connecting with their voters, that number had "swollen" to nearly 18 billion messages per month. Now we have these numbers 75 billion messages for June…a 6 fold increase over when we started.

Is there any doubt that this medium is going to be around for a while? From 28.8 to 75 billion or a 160% increase in 1 year ….the fastest growing communication technology in history doesn’t look it’s going out of style any time soon.

Have people considered doing tests with SMS marketing? Our average response rates are 30%, and communicating via a cell phone allows the marketers to include context, i.e. make it a morning or evening message, as we know what time people will be receiving their messages.

Mike Anderson