Category: Media

Top 25 Residential Mortgage Lenders Winner

The Portland Business Journal just listed Skyline Home Loans NW as a Top Residential Mortgage Lender for 2014. The award covers Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties in Oregon and Clark County in Washington state.

Setting the Interest Rate Thermostat: What Feels “Just Right” to You?

Wow, rates have risen over five percent in the past 60 days and the Federal Reserve is still saying the June rate hike is off the table? That’s a little like sharing a house with a roommate who likes the thermostat set to a toasty 77 degrees and you like it at a cool 65 degrees. When your roommate isn’t looking you turn the thermostat down and it feels just right– for you. Soon after, your roommate feels cold and cranks up the heat to just right–for him or her. So you never agree, and yet both temperatures are just right for different people.

This illustrates the challenge the Federal Reserve has when determining the need and timing of raising and lowering interest rates. Everyone has different opinions on what’s right for the economy and really, you can make a case for each scenario. Even the experts will tell you it all depends on the data you’re reviewing.  For instance…

Here’s the case for keeping the rates the same:

  • The labor participation rate is at the lowest since the late 1970’s.
  • 46 million people are on food stamps.
  • Over 50 million Americans are classified as in poverty.

And here’s the case for increasing the rates:

What’s Next?

The market always responds, and with this recent rate increase, it’s hedging the bet that rates will continue to go up.  If the Federal Reserve does raise rates soon, interest rates will drop because the markets have built in additional cushion in the event inflation starts to overheat.

So what does this mean if you’re a homebuyer? It’s wise to move forward now and get the process started; affordability is still at historically high levels. If you’re considering refinancing, get pre-approved now and see if your value has increased. You can also contact your local real estate agent to see if your value has increased. There’s a good chance you can eliminate your mortgage insurance due to fact values have increased substantially, and save thousands over the term of your loan. Either way, get started to find out!

Top Mortgage Companies in the America for 2014

Thank you for making us one of the Top Mortgage Companies in the America for 2014! Your Skyline Home Loans NW team brings you unique award winning skills, strategies and tools to make your home buying experience a GREAT one.

From all of us, at every division in the NW, thank you for your continued trust and support!

For Millennials to Middle Age—and Beyond! Creative Model for Homebuyers of All Generations Launches


March 10, 2015

For Millennials to Middle Age—and Beyond!

Creative Model for Homebuyers of All Generations

Launches in Portland Metro

Under One Roof: Traditional and Hi Tech Ways to Secure a Mortgage Loan

Skyline Home Loans NW, Expands to Tigard, Adding Jobs and Training

PORTLAND, Ore. — Homebuyers who remember rotary telephones, Happy Days and Bubblicious Gum, probably prefer a traditional home buying experience—lots of face-to-face meetings with their real estate agent and mortgage lender. However, those who prefer communicating via Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat likely prefer buying a home with a more tech driven model and less face-to-face interaction.

Skyline Home Loans NW is crossing the generational divide and offering choices for the homebuyer who wants a traditional hand-held approach to mortgage lending, or the homebuyer more comfortable with friendly online-only interaction.

Ken's LO Review pic

Ken Maes, Divisional VP Skyline Home Loans NW

“We decided it was time to modify the old models and address the changes in lending and who is buying,” said VP Ken Maes, Skyline Home Loans NW. “The traditional, face-to-face lending experience is what many people still prefer, as they’re walked through every step in obtaining a mortgage. Our New Leaf Lending platform is all online, and caters to today’s younger customer.”

Two Options, One New Roof

The Westside office, located in Tigard, Oregon will house both Skyline Home Loans NW and New Leaf Lending. The creative model is also a nod to recruiting, where the company can bring in highly qualified, newer professionals who want to learn about the industry. Yet the seasoned mortgage professional will feel right at home with the traditional model.

New Leaf, New Model

Intelligence Mortgage Platform (IMP) is the engine that powers New Leaf Lending. The model has the entire mortgage process online—user-friendly technology with a human touch.

  • 24/7 view of the home loan in real-time process.
  • Access to real-time market data.
  • Secure e-Vault provided to store personal documents.
  • Plain language answers to common questions.
  • Call-in concierge support when needed.

Now Hiring

The expansion to the west side of the Portland Metro area means opportunities for both experienced and entry-level mortgage professionals to work for the same company. “We’ve put together a creative model where we can bring in highly qualified candidates who want to break into the mortgage industry,” said Maes. “We’re hoping to hire around 20 people in our New Leaf division and ten in our Skyline Home Loans NW office.

About Skyline Home Loans, NW

Skyline Home Loans NW, based in the Portland Metro area, is a division of Skyline

Financial Corporation, a lending and technology company serving the mortgage industry since 1985, and listed as one of the top performing independent mortgage companies in

America, for the past three years, 2012, 2013, 2014, by Mortgage Executive Magazine. The NW division offers all the benefits of the nation’s premier independent mortgage lender—financial strength, competitive rates, and innovative tools—yet continues to operate as a small, local company with deep roots in the communities it serves, including branches in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California. For more information, visit

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Media Contacts: Shirley Hancock


Jenna Cooper, APR


On the Rise: How Gas Prices May Affect Interest Rates

Let me welcome you to the very first Skyline Home Loans NW Blog! Our team is so excited to roll out our brand new, local website that introduces you to our deep-rooted history in the Northwest and the wonderful professionals—some of them your neighbors—ready to help you. Our goal is to be your resource for housing and lending trends in our shared communities, so check back for updates.

Okay, let’s talk gas prices. Were you as shocked as I was the last time you pulled up to the gas pump? What happened?! Did you ever think that two dollars and 75 cents a gallon would seem high? And those interest rates! They’ve also bumped up to more than four percent. There’s a connection to why gas prices and interest rates are jumping in tandem.

Interest rates are always a concern as we hover near all time lows and the very mention of an economic rally sends the markets in a tither. Every bit of encouraging news about the economy results in bad news—higher interest rates. The Federal Reserve recently announced that rates would not increase until the summer of 2015, at the earliest. A lot of people, like Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans, think that is way too soon.

So what do higher gas prices have to do with interest rates? When gas prices dipped below two dollars a gallon, many economists believed the lower gas prices would give us all more money to spend—buy that new TV, lawn mower, or plane ticket to Tahiti—which in turn would help grow the economy, increase inflation and force interest rates higher again. That’s just what happened. So the opposite is true as the higher prices have the reverse effect: less inflationary pressure, a market correction and interest rates that should fall in the short term.

So what should I do, buy, refinance or wait? Now is the time to get your finances in order, on any of the above items, as long term, rates have to rise. If you’re in the market to buy, now is the time to make it happen. With rental properties at all time highs and rates near record lows, this is the time to become a homeowner, sell your house or refinance your current loan to a long term fixed interest rate, before the inevitable increase in interest rates occur, which will be sooner than later.

In summary, (no one really knows or I would be on an island somewhere with an umbrella in my drink), fill up your tank, watch for lower rates, and visit our Skyline Home Loans NW blog to stay informed!

All the Best,







Teaming up with the Portland Business Alliance

The Portland Police Sunshine Division has been helping collect and distribute food for the needy, since 1925. (link to rest of article) Here Brian Willms, of the division, meets up with our VP Ken Maes at our sponsored 10th hole at the annual PBA golf tourney at Pumpkin Ridge. Thanks to the golfers for donating to the Sunshine Division. A few of the lucky ones walked away with some great prizes for winning our chipping contest. Let’s do it again next year!

Skyline Home Loans NW is in Growth Mode

portlandtribunelogoOregonian Ken Maes is bullish on the home mortgage business — especially in Lake Oswego. Jan. 16 marked Skyline Home Loans’ return to the west side and its roots in Lake Oswego. “It’s a new name but the same people who know and live in the area,” said Maes…Link to article:

PBJ Guest Column: Housing, No Longer Lead Dog?

PBJ Guest Column: Housing No Longer Lead Dog

Ask anyone what the number one indicator of the economy is, and most will say the housing market.

This isn’t new, of course, and dates all the way back to the Industrial Revolution and to post World War II rebuilding. Fast-forward to the explosive growth in the late 1980’s through 2006, and it’s clear the housing market has been the lead dog driving the sled.

While home ownership continues to be a driving indicator of our collective economic health, business owners and investors should be aware of other factors that are worth watching. Here are three new dogs that I believe are now driving the sled and changing the business paradigm.

  • The rental market. Rents are increasing dramatically, as more and more people simplify, reject home ownership, and recover from a battering six years. Inventory of existing homes is at historically low levels. In the U.S., existing home sales are up 2.4 percent for September 2014 (source: National Association of Realtors), while Portland metro sales dropped 1.4 percent in August 2014. Compare that to a healthy real estate market, which should grow at a greater pace than inflation of 2.9 percent. (source: Regional Multiple Listing Service) Consumers are nervous about the future — their jobs, health care, debt, or fear of being trapped in a long-term commitment. They don’t want to be over extended with either cost or risk. Renting serves up more options with short-term commitments and no loss exposure as in buying in a volatile real estate market. Right now, renting is simply more affordable and flexible.
  • Access to credit. The largest pool of credit-challenged borrowers in my lifetime, are now starting to get back on their feet. But it is a lot tougher to get a loan. Short sales, bankruptcy and foreclosures are commonplace, creating a barrier in qualifying for a mortgage loan. But good news is coming! The Obama Administration has been pushing for an upgrade in some FICO scores, and the positive results are starting to emerge. For instance, some credit FICO scores are now being adjusted up by as much as 25 points for borrowers that have had medical-only credit challenges. Additionally, credit score requirements have been lowered below 600 for most FHA loans, and now non-QM loans are available for borrowers who had to opt for a short sale. Only in some cases do people have to wait two years before they can purchase a home. Going forward, the market needs to adjust to friendly terms, and programs that convince the already skittish consumer to start buying goods and services again. (You’re seeing that with inducements like “no interest” offers and air miles.) The credit vault will need to continue broadening to see the economy really take off.
  • Historic shift in demographics. What effect is the aging of the Baby Boomer generation having on the economy? Baby Boomers are between 50 and 66 years old today and triggering several real estate trends. The era of the large family home is fading, as more borrowers in this age group down-size and simplify. Accessory Dwelling Units and add-ons are growing. Millennials are looking for less space, lower cost and less risk, after witnessing the fallout of 2008. Many are moving back home with good ol’ Mom and Dad.The aging Baby Boomer generation is here, growing and wants services to fit their needs.

Smart businesses are poised to take advantage of these changes, by remembering that the American Dream, rather than being forgotten, is simply changing. The vast majority of Americans are replacing a white picket fence, two cars in the driveway and two children for low-risk, simplicity and flexibility with their housing, goods and services. Meeting those demands will drive a healthier economy.