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Residential Finance Corp.'s Jessica Manna on Marketing in the Financial Arena

November 5, 2008 By Heather Fletcher, senior editor, Target Marketing
Even as mighty financial institutions fall away due to poor mortgage and real estate investments, Columbus, Ohio-based Residential Finance Corp. expects to double in size next year—in part by making subprime loans.

Jessica Manna, who took the helm in March as RFC's vice president and chief marketing officer, believes the recent federal solutions to strengthen mortgage options provide immense opportunities for financial institutions like hers. As she directs RFC's marketing, communications and business-growth strategies, she plans to make it clear that her company is ready for market challenges.

Target Marketing: You have a lot of experience in the financial arena—in your opinion, what marketing efforts work the best?
Jessica Manna: It's not rocket science. What works best is speaking to people. Being real freaky about measuring; measure everything in every way that you can slice it and dice it and track to it. And at this time in the industry, for us in particular, being in the mortgage industry, you've got to be really cheap.

TM: What do you foresee as your greatest marketing opportunities? Does this tie in with RFC's current growth areas?
JM: From where I see it, we're at record foreclosures. The Mortgage Bankers Association puts it at just under 6.5 percent for all outstanding loans ... the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, they put our appreciation almost at negative 5 percent. So in my industry, which is first mortgage refinance, it's all about finding two things: somebody who credit qualifies and somebody who has equity. ... It's really critical for us to be able to leverage all of the financial, property and loan transaction databases out there and match those perfectly to our product guidelines to find the right person. ... Every single organization out there—whether it's the government-sponsored entities, whether it's Congress, whether it's the mortgage companies themselves—everybody is focused on helping the American consumer. Passing FHASecure and the Stimulus Act, bailing out Fannie [Mae] and Freddie [Mac], that is probably one of the biggest opportunities for us, is just reaching out to those types of people that qualify for those types programs.

TM: Considering you're a fan of analytics, how do you plan to use them to improve RFC's marketing efforts?
JM: One is analytics, and one is targeting. They kind of go hand in hand. ... Our [analytics] models determine that [consumers] are likely to respond. But do they have equity? How are we going to leverage the property databases out there, the finance and credit databases out there, to make sure that when we put an offer on somebody's doorstep or in somebody's e-mail box, or call them on the phone, that we can help that person?
 

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