Norcom Cares Spreads Holiday Cheer with Donations to Local Charities
AVON, Conn., Nov. 23, 2021 – From education to toys and food pantries, Norcom Mortgage, a local, family-owned mortgage company, looks to spread cheer this holiday season by donating $10,000 to nonprofits and organizations in the greater Hartford area through its community outreach division, Norcom Cares.
“As community advocates and stewards, we believe in the importance of giving back to the communities we serve,” said Phil DeFronzo, President of Norcom Mortgage. “With the effects of the COVID pandemic still lingering, we wanted to bring joy to our communities this holiday season. We hope to invoke a little holiday magic with these donations and alleviate some stress for families.”
Organizations that received donations include:
- Toys for Tots
- Canton Food Bank in Canton
- Focus on Canton in Canton
- Vance School in New Britain
- Good Cause Gifts in Berlin
- The ‘Thankful Turkey’ drive held by Miller Farms in Avon
As Norcom Mortgage’s community outreach division, Norcom Cares supports the company’s philanthropic efforts by hosting fundraising events, such as its Annual Golf Tournament. This year, the tournament was held at Hop Meadow Country Club in Simsbury and generated over $54,000.
To date, Norcom Cares has contributed over half a million dollars to countless charities. To learn more about Norcom Cares and its philanthropic activities, please visit www.NorcomCares.com.
Reverse Mortgage: A Grey Divorce Financial Solution
By John Luddy, Norcom’s Senior Vice President of Reverse Mortgage Lending
While news of “grey divorces” are shocking, divorces occurring over the age of 50 have been on the rise since the 1990s according to Pew Research Center – and as with any marital separation, the division of assets can be a daunting task. For couples that have spent over 20 years together and of retirement age, though, their situation is unique and protecting their finances and investments are at the forefront of these conversations.
Reverse mortgages, which are available for borrowers over 62 years old, can help facilitate “grey divorce” procedures. By utilizing this type of mortgage, a home’s equity is converted into cash that can be received as a lump sum, in monthly installments or as a credit line, and isn’t paid back until the home is sold, the borrower permanently moves away or is deceased. This provides couples with flexibility to address common financial concerns brought about by the divorce such as:
- How can a spouse get their share of the home’s equity?
- Do I have enough money for retirement and healthcare needs?
- How can I pay a mortgage on a fixed-income?
- How can I supplement my income after my alimony ends?
- Can I afford a new house when the divorce is final?
- How will this impact my estate?
For a “grey divorce” couple, reverse mortgages are mostly commonly used to refinance the house under one spouse’s name, as they want to stay in the home. They are then able to give the other spouse their share of the home’s equity without withdrawing from a 401k or using other retirement funds.
Since there are no monthly payments or stipulations on how funds are used with this loan, a reverse mortgage can also provide a “grey divorcee” with financial stability allowing them to address other expenses or supplement their income without worrying about losing their home.
More about reverse mortgages…
Another benefit of a reverse mortgage is that unlike other loans it allows the borrower to purchase a home without having established credit. This is especially helpful if someone was financially dependent on the other spouse.
While child custody isn’t typically a part of “grey divorce” discussions, ensuring your estate isn’t impacted by the divorce and will remain intact for your adult children maybe. A reverse mortgage can help borrowers maximize their estate for their heirs by continuing to enjoy the home’s appreciated value, and protect them from having to pay out of pocket expenses if the home’s value depreciates.
For more information about how a Reverse Mortgage could work for you, please visit www.NorcomMortgage.com or contact a Norcom Mortgage Loan Originator.
Employee Spotlight: Alicia Goncalves
Alicia Goncalves joined Norcom Mortgage in November 2015 and transitioned to the IT Department in 2019, where she is a Certified Encompass Administrator. In her new role, Alicia has been instrumental in the rollout and implementation of several of our software systems including SimpleNexus, Joint Venture Onboarding Portal, Loan Beam and DocuSign.
When not writing code or training Norcom members on new software systems, Alicia is an active member of the Connecticut Mortgage Banker’s Association where she serves as the Co-chair for the Young Professional group. In this role, she has helped organize numerous webinars and speaking sessions; assisted in hosting the YMP’s Mentor Minute, where mentors guide members on career advancement opportunities; and has been an advocate for women in banking.
Alicia will now have the opportunity to share what she has learned on a national level as she has been selected to be apart of the National Mortgage Banking Association’s mPACT Steering Committee.
“I am excited to be chosen for this opportunity,” said Alicia. “I think it’s important to support and surround yourself with likeminded people so we can grow and learn from each other. I look forward to continuing to help young mortgage professionals advance their careers and be an advocate for women in banking.”
- Alicia was “born” into the real estate industry. Her grandfather owned his own brokerage shop, and after school she would help him in the office by performing some data entry, ordering credit reports and appraisals, and stacking paper loan files.
- She was also awarded the Path to Diversity Scholarship and will apply the scholarship to the MBA’s Future Leaders program.
Congratulations, Alicia, on your accomplishment! For more information on how you can get involved in the national and local Mortgage Banker’s Association chapter, please visit https://connect.mba.org/contactus or http://cmba.org/.
5 Tips for Schooling at Home
So many families around the country are facing choices about the start of the school year, whether that means in-person learning, distance learning, or a hybrid solution. These decisions often mean deciding how to create a space at home that fosters focus and education. This will look different for each family, as it depends on how many children you have and their ages (from pre-K to university!), whether parents are also working remotely, as well as the indoor and outdoor space you have available at home. The following tips may help spark an idea that works for your family!
The classroom doesn’t just have to exist within the home! Your outdoor space, whether it is a balcony, a yard, or a nearby park, provides an essential change of scenery for a school day. An outdoor quiet reading spot, a scavenger hunt walk, or a mid-day recess may entice students of any age.
Picking a spot! Some children may have a desk in their bedroom and can work independently. But that is often not the case. Choosing one set location in your home for classes and homework can help the whole family adjust to this new routine. Some things to keep in mind are choosing a spot that adults can easily keep an eye on, as well as a spot that has limited distractions.
Reducing distractions! Once you have the best spot chosen for your family, try to set expectations that it is a device free (or reduced) zone. Obviously, this does not apply to computers or tablets that are needed to attend classes. But cell phones, hand held gaming devices, or TVs can all be extremely distracting. Even pets and other family members can be distractions, so try putting together a family game plan now to deal with these distractions!
Sharing is not just for your pre-K children to learn! Sharing workspace between multiple children and adults can take planning and patience. Try to be courteous of noise levels, let others know when you have a video meeting or class, and use earbuds or noise cancelling headphones for some peace and quiet if needed.
Students are used to having a daily schedule, no matter what education level they are. Mimicking this routine at home will be crucial to everyone's success. Wether its setting up a weekly family calendar for classes, assignments and meetings, or just monitoring time spent on activities each day, sticking to a routine will help students who are distance learning (or in a hybrid back to school plan). Make sure to schedule in times for naps, lunch, 'recess', and relaxation breaks for a balanced day.
This school year is bound to look different for all families. Try to have a plan, but also know that you will have to be flexible with each other at times. It may take some time to work out what is best for your family. And, if you find that you simply do not have enough space, and looking for a new home is in your budget, know that a Norcom Loan Originator is available to help you! Call to discuss your financing options, and get pre-approved. This will give you a leg up when putting in an offer on the perfect home in today’s competitive market!
Our Top Ten Video Meeting Tips
So many of us are learning that video meetings, presentations, and interviews are becoming a regular fixture in our work schedules. There are simple changes we can all make to be more productive and professional during video meetings, from avoiding background distractions to finding our best light. The most important step though is to treat a video meeting as closely as possible as you would a meeting in person. Keep reading for our top ten tips for video meetings!
1. Lighting is key
Natural light is ideal, if you can, sit with a window in front of you. If the window is behind you, you will appear on the call to be in a dark or shadowed room. If its evening, poor weather, or you don’t have access to natural light, try to have artificial light sources that illuminate you from the front. This is more flattering than direct overhead lighting.
2. Know how to share your screen
Make sure to have what you’re trying to present queued up and ready to go before the meeting starts. This way, you can jump into the PowerPoint presentation, Excel spreadsheet, or web document immediately when you click the screen share button.
3. Know how to mute/unmute yourself
There are often keyboard shortcuts, such as clicking the space bar, to switch between a muted or unmuted mic, depending on the video platform you are using. Additionally, if you’re the meeting host, know how to mute everyone upon entering the meeting. This can help if you are presenting a webinar and do not want any interruptions.
4. Distracting background?
Think about what is visible in your background. Is it a cluttered room that could be visually distracting or a common area of the house with people walking through? Is it full of windows behind you, that will illuminate the background thus putting your face in a shadow? All of these elements are important to check before your video meeting.
5. Background noise
Think of the background as not just what could be visually distracting, but also the audible distractions. Do you have children, pets, electronics, or other sources of noise that could be potentially distracting? Try to move to a quiet area so others in the video meeting can easily hear you when you speak.
6. Living with others
If you are living with others who are also working, studying, or playing at home, let everyone know in the morning about your day’s meeting schedule. If they know you will be on a video call from noon to 1 pm, there will be fewer unexpected interruptions. If you have smaller children, see if you can plan meetings around nap time or independent play time.
Remember that if you are on a video call for work, dress as if you are AT WORK! No PJs, giving the illusion that you are barely awake and available to work. There are plenty of comfortable and professional outfit options.
8. Be attentive and engaged during the call
As tempting as it is, try not to do any other work, send emails, scroll through your phone or eat during a video meeting. Try to look into the camera when you talk. When you’re not talking, make sure to pay attention to whoever’s speaking or sharing their screen and that you’re looking at any materials you may need to reference.
9. Stay organized
Are you in charge of the meeting? Email an agenda beforehand. It is tempting to start video meetings with some chit chat, but most participants will appreciate getting to the topics on the agenda quickly. If you are looking for participation and collaboration, make sure everyone has a chance to speak. After a meeting, send a summary of what was discussed, action items for team members to work on, and schedule the follow up video meeting.
10. Join a couple minutes early.
Treat a video meeting online just as you would treat a meeting in the office. Show up a couple minutes early to be prepared, have your notes ready, check your internet connection, check that your mic and camera are working and muted, etc. This means you will be ready as soon as the meeting begins!