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