Staff Report

In 1993, the computer had a 3.5-inch floppy drive. Mortgage rates were 7.375 percent for a 30-year fixed loan. Lenders distributed rate sheets by fax, and loan applications were handwritten on triplicate forms.  Communications were by pager and phone card.

That was 25 years ago, when David Brown started his mortgage lending career with GMAC Mortgage in the Santa Ynez Valley.  During his four years with GMAC, he became vice president and broker of record for the department of real estate, overseeing new loans in the Santa Barbara area and more than 200 licensed agents in California.

Now, in his silver anniversary in the lending business, Brown operates a local branch office of HighTechLending and hosts a weekly radio program on KSMA 1240AM called the Credit Connection, a show about financial topics and financial literacy. Several of his industry articles have been cited by national media outlets, including NBC, FOX, CBS and ABC.

“GMAC Mortgage was a lot of fun and I learned a lot.  They had a great training program and I still keep in touch with my original manager,” Brown said. “I was on the charitable giving foundation for the company and able to bring a significant amount of donations to our local nonprofits.”

He also recalls the time a client who filled out the loan application listed, under liabilities, “wife – $35,000.”  They had borrowed that amount from his wife’s life insurance policy.

From GMAC, Brown moved to the Solvang branch of Santa Barbara Bank and Trust, where his office was destroyed by the 1998 El Nino flood. He recalls water pouring out of a desk drawer when he opened it.

His next career move was to become a partner with John Anderson in Residential Mortgage, which grew to five branch offices from Chico to Santa Barbara with more than 25 loan officers and support staff.

Brown also helped start a local chapter of CAMP (California Association of Mortgage Professionals) and became its president a year later.  Then he was elected as a state director of CAMP for two terms.

After 2008, with a powerful recession leading to the Dodd Frank Act introducing new regulations, many loan officers left the industry due to fewer loan programs and new federal licensing requirements.  Brown then opened an office in Solvang and became a net branch office of HighTechLending.

Over the course of his career, Brown has closed thousands of mortgage transactions that include VA, FHA, conforming, jumbo, land, construction, ranch, multi-family and reverse mortgages, and he specializes in reverse mortgages and their application.  More than 50 percent of his home loans are now reverse mortgages, he noted.

“The reverse mortgage loan has the most misconceptions and misunderstanding of all loan products combined, yet has the most benefits and features when applied properly and with prudence,” Brown said.

Always involved in volunteer work, Brown is active in Los Olivos Rotary, coaching Pony League baseball and leading local Boy Scout programs.

He and his wife Karen live in the Santa Ynez Valley.

He can be reached at or 805-686-2321.