The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) represents the real estate finance industry with 2,200 member companies. The MBA serves as the primary voice for policy, education and the interests of those in the residential and commercial real estate fields, and aims to provide consumers with a positive mortgage banking experience.
When the MBA held their meeting in October, Quicken Loans CEO Bill Emerson was sworn in as chairman-elect of the MBA. This is exciting news for Quicken Loans, so I sat down with Bill to understand his growing role, the goals of the MBA and how the association helps the mortgage industry and consumers.
Why is it important for Quicken Loans to be a part of the Mortgage Bankers Association?
The MBA has been around for more than 100 years. We’ve been involved with them in the past, but more heavily in the last five or six years.
We personally realized in 2009 that we needed to have our own people on the ground in Washington. Once we got there and understood the landscape of the trade associations that were doing good work, and when Dave Stevens became president and CEO [of the MBA], we knew the MBA had the best chance to be the strongest voice, so it just made sense for us to be a part of it.
What are some of the duties that come with a leadership role in the MBA?
The process to become a leader in the MBA takes a few years, and you learn and grow during that time. Last October I was named vice chairman, and at the most recent meeting last month, I was named chair-elect. In October of 2015 I will officially be chairman, and that term will run through October 2016.
Currently, I serve on the board and am chair of the Diversity and Inclusion committee, among other committees. As chair-elect I will be attending most of the 19 conferences that the MBA hosts annually. I will be speaking at more of the state MBA group meetings and attend more conferences as a representative of the MBA.
The process allows me to get acclimated to the environment, understand the staff and get myself prepared for my chairmanship. After my leadership term is completed, I will still have responsibilities on a variety of committees and be a part of the board, so really, it’s a four-year process.
What are the goals for the MBA in the year ahead?
Advocacy on behalf of the mortgage industry. It’s about being the voice for the industry on relevant matters in Washington. Whether it’s the status of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or critical data and information exchange with the White House and other folks on Capitol Hill, the MBA has an opportunity to affect the outcome for what is really best for the housing industry, which is, in turn, best for the consumer.
There are financial goals attached to how the MBA performs as a business, such as membership dues and conference attendees, but education is of primary importance. One of the focuses is giving members the proper tools when it comes to compliance because members truly rely on the MBA’s direction and assistance from a regulatory front.
How will your leadership and experience at Quicken Loans help the MBA?
We are the largest independent mortgage company in the country, so we bring a unique perspective to the table for members of the MBA. We have the ability to make sure that the independent voice is heard and to relay what it means to operate as a large company while focusing on client experience like a small company. Our process is different than some other lenders, so the conversation is always good because our perspective can shed light on how things can be changed or improved in Washington.
What are some of the challenges you anticipate?
As the market becomes smaller, and if rates rise and originations decrease, some lenders will have to make business decisions about where to spend their money. Those decisions are tough, but the investment in the MBA is a necessary one because they can’t get that same kind of advocacy anywhere else.
What happens if Fannie and Freddie have a bad quarter or two and have to ask the Treasury for funds? That will cause the political climate to change as well as how decisions about the future of Fannie and Freddie are made. It’s critical that through the ongoing onslaught of regulation, the MBA remains at the table to be a strong voice for fair standards and practices.
Members also have the ability to raise money for MORPAC, which is the non-partisan Political Action Committee (PAC) of the MBA. This allows for greater participation in the political process.
What excites you most about this opportunity?
This industry has been tremendously good to me, and it’s an opportunity for me to interact with lenders to help affect the outcome for what the future will look like for our industry.
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