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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   March 2011

There's Power in Numbers

Now is the time to support mortgage-industry associations

How often do you look in your e-mail inbox or flip through your snail mail and ignore a message or letter from a mortgage-industry trade association? If the answer is anything other than never, then listen up.

The messages, postcards and notes that mortgage trade associations send often contain information that could have a significant and lasting impact on your business and your life. When these groups reach out, it's because they feel they need to or because you truly must hear what they have to say. After all, the trade associations — state and national — exist to keep you in business.

As mortgage professionals, we spend much of our time focused on our jobs and companies. We can't, however, allow ourselves to ignore the associations that need our support — and that we need fighting for our best interests. These associations meet with legislators and regulators, attend meetings, draft legislation, and fund lobbying efforts.

The time is now to become a member and support the organizations that fight against the many regulators, legislators and others who would smile broadly if mortgage brokers and independent bankers disappeared altogether. Not only would such an occurrence force brokers to make dramatic shifts in their approach to loan origination or to change businesses altogether, but it also would hurt consumers.

Don't be caught flat-footed: Mortgage brokers and independent bankers are fighting for their lives, their careers and their families.

Many legislators at the state and federal levels have limited understanding of the key role we play in the housing market and the economy at large. They profess to help consumers, but their attempts to change the rules often cause more harm.

By now, some of your colleagues have stopped reading this article. Others never started. Some of them will complain that a trade association didn't return their call or that they disagree with something an association has done in the past.

I understand that annoyance and frustration, but it's time to move forward. The only way to do that is with a strong voice in Washington, D.C., and in every state capital. That only happens through increased membership in the trade associations and with increased involvement from each of us.

The associations' boards of directors, committees and staff members rightly take on a good portion of the work, but we all have a responsibility to do something. Many mortgage brokers and small mortgage bankers take great pride in being tiny but mighty. Imagine what we could achieve with our collective might.

The more voices that join the fight, the stronger the message becomes. Our political action efforts only reach their full potential when we join together. If you earn your living in the mortgage-brokerage or small-banking industry and aren't currently an active member of an industry trade association, change that right now. After you've signed up or increased your involvement, recruit your colleagues.

Together we can succeed in ensuring our long-term survival.


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