Mortgage brokers make their voices heardDoug AndersonNAMB 2001 Legislative Conference, lobbying, 2001 legislative session
The power of persistence. The power of the people. The power of
purpose. The persistence is that we will not go
away. The people are the borrowers we lend to, as
well as every Mortgage Broker in this country. The
power is the strength of our grassroots, built
like a strong evergreen tree and bound to the earth with decade-old
Every time I fly into Washington, D.C. via Reagan National
Airport, whether it be in the full sunshine of the day or in the
shadows of the evening with spotlights highlighting the national
monuments, I feel the power and purpose of our Nations Capitol. It
is a feeling every Mortgage Broker and every citizen should
experience just once in his or her lifetime.
All I have to do is think about the 537 most powerful elected
officials in the world who work in this city-the United States
President, Vice President, 100 Senators and 435 Representatives-to
know why that power is present. And, yet, the assembly of Mortgage
Brokers at the National Association of Mortgage Brokers Legislative
and Regulatory Conference 2001 was reminded by California Rep.
Ellen Tauscher, a "Blue Dog Democrat," that these people work for
you and me. Rep. Tauscher encouraged attendees to make the people
we elect and who are employed by us to be accountable
to us. It was a lesson I needed to hear because of
the intimidating atmosphere I feel whenever I walk through the
security stations at the entrances and down the hallways of all the
office buildings of our elected officials.
Between visits to the representatives of our respective states,
as we walked from the "Senate side" of the Capitol to the "House
side," one of my fellow Coloradans made a statement that rang
inside of me. We were walking in front of the Capitol, looking down
the mall to the Lincoln Memorial, and she said, "I hope we always
have the free and open access to our governing officials that we
It makes me stop and think about just how fortunate we all are.
We may disagree with our elected officials, but at least we can
voice our opinions and lobby for our desired outcome. Many of us
have marveled at how a colony of well-organized army ants can put
together an intricate system of self-defense, power and mobility.
They work tirelessly and selflessly, as they are driven to
accomplish their inherent goals.
This year at the NAMB 2001 Legislative Conference, brokers from
40 states were witnesses to the same demonstration of the "army ant
For more than 10 years, NAMB members have been playing the role
of lobbyist for Mortgage Brokers and the mortgage industry. Each
year, we knock on the doors of our regulators (HUD and the Federal
Reserve) and our individual Representatives and Senators.
This year's lineup of distinguished guest speakers addressing
the NAMB membership included those agencies in the past that, not
only refused to open the door when we knocked, but also placed
double deadbolt locks on those doors to be certain we could not
gain access. If we were invited in, we were escorted down dark
corridors walking by endless numbers of closed doorways on each
side of us, only to sit and wait to speak to the assistant of the
I still remember the first NAMB Legislative Conference I
attended...Barbara Sisk, a Dallas-based broker, was the NAMB
Legislative Chair. I sat in on a legislative meeting and learned
that RESPA and TILA weren't the same law. I saw a handful of people
I had never met, such as NAMB 1997-1998 President Jan Hix, who
welcomed me in and discussed important issues. We were going to
march on the Hill to defeat the new HOEPA, high-cost mortgage
amendment to the Truth-In-Lending Act proposed by Rep. Joseph
Kennedy. It was a tough day, and we were beaten severely.
However, from that day to this we have had the "army ant"
generals, such as 1998-1999 NAMB President J.C. "Tuck" Marshall who
declared war with "We need a bill!" We have also witnessed the
master, Government Affairs Chair Jim Nabors II, who diligently
worked, unseen by many of us, between national meetings, getting
HUD, the Federal Reserve, the Consumer Mortgage Coalition, the
Mortgage Bankers Association of America, the Home Equity Lenders
Leadership Organization, the National Home Equity Mortgage
Association and others to understand who we are and what we really
do as Mortgage Brokers. At one point, NAMB President Neill Fendly,
literally spent more time in Washington, D.C. lobbying these same
groups and testifying in Congress in one year than he did at his
own company. They have all paid the price for us. They are our
However, for this year's Legislative Conference, HUD Secretary
Mel Martinez delivered a rousing presentation to the largest
contingent of Mortgage Brokers to ever attend an NAMB legislative
event. He talked about open doors. He spoke about ease of access.
He addressed the fact that HUD needed to become more fiscally
responsible. Though the words were important, a much clearer
message was conveyed by his presence. Never before has a member of
the President of the United States Cabinet stood in front of a
roomful of Mortgage Brokers. Never has a HUD Secretary delivered a
positive message to Mortgage Brokers that we can work as a team to
increase homeownership to underserved markets.
Mr. Martinez, not as a threat to put more restraints on brokers,
but as a significant act, mentioned predatory lending by
unscrupulous and unwanted originators whom we all want out of the
Other formidable speakers included Federal Reserve Governor Jane
Ahrens. She briefed the attendees on the public comments made on
the predatory lending town meetings that the Federal Reserve Board
has held. She gave us indications of what the Federal Reservethe
regulator of the Truth-In-Lending Actwill be doing to modify the
Home Ownership Equity Protection Act (HOEPA).
Largely rushed because of the tight schedules of Representatives
Bob Barr of Georgia and Bob Ney of Ohio, NAMB Mortgage Finance
Counsel Robert Lotstein of Lotstein Buckman LLP delivered a
detailed presentation of the history and accomplishments of NAMB's
total mortgage reform efforts.
As it is, politics isn't the fastest moving train, which Mr.
Lotstein pointed out. We, as members of NAMB, have been making
in-roads, as well as talking about and developing mortgage reform
since 1996. Now with concepts in hand, we must work within the
framework of our political leaders. Mr. Lotstein's determination
and detailed efforts have continuously kept NAMB on the forefront
of legislator and regulator minds as we make daily efforts to be
the engine pulling the train over the rocky mountains of consumer
groups and other objectors.
The march to our Congressional offices on this day was easy. To
sit down and tell a Representative and his or her aide who have
seen us before that we are not "pushing" or "selling" anything
today made the meetings both cordial and effective. These officials
in power know who we are. They know we are working in their system
to change "our world." They are willing to work with us. Our goal
at the NAMB Legislative and Regulatory Conference was to remind
them of the story that we are America's choice for mortgage
origination. I heard them tell me, "Yes, and don't you originate
more than 60 percent of the home loans across America?" They know.
And, even as we are patient, we are also making our visits to these
same Representatives in our home state to reinforce our
relationships with them.
Today was a good day. Tomorrow will be even better because of
Doug Anderson is President of the Colorado Association of
Mortgage Brokers, and National Association of Mortgage Brokers
Communications Committee Chair and Legislative Committee Regional
Vice Chair. He may be reached at (303) 619-9941 or fax (720)