There seems to be some concern with a small number our members regarding what is happening in Washington, D.C. and what the National Association of Mortgage Brokers is doing to ensure our industry is being protected. Let me assure you that legislative protection is the highest priority of your association. Our staff and our lobby team are constantly monitoring Capitol Hill and the agencies to learn the hot issues of the day. The rapport we have on the Hill and with the agencies is the best we have ever experienced in the history of our association.
Let’s look back and see where we were and where we are now. For many years, we played a very small role in Washington, D.C. It was difficult to find anyone who would meet with us to hear our position on issues that directly affect our industry.
Through the strong leadership of previous boards and a constant message that benefitted not only our industry, but protected the consumer, we now have a seat at the table. We are invited to present our position at various legislative committee hearings. We are able to meet with the various regulatory agencies as proposed rules are being formulated. We are respected as a voice of our industry.
Some of our positions have taken years to be implemented either by Congress or the regulatory agencies. Let’s look at two good examples of how long the process can take.
The first example is the passing of the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act), which created the National Registry and the licensing of loan originators. Another example is the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) now allowing all mortgage brokers to originate FHA loans without having to go through the cost of an audited statement. These issues were advocated by NAMB for years before they became a reality.
The strong relationship that NAMB has developed with Congress over the past few years gives us the opportunity to be a part of legislative process from the very beginning. We now have the opportunity to hear what is being considered and lend our voice on how this would impact our industry and the consumers. Two examples of NAMB being invited to be a part of the process in the early stages was when Congress was considering a net worth requirement of $1 million for mortgage brokers and the banning of yield spread premiums (YSPs) as part of new bill. Working directly with staff and the legislators themselves in the very beginning, we were able to have both dropped. These two issues would have put the mortgage broker out of business.
It seems that there is something happening, almost on a daily basis, in Washington, D.C. It is very important that you, as a member of NAMB, are kept informed of those issues that affect our industry and the way we do business. NAMB communicates these messages by e-mails to its membership. We use legislative alerts, weekly “News From NAMB” bulletins and “Calls to Action” when your help is needed on a particular issue. Hopefully, if you are an NAMB member, you are receiving all these types of correspondence from us. If not, please check your computer to see if it is blocking e-mails from NAMB. If it is not, please contact Paul Nierman of NAMB’s Membership Department at [email protected]
to verify your current e-mail address in the NAMB database. This will allow us to make any corrections to ensure you receive these important e-mails in the future.
NAMB’s Web site, www.namb.org, is a good way to keep yourself updated on legislative matters and other important information about what is happening with your association. You will be able to review the accomplishments of your association by clicking on the document, “What Has NAMB Done in 2009.” This document will give you a breakdown of the month-by-month happenings of the association in 2009.
The reasons for the success of our national association in Washington, D.C. over the past years is due to the dedicated staff at NAMB, the many volunteers and members who have served on the Government Affairs Committee and give so much of their time and talent to the legislative issues, and an exceptional team of lobbyists. Without these ingredients, NAMB would not have been able to accomplish our objective of protecting our industry and the consumers we serve.
Jim Pair, CMC is with Mortgage Associates Corpus Christi and is president of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers.