As the chair of the Mortgage Action Alliance (MAA), my most significant duty is to engage more real estate finance industry professionals in the legislative process and grow the industry’s voice in Washington, D.C. and state capitals nationwide.
Unfortunately, for many of our colleagues, political advocacy is often an afterthought. After all, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) already has a government relations staff working to represent the real estate finance industry.
But what many do not realize is that we need to be our own advocates too. You can be an industry advocate by becoming an active member of MAA.
MAA is completely free, simple to sign up for, and an effective tool to exact legislative and regulatory changes that will make it easier to do business and better our communities. MAA is a non-partisan source of information, and the best way to stay informed about the ever-changing political landscape that our industry has to navigate every day.
I realize that the time hard-working real estate finance professionals have available is limited and taking the time to advocate might seem like time you don’t have to spend. I completely understand. In an ideal world, our elected officials would embrace the fundamental mission of our industry and lead, not stymie efforts to streamline regulations and expand access to affordable mortgages for all Americans.
Unfortunately, as you know all too well, that is not the world we live in. The reality of the political landscape is that doing your job to the highest ethical and professional standards is not enough. In a vibrant representative democracy like the one in which we live, your voice is what matters to the elected officials we need to reach, and speaking up is the only way we can truly affect action by decision makers.
The good news is that MAA is efficient and effective at amplifying your voice. Just last week, hundreds of MAA members answered a “Call to Action,” and, prompted by MBA’s federal lobbyists, contacted their legislators and encouraged them to oppose an amendment by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) that would have placed limitations on force-placed insurance and prohibited insurers from providing free tracking and administration services to servicers. In response to the groundswell of opposition, a number of our members’ elected officials withdrew their support, and Sen. Merkley withdrew the amendment. Events like this happen multiple times per year, and even with a small fraction of industry professionals behind us, we are able to combat harmful legislation before the majority of our colleagues are even aware that a threat existed. Imagine what we could do with an even bigger voice.
With this in mind, I invite you to join hundreds of real estate finance industry professionals in Washington, D.C. for MBA’s annual National Advocacy Conference on April 9-10. It is the one time every year when our industry takes to the Hill to speak directly with members of Congress. Last year, participants heard speakers from both the House and Senate, and were treated to a private speaking event with Secretary Shaun Donovan. I hope that you will consider joining us for this year’s National Advocacy Conference. It has never been more important to show our elected officials the faces of our industry.
Real estate finance industry professionals who wish to join or learn more about MAA can do so at, www.mortgageactionalliance.org. To learn more about the 2014 National Advocacy Conference, please visit http://events.mortgagebankers.org/NAC2014, or contact MBA’s Assistant Director of Political Affairs Annie Gawkowski, at (202) 557-2816 or e-mail [email protected]
Amy Swaney, CMB is governmental relations officer and branch manager with Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Citywide Home Loans. Amy is also chair of the Mortgage Action Alliance (MAA), a voluntary, non-partisan and free nationwide grassroots lobbying network of real estate finance industry professionals, affiliated with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). Amy may be reached by phone at (480) 822-6262, ext. 2164, e-mail [email protected]
or visit http://mba.org/Advocacy/MortgageActionAlliance.