OCT 23, 2012 8:47am ET

New MBA Chair: Lenders Need to Repair ‘Trust Deficit’

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Newly installed Mortgage Bankers Association chairman Debra Still said it will take strategy, perseverance and leadership to keep things moving in the right direction toward rebuilding the housing and residential finance sectors.

It is up to the industry to repair “the trust deficit” that exists with regulators, policy makers, and consumers, she told members of the trade association she now leads.

For mortgage lenders and business leaders it “starts with being fully committed to running a better business. Nowhere do we have more control than in how we choose to operate our own companies.”

As chairman, Still serves in an annual post that expires in one year. Former FHA commissioner David Stevens serves as president and CEO of MBA, managing its day-to-day operations and policy decisions. 

While originations and profits will be important drivers for the business, they cannot be mortgage bankers’ only priorities, she said during her installation speech. Lenders must have a “genuine duty of care” for their borrowers, which includes demystifying the lending process, she said.

Running a better business also means lenders need to invest in training to build a higher level of competency in their workers, the MBA chair added.

Still said the industry needs to lead the charge, making certain that regulators and policy makers understand that to go beyond consumer protection into excessive credit constraints will impair the development of a vibrant housing and mortgage market. “As the stewards of our industry we must lead,” she said. “Together we have the responsibility and the opportunity to leave a positive legacy.”

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