The mortgage business faces a challenging -- not to mention lucrative -- future, according to Regina Lowrie, president of Gateway Funding and the new chair of the MBA.Of the 30 million new Americans expected over the next two decades, up to half will need a mortgage, Ms. Lowrie said at the group's rain-soaked annual convention in Orlando. The hard part will be accommodating them, for they will require $6-7 trillion in capital from the international markets. Ms. Lowrie called it "a huge challenge." In her inaugural address, she also took a swipe at President Bush's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, which has discussed the possibility of lowering the cap on the mortgage interest deduction from $1.1 million to $300,000-$350,000. "Enacting this proposal could turn a healthy housing market upside down," she told the convention. Such a change in policy would do nothing to increase the nation's homeownership rate or eliminate the ownership gaps between whites and nonwhites, she said. The tax reform panel's report is due on the president's desk no later than Nov. 1.

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