For the first time ever, leaders from the Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Home Equity Mortgage Association, and the National Association of Mortgage Brokers came together on the same stage Sept. 14 for the Nonprime Forum in Philadelphia.At the conference, co-sponsored by the NAMB and NHEMA, the trade groups said a uniform national lending standard is necessary for the good of the industry. "Five or ten years ago, I never would have thought this could happen," said Debbie Rosen, chair of NHEMA and managing director of subprime lending at Countrywide Home Loans. "Issues with [the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act] opened our eyes. We are better and stronger together rather than separate." Ms. Rosen said financial literacy is more important than ever before. Programs like Borrow Smart focus on consumer choice and education, she said. "Consumer groups can't say we aren't doing anything," Ms. Rosen declared. "We are getting people out of apartments and into homes, creating opportunities in their community." The organizations can be found online at http://www.mortgagebankers.org, http://www.nhema.org, and http://www.namb.org.

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