Prepared Remarks of MBA President and CEO Bob Broeksmit, CMB, at the 2021 MBA Annual Convention and Expo

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Rob Van Raaphorst
rvanraaphorst@mba.org
(202) 557-2799

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 18, 2021) - Bob Broeksmit, CMB, MBA President and CEO, delivered the following remarks at MBA's 2021 Annual Convention & Expo.

[Please Note: These are prepared remarks. Mr. Broeksmit may add to or subtract from these remarks during the course of his presentation. Portions of the text may be omitted during the speech.]  

Thank You Kristy. Good morning!  

It's great to be here, and to see you, in-person. The MBA is together again. And not a moment too soon! It's been two long years since we last met.  

That's why we chose the conference theme of "together again."  

It's the perfect phrase, for several reasons.  

First, we've missed each other.   I don't know about you, but I'm tired of Zoom and Microsoft Teams.  

It just wasn't the same. I wanted nothing more than to get off FaceTime and see you face-to-face. It's finally happened.  

Second, we've missed this. I was so disappointed when we had to move Annual to a virtual format last year. I know you were, too.  

This is "the event." It's where deals happen. It's where the future begins.  

When we're together, we chart a course of action and accomplishment.  

It just goes to show: the power of us is unsurpassed. And we will prove it in the next three days-- and the coming year!  

It was tough to be apart. Yet we still found ways to connect during the pandemic. We came together as best we could. And we did more than we ever thought possible.  

Think about where we were, at Annual 2019. We had no clue what was headed our way. We had no idea a global pandemic was about to hit. None of us could have predicted it. Nor could we have foretold what happened next.  

At the outset, we thought we were looking at another Great Recession. It looked like the worst of times were on the way.  

We were wrong.  

In some ways, the past two years have been the best of times.  

We went from existential threats to our industry, to record volumes.  

We went from fearing an economic collapse to driving an economic recovery. And we did it by doing what we do best. In a time of terrible trial, your companies empowered the American people to pull through.  

When things were down, you helped millions of families trade up-- to a new home, a better loan, and so much more. You were - and you still are - a  source of real relief.  

While our country still isn't out of the woods, it's already clear:  

America is stronger, and the future is brighter, thanks to you!  

What explains this incredible record? A big part of the answer is that we stuck together, through it all. We may not have been able to meet in person, but we still supported each other. It's true on a personal level.  

I've never felt more camaraderie with the men and women in this ballroom.  

It's even more true professionally. We came together through the MBA. And by standing united, we drove unprecedented progress across the board. Most years, I use this speech to focus on our victories in policy and advocacy. I'll talk about those issues shortly.  

But first, I want to shine a light on the extraordinary work happening throughout the MBA, thanks to you.  

First and foremost: you came together to support our meetings team.  

I don't think anyone worked harder than they did during the pandemic.  

They moved every event online, while upholding the highest standards of content and quality. And they pulled out all the stops to bring us here today.  

It was a struggle-- it really was. But they persevered, with grit and grace.  

Because they wanted you to have the best Annual Convention yet!  

You came together to make MBA's Opens Doors Foundation more successful than ever, with a tremendous impact on thousands of families managing a child's critical illness in the middle of a global pandemic.  

ODF doubled its support to families through its Pandemic Relief Program, and you gave $3.2 million in early September through ODF Chairman Deb Still's 2022 campaign.  

As ODF celebrates its 10th anniversary, we've now helped more than 9,000 families with mortgage and rental assistance during a time of crisis. That's a record we can all be proud of.  

You came together to bring our education and research departments to new heights.  

Our course enrollments exceeded expectations in a virtual world.  

Our research team became the go-to resource on forbearance and many other pressing topics.  

Both departments are growing fast, all because of your collaboration.  

You also came together to breathe new life into MISMO.  

MISMO's work to accelerate our industry's digital future is booming.  

Lenders' support for the 75-cent per loan Innovation Investment Fee means that MISMO is innovating faster than ever. It truly is the gold standard for addressing our industry's key challenges. And it's only getting better.  

Finally, you came together to transform MORPAC and the Mortgage Action Alliance.  

You made record donations in the 2020 election cycle, and you're giving faster than ever in the build-up to 2022. You've made MORPAC one of the 10 most powerful trade association PACs in our nation's capital.  

As for the Mortgage Action Alliance, I've never seen anything like what happened since our last meeting. Membership more than tripled. Member engagement soared by 2,000%.  

Consider just one example of the difference you've made through MAA.  

Last summer, when FHFA announced the Adverse Market Refinance Fee, you sent over 86,000 letters to Congress through the alliance.  

Not only did FHFA delay the fee adoption to allow you to close loans already in your pipeline, the Biden administration quickly canceled it altogether.  

That's what happens when we come together!  

There's so much more that you helped us do. And I haven't even mentioned our incredible progress on policy and advocacy.  

Remote online notarizations, broker-dealer margin calls, False Claims Act relief, suspension of the hard caps on the GSE cash window and second homes and investment properties - we came through, time and again.  

You've never needed more from us. We've never delivered more for you.  

That's what happens when we come together at the MBA.  

I firmly believe you got tremendous returns on the dues you paid over the past two years.  

And I'm not just proud of what we've achieved on your behalf. I'm proud to have represented you while you served and provided relief and stimulus to America!  

At our virtual meeting last October, I said the MBA was made for times of crisis. We've proven it. And we'll keep proving it.  

The worst of the crisis may have passed, but we still face a lot of challenges. We will overcome them, together, like we always do.  

The pandemic was tough for a lot of trade associations.  

But not the Mortgage Bankers Association. While others were laying off workers and shrinking their footprint, we maintained and even expanded the services we offer you.  

Our finances have never been healthier. Our team has never been so active. The MBA not only survived - we're uniquely positioned to help you thrive in a brave new world.  

Lord knows there's a lot of work to do. The pandemic is still with us, and it probably will be for a while.  

It's not yet clear how our industry will be affected. Rest assured, we've helped you come this far, and we'll keep supporting and strengthening you until COVID-19 is history.  

We're also working closely with the new White House and Congress.  

I'm often asked if the election results affect our ability to deliver for you. The answer is "no."   Thanks to years of hard work, MBA is part of the conversation, whenever and wherever it happens.  

A lot of the people at the bargaining table may have changed, but we're still there. We've spent decades building bonds with leaders on both sides of the aisle. And we had a strong relationship with the Biden team before they took office. It's only grown stronger since January.  

In the past few months, I have personally had high-level meetings with key White House officials, including the Domestic Policy Council, the National Economic Council, the Treasury Department, and the CFPB.  

I also took several members to meet with Chairman Powell and four of the five other Governors at the Federal Reserve.  

I make it a priority to talk with senior leaders as often as possible.  

I always make the same points, too. The MBA supports regulation and legislation that is clear, easy to implement, and helpful to your companies and the millions of Americans you serve.  

We have our work cut out for us. We've entered another era of less guidance and more enforcement.  

An aggressive regulatory posture is back.

  Well, my message to you and the entire industry is one of reassurance.  

The MBA was made for this moment. We've got your back. And we're in front of every fight.  

Take the CFPB: it's one of our biggest focuses.  

We were disappointed to see the Bureau delay the new QM Rule until October 2022. The final regulation came from an open process that reflected our input and had the support of consumer advocates.  

It was a well-crafted rule, but the delay makes compliance more confusing and discourages innovative business models and the responsible expansion of credit.  

I said as much to the Acting Director when I spoke with him earlier this year, and I will make the same case to the new Director now that he has been confirmed.  

We are re-activating the coalition that worked so hard on the new regulation. Industry, consumer, and civil rights groups supported the final rule.  

The CFPB is going to hear from them again, and we hope it will listen. We have not come this far only to fall short.  

Another top and timely priority is infrastructure. As we meet here, the White House and Congress are still hammering out the details of a multi-trillion-dollar bill. The bill will include tax hikes. But we're fighting to block the wrong tax hikes.  

We're fighting efforts to raise taxes on mortgage servicing. We're equally focused on preserving pass-through deductions which are critical to tax parity for our member firms.  

Other key issues include the treatment of capital gains and treatment of gains on the sale of homes. There are better ways to generate revenue than stifling investment and punishing working families.  

Whatever the policy, our message to the White House and Congress is simple. Don't hurt our ability to help America recover.  

We're in the middle of rebuilding the economy, and the mortgage industry is leading the way. It makes no sense to hurt your companies and the millions of families who count on you.  

We're taking that message to policymakers multiple times per day. And you're saying the same thing, through the Mortgage Action Alliance.  

I urge you to double down, starting now.  

The infrastructure bill will be finalized soon. Our combined action is essential to making sure it reflects common sense. Let's make this bill as good as possible. And let's protect our ability to serve the American people!  

The last issue I'll discuss is perhaps the most important of all.  

It's one you've heard a lot about today, and that's minority homeownership.  

Susan Stewart talked about Convergence, and the work we've done under her leadership.  

Kristy Fercho showed us her passion, and her plan to make our industry more welcoming and inclusive.  

For my part, I want to give you a sense of MBA's history on this critical topic.Minority homeownership is not something we take lightly, nor is it something we just discovered. The MBA made minority homeownership a priority before it was commonplace.  

It was a major focus even before I took this job in 2018.  

Going back many years, we saw that something was holding back sustainable minority homeownership. So we took steps to make it right.  

The same is true of diversity writ large. Last year, I gladly signed The CEO Action Pledge on Diversity and Inclusion. When I first read the pledge,  

I remember thinking: we're already doing everything in here.  

It was a powerful reminder that MBA is leading the way on one of the biggest issues of our time.   We're now doing more than ever, and we all know why.  

Because it's the right thing to do.  

Minority homeownership rates are woefully low. For the Black community, homeownership has hardly budged since 1960. The gap between Blacks and Whites has grown, not shrunk.  

Things are headed in the wrong direction. The sad fact is that our best efforts haven't worked to date. That's why the MBA is leading a complete rethink of how we tackle this issue.  

We're identifying new policies and products to boost minority homeownership. And we're changing our industry's hiring practices to better represent the communities we serve.  

The past year has been a watershed. As Susan made clear, Convergence is a game-changer. We're working with more stakeholders than ever.  

We're combining our resources, know-how, and resolve in exciting new ways. And we're preparing for a nationwide expansion.  

We're making big changes within the MBA, as well. For the first time, executives like me will be judged by whether we've made progress on minority homeownership. If we don't achieve tangible results,  

I will personally be held accountable. It's an unprecedented step, but a necessary one. It shows how committed we truly are.  

We're also taking historic steps to promote diversity. The only new staff position we created at MBA in 2020 was one focused solely on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We've also set diversity standards for our boards and committees.  

And I'm most excited about MBA's Home for All Pledge. You heard all about it from Kristy. The only thing I'll add is that we're calling it an action pledge for a reason.  

It's one thing to talk about minority homeownership and hiring more women and minorities.

It's another thing entirely to take concrete steps. The sooner we transform our businesses and our talent pipeline, the better it will be for all of us, and for society itself.

I know you're committed to this cause. You've made that clear going back many years. Your leadership has inspired me and many others.   Now the time has come to do even more.   Diversity and minority homeownership cannot wait; they must happen now.  

And they need champions who will make them happen.  

We are those champions. Together, we will not only make history.  

We'll make America more just, as well!  

It's amazing to think how much we do. All of us, as an industry.  

We are a force for good in our society.   The past two years have illuminated this truth. I hope you see it.  

It was easy to lose sight of the bigger picture during the pandemic. We were so busy, and so burned out at times, that we didn't remember why we do what we do.   We should remember. Because you and your companies are something special. There's no such thing as just originating a loan.

 

There's no such thing as merely servicing a mortgage.  

When you help a family refinance, you're doing so much more than giving them a better interest rate. By the same token, when our members help businesses set up shop, or help families find their first apartment, they're doing something extraordinary.  

What is that something? It's simple.  

You're empowering people to own a home and make a life.  

You're building communities where families can rise.  

You're lifting the least fortunate and serving the most vulnerable.  

And in all you do, you're moving America forward, in ways no one else can.  

I see these realities every day. We help our nation's leaders see them, too.

Representing you fills me with pride. It strengthens my determination to fight for you and deliver for you. Since we last met, the MBA has done just that. We'll accomplish more on your behalf in the coming year.

 

But nothing we do matters as much as what you do, every day.  

And now that we're together again, I want you to know: We're excited to help you do even more good for even more people.  

You deserve nothing less, and at the MBA, we desire nothing more.  

Thank you. And welcome back!