Editor’s note: This feature appeared in the February issue of MReport, out now.
In the second part of this series, MReport recognizes the top leaders and influencers of the industry. Compiled from nominations submitted by industry professionals, the “Top 25 Industry Leaders & Influencers” list recognizes those individuals who are guiding by example, thinking outside the box in ways that are shaping the industry’s path forward, and still maintaining that personal touch that ensures their team members feel supported, inspired, and recognized.
CHAIRMAN, ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT MORTGAGE EXPERTS
Years in Industry: 15
Anthony Casa has been instrumental in changing the landscape of mortgage origination through the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts (AIME). In addition to invigorating the concept of the mortgage brokerage, he has operated one of the nation’s largest mortgage broker companies. AIME was formed to establish a community of independent mortgage experts by creating an association that empowers them with the tools, resources, and support necessary to successfully advise consumers nationwide with their residential mortgage needs; cultivate ideas, provide exclusive benefits, and impact legislative and social progress through advocacy and education. AIME’s vision is to strategically grow, strengthen, and increase the visibility of independent mortgage experts nationwide to ensure that borrowers and real estate agents entrust and choose an independent mortgage expert as their primary partner in their home buying and refinance process. A strong, no-nonsense leader, nothing stands in the way of Casa’s chosen goal. He has proven this time and time again by accomplishing what others deemed impossible. “No one is a better mentor than Anthony. If you can’t succeed under his direction, you probably aren’t trying. He is always willing to share the limelight with excellent employees and even peers in the industry,” said John Councilman, President of AMC Mortgage Corp. Casa spends hundreds of hours every month encouraging others in the industry, including by holding frequent conferences and seminars. Casa was previously the Founder/ President of Garden State Home Loans, which was ranked by NJ Biz as one of the 16 Fastest Growing Business in 2017.
CHIEF COMPLIANCE OFFICER, THE LOGS NETWORK
Years in Industry: 25+
Jacqueline Comeau started her career over 25 years ago as an entry-level legal assistant in a Connecticut law firm and worked her way up to CCO at the LOGS Legal Network (LOGS), serving in a variety of roles along the way. Comeau is well versed in all aspects of law firm operations and administration. For nearly five decades, LOGS has been a leader in designing comprehensive, and cost-effective legal and outsourcing solutions for the residential mortgage and consumer credit industry. Comeau has been a significant contributor to its success. Comeau effectively managed the unprecedented rapid change and transition of the industry to a more regulated environment and established a governance, risk and compliance department that supports 22 law firms in 32 states through the use of technologically advanced compliance systems and old fashioned hard work. Comeau prioritizes creating a diverse, collaborative and fluid team of professionals with a growth mindset. Curiosity is a core value for her team. She challenges team members to embrace the discomfort of change and disruption as opportunities to demonstrate initiative, add value, learn, and develop new skills. She always looks for ways to make processes more efficient and help develop others to maximize their potential. Avidly interested in diversity, Comeau ensures all team members have a voice. She believes candor and constructive communication is vital to success and growth. She leads by example, actively seeking feedback and encouraging retrospective learning opportunities. Comeau actively mentors team members for succession planning and career growth. A frequent contributor to the ALFN publications and participant in panels at various compliance and industry organizations, Comeau extends her mentoring skills to the ALFN WILL Group for women in legal leadership.
MANAGING PARTNER, RAS CRANE LLC
Years in Industry: 20
As Managing Partner at RAS Crane LLC, John Crane counsels national mortgage servicers on the myriad of federal and state laws impacting foreclosure, bankruptcy, loss mitigation, REO, eviction, and other areas of the default servicing industry. His areas of expertise include bankruptcy law, creditors’ rights, foreclosure law, property law, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Truth-in-Lending, RESPA, mortgage regulatory compliance, banking regulations, and FCRA. Crane has devoted much of his time to the consumer bankruptcy industry and has played an active role in the National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees Mortgage Committee, where he currently serves as the Committee’s Co-Chairman. Before joining the firm, Crane was the Deputy General Counsel of Citi’s North American Operations where he provided legal support to the default servicing areas within Citi’s consumer businesses. Crane’s leadership style focuses on a client-first culture by supporting his legal team and their needs at every level. His time leading a legal team within a prominent servicing shop provided insights into the needs of clients, so each project begins and ends with, “How does this solve our client’s problem?” In the words of John C. Maxwell in his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Crane has mastered “the Law of Process.” Crane also goes the extra mile to recognize effort, excellence, and achievement in the firm’s team, from paralegals to partners. Recognition is provided each month in the Leadership meetings organized and supported by a nomination committee for employee recognition. Crane passionately believes that diverse and inclusive firms make for more innovative, engaged, and happy teams (and clients).
SVP, HOMEOWNERSHIP SOLUTIONS & AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROGRAMS, BANK OF AMERICA
Years in Industry: 27
Kathy Cummings joined Bank of America in 2003 as the Technology Service Delivery Manager and also served as the National Pricing Manager. She managed non-profit strategic relationships and the bank’s Connect to Own homebuyer counseling program since 2008. Before joining Bank of America, Cummings held roles at other large financial institutions. Beyond her role at Bank of America, she volunteers in underserved communities and is a member of the Community Link Board of Directors, NCHEC Advisory Council, and the National Industry Standards Advisory Council. Cummings currently serves as Chair of the American Mortgage Diversity Council (AMDC), which works to help the industry embrace diversity and inclusion as essential to innovation and optimal business results. As Chair of the AMDC, Cummings oversees the organization’s work of shaping the diversity agenda while supporting a broad range of member initiatives that include supply chain diversity, as well as challenges faced by minorities, LGBT, and women-owned businesses. In 2018, this included a series of LGBT Roundtable events held in several cities around the country, which brought together participating servicers and local LGBT community groups for discussion regarding issues affecting the LGBT community, both from homeownership perspective and workplace inclusion perspectives. Colleagues have described Cummings as possessing an infectious combination of passion and commitment to homeownership education, along with a skill for evaluating the needs of a project and figuring out the best way to apply the talents of her team to the challenges at hand.
CEO, CALIBER HOME LOANS
Years in Industry: 30
Sanjiv Das has a successful track record of leading large, financial services organizations both within the United States and internationally. As the CEO of Caliber Home Loans, a Lone Star company, he has been instrumental in building one of the largest and fastest growing non-banks in the industry. Prior to joining Caliber, he served as EVP, Global Financial Solutions at First Data Corporation, where he led the international business and played a significant role in taking the company public. He has also held executive management positions at several other companies and was the CEO of CitiMortgage, Inc. Das is a leader who has been able to reach countless audiences both within and outside of Caliber. He is committed to training the next generation of business leaders and has been a guest speaker at Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. He is a regular commentator on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Fox Business and is frequently quoted by the Wall Street Journal and industry publications. He is broadly regarded as one of the principal architects in the turnaround of Citi during the peak years of the financial crisis from 2008 to 2013. During this time, he was instrumental in designing and successfully delivering numerous consumer programs which helped families avoid foreclosure, stay in their homes and regain their financial footing. Many of these programs ultimately were incorporated into government guidelines and today continue to support consumer’s financial interests.