With the National Mortgage Servicing Conference and Expo 2018 unfolding this week in Grapevine, Texas, MReport has been on the scene, speaking with some of the industry’s biggest names and power players.
During the event, MReport spoke on the phone with David Stevens, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association. With over 30 years in mortgage finance, Stevens has held senior positions at Wells Fargo and Freddie Mac, as well as serving as Federal Housing Administration commissioner during the Obama Administration. Having served as CEO of the MBA since 2011, last October Stevens announced his plans to step down as head of the trade organization, following a battle against stage 4 cancer. Stevens plans to hand over the reins of the MBA on September 30, 2018.
Looking back over his three decades in the industry, Stevens points to his time as FHA commissioner as one of the highlights of his career. “That was a unique experience, and one where the FHA commissioner played a much larger role than typically happens, where I got to meet with the President with relative frequency and help form policy.”
For his final year at the head of the MBA, Stevens says his focus will be on keeping “the membership confident and engaged” and on working with members of Congress such as Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) on GSE reform. “We're all leaving at the end of the year, and all three of us have spoken with each other about trying to see if we can get this over the goal line,” Stevens said.
When asked what qualities will be key for whoever succeeds him as head of the MBA, Stevens first cites diverse experience within the industry. “I've been able to experience the industry and operate large organizations inside of it for a long time, and that gave me an understanding of what the issues are, and the ability to quickly comprehend the impacts of any proposed changes,” Stevens said. “Industry knowledge is key.”
He also says that an understanding of how the political system works is crucial. “I worked on developing policies and pursuing them, not just in the public arena, but with members of Congress on both sides, and had them push budget initiatives and more,” Stevens recalled. “So I got to not only know the members of Congress, but I got to understand how the process works, and that's been an invaluable resource to be in my role here.”
Stay tuned this week, as MReport will continue bringing you more conversations with mortgage and servicing leaders.