Industry Experts Unite

*Industry Experts Unite*
**By Tony Garritano**

TonyG***Four industry leaders have announced the formation of The Mortgage Collaborative, a cooperative designed to empower its member mortgage companies to compete more effectively in today’s shifting lending environment. Former Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) chairmen John Robbins, CMB and David Kittle, CMB, as well as Gary Acosta, CEO of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) and Jim Park, former chair of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AAREA) are the founders of The Mortgage Collaborative, based in San Diego, California. Here’s what they hope to achieve:

****The purpose of the new cooperative is to assist all mortgage lenders in improving their businesses, using their collective buying power to lower costs for third party services, obtain better financial execution on loan originations and maximize strategies to serve the growing diversity in homeownership, particularly in purchase transactions. For a selected group of service providers and mortgage investors, The Mortgage Collaborative will help to develop innovative partnerships with high-growth mortgage originators to access new market opportunities.

****Robbins and Kittle, who led the Mortgage Bankers Association in 2007 and 2009 respectively, bring decades of experience in all aspects of mortgage operations to the Mortgage Collaborative, including origination, capital markets execution, servicing, compliance and quality control management. Park and Acosta are housing industry veterans with extensive backgrounds in origination, real estate asset management, working with the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), and running organizations that promote lending diversity and professional development.

****“The Mortgage Collaborative brings many benefits to lenders and their borrowers,” says Robbins. “It enables all mortgage originators to obtain buying power similar to the largest lenders, helping level the playing field and reducing costs for consumers. We are bringing a fresh new approach to helping these lenders address the opportunities of a market that is evolving rapidly while mitigating the new business and compliance challenges that our industry is facing,” he explains.

****“The Mortgage Collaborative will be an independent, un-biased business advocate for its members. The business interests of our members will be at the center of what we do,” Robbins says.

****Jim Park notes that several factors led him, Acosta, Robbins and Kittle to establish The Mortgage Collaborative. The industry is in transition from refinances to purchases, and is faced with significant operational, capital and compliance challenges. “The Mortgage Collaborative will focus on each of those issues to help our members compete more effectively and position them to succeed in the evolving mortgage market” he says. “2014 will mark a turning point in the originations business, and our goal is to ensure that the combination of our management team’s collective knowledge of the business, as well as access to innovative products and services, will help our members turn these uncertainties into opportunities for growth.”

****The Mortgage Collaborative will announce its founding member roster later in the year and will be open to additional new members in January of 2014. “There are several thousand mortgage banks, credit unions and depository institutions as well as countless numbers of mortgage originators who can benefit from The Mortgage Collaborative,” says Robbins, adding that the qualifications for membership are simple. “We are looking for the ones who are in the business for the long run, committed to expanding its reach into all segments of the market, focused on quality standards and practices, and who desire advantageous relationships with the best services providers,” he says. “Collectively, our production volume, business capabilities and access to capital will rival the largest banks, but with members offering locally dedicated, very high-touch service for borrowers.