The mortgage industry has had to deal with so much new legislation on the federal level lately. We’d prefer to just be able to do our jobs without dealing with the consequences of new laws.
Fortunately, on the state level, we are able to meet personally with legislators and educate them on possible consequences of any legislation that may be in the works.
This week marks the annual tradition of MBAG Lobby Day, when 75-125 members of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia (MBAG) come from across the state to meet under the gold dome at the Georgia State Capitol.
MBAG is the trade association composed of mortgage lenders, brokers and affiliated industry associates, and most years the main thing we do is exchange information with several legislators and have briefing sessions from the departments of banking and finance. Speakers include Rod Carnes, who is the Deputy Commissioner for Non-Depository Financial Institutions and Rob Braswell, who is Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance.
MBAG works with Mo Thrash, who is in Governmental Affairs at the law firm of McCalla Raymer, who also sets up meetings for us with various legislators. These professionals update us on developments in their departments. Last year Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and the chairmen of the banking committees for the House and the Senate also briefed us.
MBAG is not what you’d call a true activist group. There have been few occasions where we had to write and introduce law. We are more reactive in terms of legislation. If something is being done that we feel is harmful to consumers or the industry we will lobby against that. If we have legislation being introduced that would have a negative impact on the industry, we will set up meetings with specific legislators to try to sway their opinion.
For example, in 2010 there was a bill introduced on predatory lending that had serious negative unintended consequences and would have limited consumer rights and have been harmful to the mortgage industry. MBAG was very active during that session, educating legislators on those negative consequences and doing everything to make sure that bill didn’t pass. As a member of the Executive Committee of MBAG, I was at the Capitol 10-12 times testifying in committee meetings. Luckily, we were able to stop it and that bill did not pass.
In addition to the exchange of information between members of MBAG and legislators and department heads, Lobby Day is good way to maintain our good rapport with members of the Department of Banking and Finance. They will ask our opinion before introducing bills and we can be involved while legislation is being formed.
As for 2012 we have a few foreclosure bills being introduced but on the whole this year should be a quieter one for Lobby Day.
J.D. Crowe is on the Board of Governors of MBAG and serves as Executive Broker Liaison. He is Senior Vice President of Southeast Mortgage of Georgia.