At the heart of the increasingly complex and competitive world of commercial real estate finance, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America (MBA) speaks with one voice. Through the initiatives of a growing and increasingly sophisticated membership, MBA monitors, researches and shapes developments on Wall Street and Capitol Hill, before federal and state regulators and in the boardrooms of lenders and investors. While providing educational opportunities, MBA is also a national focal point for the exchange of ideas in the industry.
In the past year, MBA members testified before the U.S. Congress, resulting in a new federal law that removes certain delays associated with single-asset bankruptcy. Members, through a comprehensive Capitol Hill effort, have worked to save FHA's multifamily mortgage program. MBA members met with insurance commissioners in several states regarding the mortgage and real estate provisions of a proposed model investment law. MBA members secured an exception for commercial firms from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) on recognition of originated mortgage servicing rights on financial statements and successfully advocated that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) broaden prospective purchaser protections, thus speeding development of certain Superfund sites.
MBA members have met with rating agencies and investment bankers to exchange ideas on the role of servicers in securitized transactions. The MBA-sponsored Making the Market Working Group has developed data element guidelines for loans intended for securitization or sale in the secondary market. These elements would serve to enhance market liquidity by providing more perfect information at the security, class, pool, loan, property and tenant levels. In addition, MBA in conjunction with its Capital Consortium counterparts, submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) in March of this year. This application requests a class exemption for investment-grade commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) from certain conflict of interest and prohibited transactions provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), to facilitate pension fund investment in CMBS.
As much through formal instruction as through informal gatherings at conferences, committee meetings, and legislative and agency visits, MBA fosters interaction that has meaningful results. Correspondent mortgage bankers and their lenders, software firms and their users, CMBS servicers and rating agencies, legal and accounting firms and their clients, and many related professionals all come together at MBA-sponsored events. The purposes served are as varied as the participants. Yet it is this great diversity of interests, when unified, that commands attention and respect when MBA speaks.