Jonathan Kempner is stepping down as president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) at the end of the year, the trade group reports. Kempner took over as president of the MBA in March 2001 and is credited with turning around its operations.

Under his leadership, the association doubled its revenues and operating reserve fund. John A. Courson will be taking over the reins at the Washington-based group on January 1, 2009.

“Jonathan has been an exceptional leader for MBA,” says Kieran Quinn, chairman of the MBA’s board of directors. “He has led a major transformation in our operations, and put in place a first rate staff that is widely acknowledged to be one of the most effective in the Washington association world.”

“This has been an extremely intellectually stimulating and rewarding period in my professional life,” says Kempner. “Navigating the highs and lows of the real estate cycles, with a first-rate leadership and wonderful membership, afforded me a rare opportunity to contribute to one of the most important industries in our society.”

While Kempner has not made clear what his future plans are, he says, “MBA’s mission, I am convinced, will be enhanced with new leadership, and on a personal level, I very much look forward to a new position of leadership myself after nearly eight wonderful years at MBA.”

Kempner sees Courson as an excellent choice to take over the helm of the trade group. “Few members of the mortgage industry are more respected than John, as he brings to MBA a wealth of experience, both in terms of business knowledge, and political and advocacy skills.” Courson will be chief operating officer for the association during a transition period that begins August 1.

The future MBA president served as chairman of the MBA in 2003 and has been a member of its’ Board of Directors, both on the residential and commercial side. He has served as president of the California Mortgage Bankers Association and Michigan Mortgage Bankers Association, and as a director of the Texas Mortgage Bankers Association.