For the third year in a row, we’re honored to profile an incredible group of women who are driving the U.S. housing economy forward. 

Little could we have imagined a few short years ago – when we were the first trade publication in the mortgage industry to come up with this unique program – that our annual effort would become one of the most anticipated lists we produce each year. And we’re equally honored that our initial effort has spurred other trade media competitors to introduce their own programs to recognize the efforts of so many women in mortgage banking. 

The hallmark of our annual program has always come down to one critical and often-misunderstood word: influence. 

So what is influence? As you’ll see from the profiles within, influence comes in many varied forms – but it always drives a positive result for a company and, by extension, for the industry we are all a part of.

For 2013, as the popularity of our Women in Housing program has grown, we’ve put into place some updated guidelines and approaches. For starters, our application process became far more specific this year: We centered on direct leadership of a specific company initiative in the past 12 months, and how the women recognized this year help drive success. 

Second, given the breadth of women influencing this industry, we’ve decided to recognize a different group of women each year; women recognized this year were not part of our 2012 class of Influential Women of the Housing Economy. (With one exception, as you’ll see, where our editors felt breaking the rules was appropriate.)

Lastly, we made the decision to limit our list to just 20 influential women. This wasn’t an easy task, given the hundreds of applications we received this year (and many of them deserving) – but we forced ourselves to focus on a unique group of women we felt were most deserving of recognition for their efforts.

As you read through the profiles of this year’s group of women leaders, one thing should stand out: Influence is ultimately reflected in action and measurable results. The 20 leaders we’ve profiled herein may or may not be household names in the industry, but all of them are committed to the sort of influence that gets things done.

That’s real, honest leadership.

“Moving markets forward” is our mission at HousingWire, and we’re proud to say this year’s group of Influential Women embodies that ethic at a level all industry professionals – men and women alike – should aspire to achieve.

Click below to read about each of this year's 2013 Influential Women in Housing Finance:

Amy Brandt, Prospect Mortgage | Angela Cheek, Ellie Mae | Cari McCue, Guardian Mortgage | Deborah Jenkins, Freddie Mac | Dianna Serio, CoreLogic | Elsa Lewis, Williams & Williams Worldwide Real Estate Auction | Laurie Pyle, Stewart Lender Services | Lisa Binkley, Platinum Data Solutions | Maxine Waters, D-Calif. | Pamela Hughes-Patenaude, Bipartisan Policy Center | Renee Deane, Carrington Property Services | Shana Lakso, Equator | Tanya Reu, Realogy Franchise Group | Toni Moss, Americatalyst | Vicki Beal, Clayton Holdings | Debra Still, Pulte Financial Services | Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. | Janet Yellen, U.S. Federal Reserve | Joy Cianci, Fannie Mae | Laurie Maggiano, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau