A new trade group is emerging to advocate the interests of community mortgage bankers. The Community Mortgage Lenders of America is a lobbying, advocacy and regulatory counseling organization for independent, community, mortgage bankers, both banks and non-banks, founder Scott Stern told HousingWire. Stern is the CEO of the Lenders One mortgage cooperative, a national alliance of independent mortgage lenders, which among other things, enters into strategic partnerships with third-party service providers through its preferred vendor list. The two entities are separate, Stern said, but Lenders One is a charter member of the new group, and many Lenders One banking members are joining. “There are very good advocacy groups in the mortgage industry already that focus on broad issues, but sometimes, the needs of the community mortgage banker are not the same as the needs of other constituents in the industry,” Stern said. “We do not want to have the conflicts associated with representing multiple constituencies, so our group advocates for the independent community mortgage banker.” Stern’s group is the latest advocacy group recently formed to represent small lenders. In September, Former executives from PMI Group, Fannie Mae (FNM) and Countrywide started the Community Mortgage Banking Project (CMBP), with similar goals as Stern’s organization. Both Stern and CMBP co-founder Glen Corso told HousingWire the two groups won’t compete with each other. “Both Glen’s group and the Community Mortgage Lenders of America group got the same idea at the same time, which more than anything demonstrates the dramatic need for such a group,” Stern said. “Having two groups does a few things. It illustrates the importance of our mission. It will also raise community mortgage banking issues to the forefront.” Corso said there is strength in numbers, especially in the Washington DC policy arena, so the cause benefits from more voices advocating for community lenders. He added he is not worried about the two groups finding membership. “One thing that has consistently surprised me is how many independent mortgage banking companies are not affiliated with any sort of trade group or industry organization,” Corso said. “So there is a need for representation that is not being met by existing industry groups. That's why we started the CMBP and I suspect that same reason is behind this new group.” Write to Austin Kilgore.