David Stevens is leaving his post as president of the Mortgage Bankers Association on June 30 to serve as president of SunTrust Mortgage (STI).

He'll begin work July 16, assuming responsibility for the day-to-day operations, including sales, production, fulfillment and mortgage capital markets. Stevens will report to SunTrust Mortgage Chief Executive Jerome Lienhard.

In an interview with HousingWire, Stevens would not elaborate on his new role at SunTrust other than saying the two have been talking on and off for a few months.

“The only reason I ended up inside Washington was that I was the guy with extensive experience in mortgage banking in executive roles,” Stevens said.

“I spent three decades in the business, and it was actually just a couple years inside the Beltway that I was planning to support the administration,” Stevens said. “I’ve really enjoyed working at the MBA, but ultimately my expertise, background and desires were at some point to go back to the private sector.”

Stevens will be based in Washington, D.C., and will spend a couple days a week at SunTrust’s mortgage operation in Richmond, Va. "The opportunity to be president of a sizable mortgage banking firm with considerable upside potential is right in my skill set,” Stevens said in describing reasons for the transition.

“They presented a wonderful opportunity for me,” Stevens said. “While the timing isn’t perfect, I couldn’t turn it down.”

During his time as MBA president, Stevens never hesitated to vocalize his feelings about issues such the qualified mortgage proposal under the Dodd-Frank Act and the use of guaranteed fees to develop tax policies. He said he will remain active on a variety of issues, considering SunTrust is a member of the MBA.

Stevens was hired at the MBA's president in May 2011 after leaving his position as assistant secretary for housing and commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration. Prior to the FHA, Stevens held senior executive positions in the real estate and mortgage finance sectors.

“Dave has been an exceptional leader for MBA,” said MBA Chairman Michael Young. “Although we are sorry to see him leave so soon, he leaves us well-positioned for the future. Dave delivered on his pledge to enhance MBA’s position as the industry’s leading voice in advocacy, policy, education and research and has developed a dynamic infrastructure for addressing member needs."

MBA Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President Marcia Davies has been designated as the interim head of the association. A search for a permanent replacement is under way.

“MBA is nearly 100 years old and has gone through many changes. I am confident that our board of directors will ensure a smooth transition and select the best possible successor,” said Debra Still, MBA chairman-elect.

SunTrust earned $250 million in the first quarter, a 47% jump from $180 million a year earlier as mortgages contributed greatly to revenue growth.