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Smaller mortgage lender lobby groups to merge

Lobby groups representing independent mortgage lenders hope to compete with the voices of larger mortgage banks, depositories

The Community Home Lenders Association and the Community Mortgage Lenders of America, two Washington, D.C. lobby groups representing smaller mortgage lenders, will join forces.

The new group, the Community Home Lenders of America, will conserve CHLA’s acronym. The group will operate out of one office and merge assets.

Several former congressional aides and a former top Department of Housing and Urban Development staffer will represent the new CHLA in the nation’s capital.

Scott Olson, executive director of the old CHLA, is a former Democratic aide on the House Financial Services Committee, and will be the new lobby group’s executive director. Rob Zimmer, the former CHLA’s director of external relations, is also a past staffer at the House Financial Services Committee. David Horne, the previous CHLA’s government relations representative, was chief of staff under HUD Sec. Steve Preston.

The groups have been aligned on calling on the Federal Housing Administration to lower its mortgage insurance premiums. The groups have also criticized the suspension of the GSE cash window in 2021, and taken issue with the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s proposed requirements for sellers and servicers.

“The bottom line is, before the merger, we had each done separate advocacy on these same issues,” said Olson. “By and large our organizations have taken the same or similar positions on mostly everything.”

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Michael Jones, CFO of Thrive Mortgage and former CMLA chair, said that the merger will give the community lenders that make up the CMLA the “clout to compete with the large mega-lenders that can afford to hire their own lobbyists in Washington, D.C.”

Representation of smaller mortgage lenders is particularly important as depositories ramp down their mortgage lending, Olson said.

“As banks continue to run for cover, independent mortgage banks are holding up mortgage lending,” Olson said.

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