More from CREF 2016: The Importance of Staying Engaged

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In my last blog post, I reflected on the strength of commercial real estate in the U.S. in recent years and the challenges that come with that success. Overcoming challenges is nothing new for our industry, but for us to continue to thrive in this changing global economy, it is more important than ever for our industry to speak with one voice.

Recently the strong, growing commercial real estate market has attracted the attention of regulators, including the Federal Reserve. The Fed’s leadership invited MBA to provide them a briefing on market conditions. MBA didn’t hesitate, and brought along several member executives to meet with Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen and the Board of Governors to brief them on the state of mortgage finance, with a focus on commercial/multifamily real estate lending. The commercial/multifamily executives in attendance were able to engage in discussion at the highest levels of monetary policy making. This gave Fed decision-makers an on-the-ground view of the real economy, improved their understanding of commercial real estate lending, and further solidified MBA as a go-to resource for all things real estate finance.

The continued engagement of MBA’s membership is key to long-term success. In light of the regulatory and legislative challenges of the past year and considering the attention the commercial/multifamily business market is receiving from regulators, our industry’s engagement in Washington is needed now more than ever. We need all MBA members to join and participate in the Mortgage Action Alliance-MAA, MBA’s grassroots affiliate.

Grassroots is a numbers game. MAA’s motto is “the larger the group, the louder the voice”, and our commercial/multifamily membership needs to be louder if they want to have a voice on the policy and regulatory issues that will shape the industry landscape in the coming years.

One of the most important things MBA members can do to support the industry is to attend the National Advocacy Conference. Last year fewer than 35 CMF members joined us in Washington, DC to discuss real estate finance with regulators and elected officials. MBA’s commercial and multifamily members simply can’t afford to be absent from the conversation and let Washington make decisions for our industry.

Due to MBA’s strong relationship with regulators, we continue to represent our multifamily members on GSE issues, FHA programs, and protecting multifamily liquidity from all capital sources. We recognize the importance of competition in the market, while making sure that our members who work with the agencies have clear rules in supporting workforce and affordable rental housing.

MBA has grown significantly over the past four years. We have never been bigger, stronger, or louder, especially among our commercial and multifamily members. In order to build on our success and continue to advocate for a strong commercial/multifamily marketplace, we need to keep working together to speak with one voice for our industry.