COMBOG's New Leadership: Clifford Hardy, President and CEO of First Housing, Tampa, Florida, Is the New Leader for the Commercial and Multifamily Members of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). He Brings Extensive Multifamily Experience to the Job of Chair of the Commercial Real Estate/Multifamily Finance Board of Governors (COMBOG)

Article excerpt

THE BROAD INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE OF THE NEW commercial/multifamily leadership for the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) mirrors the theories of comparative advantage and division of labor found in classical economics. Adam Smith had his butcher, baker and candlestick maker to illustrate the cooperative joys of capitalism. Similarly, MBA's 2004 Commercial Real Estate/Multifamily Finance Board of Governors' (COMBOG's) leadership blends the insights of an affordable-housing multifamily maven, a regional mortgage banker and a national conduit lender.

Clifford B. Hardy, CMB, president and chief executive officer of First Housing, Tampa, Florida, serves as the new COMBOG chairman. While Daniel J. Phelan, CMB, president and chief executive officer of Pacific Southwest Realty Services, San Diego, and Kieran P. Quinn, chairman and chief executive officer of Column Financial Inc., Atlanta, share duties as vice-chairman.

COMBOG's leadership this year will concentrate on four industry and business objectives: grooming new leadership, implementing and adopting industry standards/best practices, improving borrower satisfaction and enhancing political influence.

These objectives build on the accomplishments of the outgoing chair, Ann Hambly, managing director of Prudential Asset Resources, Dallas, who oversaw the development of new commercial real estate finance programs (such as MBA industry roundtables and training forums) and the MBA-sponsored CEO Servicing Forums; the issuance of revised guidance by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in implementing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act; and the initiation of CMF NewsLink, MBA's commercial/multifamily newsletter, among other successful initiatives.

Hardy says the effectiveness of COMBOG for MBA members comes from the continuity of its initiatives and its ability to coordinate efforts with other commercial real estate organizations that share many of the same members as MBA.

"Years ago at MBA, when an incoming chairman began his annual term," Hardy says, "MBA staff had to come up with a brand-new theme that the chairman could make his own. There was no continuity from year to year with the themes. That has all changed. Now we build on the successful initiatives already in place, effectively expanding upon those that have served our members well."

For example, Hardy points to the perpetuating results generated by COMBOG's Education Task Force, which was formed in 2002. After getting input from commercial members on their business and training desires, the task force working with MBA's education staff issued targeted recommendations. In 2003, the recommendations were executed, resulting in a reinvigorated and updated commercial and multifamily curriculum. Based on these initiatives, CampusMBA created the Web-based course "Introduction to Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities."

"So many dynamic education courses are tailored by MBA to the operational needs of its members," Hardy says. "Companies are encouraging their folks to get involved in COMBOG issues, and I want to build on this. The new commercial CMB [Certified Mortgage Banker designation] will continue to be a priority in 2004. It is the professional designation for our industry, and plays into developing new leadership in the industry--one of COMBOG's top objectives."

In the past year, MBA for the first time has split out commercial CMB training from residential. "It's more focused on commercial industry information now," says Dan Thoms, MBA's vice president of education products and services. "This will result in more commercial CMB candidates every year."

Thoms estimates that at the MBA Commercial Real Estate Finance/Multifamily Housing Convention in February there will be as many as 30 candidates receiving their commercial CMB designation.

Michael Petrie, CMB, chairman-elect of MBA and president of P/R Mortgage & Investment Corporation, Indianapolis, says Hardy's many years of work on MBA committees, as well as his leadership on crucial industry issues, make him ideally suited for COMBOG chairman. …


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