The California Association of Mortgage Brokers, an industry group representing lenders, brokers and other real estate services companies, is looking to get members to sign off on an internal code of conduct designed to counter fallout from well-publicized troubles at some lenders. “We’re tired of brokers getting a bad name because of a few bad apples,” said Mike Rodriguez, who sits on the board of directors for the Sacramento-based association’s Orange County chapter. Rodriguez also is COO of Global Mortgage Funding Inc., a Costa Mesa mortgage brokerage, and the co-founder of American Security Financial Group, another brokerage in Laguna Niguel. The association’s objective is to “change the way brokers think and keep them up to speed,” Rodriguez said. It also wants to be recognized as the ethical standard-keeper in the mortgage brokerage industry, much like the state bar is for the legal profession. According to Rodriguez, CAMB has been trying to improve the mortgage brokerage industry since its inception in 1990. But with the turmoil in the subprime industry, especially the controversy over so-called predatory lending, the association has redoubled its efforts. Laws are in place to guard against predatory lending, but the government does not have the people or the resources to enforce the laws, Rodriguez said.
Association Steps Up Ethics Efforts
The association hopes to gather all mortgage brokers under its seal and regulate and govern brokers according to its internal code of conduct and ethics. “We will enforce the laws already in place,” Rodriguez said.
CAMB will try to correct any problems with brokers’ improper conduct, including predatory practices and overcharging, he said. If the problem persists, the organization will revoke that broker’s membership and report them to the Department of Real Estate, which regulates all real estate activity in California.
The association also plans to step up the number of events and seminars it sponsors. The organization wants to continuously update its members on changes in the industry.
“These guys will be dead in the water if they don’t keep up with technology and legislation,” Rodriguez said. The group lobbied against a recent state bill that would have squeezed the number of products mortgage brokers have available, said Rick Ainsworth, a past president and current board member of the OC chapter.
State Chapters Promote With Ads
The Orange County chapter, along with the other 13 chapters in California, also will start putting out television and radio ads. The Orange County chapter has 250 members, making it the second-largest chapter in the state. CAMB’s state membership totals about 2,000, but Ainsworth said that should increase to 2,500 by the end of the year. He estimates that there are 12,000 mortgage brokers in California. Orloff is a writer for the Orange County Business Journal.