MMLA holds 83rd annual banquet in Greek Town

By Jo Mathis
Legal News

The mortgage industry may be more complex than ever, but it’s a great time to be working in the profession, the new president of the Michigan Mortgage Lenders Association said at the recent 83rd Annual President’s Installation Banquet.

“We get to do this!” Brent Green of First Place Bank told the crowd who’d gathered from across the state at the Atheneum Suite Hotel in Greektown.

Quoting cookie mogul Wally Amos, Green said there are no tough times; only opportunities to grow.

“This is a great business to be in,” Green said.

The MMLA is a 527-member organization with a long tradition of honoring its volunteer board members at its annual President’s Banquet. The event is a chance for members to honor past, present and future board members and recognized award recipients.

“This is an historic night,” said MMLA Executive Director Joanne Misuraca. “It’s a great opportunity for the industry members to put the hectic business away for one night and come together to celebrate this great association.”

The MMLA keeps members informed on all the legislative and regulatory changes that affect their business.

“We lobby in Lansing to make sure bill introductions are in the best interest of consumers and the industry,” Misuraca said. “We also provide educational and networking opportunities to industry members.”

Green says the organization’s legislative efforts have become an important part of the mortgage industry because they make sure the laws that pass make sense for the consumer, and allow mortgage lenders to operate.

Green said there’s no bad time to be in the mortgage business.

“The business is more complex; it’s more complicated than it used to be,” he said.  “The loans are harder to get done; the requirements are tougher … But this is a good time to be in the industry if you know what you’re doing.”

The evening included a formal installation of the MMLA 2012 Board; speeches by Green and outgoing president Randy Fosgard;  and the presentation of annual awards.

Amy Hayes of Parks Title Co. won the Vic Miller Award, which recognizes outstanding individual service to the association. Don Calcaterra Jr. of Towne Mortgage Co. won the James T Barnes Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to mortgage banking.

The Ambassador Award for the person whose new membership initiatives and achievements embody the spirit of a true ambassador went to Dave Sullivan of Credit Technologies.

A one-time special honor — the Legend Award — went to Hugh Ross, who founded Ross Mortgage Corp. of Royal Oak in 1983, with his son, Tim.

Ross was lauded by others in the industry as a helpful mentor and natural born salesman.

Tim Ross recalled the time Dan Gilbert invited him and his father to The Golden Mushroom to explore the consolidation of Ross and Rock (Financial.)
Ross joked that being the savvy businessmen they were, they dismissed the idea right away.

Gilbert’s Quicken Loans — an MMLA member — is now the nation’s largest on-line mortgage company.

The night featured a cocktail reception, dinner, and program, as well as entertainment by the Conga Blonde band of Detroit.