'Red Carpet Event' welcomes MMLA president

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Incoming officers installed at the recent MMLA President’s Installation Banquet included (left to right) President Randy Fosgard of University Lending Group; Secretary/Treasurer Allison Meyers of John Adams Mortgage; Immediate Past President David Jackson with Evolve Bank & Trust; and Vice President Brent Green with First Place Bank.


By John Minnis

Legal News

Despite the continuing mortgage upheaval nationwide and in Michigan, keynote speaker David Trott and outgoing and income presidents had some positive things to say at the 82nd annual MMLA President’s Installation Banquet on Nov. 10, at the Motor City Casino Hotel.

Dubbed a “Red Carpet Event,” outgoing Michigan Mortgage Lenders Association President David Jackson welcomed incoming President Randy Fosgard, COE of University Lending Group.

“Last year, I asked, ‘Are we there yet?’” said Jackson, COE of Evolve Bank & Trust. “I’m pleased to announce we’ve made some substantial progress. It is probably not as cloudy as the industry as a whole.”

He noted that attendance at the annual meeting was up as was attendance at that night’s President’s Installation. MMLA membership was also up by 94 members (6 percent), the first increase in five years.

“This event is certainly up from last year,” he said. “We’re certainly happy about that.”

Jackson noted that the growth was not due just to his efforts.

“This stems from boards and previous presidents,” he said, “setting the ground to make this possible.”

He also noted the MMLA’s new website was due “any day,” which drew knowledgeable chuckles from members.

The outgoing president made a point to thank the current board and committee members. “It’s a volunteer organization,” he noted.
Jackson thanked Executive Director Joanne Misuraca, the “backbone of this organization.”

“Not every organization has that (a full-time administrator),” he said.

The outgoing president’s final duty at the President’s Installation Banquet was a pleasant one — announcing the recipients of the annual MMLA awards.

Recipient of the Vic Miller Award for outstanding service was incoming Secretary/Treasurer Allison Meyers, of John Adams Mortgage. Tim Ross, president of Ross Mortgage Corp., received the Ambassador Award; and Cindy Lowman, of United Bank of Michigan, received the MMLA’s top recognition, the James T. Barnes Award for high ethical standards.

Keynote speaker David Trott, president and managing attorney of Trott & Trott in Bingham Farms, was introduced by MMLA Education Consultant Alice Alvey, of Mortgage U Inc.

She pointed out that not only was Trott a past recipient of the James T. Barnes Award, he also served the MMLA in various capacities, including president in 1997.
“Things must really be bad for our economy when you have for your keynote speaker a foreclosure attorney,” Trott quipped. “As a foreclosure attorney, I’m just not feeling the love these days.”

Trott said he had some “boring statistics” to relay, but first he wanted to tell how his family got into the mortgage industry.

He explained that his father was an unemployed attorney back in 1960 when he finally got a job with Advance Mortgage as collections manager.
Trott has fond memories of going to Advance Mortgage’s offices in the First National Building downtown.

In the early 1970s, Citi bought Advance Mortgage, and it was not as fun any more, so Trott’s father, Robert A. Trott, started his own firm. However, by Labor Day weekend, thing weren’t doing as expected, and Robert and Rose Trott decided to give the firm one more month.

“I was 16,” Trott recalled, “and I knew all this negative talk would not get me my wheels!”

Fortunately, files started coming in. Business improved, enough for Trott to spend a year at Oxford University before graduating from the University of Michigan in 1981 and Duke University School of Law in 1985.

He started with his father’s firm 25 years ago, he said.

He recalled that in the early days he heard his mother telling a client to “leave that man because he is the reason she is in position she’s in.” He also recalls his father saying, “We can’t give marital or legal advice; tell her to call a lawyer.”

“I’m proud to tell you,” Trott said, “Trott & Trott was way ahead of the curve in practicing foreclosure avoidance.”

Despite his father’s advice to stay in the office, proofreading foreclosure notices, sheriff’s sales and the like, the younger Trott decided to do some networking.
In 1993, he served as chairman of the Convention Committee of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Michigan, forerunner of the MMLA, and was chosen Outstanding Mortgage Banker of the Year.

Trott said there are two legacies of his presidency of the MMLA that he is still proud of today.

First, is the hiring of a full-time executive director, Joanna Misuraca, whom the MMLA lured from Dykema.

“I’m happy to tell you,” Trott said, “13 years later, Joanna is still part of this great organization.”

His second achievement was hiring a legislative director, Murray Brown, of Karoub Associates, who still looks out for the MMLA in Lansing.
After rattling off statistics, some good, most bad, Trott waxed philosophical.

“It’s been an interesting journey the last 25 years,” he said, “and I’ll forever feel a debt of gratitude to this organization because it has opened so many doors and provided some many memories.”

Trott then swore in the new officers: Fosgard, president; Breen Green, of First Place Bank, vice president; Meyers, secretary/treasurer; Jackson, immediate past president; Andrew Baker, Mercantile Bank, Ken Panosian, Ross Mortgage, and Kim Renock, AmeriCU Mortgage Co., general members; Mary Townley, MSHDA, Mid-Chapter president; Suzanne Carr, Capitol National Bank, Mid-Chapter vice president; Nicole Nahodil, Data Verify, SE Chapter president; Kurt Raymond, SE Chapter vice president; Lowman, West Chapter president; and Joel Van Elderen, Chemical Bank, West Chapter vice president.

“This is quite an honor,” said Fosgard, incoming president. “This is a very talented group, and I’m very honored.”

“Dave,” he said to outgoing president Jackson, “I hope I live up to and fill your shoes. Thanks, Dave.”

In preparation for his installation speech, Fosgard said he reviewed a DVD prepared for the MMLA’s 75th anniversary inn 2004. He recited many of the mortgage bankers that stared with the Mortgage Bankers Association of Detroit and how the organization changed its names over the years as it grew.

He mentioned several multi-generation mortgage bankers, such as the Rosses, who are still involved in the MMLA today.

“This business really gets in your blood,” Fosgard said.

“Back in the day,” he said, “the definition of mortgage lenders was you served your own loans. We serve a lot more today, and we will continue to change with the times.”

Fosgard said past presidents talked about a lot about the camaraderie in the MMLA, “and that continues today, and I’m really proud of it.”

He said he has three goals for his presidency:

1) Ethics. “We have been dragged through the mud, and the press and politicians target us. We have to police ourselves.”

2) Education. “We need to be the place that ever single mortgage person in the state goes to for information.”

3) Strategic Plan. “It really needs to be a living, breathing document so that future boards can go to it. We need to develop strategic partnerships, legislative and in
technology.”

The incoming president was sure to thank the many sponsors of the event, including Platinum Corporate Partners Fifth Third Bank, Mortgage U, IRR Residential and MSHDA (Michigan State Housing Development Authority).
 

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