A national mortgage banker’s association has formed a think tank of real estate finance leaders to guide industry and company planning for the next decade, the association said today.

Mortgage Bankers Association Chairman Regina Lowrie, who is also president of Gateway Funding Diversified Mortgage, announced the Council to Shape Change today.

“This Council will assemble leading strategic thinkers in our industry and draw upon broad input from industry practitioners and outside experts to discuss and map out the future of issues fundamental to the industry’s future success,” Lowrie said.

The Council will come together for a series of up to six monthly meetings, which will be moderated by an independent outside facilitator to assure “non-partisan” discussions, Lowrie said.

The meetings will focus on seven major issues. These are: changing borrower profiles; customer relationship and workforce diversity; credit decisions, who makes them and how; operational demands and capabilities; capital markets and investor demand; potential changes to industry organization and structure; andtechnology’s impact on these and other topics.

The Council will consist of 15 to 20 industry leaders representing all aspects of the mortgage industry and based on position in the mortgage “food chain,” organization size, channel focus/presence, industry segment and organizational structure, the association said. Participants will be announced in November.

This group will identify trends and conditions that will impact the future structure, scope, products and profitability of the real estate finance industry, and compile its recommendations in a report to the MBA Board of Directors in August 2006.

“We are very excited about this endeavor, and look forward to developing a vision of the industry that will provide grounding for future decisions regarding business, policy and advocacy,” said Lowrie.

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