Commercial and multifamily mortgage lenders are vulnerable to the strict regulatory climate faced by their colleagues in home finance, Mortgage Bankers Association President David Stevens says.

Stevens urged commercial and multifamily real estate professionals to take an active role in shaping public policy in prepared remarks delivered at the MBA's annual commercial real estate finance conference in Orlando.

"I'm hearing what some of your colleagues are saying," Stevens said on Tuesday. "'The single-family guys are the ones having to deal with Dodd-Frank and the effects of the housing crisis." Your business is doing just fine and you don't want to get involved in Washington if you don't have to."

But "in the wake of the financial collapse, no one is immune to regulatory or legislative oversight," Stevens said. "Policymakers and thought leaders all over Washington, D.C., are looking for opportunities to shape the way you do business. They have been making hundreds of policy decisions to clamp down on risk, decisions that may make sense in isolation but at times may have reached into your business practices unnecessarily."

While commercial and multifamily markets are growing, Stevens warned his audience that their position is precarious.

"It won't always be this way and you're going to need us," he said. "We need you with us to provide a unified voice for sensible policies and a strong real estate finance market."

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