A short-lived dispute over the Mortgage Bankers Associations surprise offer of discounted memberships to members of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers was patched up Monday.
An MBA spokeswoman said Monday that her group has apologized for the way the offer was made, and that it has no intention whatsoever of trying to steal NAMB members in an offer made last Wednesday.
The MBA has assured the brokers group that what were trying to do is offer our services as a complement to yours, not as a substitute to yours, the spokeswoman said.
Last Wednesday the MBA announced that it had sent solicitations to all eligible members of the other group offering interim MBA membership for just $125 a year for two years. (Much-higher regular dues would apply after that). The memberships are available to NAMB professional and affiliate member companies in good standing that originate less than $25 million of mortgages a year.
The MBA had intended to inform the broker group in advance, the spokeswoman said, but somehow never did so. She blamed human error.
On Thursday the NAMB president, Neill Fendly, came out with guns blazing. This targeting of our membership will not and cannot be tolerated, he said in a press statement.
But in an interview Friday, after having talked with MBA officials, Mr. Fendly was conciliatory. He said he had understood earlier that the MBA was about to offer an educational program to his members, but had been startled to learn that it was offering membership.
I dont believe it was done maliciously, Mr. Fendly said. I just dont think it was thought out properly.
In particular, he said, the announcement was bad form. It was offered as a membership forum as opposed to an educational piece.
Last Wednesday, in discussing the announcement, the MBA spokeswoman said the offer would help her group diversify its membership and was part of an effort to become an industry association as opposed to a trade association.
But on Monday another MBA official, who asked not to be identified, backed away from that position. He said the real goal of the offer was to provide educational services and products to other people in the mortgage industry.
We have a strong education department, and a lot of organizations find our products useful, this official said.
Mr. Fendly said no animosity exists between the two associations, noting that they have worked very closely together over the years.
Weve got a great relationship with the MBA, Mr. Fendly said. But we did take issue with the announcement, much as they would take issue with us if we directly solicited their members.