Susan E. Johnson has learned that success means not worrying about stepping on the competition's toes. "You can't worry about that, otherwise it would prevent you from doing what you have to do," she says.

Certainly there are many toes for her to step on. As executive director of the Real Estate Service Providers Council, she is at the center of one of the most contentious issues in the mortgage business: the struggle over rules that restrict payment of referral fees for home purchase, finance, and settlement transactions.

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