Looking Out for You

January 1, 2011

Greetings, REALTORS®! As we step over the threshold into 2011, we do so with resolve. The challenges facing each of us personally, most of us as REALTORS® and all of us as citizens of the world, are real and major. Most economic corrections are two- or three-year events. This one has been much longer.

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® is a servant organization. We exist to serve you, and the Leadership Team takes this purpose seriously. Therefore, we’ve focused on the No. 1 priority in NAR’s strategic plan: the flow of mortgage capital. Every REALTOR® needs a reliable flow of capital. We all live on this river, and it is running very shallow.

That’s why we’ve gone directly to the source. Over the past six months, the Leadership Team has met with senior real estate executives at Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, and Fannie Mae. We’ve also met with Sheila Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and we have meetings scheduled with Freddie Mac and Citibank. These meetings are a direct effort to improve both the flow of mortgage money and efficiency in the lenders’ processes.

Before we started these meetings, we prepared by surveying members for "customer feedback." Your answers have given us an opportunity to share with these executives the very real challenges faced by REALTORS®, owners, buyers, and sellers. Each of our meetings identified problem areas and solutions. Bank of America’s problem resolution center at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo was a direct result of the meetings. It’s one step, and we look for many more. The real test of our effort will be measured by you in neighborhoods across this country. Please let us know if you’re seeing improvement with processing times, response times, and approvals. The Leadership Team of NAR is listening for your feedback.

At the same time, we need to address important underlying issues: How will we continue to ensure ready, affordable financing for buyers? What will be the main source of mortgage money in the future? We are working diligently on those questions. Online, you’ll find our recommendations on the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as the new 14-page credit policy passed by the Board of Directors in November.

Mortgage interest deductibility is also critical. We will be vigilant in its defense.

If you want to see the future of our industry, and the leadership’s effort to make certain that REALTORS® remain central to the transaction, check out the ultimate information tool, the REALTORS Property Resource™. Ultimately, 147 million U.S. property records will be at your fingertips. If you’re not already an RPR user, learn more at http://blog.narrpr.com. You asked, we listened, and we are delivering.

Ronald L. Phipps

Ronald L. Phipps was 2011 president of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.