Susan Zuber

Susan Zuber, president of the Massachusetts Mortgage Bankers Association for the past eight years, has resigned.

Zuber will remain in her current position until the end of March, when she is expected to become the chief executive officer of a Washington, D.C.-based national association in the financial services industry. No contract has yet been signed, however, according to Zuber.

Zuber’s presidency at the MMBA began in July 1994. She came to the Bay State from Washington, where she served as director of membership for the Mortgage Bankers Association of America.

Zuber announced her resignation to MMBA board members via e-mail on Wednesday. The motivation for the decision was both personal and professional, she said.

I lived there [Washington] for 15 years and moved here eight years ago to take this position. It’s going back to a community of friends, family and colleagues I have missed for a long time, she said, quickly adding she owes her professional advancement to the time spent and experience garnered as president of the MMBA.

Zuber will be missed, according to Ruth A. Dillingham, special counsel at Lenders Advantage in Boston and a member of the board of directors at the MMBA. I don’t feel anyone in the MMBA should feel that she’s walked away from us, she said. Instead, they should be happy for Zuber’s continued success, Dillingham said.

She’s been very, very good for the association, and it’s going to be a great opportunity for her too move onto a bigger association that’s looking for just the sorts of talents she has, said Dillingham.

Believe me, there’s a lot I’m going to miss [at MMBA]. I wasn’t actively searching [for a new job], said Zuber, who added that when the opportunity presented itself, she concluded it would be a good professional move.

‘Political Junkie’
While the association was well run when Zuber accepted the position, Dillingham said that Zuber brought many new ideas to the table due to her association background, particularly in the last year when we spent some time on an internal strategic plan and how we’ve really gotten a voice up on [Beacon] Hill and we’re pretty consistent in how we approach [issues], Dillingham said.

She certainly has been here for a long time and, actually, it’s very gracious of her to do this at this time of year, otherwise we’d be in Newport chaos, said Dillingham, referring to the association’s usual site in Rhode Island for its annual conference.

Growing the New England Mortgage Banking Conference into a national event is one of her proudest accomplishments, said Zuber. When I started in 1994, there were 600 people and 68 exhibitors. Now we’re averaging about 1,900 people and 140 exhibitors.

Additionally, Zuber has lobbied hard to raise the visibility of the MMBA before the state Division of Banks, Beacon Hill legislators and in Washington.

Zuber’s experience with Washington politics through her past association work helped her navigate a course through the Massachusetts political maze, she said.

I’m a political junkie. Obviously in Washington you’re in the heart of it and it’s national and world politics, but if I were going to go to a city with an equally interesting political landscape, this [Boston] was certainly the place to be. I loved the legislative side of the work that I did here, said Zuber.

During her tenure, Zuber worked to focus the spotlight of favorable media attention on the elected officers of the MMBA, but she never shied away from Beacon Hill battles.

Stephen E. Sousa, senior vice president of publications at Banker & Tradesman and past president of both the MMBA and the Massachusetts Mortgage Association, said some of Zuber’s biggest accomplishments occurred in the legislative arena, particularly in the passage of points legislation. Up until the mid-1990s, state law allowed the Division of Banks to determine what the maximum number of points charged on a mortgage transaction could be, said Sousa. It really was an artificial ceiling, so the MMBA drafted and filed legislation that, for all intents and purposes, repealed the law, he said.

MMBA’s presence through Susan [Zuber] in a number of task forces, and dialogue with legislators and the [bank] commissioner, has helped preserve a positive business environment for the industry, said Sousa.

More recently, Zuber found herself in the unpopular position of representing one of only two groups testifying against a bill sponsored by Rep. Jarrett T. Barrios, D-Cambridge, which would expand the Community Reinvestment Act standards to mortgage companies. She acknowledged her difficult position while speaking to the Joint Committee on Banks and Banking and focused her arguments on the unintended consequences the bill, as written, potentially would have.

I wish Susan all the best. I’ve known her for a long time, worked with her through association work and have a lot of respect for her, said Carol Bulman, president of Norwell-based Conway Financial Services and former chairman of the MMA.

She’s worked very hard; she’s very dedicated to the industry. She’s got great energy and commitment and has really supported the MMBA in increasing membership and many of the other goals they’ve put forth, said Bulman.

From a professional perspective, I think it’s going to be great because she has grown our association so well that she’s ready to move on to [a national association], said Dillingham.

Zuber also oversaw the development of The Mortgage Record in the fall of 1996. The association magazine, published by Banker & Tradesman’s parent company, The Warren Group, is received by MMBA members quarterly.

MMBA President Zuber Resigns

by Banker & Tradesman time to read: 4 min