January/February 2021 Edition

President's Report

From the President's Desk
By:  Deborah Herdman
2021 MMLA President
The Huntington National Bank

Now is the Time for Transformation!

The year 2020 brought several challenges and triumphs, to our industry. None of us have been unaffected personally and professionally. Even this very excerpt of a newsletter would have traditionally been a copy of the acceptance speech for the incoming president of MMLA at the Annual dinner and Installation Ceremony where we would have come together to celebrate the year, and celebrate the year to come, which we now virtually celebrate. 

However, we have a magnificent opportunity within our industry and as an organization to learn from all that 2020 brought us. As an industry, we absorbed unprecedented volume in a completely virtual world. Our Origination and Operation staffs have been virtual, our Servicing departments have absorbed countless forbearance and modification requests. We have flexed as the GSEs provided overlays to ensure quality in this uncertain time. Through all of this change, we prevailed with record breaking volume, soaring professionally to new heights. And through it all, we know we will never go back to what was. But is all of that really a bad thing?
What have we learned and what can we take into 2021? We know that 2021 will be a year of transformation into our new normal. We have learned that there are dramatic efficiencies working remotely. We have learned that digital technology is essential, and as an industry we have deployed resources to upgrade our technology at a much faster pace than ever before. I explain to my team and those that I personally coach, now is the time to challenge ourselves to think differently about how we approach and improve production, networking, and our processes and systems both personally and corporately. 
This is why I am proud to be part of MMLA in this year of transformation! This is a year that we must pay attention to all that is happening within our industry and learn from each other. MMLA provides us the opportunity to collectively insert our influence through MORBANPAC, providing much need advocacy and advising our legislators during a time where legislation can often have unintended consequences. MMLA also provides us the opportunity to come together at webinars, conferences and social events, to learn from each other as we forge ahead into our new normal. 
We’ve learned to appreciate new things and the importance of giving back in 2020.  Now is the time to be involved in the MMLA!  Now is the time to share your talents by joining a committee that interests you. Now is the time to make a donation to MORBANPAC. Now is the time to participate in the MMLA events.  Now is the time for us to collectively make a difference for the betterment of our industry in 2021 and beyond.
I am honored to serve as your 2021 MMLA President and look forward to seeing you at our events!   Click here to see the full MMLA State Board of Directors Roster


The Lame Duck Session was definitely not LAME in Lansing!  With a new legislature starting, new Governor, new Attorney General and new House and Senate members - there will be a lot to watch in the coming months.  Here is a recap report provided by our lobbying firm, Karoub Associates.  


Audrey Acquisti, MMLA Education Consultant
MSource Training & Consulting

Plans are underway for the annual Sales Symposium.  This will take place virtually in April - date still tbd.  We are looking for speaker referrals...if you would like to be considered or have a recommendation, please contact joanne@mmla.net for more information.  

Your education committee is working hard to secure technology vendors of all shapes and sizes to exhibit at this great event.  Feel free to provide Joanne or myself with contact information for any vendor you feel would be a great fit for this event and we will most certainly reach out to them.   



The forum format is designed to help enhance the communication and collaboration amongst members of associations affiliated with Michigan’s real estate industry.  Attendees will gain deeper insight into their peer associations’ priorities, acquire timely information, and build relationships with their cross-industry peers.



  • Michigan Association of Register of Deeds
  • Michigan Land Title Association
  • Community Bankers of Michigan
  • Michigan Mortgage Lenders Association
  • Michigan Bankers Association
  • Welcome – Michigan Land Title Association and Michigan Association of Registers of Deeds Representatives
  • Participating Association Updates – 2021 Priorities
  • Michigan Real Estate Economy


Forum Registration Link

*Please note you must register to receive the meeting link

The MMLA Membership & PR Committee
Allison Johnston CMB, Chairperson
Success Mortgage Partners

The membership committee is still offering the a free membership "to give" with all individual renewals.  The free membership can be given to a friend, family member, co- worker, customer, etc.   It is a $199.00 savings.  Connection to the industry professionals is so important during this unusual time. Don’t forget to renew this year!   

Don’t forget to check out our new website design.  Members should be sure to log in and change your password as it was reset with the new system.  You will need your password to get the member discounts and to access the member only areas.  We look forward to your feedback.  If you are interested in becoming part of our 2021 membership team, please email Allison Johnston at allison@smprate.com.    I hope everyone had an amazing 2020!  We look forward to even a better 2021!

Stay connected… Stay safe…. Stay informed. 

Welcome these companies as new PLATINUM CORPORATE PARTNERS
for 2021:


The MMLA has welcomed these new members since November 1, 2020!! 

 First Name

 Last Name

 Company Name

Vera Bay A&D Mortgage
Melissa Bridges Bodman PLC
Loretta Cetkovic Team Mortgage Company
Melissa Filek DFCU Financial
Matthew Harris Members First Credit Union
Charles Kupcek Union Home Mortgage Company
Jennifer  Layman-VanBelle CrossCountry Mortgage LLC
Reigis Recchia Mortgage 1, Inc.
Sheila Schmidt MiMutual
Glenn Schwartz Mortgage 1, Inc.
Wendy Smith Liberty Title Agency
Katie Stepaniak Mortgage 1, Inc.
Darlene Stuart Credit Union ONE
Jeffrey Sugar Michigan First Mortgage
Adam Tolley Mortgage 1, Inc.
Shane Walker Mortgage 1, Inc.
Christine Wisemann Michigan First Mortgage
Heidi Zuniga Financial Plus Credit Union

MMLA Member Spotlight:  Chris Bennett
Company:   Vice Capital Markets
Occupation/Position:   Principal
Family:  Son Andre, 6th grader at Meads Mill Middle School
Hobbies:   Golf, 2v2 sand volleyball, campfires and hot tubbing
Pets:   Tropical Fish
Years in the business:  28 
Years as an MMLA member:    24

Why are you involved with the MMLA...what does it mean to you?    I can’t imagine NOT being a member of the MMLA – staying connected to others in the industry is critical to success in my opinion, and I’d like to be able to give back to the mortgage industry as new people become part of it and rise in their own careers.   Legislative advocacy is so important, as is the critical information Joanne and Trinity along with board leadership share with all of us year in and year out.

Why you think others should become an MMLA member?  Frankly, it’s the #1 thing you can do to further your career, as well as build new relationships with partners in the business.   It’s not just the social aspects, the educational opportunities that are provided by the MMLA are truly fantastic.

What is a fun or interesting fact about yourself??   I made my first trades (corn futures) from saving up lawn mowing money at age 15.   It worked out well enough for me to be able to buy by first car before I could get my license.

Any other comments or tidbits you would like to add about yourself or your involvement with the association?   I’m truly honored to have been asked to serve on the board of such a vital and dynamic organization.   Congratulations to the officers for making history, and I promise to try hard not to screw anything up.

2021 Lending Conference Committee
Kate McDougall, AMP
SAVE THE DATE:  August 11 - 13, 2021
With all the changes to live events in 2020, it will be great to reconnect at this event.  So much to look forward too.  Plans are just getting started, so if you want to help on the planning committee, either contact me at kate.mcdougall@huntington.com or joanne@mmla.net.   We would love for you to be involved in this great event!

The Mid Chapter Update

Tina Manshum
Mid Chapter 2021 President
Michigan First Mortgage

The Mid-Chapter would like to welcome back our returning members:
Lisa Haun
Kim Krueger
Beth Graham
Melissa Cole
Denya Macaluso 
Kyle Laurent
Dan Lynch  
Tim Wilson  - 2021 Vice President

Welcome these New Members:
Jim Cleer – Michigan First Mortgage 
Kyle Wright – GreenStone FCS

We will have our first Virtual meeting in January to come up with a plan and select our committees.  I have been working with WCR on the Joint membership drive.  This is a large event so we have currently agreed to wait until March / April to try to hold an in person event.  Golf outing is on the calendar for next August. 

Looking forward to a good year in 2021. 

SE Chapter Update
Steve Scheel, CPA
2021 SE Chapter President
Crosky Lanni, P.C.

Hello and welcome to 2021 in the Southeast Michigan Chapter!   As I am writing this, Bloomberg news is reporting on the signing of the most recent Coronavirus Relief Bill for approximately $900 Billion and there is already talk about the next economic relief package to come. 2020 has been a learning experience for most of us with the rapid decline and the rise of the stock market, pervasive unemployment in travel and hospitality, and unprecedented low interest rates with support from the Federal Reserve and Treasury intended to stabilize the economy. 

Thank you to Maureen Townson for stepping in to stabilize the Southeast Chapter in 2020 and for being our rock and President through this period. In 2020 we successfully moved to a virtual meeting environment, were able to host a smaller, COVID compliant, golf outing that was still very well attended and were able to raise funds for the PAC and community support with limited in person events. I am proud to have served in 2020 with Maureen Townson, Dawn Burdick, Brian McCown CMB, Mike Fontana, Dave Sparling, and Erika Parker and have the continued support of Joanne and Trinity!  

Going forward, we have a solid group of leaders and will continue to look for the next leaders for the Southeast Chapter. I am planning for one year in this position before turning over the reigns to Brian McCown, CMB and we have a lot to accomplish. We are looking to increase membership, involvement, and excitement in the Chapter in 2021! 

Look for Imran Ali and Brian McCown CMB to lead our virtual luncheons and provide resources to start 2021. Please reach out to them with topics or to volunteer helping them in 2021. 
Look for Nathan Motta to lead our 2021 golf outing planning with initial location and timing to be released early in 2021. We learned about the flexibility in planning for this in 2020, so please be patient as Nathan works through this planning with his team and please reach out to him if you would like to help.

Look for Dave Sparling to lead our 2021 holiday party planning and hopefully we can host large groups by December of 2021! 

It is an honor to serve this group and I believe we all look forward to a safe and productive 2021! 

West Chapter Update

Lydia Vanderveen
2021 West Chapter President
Arch MI

Hello, I’m Lydia Vanderveen with Arch Mortgage Insurance, and I’m the President of the MMLA West Chapter for 2021. I’ve been a member of the MMLA since 1997.  I know… a long time but I’m excited to lead the West Chapter of the MMLA as President in 2021.
Let’s look forward to 2021, put 2020 in the rearview mirror and embrace the new normal, whatever "normal” is.  As we begin 2021 there are still many unknowns in our business and personal lives and change is inevitable. To be successful in our business we have learned to adapt and to be flexible and roll with the changes. So, let’s think like it’s B.C. "Before COVID” and know that one day we will say "remember when…” But for now, let’s say "Hello” and welcome 2021!  Mark your calendars and save the dates for these upcoming events.
We will start out the year with virtual meetings. The 1st one is schedule for Jan. 21st.  Look for the registration email and sign up to attend.  You could win a $100 VISA gift card just for attending.  Click here for details and to register.
The Annual Golf outing is already scheduled with Thornapple Pointe, Thursday, June 10th 
The Holiday Party/ Christmas Party - scheduled for Thursday Dec. 2nd at the Embassy Suites downtown GR.

Of course, planning these events would not be possible without the help of my Leadership Team.  Click on the MMLA website to meet the team.
I’d ask that you please encourage your co-workers to join the MMLA and get involved. For me, being a member has been a great personal investment, with educational, networking and social events.  I think being a member gives you credibility in the industry and the opportunity to meet others.  I would recommend to anyone that is serious in your professional career (and who’s not?? It’ a great industry) to make the investment in yourself and join the MMLA and become a member. I hope to see you in 2021.
MMLA Member Spotlight: Alistair Lynch
Company: Lynch Agency – Farm Bureau Insurance
Occupation/Position: Owner - Agent
Family: Children - Kennedy age 15, and Ian age 12
Hobbies: Skiing, Golfing, avid outdoorsman
Pets: Yellow Lab and hunting companion Mavis
Years in the business: 6
Years as an MMLA member: 6
Why are you involved with the MMLA...what does it mean to you?  I enjoy the MMLA for the professional and personal relationships I have formed. I also appreciate the knowledge that MMLA provides to the Mortgage Banking world, but also to all business professionals.

Why you think others should become an MMLA member?  Education, Connections, and support of the industry through involvement and MORBANPAC.

Thank you to these Platinum Corporate Partners: