People in the News Mar. 13, 2023: MBA Names Eric Gates 2023-2024 MAA Chair
The Mortgage Bankers Association appointed Eric Gates, President of Apex Home Loans, Rockville, Md., as chairman of the MBA Mortgage Action Alliance for the 2023-2024 election cycle.
Gates was appointed by Matt Rocco, MBA 2023 Chairman and President of Colliers, Charlotte, N.C.; and Mark Jones, MBA 2023 Chairman-Elect and Co-Founder of Amerifirst Home Mortgage, Kalamazoo, Mich. Gates began his term as MAA Chairman in January; he succeeded Steven Plaisance, President – Mortgage Banking, Gateway First Bank, who served as MAA Chairman for the 2021-2022 election cycle.
“Eric has been an instrumental advocate for the industry and his dedication to furthering MBA’s legislative agenda makes him the perfect choice to lead our MAA efforts for this election cycle,” Rocco said. “MAA broke membership and activation records this past election cycle, and I look forward to working with Eric to continue the momentum. I also want to thank Steven for his leadership and taking MAA to new and different levels of engagement, including notable accomplishments that helped our industry strengthen its collective voice and influence on Capitol Hill – and in state capitals around the country.”
Gates has served as President of Apex Home Loans since co-founding the company in 1998. He is a former President of the Maryland Association of Mortgage Professionals, former Co-Chair of the MBA’s Independent Mortgage Bankers’ Network, and a member of the MBA’s Independent Mortgage Bankers Executive Council and MBA’s Residential Board of Governors. He is serving his second term as a member of the MBA’s Board of Directors.
The Mortgage Bankers Association appointed Owen Lee, CEO of Success Mortgage Partners Inc., Plymouth, Mich., chairman of MORPAC, its political action committee, for the 2023-2024 election cycle.
Lee was appointed by Matt Rocco, MBA 2023 Chairman and President of Colliers, Charlotte, N.C., and Mark Jones, MBA’s 2023 Chairman-Elect and Co-Founder of Amerifirst Home Mortgage, Kalamazoo, Mich. Lee began his term as MORPAC Chairman in January. He succeeds Jeff Taylor, Founder at Mphasis Digital Risk, LLC, Lake Mary, Fla., who served as Chairman for the 2021-2022 election cycle.
“Owen is a fierce advocate for the industry, and I look forward to seeing him expand solutions that will take MORPAC to the next level,” Rocco said. “Owen’s leadership over the years – and especially as a valued member of MBA’s Tax Task Force – has been instrumental in helping to advance MBA’s top legislative priorities and I am confident that he will do a tremendous job as MORPAC Chairman.”
“I also want to thank Jeff Taylor for his outstanding term as MORPAC Chairman during the previous election cycle,” Rocco added. “We are grateful for Jeff’s dedication, enthusiasm and vision that helped take MORPAC to record fundraising levels.”
Lee is an avid Mortgage Action Alliance member and a diamond-level MORPAC donor, having led two highly successful MORPAC company campaigns to raise voluntary contributions from SMP employees.
Outside of his MAA and MORPAC involvement, Lee has spent many years as a dedicated MBA leader, serving on MBA’s Board of Directors, IMB Executive Council, and Tax Task Force. His policy work and expertise helped frame MBA’s priorities during recent tax debates and prevent outcomes detrimental to both industry members and their customers.
Last year, MBA honored Lee as 2022 recipient of the Burton C. Wood Legislative Service Award, an accolade given to an MBA member in recognition of his/her sustained and superior service to the association and the real estate finance industry.
Steve Meirink Named Wolters Kluwer Division CEO
Wolters Kluwer, Minneapolis, named Steven Meirink CEO of Wolters Kluwer Financial & Corporate Compliance (FCC), a division that provides lending, regulatory and investment compliance solutions to financial institutions and legal entity compliance solutions to corporations, small businesses and law firms.
Meirink previously served as Executive Vice President and General Manager for Wolters Kluwer’s Compliance Solutions business.
FormFree Promotes Eric Lapin to President
FormFree, Athens, Ga., promoted Eric Lapin as president. He will identify, manage and execute growth strategies, including managing and monitoring the execution of business initiatives, identifying key capital projects, M&A, p&l management, driving strategic partnership opportunities, operations, compliance, product ,technology strategy, sales and marketing.
Lapin joined FormFree in 2022 as chief strategy officer. He served previously with the South Carolina Emerging Technology Association; Old Republic Title, Altisource and Black Knight.
Ginnie Mae Promotes Sam Valverde to Principal Executive Vice President
Ginnie Mae promoted Sam Valverde to Principal Executive Vice President, responsible for setting the strategic direction for the enterprise and leading policy development across a range of initiatives.
Valverde has more than 15 years of housing finance, policy and legal experience. He began his tenure at Ginnie Mae in March 2022 to serve as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining Ginnie Mae, he was Supervisory Attorney Advisor at the Federal Housing Finance Agency in the Division of Conservatorship Oversight and Readiness. Prior to his service at FHFA, he served as a Counselor for Domestic Finance at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, focusing on housing and consumer finance issues. He began his career as a securities lawyer at Davis Polk & Wardell LLP.
BlackFin Group Adds Mike McChesney
BlackFin Group, Englewood, Colo., added Mike McChesney as Principal Consultant in the Mortgage Technology practice. He will provide technology consulting advisory to financial and mortgage banking companies.
McChesney is a 35-year veteran of the mortgage and financial services industry. His areas of expertise include technology strategy and architecture, multi-year technology road maps and business cases, solution development and implementation, process optimization, acquisition due diligence and integration, infrastructure management, and program management. In recent years he served as Executive Director of Servicelink, where he launched the EXOS platform. He was CIO of Planet Home Lending and CIO of IBM’s mortgage outsourcing business and was Director in KPMG’s Consumer and Mortgage Lending practice. He began his career at Dime Savings Bank in New York.
Cenlar Appoints Michelle DeHart Vice President of Loan Operations
Cenlar FSB, Ewing, N.J., hired Michelle DeHart as Vice President of Loan Operations, Escrow. She will spearhead all escrow functions including tax, insurance, flood insurance and escrow analysis.
DeHart has 25 years of experience in the mortgage banking and financial services industry. Prior to joining Cenlar, she served at Home Point Financial as Senior Director of Escrow. Upon acquisition of the subservicing portfolio by ServiceMac, she joined the company as a Vice President overseeing property insurance and mortgage insurance. Additionally, she has had a diverse career in the mortgage industry in which she spent many years in the default space with a specialty in REO, foreclosure, claims and bankruptcy.
Rick Sharga Joins Exceleras Advisory Board
Exceleras, Glencoe, Ill., announced Rick Sharga joined its Advisory Board.
Sharga has more than 20 years of experience in the real estate and mortgage industries, including as EVP/Market Intelligence at ATTOM Data, EVP for Carrington Mortgage Holdings, EVP of Marketing at RealtyTrac, and Chief Marketing Officer of Ten-X and Auction.com. He is currently the Founder and CEO of CJ Patrick Company, a market intelligence and advisory firm for companies in the real estate and mortgage industries.
Stacey Berger Named Advisor to nxtCRE
Stacey Berger has been named an Advisor to nxtCRE, Miami, a firm specializing in early identification and efficient matching of commercial real estate sellers and equity seekers.
Berger has more than 40 years of experience in real estate finance including 33 years with PNC – most recently as Executive Vice President of Midland Loan Services, a PNC Real Estate business from which he retired in 2021. Since then, he cofounded and is principal of Hope Housing Partners in New Orleans, a pioneer in the adaptive re-use of under-performing real estate assets. He has written numerous articles on commercial real estate finance, servicing and asset management.