Mark Jones Sworn in as 2024 MBA Chairman

(Mark Jones giving his acceptance speech, Oct. 15, 2023. Photo credit: Anneliese Mahoney)

PHILADELPHIA–Mark Jones, President of Union Home Mortgage, was sworn in Sunday as Chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association during the association’s 2023 Annual Convention & Expo in Philadelphia.

“I have been a proud part of the MBA family for nearly four decades and am incredibly honored and ecstatic to serve as the next Chairman. With the support of Laura Escobar and Christine Chandler, I am confident that our industry will overcome the current tough market environment,” said Jones. “I am committed to promoting financial literacy for young adults and focusing on advocacy initiatives that increase housing supply and improve affordability in communities across America.”

Jones currently serves as President of Union Home Mortgage. In 1983, he co-founded Amerifirst Home Mortgage, a company he grew from an individual location in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to over 80 full-service locations and 900 personnel nationwide. In January 2023, Amerifirst merged with Union Home Mortgage.

Prior to the merger, Amerifirst was the top USDA lender, ranked third in FHA lending in Michigan, and ranked 13th in FHA lending in Florida. Amerifirst was also a Ginnie Mae issuer and serviced in-house a $6 billion loan portfolio. Amerifirst ranked as a Best & Brightest Company to Work for in the Nation for five consecutive years (2016-2020) and was named one of the top 50 Best Mortgage Companies to Work For in 2021. In 2016, Jones received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for Michigan and Northwest Ohio.

Jones is an active MBA member and currently serves as Chairman of MBA’s DEI Advisory Committee. He previously served as co-chair of MBA’s Independent Mortgage Bankers Executive Council, and serves as board member and Public Policy Committee Chair at Southwest Michigan First, and as Chair of Southwest Michigan First PAC.

Laura Escobar, President of Lennar Mortgage, and Christine Chandler, Executive Vice President, Chief Credit Officer and Chief Operating Officer with M&T Realty Capital Corporation (RCC), were also sworn in today as Chair-Elect and Vice Chair, respectively.

Escobar is a 36-year real estate finance industry veteran who has held leadership positions with both bank-owned and independent mortgage companies overseeing all aspects of mortgage banking. Since 2018, she has been President of Lennar Mortgage, the mortgage lending subsidiary of Lennar Corporation, leading a team of more than 1,100 associates in 34 locations across 20 states. Escobar joined Lennar Mortgage in 2002 as Branch Manager; in 2004, she was promoted to Senior Vice President managing the Eastern Region; and in 2016, she became Executive Vice President, overseeing operations and production of the company’s Builder Division.

Escobar currently serves on several advisory boards and committees, including MBA’s 2022-2023 Board of Directors, and as Vice Chair of MBA’s DEI Advisory Committee. She is also a member of the MORPAC Steering Committee; Fannie Mae AHAC; Freddie Mac Advisory Board; NAHREP; NAMMBA Visionary Ambassador; and United Way’s chapter – Women United.

Chandler has been with M&T since 1991 and has more than 30 years of experience in commercial real estate finance. Since 2018, she has been responsible for making credit decisions for M&T RCC multifamily and healthcare transactions underwritten in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (Agency) and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) platforms as well as managing the company’s operations and its Asset Management Group and Transformation team.

Prior to that, Chandler served 13 years as the M&T RCC Chief FHA Underwriter, was a senior Fannie Mae DUS Underwriter, and previously spent several years managing the closing and delivery for FHA and Ginnie Mae transactions. Chandler has also served as a relationship manager in the company’s commercial real estate division, focusing on construction and permanent portfolio lending.

Active in various committees and groups related to the mortgage banking industry, Chandler is a voting member of MBA’s Board of Directors, serves as the 2023 Chair of MBA’s Commercial Real Estate/Multifamily Finance Board of Governors (COMBOG), and was appointed to MBA’s DEI Committee in 2022 and its Audit Committee in 2021. She is a sought-after speaker at industry conferences and is a passionate advocate for mPower, MBA Promoting Opportunities for Women to Extend their Reach, the largest networking organization for women in real estate finance.