Industry Leader John B. Johnson Passes Away

John B. Johnson passed away last week at 84. He was a long-time leader in the industry and co-founder and CEO of MortgageAmerica Inc. from 1978 to 2012.

Johnson, CMB, was a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Board of Directors from 1999-2003 and served as Chairman of the Residential Board of Governors in 2001-2002.

Johnson also served as the Mortgage Bankers Association of Alabama President in 1980-1981 and chaired the organization’s convention in 1982.

He was Chairman of the Board of Directors for MERS in 2006. He was also instrumental in the forming of the America’s Mortgage Cooperative in 2000, a consortium of mortgage banking companies located across the United States and served as Chairman of the organization in 2001-2002.

“John was an exemplary leader among independent mortgage bankers and for the MBA and its Alabama association,” said MBA President and CEO Bob Broeksmit, CMB. “He was a consummate gentleman and a tenacious advocate for our industry, nurturing personal and professional relationships with key elected representatives to advance our issues. He will be sorely missed.” 

“I was fortunate to call John Johnson my friend. He was also a mentor, a leader and a trustworthy competitor. The independent mortgage company that he built was one of the best in the South and he was hard to compete against because he was so good and had assembled such a great team,” recalled Rob Couch, CMB, 2004 MBA Chairman.

“Nevertheless, he constantly gave back to the industry in so many selfless ways–as President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Alabama, as one of the first Chairs of RESBOG […] and in developing so many mortgage banking leaders. At the same time, on a personal level, he was a wonderful companion and lots of fun to be around. He will be missed by all who knew him,” Couch continued.

“I really valued John’s vision and admired the company and culture at MortgageAmerica that he created. It was a family atmosphere and it was obvious that the culture he created really enabled others in his company to thrive,” said Hank Cunningham, CMB, Senior Vice President, East Regional Manager, at Highlands Residential Mortgage. “I feel lucky to have called John Johnson a friend over all these years.”

Many others who worked with Johnson through their time at MBA recalled their experiences with him.

“I remember John fondly from his days as Chair of the Residential Board of Governors. These were my first months at MBA and despite how busy he was running his company and leading such an important group within our governance, he always made time to answer my rudimentary questions about the industry and how member companies operated. I remember joking with him once that he often emailed me back quicker than some of my colleagues. I hope it made him smile to hear that,” said MBA’s William Kooper, Vice President, State Government Affairs and Industry Relations.

“John was one of the true gentlemen in this industry–unfailingly warm and gracious. I had the privilege of working closely with him when he was the Chairman of MBA’s Residential Board of Governors,” said Steve O’Connor, MBA Senior Vice President for Affordable Housing Initiatives. “I respected his leadership. He always put the interests of the industry above his own business concerns.”

“John was great mentor to me at a very challenging time in my career and life, helping me establish a business that catered to the Independent Mortgage Banker, and that business eventually led me to the MBA,” Pete Mills, MBA Senior VP Residential Policy and Member Engagement, recalled. “He was the consummate advocate for the small IMB — that trusted first call if a legislator had a question about the mortgage market or a regulation or bill that they were looking at. He was the one they would reach out to because he built and forged those relationships over a long period of time.”

John B. Johnson was survived by his wife of 63 years and love of his life Martha V. Johnson, his son J. Bradford Johnson (Shannan) his grandsons Aiden Johnson and Grayson Johnson, his sister Mary Welden Custer (Ken), and his nieces and nephews, Tammy Story (Damon), Renee Brooks (Jimmy), Sheree McCall (Britt), Berry Johnson, Jr., and Richard E. Robinson (Crissy).

In lieu of flowers, the obituary has requested consideration of contributions to The Maranathan Academy, P.O. Box 320321 Birmingham, AL, 35232.