Scores of independent mortgage banks have closed their doors over the past two years due to the challenges of obtaining short-term credit, and two new trade groups have been established in response.

The Community Mortgage Lenders of America and the Community Mortgage Banking Project both plan to lobby on behalf of local mortgage banks and lenders not owned by large banking companies, insisting they are necessary for a competitive market and holding down rates and fees.

John Courson, CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, says his group advocates a level playing field for all lenders and is taking steps to keep independent lenders in business.

Source: Wall Street Journal, James R. Hagerty (09/28/09)