Steve O’Connor, Former Senior Vice President of Public Policy & Industry Relations at the Mortgage Bankers Association

Steve OConnor Headshot - Steve O'Connor, Former Senior Vice President of Public Policy & Industry Relations at the Mortgage Bankers Association

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Summary: In this interview, Steve O’Connor recounts his career as a policy advocate in the housing sector. He comments on his time as an advocate for investors at Freddie Mac and then for real estate agents and brokers at the National Association of Realtors. O’Connor represented lenders, servicers, and originators of mortgage loans-as well as investors in mortgage assets. Through his time at Freddie Mac and National Association of Realtors, O’Connor saw the growth of independent mortgage brokers as the market moved away from the originate and portfolio model. In his next role as the Head of Public Policy and Industry Relations at the Mortgage Bankers Association, O’Connor and his colleagues became concerned with falling loan underwriting standards and increasing high-risk loans. Looking back a decade later, O’Connor argues that a combination of regulators misallocating risk and consumers having a baseless optimism about the housing market played parts in the deterioration of the mortgage market leading up to the financial crisis of 2008. 

Biography: Steve O’Connor currently serves as the Senior Vice President for Affordable Housing Initiatives at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). He heads the Consumer Affairs Advisory Council at the MBA and serves on the boards of the National Housing Conference, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the Affordable Housing Advisory Council at Freddie Mac, the National Urban League’s Business Solutions Council, the Homeownership Council of America, and the Quick Loans Consumer Advisory Council. Prior to this role, O’Connor served as Senior Vice President of Public Policy & Industry Relations from 1996-2019. Before joining the MBA in 1996, O’Connor spent time in the government affairs division at the National Association of Realtors and Freddie Mac.

Annotated Bibliography:

Hall, Phil. “MBA Launches Affordable Housing Initiative.” Text. National Mortgage Professional Magazine, June 13, 2019.

This article discusses the Mortgage Bankers Association’s decision to promote a new affordable housing initiative through the creation of more partnerships between policy and business. This new project aims to assist the underserved community by advocating for the provision of more affordable homes. The article notes that Steve O’Connor is set to serve as the senior vice president for this initiative.

“MBA Announces 2021 Affordable Housing Advisory Members | News | Dodd Frank Update.” Accessed March 17, 2021.

This article lists the chairs and members of the MBA’s new Affordable Homeownership Council and the Affordable Rental Advisory council. Steve O’Connor contributes a quote to this article, noting that such “councils guide [MBA’s] efforts in bringing together key stakeholders to work on solutions aimed at housing affordability.”

HousingWire. “NAMMBA Town Hall Highlights Gaps in Minority Homeownership,” June 19, 2020.

This article summarizes key takeaways from a town hall hosted by the National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America. Steve O’Connor was said to have led the discussion on “minority homeownership and the MBA’s Black Homeownership initiative.” In his conversation, O’Connor noted that some of the main challenges to closing the gap between minority homeownership is the availability of affordable housing, access to credit, and a lack of sufficient financing options.