As I stated at the Annual Dinner, it is an honor to be nominated by the Board of Directors and elected by the membership to be your President for 2015-2016. RIMBA is an active trade association which is recognized on both the regional and national levels for its efforts on behalf of the residential mortgage industry. I have not accepted this position lightly, and I pledge that I will devote a considerable amount of my personal and professional time to justify the faith and confidence that you have shown in me.
As it emphatically states in our “Mission Statement”, our primary goal is “to bring together those businesses operating in the mortgage industry to effectively promote and sustain responsible home lending in Rhode Island.” We do not operate in a vacuum, however, and if there is one message that I would ask you all to take to heart, it is the necessary mandate for unity of voice and effort. The regulatory and governmental winds of change are constantly at work to mold and shape the way that we conduct our respective businesses. If we wish to survive in the environment that will eventually evolve, we must unite or we will be left without a seat at the table.
On the legislative front, RIMBA is the only voice for our industry. Thanks to the efforts of our exceptional lobbyists – Terry Martiesian and Lenette Boisselle – and our dedicated and hard-working Legislative Committee currently led by co-chairs, Doug Gablinske and Jim Hahn, we remain vigilant on all proposed legislation coming through the General Assembly. I would be remiss if I did not mention the enormous amount of time and talent expended by my most immediate predecessors as President, Deb Imondi, Steve Tetzner, and Jim O’Donnell as well as Jim Caruolo. We thoroughly vet any bills that might even have a marginal effect on any or all of our members and ensure that our concerns are properly voiced through the proper channels. Based on the level of professionalism that has been established over time, we feel that we enjoy the professional respect of the legislators and have forged a good working relationship with a number of them. Our success in getting the current Speaker of the House, Nicholas Mattiello, to be our guest at the Annual Dinner spoke volumes in that regard. Your generous PAC donations help us considerably in that effort.
On the educational front, we are led this year by our Co-Chairs, Deb Moretti and Peter Pagonis. A vacuum had been created in this area due to the retirement from the Board by our previous co-chairs who had given so much in that area over a number of years. I was thrilled when Deb and Peter stepped up, and I am greatly encouraged by the level of energy and enthusiasm they have demonstrated thus far. I am very confident that we will be providing you and your staffs the information and tools that you will require to navigate comfortably through the choppy waters of change.
We are continuing to spread our voice electronically while improving our technology through a committee that I am pleased to co-chair with Dean Harrington. I am specifically pleased to announce that our long awaited NEW RIMBA website is getting ready to launch. We have benefitted from the suggestions of many of you in crafting the new format. Additionally, we have a strong focus on promoting our collective message through social media outlets like Facebook. I would be remiss if I did not mention the support and dedication of the face of RIMBA, Carolyn Dion-Motta, in this particular area of our efforts as well as so many others. Carolyn recently celebrated 20 years of service to our organization.
Much of our annual budget goes to efforts in the above areas as well as the various programs that we have throughout the year to promote camaraderie, the healthy exchange of ideas and, yes, even some occasional recreation. Paul DeCoste has been the Chair of the Program Committee virtually every year of our existence save for his two-year stint as your President, and 2015 is going to prove to be another very busy and productive year in that area. When you support these events, you are adding fuel to the tank and supplementing your membership. This support is invaluable in assisting us to achieve our goals as your elected representatives. I would like to especially thank those of you who are most generous in providing sponsorships at various levels for events held throughout the year. Your additional investment on our behalf is extremely gratifying, and we sincerely hope that attendees take note of the signage at all events denoting the corporate generosity that you have exhibited.
In closing my initial message to you, during my term in office, I would like to take the opportunity to stress that RIMBA is YOUR organization! We want your input, your suggestions, your comments, and YES, your participation on any of our various committees. Please feel free to reach out to me or any of the Board of Directors to let us know how we are doing, what you like, what you don’t like, and what we can improve upon. We are a bastion of democracy. The people that you have elected are there to meet your legitimate needs and not to satisfy their own agendas. Help us help you to stay productive and profitable.
To a very successful year,
Learn from your past. Always look forward. Live in the moment.