How AIME is taking advocacy to a new level

In Michigan, AIME is drumming up support for HB 6434 – the state’s disabled veterans property tax exemption bill. On Oct. 11, the AIME-championed Disabled Veteran Tax Exemption measure was introduced in Michigan as HB 6434 by Rep. John N. Damoose. AIME previously secured House Bill 809 in Maryland, which enables 100% permanent and total disability veterans to apply for real estate tax exemption before taking ownership of a home. The bill was signed into law, and AIME is using that measure as something of a template to help fix the issue in Michigan.

The mission is to replicate the issue across all 50 states, Brendan McKay (pictured), president of Broker Advocacy for AIME, told Mortgage Professional America. He explained how disabled vets in each state classified as being 100% disabled are eligible for total or partial exemption from real estate taxes. Yet currently, they can only apply for this exemption after taking ownership of the home, McKay noted. That catch lengthens the homebuying process in requiring mortgage underwriters to count the real estate taxes against veterans’ debt-to-income ratios.

“This is my favorite topic,” McKay said in starting off the conversation with MPA. “When I came on board the leadership at AIME, I was president of Broker Advocacy but the position was more all-encompassing than it is now. We’ve since brought on four additional member leaders, and now I’m truly focused on advocacy, and 90% of my time is lasered in on that,” McKay, who runs Maryland-based McKay Mortgage Company LLC, said.

Advocacy at AIME is actually something of an offshoot of the group’s own efforts to be heard on a larger stage, he noted. “It started with the basic premise of the fact that mortgage brokers have really never been properly represented in Washington, DC – nothing remotely approaching the level of banks and direct lenders who have lobbyists in DC – and we wanted to change that,” McKay said. “Mortgage brokers currently make up somewhere around 23% of the market. We are in the communities, we are hyperlocal. Our interests align with the American consumer on a very high level, so that’s where it started,” he said.

“And we have been largely successful,” he added, pointing to the launch of the Broker Action Coalition Political Action Committee (BACPAC) this past summer. “The PAC launched in July and raised over $300,000 in 24 hours. We’ve already put that to use and had some really important conversations.”

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