Regina Lowrie, first lady to chair the MBA, dies at 68

Regina Lowrie, the first woman to be elected chair of the Mortgage Bankers Association, died suddenly on Jan 1. She was 68 years old.

She had been active in industry trade groups for many years, including also serving as the first woman president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Greater Philadelphia. Lowrie was also actively involved in planning the annual Regional Conference of MBAs in Atlantic City.

In 2003, Lowrie became the MBA’s vice chair, working up to becoming chair in October 2005.

Most recently, Lowrie was the founder, president and CEO of risk management company Dytrix. But prior to that, in 1994, she founded Gateway Funding Diversified Mortgage Services, located in Horsham, Pennsylvania, which she sold in 2006.

In 2007, Lowrie became the president of Vision Mortgage Capital, which at the time was a division of American Home Bank. It was later acquired by Continental Bank.  

At the same time, Lowrie was also the president and CEO of consulting firm RML Advisors.

“Regina was a dedicated and loyal individual who was always straightforward in her views and always ready to be there for her friends and colleagues at any time if should be helpful,” said E. Robert Levy, executive director of the MBA of New Jersey, which sponsors the association’s regional conference.

“To say that she will be greatly missed is an understatement,” Levy wrote in a letter to the organization’s members. “It will take all of us some time to digest the news of this shocking, shocking loss.”

A number of people referred to Lowrie as a trailblazer, including current MBA President and CEO Bob Broeksmit.

“Her tenacity, resilience, and fierce advocacy for our industry will long be remembered by all those fortunate enough to have interacted with her,” Broeksmit said in a statement. “We offer our condolences to her friends, colleagues, and family.”

Broeksmit’s predecessor at the MBA, David Stevens, first met Lowrie when he was working for a bank and Gateway sold loans to that company.

“Whenever you’d meet Regina, she had a smile and a bounce in her step and she was always eager to be involved in any way she could in the business and leadership roles,” said Stevens, who became MBA president and CEO in May 2011. “I was always impressed with her just positive attitude, incredible energy level and always the desire to do more.”

Lowrie was “over the top, hugely committed” to the mortgage industry, including remaining active both on a state and national level after her term was over, Stevens continued.

Lowrie’s presence and activity helped to drive growing diversification in what has been a white male dominated mortgage industry; following in her footsteps were future MBA chair Debra Still, and most recently, the group’s first Black chairwoman, Kristy Fercho.

Stevens, currently the CEO of Mountain Lake Consulting, compared Lowrie’s actions to those of the late Barbara Walters, who helped guide women into leading roles in journalism.

Lowrie was active in mPower, which was founded by Marcia Davies, the MBA’s chief operating officer, to support women in mortgage.

“Regina literally paved the way and opened up the doors for many more women to take leadership roles in the association and ultimately, even more diversity into the association,” Stevens said. “She was the first and that’s a big deal for an industry that prior to that had a terrible track record for diversity.”

S.A. Ibrahim, the retired CEO of Radian Group, recalled meeting Lowrie when he was CEO of GreenPoint Mortgage and both were on the MBA’s board of governors. He also served on a task force that examined the future of the mortgage industry in the U.S., which Lowrie ran.

Later, Ibrahim, along with then-Radian Guaranty President Teresa Bryce Bazemore (currently president and CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco), would get together with Lowrie for lunch on a regular basis, given the proximity between their locations.

“She was incredibly knowledgeable about both the details of how the mortgage business worked as well as strategically, putting herself at a higher level of thinking about what role the industry plays in the overall economy,” Ibrahim said. “She was very sensitive to the fact that housing represented such an important personal emotional decision for homebuyers and how we had an obligation to deliver an honest product to them. She took that very seriously in always focusing on how to make things easier and better for the borrower.”

No one else can fill Lowrie’s shoes, but she leaves behind her legacy as an example, he said.

“I consider her to be an industry leader, a personal friend and inspiration, a very honest, decent, moral, ethical person who exemplified the (best in the) industry,” Ibrahim said.

Jeffrey Taylor, the managing director at Mphasis Digital Risk who is also active in the MBA, expressed his deepest sympathies to Lowrie’s family.

“She was a great person who made time to help her colleagues and her competitors,” Taylor said. “She will forever be remembered for her unprecedented and incomparable contributions to the industry.”

Lowrie, who recently moved to Brigantine, New Jersey, is survived by her daughter Crista, son Robert and several grandchildren, according to a post on MBA NewsLink.

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