From the Heartland: NorthMarq Capital's Rodrigo Lopez will be focusing heavily on housing finance reform as the incoming chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

AuthorBergsman, Steve
PositionPROFILE

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When Mortgage Banking magazine first caught up with Rodrigo Lopez, CMB, it was at the end of the 1990s and Lopez was promoting his new company, called AmeriSphere Financial LLC, based in Omaha, Nebraska. [paragraph] The headline for that article read, "International Dealings from Omaha" and the story noted: "AmeriSphere Financial not only provides commercial banking services, mostly in the Omaha area, but is also an international consulting firm, assisting other companies in the development of projects and enterprises outside the United States." [paragraph] As it turned out, that last sentence was wishful thinking. [paragraph] AmeriSphere never got around to performing much in the way of international consulting, as it was too busy with mortgage banking, [paragraph] "Initially, AmeriSphere was to be a mortgage banking business and I also intended to do consulting," Lopez explains. "The first half of the name, 'Ameri,' referred to America, while 'Sphere' referred to the globe, or international. Except the mortgage business was so successful that I frankly did not have time to pay attention to what I thought would be international consulting.

For the first three years of business, my time was consumed with placing commercial loans with insurance companies."

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That, too, proved temporary.

AmeriSphere Financial, which was founded in November 1997 and sold in 2015 to Minneapolis-based NorthMarq Capital, wasn't even that long in the traditional mortgage banking business (acting as a correspondent for life insurance companies). Once it became a Fannie Mae Delegated Underwriting and Servicing (DUS[R]) lender in 2000, that was all it did for the next 16 years.

Mortgage banking and Fannie Mae DUS lending for multifamily are all good skills to pick up along the journey. That kind of versatility will be useful when Lopez, currently executive chairman of NorthMarq Capital, and formerly president and chief executive officer of AmeriSphere, becomes chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) this month.

"We are big supporters of the MBA, and becoming chairman of the organization is a major event," notes Eduardo Padilla, chief executive officer of NorthMarq Capital.

"It is also a major time commitment. I was chairman of COMBOG [Commercial Real Estate/Multifamily Board of Governors], the commercial side of the MBA, and that was as far as I was planning to go. Rodrigo is the perfect person for the MBA chairman's role, as he is totally committed to the organization. He enjoys the work required there, and at this point in his life he can commit the time while using NorthMarq for whatever resources he needs. We are proud to have a NorthMarq person at the head of the MBA," Padilla said.

Lopez brings one other thing to the MBA chairman's position: leadership experience in outside, community organizations.

For a guy who grew a DUS lender company in less than 20 years from a loan portfolio of zero to $6 billion, it seems inconceivable that the same person can also concurrently serve as: director for Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company; director of Mutual of Omaha Bank; chairman of Children's Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha; chairman of United Way of the Midlands foundation; director of the University of Nebraska Foundation; and member of the University of Nebraska President's Advisory Council, among many other positions.

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And those aren't ceremonial positions. Wherever Lopez goes, people like what he does.

Over the years, he's received such commendations as the Omaha Jaycees' Ten Outstanding Young Omahans (1986); Nebraska Mortgage Association Lender of the Year (2000); Man of the Year award, Omaha chapter of the Rho Epsilon Professional Real Estate Fraternity (2001); MBA Burton C. Wood Legislative Service Award (2002); Distinguished Alumnus Award, University of Nebraska Omaha College of Business Administration (2004); MBA's Distinguished Service Award (2010); and Volunteer of the Year Award, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce (2011), among many other awards.

Lopez has received so many Omaha awards and belongs to so many Nebraska organizations, he is often considered the epitome of a Nebraska success story...

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