The editor's desk.

AuthorHall, Lesley
PositionLOOKING BACK: 1939-2016

In Its almost-78-year run, Mortgage Banking has had nine editors at the top of the masthead. The two longest-serving editors bookended all those in between.


In 1936 and 1937, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America (MBA) published its four-page MBA News Review, a semi-monthly publication that MBA, in the words of 1939 President S.M. Waters said in hindsight, "sought to detail in a brief condensed form the principal news items from the press of direct interest to our members."

MBA News Review was produced in a two-man office in Chicago by MBA Secretary and Treasurer George Patterson and Editor George Knott.

There were no radio or television shows or other efficient ways to share information relevant to the business of mortgage banking in those days, save for typed letters or phone calls. So MBA's membership was pleased indeed with the association's communication.

Building upon this success, Waters oversaw the launch of the first issue of The Mortgage Banker on Jan. 1, 1939, with Patterson acting as editorial director. The first issue of the monthly newsletter was eight pages in length.

Although his name did not appear on the masthead until 1945, Knott was The Mortgage Banker's first editor, starting with the maiden issue--a position he kept until his death 21 years later. Knott's 27-year reign as editor was the second-longest in MBA's history. During his time at the helm, The Mortgage Banker first referred to itself as a magazine (in 1949). Before that, it had been called a newsletter or publication. It also began publishing monthly during Knott's time, in the 1950s.

Jerry Vavra became The Mortgage Banker's second editor in December 1966. Vavra, who had served as acting editor for six months following Knott's death, was a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. He joined MBA in 1961 as an assistant director of public information and oversaw the publication's move from Chicago to MBA's Washington, D.C., office in 1967. Vavra remained editor through the June 1973 issue.

Mortgage Banker's third editor was Paul Herron, who assumed the position starting with the July 1973 issue--the first issue to have "The" removed from the magazine's title. He joined MBA after spending almost 20 years as reporter and editor at The Washington Post.

Herron left Mortgage Banker after finishing the December 1978 issue and was succeeded by editor William E. Henry in January 1979, who took the new title of...

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