MBA’s Stevens to Stay, Forgo SunTrust Move

David Stevens has abruptly decided to stay put as president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, after announcing plans to join SunTrust Mortgage as president. His last day at the association was set to come at the end of June 2012.

The group said in a statement released Monday morning that its “leadership, members and staff impressed upon Dave the important role he was playing for the industry and his unique qualifications to lead the association.”

david stevens for workforce MBAs Stevens to Stay, Forgo SunTrust Move

David Stevens.

For his part, Mr. Stevens said that the past few weeks had been difficult on a personal and professional basis.

“After serious thought and consideration, I simply cannot leave the MBA at such a critical time for the industry and the association,” he said. “Frankly, at the end of the day, stepping away now when so much progress is being made and so much still left to be done, did not feel right.”

However, SunTrust Banks, the parent of SunTrust Mortgage, released a statement indicating that the decision had been mutual.

“SunTrust Banks, Inc. today announced that the company and David Stevens have mutually agreed that Mr. Stevens will not join SunTrust Mortgage as previously announced and will remain in his post as head of the Mortgage Bankers Association.” He was to have started at the company July 16, where he would have reported to SunTrust Mortgage president and CEO Jerome Lienhard.

A spokesman for SunTrust wouldn’t elaborate on how the decision was mutual if Mr. Stevens had decided, on his own, to stay because there was so much left to do at the MBA. “It is what it is,” the spokesman told The Commercial Observer.

Mr. Lienhard said back in May when the impending move was announced that Mr. Stevens was “high-caliber leader, professional and individual.” He welcomed what he called the “transformational change” that Mr. Stevens would bring. On the heels of Monday’s announcement that Mr. Stevens would stay on at the MBA, however, Mr. Leinhard simply said that SunTrust Mortgage has “a strong leadership team in place” and will “continue to execute our business plan and serve the needs of the clients of SunTrust Mortgage.”

A MBA member reached for comment who knows Mr. Stevens but only agreed to speak off the record, said that a variety of factors could have been at play.

“The national organization is in a rebuilding mode,” this person said. “My own gut is telling me that it was either a political situation that David found out or determined on his own, and/or pressure from the very wise board to pressure David to stay.”

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