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CRE Finance Council Forums: An Overview of Procedures and Process

The CRE Finance Council recently established Forums to ensure that all constituencies within the Council have a voice and are represented throughout the entire process. Additionally, the Forums are intended to complement the Executive Committee, the Board of Governors, and the Task Force and Committee structures already in place.

Forum Leadership

  • The leadership of each Forum will be comprised of a chair, chair-elect, and, after the first year, a past-chair.
  • A “Leadership Working Group” for each Forum shall be established. This Leadership Working Group will be selected by current Forum Leadership and will assist in setting agendas for Forum sessions at the January and June conferences, determine the focus for Forum initiatives, and determine the priority of those issues.

Forum Representation

  • Each CREFC Member is entitled to join one or more Forums provided that the Member satisfies the membership criteria established for each such Forum by the Members of that Forum. The Board of Governors or any Committee of the Board of Governors established for this purpose may review the membership criteria of the Forums from time to time to ensure that no Forum is too restrictive.
  • Two of the Forum leadership representatives (the Chair, Chair-Elect or Past-Chair, as determined by Members of the Forum Leadership) will serve on the Policy Committee, representing that Forum’s views on the various issues and positions the Policy Committee discusses and pursues. The Executive Committee shall review the composition of the Policy Committee membership to ensure that no Member firm is over-represented on the Policy Committee. The Executive Committee may request a substitute appointee if, in its sole discretion, it finds that a Member firm is over-represented on the Policy Committee.
  • Each Forum chair will serve on the Council’s Board of Governors.
  • Each Forum shall have no fewer than two representatives for any Council-level Task Forces or Committees created to address and respond to Government-Relations issues (e.g., accounting, regulatory, and legislative issues). In addition, each Forum may choose to participate in any other Task Forces or Committees (such as CRE Loan Underwriting Standards, Reps and Warranties, IRP Updates) that are relevant to that Forum. During the January and June conferences, the Forums will both educate and present to the Council Members the issues/initiatives being addressed by their respective Forum. As such, these meetings will be considered “open” to all interested Council Members.

Council Task Forces/Committees/Forum Working Groups

  • The Leadership Working Group of each Forum will provide its recommended initiatives to the Council’s Executive Committee. Subject to resources available, the Executive Committee will determine which recommended initiatives to pursue, either by assignment to an existing Task Force or Committee or by forming a new Council-wide Task Force. The Executive Committee will also form Task Forces and Committees based on issues that the Executive Committee, the Board, or the Policy Committee deem relevant for the Council. The Forum may establish a Working Group to formulate thoughts or recommendations to, or respond to output from, any of the Council-wide Task Forces and Committees.
  • The Leadership Working Group for each Forum will seek input from all Forum participants as suggestions and recommendations are formulated. To aid in this effort, Forum surveys or votes may be taken, as necessary.

Process for Approval of Best Practices, Standards, Recommendations, and Policy Positions

  • A voting process will be established within each Forum that requires each eligible Member company to designate a “Forum Representative” who would be eligible to vote for any positions put forth to or being considered by the Council. When such a vote is determined to be necessary to determine Forum consensus, 50% of such eligible Forum Representatives shall constitute a quorum and a majority vote of the quorum shall constitute consensus approval of a Forum position, regardless of whether the vote is at a meeting, by mail, or other means of communication. However, the Forum Leadership, together with the Executive Committee Leadership, may assess the weighting of a vote based on relative participation of the voting Members within the industry. Factors to be considered may include, but shall not be limited to, pro-rata votes, other criteria such as relative legacy positions and current industry activity of the voting Members, and any potential impact that a position may have on the overall industry. A minimum time limit (such as 48 or 72 hours) shall be established within which such Forum Representatives would submit their votes once notice of a vote has been sent out by the Council.
  • Each Council-level Task Force and Committee (with representatives from each Forum) will determine which proposed suggestions/recommendations the Task Force is able to endorse and put forth as either a best practice/standard, response/recommendation, or policy position for consideration by the Policy Committee, Executive Committee and/or Board of Governors, as appropriate and as provided below.
  • The expectation is that the different Forum constituencies will address the same issues simultaneously along with the Task Force in an effort to reach a Council-wide consensus as expeditiously as possible.
  • Once a position has been approved at the Council-level Task Force or Committee, if it reflects a policy position, it will be sent first to the Policy Committee, who will then make a recommendation for approval to the Executive Committee and Board of Governors. If it is an initiative that does not reflect a policy position, it will be sent directly to the Executive Committee and Board of Governors for approval.
  • Prior to being fully vetted and when appropriate, approved as provided above, Working Group, Task Force, or Committee initiative drafts shall not be distributed as position papers or described as a final product of a Task Force, Committee, Forum, or the Council. This does not preclude individuals or Member companies from espousing their particular views on an issue; provided it is made clear that such views do not necessarily reflect the views of a Task Force, Committee, Forum, the Council, or any of its Member groups. The Council is especially sensitive to distributing preliminary work papers to the media representing a Committee, Task Force, Forum, or Council position before final approval has been obtained, as provided above.
  • If a Forum has reached a consensus viewpoint on an issue and, after consideration by the Policy Committee, Executive Committee, and/or Board of Governors, as appropriate, the Council is not able to achieve a full Council consensus position, the Forum may “educate” as to the Forum’s position on this issue provided that at least 50% of the voting Members of that Forum have voted to proceed in the absence of a full Council consensus position. Any paper a Forum would like to distribute in support of such an education effort must first be approved for distribution by the Executive Committee and should be released on a template provided by the Council, which must include a disclaimer that the paper is not endorsed by the Council.
  • In the event a consensus position cannot be reached within the Policy Committee on a particular issue or position, at the discretion of the Executive Committee, the issue can be decided by a super majority vote of all voting Members of CREFC Member firms. A super majority will be defined as no less than 75% of all voting Members.

Press and Interaction with Reporters

Members who voluntarily serve on a CRE Finance Council Task Force, Committee, Working Group, or Forum are to work through the CRE Finance Council Public Relations Department for any press matters or media interaction that either A) coincides with the Members’ specific role as a participant of a Forum or B) pertains to a subject matter that involves a Forum itself. This includes policy positions, recommendations, standards, or best practices.