WASHINGTON (

TheStreet

) --How bad is the mortgage crisis?

It's so bad that the

Mortgage Bankers Association

had to sell its headquarters at a loss.

Sounds like one of those jokes that make the rounds on the Internet, but sadly this one is true.

The Mortgage Bankers Association sold its Washington headquarters building to

CoStar

(CSGP) - Get Report

, a commercial real estate data firm, for $41.3 million, a little more than half the $79 million the group originally financed in 2007 through a group of banks led by

PNC Financial

(PNC) - Get Report

, according to the

Wall Street Journal

.

This is more than a little embarrassing for a group that represents some 2,400 lenders, loan brokers, commercial banks, thrifts and life insurance companies.

You expect more from a group whose directors include executives from

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

,

KeyCorp

(KEY) - Get Report

and other notable financial companies and whose sponsors for its 2009 annual convention included big banks such as

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

,

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

along with

Fannie Mae

(FNM)

and

Freddie Mac

(FRE)

.

Surely

someone

affiliated with the Mortgage Bankers Association should have known better.

--Written by Glenn Hall in New York.

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