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) 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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