3 topics on the minds of some heading to MBA’s Annual Convention

October 21, 2016 | By

An estimated 4,500 real estate finance industry participants are heading to Boston for the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Annual Convention & Expo, Oct. 23-26.

The MBA is the national association representing the real estate finance industry. Its annual meeting offers educational sessions, exhibits, and networking opportunities. (View schedule)

Early Start

For many, the event starts Sunday with association business and committee meetings. Rod Correia, president of Shamrock Financial is attending MBA’s annual meeting for the first time and will join a technology forum on Sunday, not as a committee member but as an observer. “We’re looking for technologies to reduce our cost to produce a loan,” he explains.

Also on Sunday vendors put the final touches on their exhibits in The Hub, where MBA hosts an opening night reception and other events.

Opening Day

In Monday’s general sessions, industry attendees will hear from Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly (who covers the presidential election and moderated the first Republican debate); executives from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA); Fannie Mae; Freddie Mac; the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB); and MBA’s economics and research team members.

“The day one general sessions really set the stage,” says Regina Lowrie, president of RML Advisors and a former MBA chairman. “The tone [of those presentations] is a gauge of the industry’s mood.”

Read more: Regina Lowrie: A leading force for gender equality in mortgage banking

Lowrie, who’s attended the annual meeting for over a decade, forecasts that mood will be “positive,” based on the continued near-historic low mortgage interest rates, brisk refinance activity, and strong home sales pushing purchase business.

“Most executives look to this meeting as a bellwether for the coming year,” adds Lowrie. “MBA Annual is that important.”

We spoke to a few people heading to the meeting and found common themes emerging.

  1. Policy and Compliance

Compliance challenges are top-of-mind for some.

“Staffing and training are continuing challenges,” says David Green, president of Stonehill Group, an outsourcing services provider. Green says he’s looking forward to sessions on the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and what it means to the future of fair lending regulation and enforcement, and vendor management.

Kimberly Lanham, senior vice president of marketing and client relations at Digital Risk, also an outsourcing company, appreciates that representatives from the GSEs, FHFA, and CFPB are speaking in the general session. “It will be interesting to get their take on the regulatory environment…and what they think is coming,” she says.

Keith Polaski, principal and COO of radius financial group, a mortgage originator, agrees, “MBA Annual brings together the business leaders we want to hear from, so we can get a broader understanding of compliance issues.”

  1. New Technology

You can’t talk about policy and compliance challenges these days without mentioning technology, observes Ellen Wojtanik, vice president of secondary marketing for Corridor Mortgage.

“Improving our processes – reducing costs and having greater certainty around compliance – has all become part of the technology topic,” she says. “How can you be compliant without technology?”

Lanham will meet with fintechs (financial technology companies), looking for opportunities to “morph fintech products into our industry in a way that’s compliant and user-friendly.” She’s also looking forward to sessions on digital mortgages and credit risk transfer.

Read more: 5 fintech firms hoping to impact the mortgage industry in big ways

  1. Networking

Meeting with clients, prospects, and each other is a priority for many, and there are plenty of forums for doing so – quietly or otherwise.

“That’s the great thing about this event. There are educational opportunities, and it’s also a great time to meet new people and renew relationships,” says Suzanne Singer, senior managing director at Clayton Holdings, an information and services provider.

Singer, Lanham, and Lowrie all plan to attend a women’s networking lunch featuring Mika Brzezinski, Co-Host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe and a best-selling author.

With his military background, David Green is eager to hear from U.S. Navy pilots and NASA astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly who are speaking on teamwork, leadership, risk taking, overcoming adversities, and adapting to change in a general session on Tuesday morning. But the most valuable takeaway, he emphasizes, is the time he’ll be able to spend with clients. “We’ll further relationships and get a better understanding of their needs and areas of concern,” he says. “We’ll be asking, ‘Where and how can we be a better partner?’”

It’s convenient to have so many industry participants in one place.

“Rather than traveling to 70 client sites, I can meet with my clients and new prospects,” says Prashant Kothari, owner of String Inc. “Plus, it gives me three days to learn about challenges and opportunities facing the industry.”

 

For a fuller look at Fannie Mae’s participation at MBA Annual and how to connect with us, read our coverage in Housing Industry Forum. Join the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #MBAAnnual16.

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