This year’s MBA Annual Convention & Expo was like many other MBA Annuals in that it was an opportunity to spend quality time with peers that you may not see that often (maybe once a year); enjoy the beautiful weather; eat yummy Boston lobster rolls; and grab a copy of Mortgage Banking magazine.
According to the MBA, more than 4,000 people registered for the conference this year. The sessions featured topics on digital mortgages, life after HAMP, reaching underserved borrowers and optimizing data usage. Speakers included Mika Brzezinski from MSNBC, Megyn Kelly with Fox News, U.S. Navy pilots and NASA astronaut twin brothers Mark and Scott Kelly offering their insights and motivations.
All in all, there was a positive undertone as many people believe the worst is behind us with originations volumes in the trillions of dollars again this year. The origination and economic forecast for next year are relatively positive with the purchase market ticking up.
This was a more emotional conference this year as well, with the last issue of Mortgage Banking magazine being issued and its long-time editor, Janet Hewitt, conspicuously absent as she formally retired from her post at MBA back in September. It was sad for me personally because she and I would always grab a cup of coffee (or glass of wine) at each show to catch up on the industry buzz and chat about life. I missed her and her witty perspective on the conference.
I was encouraged to see the new mPower group launch for women in the real estate financial industry. The group’s purpose is to give women in the industry a forum to network, share resources and information and discuss topics that specifically relate to us — a pretty cool idea in my opinion. Some people may ask why the group is necessary. While I have not gotten an official answer from anyone, I think it is necessary to have a group of like-minded people who have things in common, including being a woman in a male-dominated industry, coming together to support and encourage one another on the path to success.
One of the most moving points of this year’s conference was David Stevens discussing his cancer diagnosis and that he is going through treatment. It was obvious as he spoke that this is an issue that hits close to home for many people. Cancer has no respect for the person and has devastated people and families close to many of us. The thing about cancer is that it causes people take stock of their lives and really see what they want, where they want to go and how they want to get there. It’s hard to believe that such a terrible illness has a good side, but if you talk to some people who are going through or have survived treatment, it is humbling and makes you put everything into perspective.
That’s what this year’s MBA Annual seemed to offer the most – perspective. Especially for those of us who have been in the industry for some time. So, despite the potential of rates going up and new regulations affecting our bottom lines, it would do this industry some good to evaluate all that in perspective. We have weathered another year, another cycle and we are still here. We can look to the positive side and improve our industry while creating a strong legacy for the future.