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MBA Servicing 2017: Addressing Bias and Technology Among Keys to Growth

MBA Servicing 2017: Addressing Bias and Technology Among the Keys to GrowthThis year’s MBA Servicing Conference & Expo returned to Dallas, Texas where 2,300 registered attendees continued conversations about the high cost of doing business, the uncertainty surrounding compliance and how to use technology to help save money. There were also general sessions that included a look at loss mitigation now that HAMP is scheduled to expire by the end of the year. The show’s attention grabber was an interview with Dallas’ own Pro Football Hall of Famer, Roger Staubach.

One thing that stood out at MBA Servicing was the recently established professional women’s’ group, MBA Promoting Opportunities for Women to Extend their Reach (mPower). This group, which focuses on creating opportunities to leverage the power and influence of women, had its second meeting during the conference and featured a timely conversation around bias. According to 2016 data from Leanin.org and McKinsey Women in the Workplace study, 46 percent of the entry level positions in corporate America went to women. The representation decreased significantly in managerial (37 percent), director (33 percent), vice president (29 percent), senior vice president (24 percent) and C-suite (19 percent) positions.

mPower keynote speaker, Lissiah Hundley, who recently joined Comcast as vice president of workforce diversity and inclusion and university relations, reminded the audience that everyone who has a brain has biases. No matter how tolerant we think we are, we all have unconscious biases, and they can limit an organization’s growth if they are allowed to affect the decision making process. Her speech was a reminder of the importance of addressing biases honestly in order to grow as an industry. It is important that companies have conversations regarding bias – even if it is uncomfortable – to ensure they can move forward successfully.

Another topic that stood out was blockchain and how it can be used for the mortgage industry. As the mortgage servicing industry looks for ways to cut costs that are both efficient and compliant, the use of blockchain may become more commonplace. A blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of ordered records, or blocks. Each of the blocks contains a timestamp and a link to a previous record. The idea is to build an open, accessible platform and track the changes made by users. There is talk that such a platform would significantly lower the cost of servicing with its open architecture. As more people in the industry become comfortable with the concept of blockchain and address the security issues, we will hear more about its benefits.

In an industry where conferences are a place to showcase the newest and latest, I would not be surprised to see a blockchain company there in the near future.

All in all, it was a good conference with a positive outlook on the future of the industry. In fact, several of my clients said it was one of the most productive conferences for them when it came to important meetings and informative sessions. See you next year right back in Dallas when the MBA returns to the Gaylord Texan Feb. 6.

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