The number of regulations touching the mortgage servicing industry has grown significantly since 2008. That could be the reason more than 2,000 industry professionals registered for the MBA Servicing Conference in Orlando late last month.
Some attendees said this was the biggest MBA Servicing show they had seen in years while others said they were not seeing much traffic on the show floor. The well-attended sessions were an indication that more attendees were there to learn about regulations and how to work more efficiently than to enjoy the sunny weather.
For the industry as a whole, defaults and foreclosures seem to be slowing but everyone agrees that they will never go away completely. More than 35 default services companies were exhibiting. Because so many properties are still bank owned, it was no surprise to see the number of field services and property preservation companies account for more than two dozen of the exhibitors. Overall, there was a good variety of consultants, due diligence and outsourcing related companies represented.
More people say the industry is normalizing. But what is normal now? It’s more like the “new” normal with more regulations to guard against repeating the mistakes that wreaked havoc throughout the industry since 2008. Along with discussions about TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID), some people were talking about the Federal Communications Commission’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which really should have more attention because of the complexity of the rule. Servicers risk being fined ($1,500 per infraction) if they contact consumers via cell phone without their consent. And get this, borrowers can retract their consent at any time. Servicers HAVE to be vigilant about monitoring who has given consent and who has not and then if the consent has been retracted. This could very well prove to be the next big issue for mortgage servicers.
This year the show had free wi-fi and charging stations plus a nice workstation in the middle of the show floor. For folks who needed to handle a few things back at the office as well as check email, these were nice touches. And no conference is complete without the give-away cell phone battery chargers, chocolate, stress relief items and plenty of logoed bags to put them in.
Two things really stood out for me this year: The all-day GOOD coffee bar inside the exhibit hall and the Office Yoga demonstration. Gives you an idea of just how exactly our industry works: We get amped up to meet the challenges of the day, and then we need to take time to relax.