It was wonderful to see so many MBA members here in Washington last week for our Annual Convention & Expo. Seeing how the sausage is made from behind the scenes for the first time, I can tell you that a lot of work goes into Annual to make it such a successful event. I can also tell you that the MBA family was only too happy to welcome the country’s largest gathering of real estate finance professionals, more than 4,200, to our home here in Washington. And hosting Annual in Washington gave MBA members the opportunity to hear directly from the policymakers whose decisions impact our industry.
It was a jam-packed four days with a lot of big names: Former Fed Chair Dr. Janet Yellen shared her thoughts on the economic outlook; OMB Director and Acting BCFP Director Mick Mulvaney discussed his priorities for the Bureau; FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery talked about the importance of FHA modernization and his vision to achieve it; and Craig Phillips, Counselor to the Treasury Secretary, gave an outline of the administration’s vision for GSE reform.
There was activity everywhere, with 187 exhibitors in the expo hall, nonstop programming on the Discovery Stage in the HUB, numerous opportunities to network at receptions, and three separate breakout session tracks covering everything from the latest policy concerns to new trends to help members expand their businesses.
The impressive growth of MBA’s Opens Doors Foundation (ODF) continued at Annual, with a fundraising donor reception and a surprise $10,000 donation from Magic Johnson. In all, more than $680,000 was raised to support ODF at Annual this year—a record.
MBA won’t stop working for you now that Annual is over. We are here in Washington representing our members all year: on Capitol Hill, with regulators, with the White House, and in the states. We work for our members on issues large and small; improving the loan officer compensation regulations, fixing the orphaned VA loan problem, and ongoing efforts at GSE reform are just a few examples.
Election Day is less than two weeks away, but I can tell you that MBA will be representing your issues no matter who wins. Housing policy is bipartisan and touches every family in this country. Despite the challenges facing our industry, I look forward to the year ahead and remain optimistic about the future for real estate finance.