It’s been just over 100 days since I started as MBA’s President and CEO, and it’s been a wonderful experience meeting our members and hearing their priorities for MBA and our industry. It’s no secret that real estate finance is facing headwinds, with limited housing inventory, high home prices, and lower demand for refinancing due to climbing rates (although refis have rebounded somewhat in recent weeks). Bank, nonbank, or credit union — everybody is feeling the pinch, and MBA is working with all its members to see what we can do to help.
Independent Mortgage Banks (IMBs) now comprise the largest source of single-family housing finance, and, as I recently said in a letter to the editor that was published in The Economist, they play a crucial role securing housing finance for many first-time, lower-income, veteran, and minority households. That’s why I am looking forward to attending MBA’s 2019 Independent Mortgage Bankers Conference for the first time as MBA’s President and CEO. Taking place January 28–31 in San Francisco, it’s the largest annual gathering of IMBs in the country. There’s no better place for IMBs to learn from experts and network with colleagues.
The conference is geared toward the topics most vital for IMBs to succeed in today’s market — controlling costs, dealing with liquidity challenges, finding new market opportunities, mitigating risk, and understanding the current political and regulatory landscape. IMBs of all sizes have the opportunity to discuss common business challenges and see the latest technology that companies are using to become more efficient and improve customer experience. We’ll have two primary tracks — one on Business Operations and Compliance, and the other on Innovation and Strategy.
The day before the conference officially begins, MBA is hosting a pre-conference workshop dedicated to Mergers & Acquisitions. I suspect this is a topic of great interest to a good number of people in the IMB space. We’ll cover the ins and outs from the perspective of both the buyer and the seller. With all the M&A activity in the mortgage industry today, IMBs can’t afford to miss this workshop.
Despite the challenging landscape for real estate finance, I am optimistic that our industry will adapt and thrive — including IMBs. With the important role they play for so many homebuyers, especially first-time buyers, I encourage IMBs to register to attend the IMB Conference and stay at the top of their game.