winter is winding down, and that means conference season is in full swing in the mortgage industry. These events are a great opportunity for mortgage professionals — not to mention your favorite journalists covering the industry — to get a firsthand view of the most pressing issues and trends facing lenders and servicers.
For example, the recent natural disasters in California and Texas were top of mind among executives at the recent Mortgage Bankers Association’s Servicing Conference. The productive dialogue at the event addressed servicers’ many challenges assisting borrowers in need, including how to implement action plans for disaster response to comparing strategies for loss mitigation and avoiding foreclosure.
Conference agendas are also a great bellwether for where the industry is headed. Take last year’s MBA Annual in Denver, where for the first time in recent memory, the broker/wholesale channel was a featured topic at the industry’s largest conference.
Don’t look now, but the brokers are back. Their resurgence is being fueled by lenders with a desire to feed their origination machines returning to the wholesale channel, along with a new breed of mortgage broker that’s tech savvier and more sophisticated than its predecessors that flourished during the housing boom.
Case in point: during a panel I participated in at a recent mortgage technology conference, a millennial-aged broker in the audience asked a series of in-depth questions about application program interfaces, or APIs, and software development kits, or SDKs, the tools that developers use to build integrations and facilitate data exchanges between tech platforms.
As this month’s cover story explains, wholesale lending can be a very successful endeavor, as the channel solidifies its rebound from the depths of the housing bust. And with many of the new brokers entering the business from other origination sectors, the shift marks a reverse of the “broker-to-banker” migration that occurred in the wake of the crisis.
While wholesale lenders and brokers are still far removed from their heyday, the channel has a much brighter future than many foresaw just a few years ago.
Editor in Chief