MBA’s Independent Mortgage Bankers Conference 2018

Gwen Muse Evans

Gwen Muse Evans, President & CEO, GME Enterprises a management consulting and professional services firm headquartered in Chevy Chase

Over 800 attendees were part of the MBA’s Independent Mortgage Bankers (IMB) Conference in Amelia Island Florida this week.  The conference set new records of attendance which validates the increasingly important role that independent mortgage bankers, who now represent more than 50 percent of all mortgage originations volume, play in the mortgage market.  The conference breakout sessions focused on providing practical strategies and tips to mortgage bankers that can be applied to strengthen operations, raise awareness of industry/policy trends, and incorporate changes to improve bottom line numbers.  The MBA and many of the industry leaders who were presenting emphasized a continued commitment to enhancing diversity and inclusion. It makes good business sense to promote diversity and inclusion as it enhances decision making and helps mortgage bankers meet the needs of an increasingly diverse marketplace.

I was privileged to be invited as a speaker as part of the Business Operations and Compliance track for a session entitled “Three Great Ideas to Tighten Your Operational Efficiency.”  The topic was near and dear to my heart since, through our risk management practice, we see some companies that demonstrate strong operational efficiency and demonstrate industry-leading practices that are worth sharing.  I was thrilled to see many of my former colleagues from companies that I’ve worked for throughout my career in the audience.  The panel discussion was moderated by David Lykken, President of Transformational Mortgage Solutions.  Co-panelists were Frank Fiore, President of Matchbox, Inc and Brent Chandler, Founder & CEO of FormFree.  The panelists led a lively discussion and provided strategies centered on three themes:  Being Proactive, Workflow and Consistency.  The discussion was particularly timely given the challenges many lenders face in this highly-regulated environment with multiple examinations, often concurrently, happening throughout the year.  Regulatory and investor audits can often cause lenders to divert resources and incur additional compliance costs, which can be a challenge to ongoing attempts to maintain operational efficiency. 

The discussion on being proactive resonated with me as it made me reflect on some of the information discussed at the MBA conference mPower events.  I have been especially excited about the mPower events that have been scheduled at recent MBA conferences.  mPower organized a popular women’s networking event on Day 3 of the conference entitled “You Say More Than You Think,” facilitated by Janine Driver, New York Times best-selling author and body language expert.  Ms. Driver led a motivational and high-energy session during which she taught participants how to use body language to be proactive and convey confidence and leadership.  There were periods in the session where we laughed and we cried.  She made the session particularly memorable by using photo examples of engagements captured during the IMB conference – which surprised several of the participants attending the session.  Participants received a body language guide of strong gestures to continue/begin (i.e. hand steepling), those to use thoughtfully/cautiously (i.e. crossed arms/ankles), and those to stop using (i.e. covering throat).  If you’re confused, talk to anyone who attended and we’d love to share what we learned.  Participants were left with lasting impressions and inspired to be proactive in communicating and looking at the world differently!

Another impactful session, for me, was entitled “What is Your Legacy” and featured New York Times best-selling author Brad Meltzer.  During the session, Meltzer posed some provocative questions to the audience:   

Who’s going to remember you? 

How will you be remembered? 

What do you want your legacy to be?

During this time of year when many of us, myself included, are trying to complete New Year’s resolutions and setting priorities and work goals, it was a great reminder of what really matters: spending quality time with loved ones and making a positive impact on those around us.  As explained by the presenter, what we do for others is our legacy. 

We all have four types of legacy: 

1) Family;

2) Friends, Co-Workers, Teachers, Mentors;

3) Community Impact; and

4) Strangers. 

We need to dream big!  Through hard work, with a side dose of stubbornness, you can achieve anything.  We all have the ability to effect a change in the world.  I was reminded of a quote by Mahatma Ghandi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

I thoroughly enjoyed the conference for the personal connections, time for reflection, and the fantastic sessions.  Next year’s IMB conference will be in San Francisco, CA.  Hope to see you there!

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