Like all industry shows this spring, attendance was down somewhat from last year at the Title/Appraisal Vendor Management Association's annual convention here in Orlando. But that didn't keep the organization from putting on a great show the first day.
The session speakers were very good and I've heard numerous comments from attendees indicating that they are taking away real value. Example, Monte Jiran, COO of Equity Settlement Services, a title company, told the audience at the technology panel that it's not about what software you choose or what vendors supply it, it's about how the partners you choose to work with work with each other. If they are not willing to "play nice" together for the benefit of his business, he ditches them. That's a contrast from what we often hear on the origination side of the business, where companies keep looking for an end-to-end solution provided by a single vendor. Lenders still seem to be pretending that they want that kind of a one-to-one relationship, but when vendors offer it, they don't buy it.
The title agents and appraisers who come to this show to meet with some of the nation's largest vendor management firms don't have large technology budgets. They need a lot of support and count on a number of vendors to provide them with a quilt of inter-woven solutions. Jiran told attendees to demand that vendor partners come together on every aspect of the platform to make sure that all works.
We also heard from Jeff Thredgold, economic futurist and publisher of the weekly Tea Leaf, as well as leading appraisers who addressed the many changes coming to that side of the business.
I'm down to the floor now to hear attorney Phil Schulman give his keynote. He's always informative and entertaining.