Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Plenty of Technology at MBA Annual

I was lucky enough to be on hand for the Mortgage Bankers Association's 98th Annual Convention and Expo in Chicago. It was quite a show. You've probably already heard about the nightmares people had trying to get cell phone coverage in the exhibit hall--three stories below street level. But you may not have heard about the wealth of technology that was available for sale on the exhibit hall floor.

I was quite pleased to see about twice as many exhibitors as I've seen at any show in the past five years. While I still heard the customary complaints from vendors about the lack of herds of mortgage lenders on the floor, I also saw quite a few talking serious business. Some even told me they had inked important deals at the show.

This is a good sign. It tells me that people are investing money in exhibiting--something that is not for the faint of heart or budget--and expecting it to pay off. This is a far cry from the hunkering down I've seen vendors engaging in for the past few years. It also tells me that I'm likely to have some cool new technology stories to tell you in the space in the near future. I'm looking forward to that.

Not everyone was as impressed with the show as I was. Phil Hall, editor of Secondary Marketing Executive, wrote this in his column this week:
Stevens, reacting to the protestors that crashed the MBA's party, remarked, "You're not going to get anywhere simply by yelling outside." Maybe not, but the MBA certainly isn't getting anywhere by boasting that it has its hands on the steering wheel while ignoring that the vehicle has already run out of gas.
The MBA, as an organization, has always faced challenges when it comes to getting their messages out efficiently. To me, the proof is in the pudding and regardless of what MBA leadership--or the protestors who are lining up to be the organization's protagonists--if people start selling and using new technology in our space, it's a sure sign that things are turning around.

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