My perspective on the MBA Annual Convention … some bad news and some good news This year's Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Convention in San Diego had a great vibe in the air, reminiscent of better times in this industry (sans overspending on gaudy and lavish parties). It's no wonder since the MBA figures that this year, mortgage originations are projected to be at almost $2 trillion, compared to 2008's mark of $1.5 trillion. However, this number will drop down to around the $1.5 trillion mark in 2011, according to the MBA's Mortgage Finance Forecast released at the event. Sure, seeing that we will lose 25 percent of originations doesn't sound like good news, but there is a silver lining. For 2009, the purchase market is set to represent only 37 percent of originations at $718 billion. However, this number will climb to 63 percent of originations at about $980 billion. This will be done with layers of overlays from mortgage insurance companies and lenders/investors beyond government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) guidelines. However, if your business is generated from real estate agents, builders and other sources of purchase, the next few years will be a GREAT time to be in the mortgage industry. Let's face it ... the refi market is something that the top servicers should be able to capture. Back in the early 2000s, InterFirst CEO William Newman, as keynote speaker at a mortgage broker industry conference, claimed that they were developing systems to capture the refi, thereby ensuring that smaller mortgage bankers and mortgage brokers would rarely see another refi boom. While that statement might have been a little premature, there is no question that the top three banks have been aggressively calling their borrowers, capturing the refi before they call their loan officer, offering refis where they absorb the closing costs and deliver a “can't beat” rate. However, there is no system that can replicate years of experience and reputation of getting deals done and most real estate agents and builders know that. There are 40 Mortgage Professionals of the Month this month! This month, we have shined the spotlight on not just one "Mortgage Professional of the Month," but 40 of the most influential mortgage professionals under the age of 40. We received lots of positive comments for putting a list of this type together, yet there were some who felt a feature dedicated to those under the age of 40 in an industry where most of its leaders are over the age of 40 wasn't sufficient. Sure, there are some mortgage professionals over 40 who have already established themselves as leaders in the industry; however, the idea behind this section was to find tomorrow's leaders. Our process to find these leaders was to first collect nominations from our readers. Those who received numerous verifiable nominations went to the top of the list. The rest of the list was compiled based on production, innovation and community participation. Through this process, we narrowed the list down to the 40 most influential mortgage professionals under 40. Turn to page 28 of this issue to view our first of what we hope to be many, "40 Under 40" features. Are you ready for 2010? In our November 2009 Special Focus, we take a look at “Growth Strategies for 2010.” This set of articles from a number of different industry sources detail ways in which you, as a mortgage professional, can get a step ahead of the competition as we enter a new year. The piece co-authored by David Lykken and Thomas Johnson takes a look at what C-Level executives need to know about 2010 and beyond in forecasting the outlook of the industry, and how ignoring the inevitable could lead to your unfortunate demise. Brad Kelso from Informative Research provides seven tips that he feels will sustain your business in an uncertain market. In the co-authored article by Linda Arcadipane and Mark Schnurman, four tips are presented and detailed to get you through tough regulatory obstacles and guide your business to its most optimal operational efficiency. And finally, Michael Gualtieri takes a look at eliminating paper from your office and consolidating your document shipments will eliminate costly paper trails and help cut unnecessary and often costly shipping costs. As we wind down 2009 and close out the first decade of 2010, I can say it has certainly been quite the rollercoaster ride. From the dot com booms and busts to begin the decade, to the re-structuring of the industry that we are currently experiencing, I’m sure may of you concur with my assessment. Despite the many curveballs thrown at us on the business front, I feel it’s the right time of year to stop, take time to look around at your loved ones and be thankful for what we have. Whether at home or abroad, these people are still there for us, despite the state of our ever-shifting marketplace. Sure, it may be cliché to say, but I am thankful, above all, for my family and friends, who, regardless of the peaks and valleys the mortgage industry has driven us through, are always there despite the state of the market. To them, I give a heartfelt “thank you” and praise them for their support. I’m popping my champagne well before Dec. 31st at midnight … a toast to 2009 and cheers to the successes that lie ahead in 2010. Sincerely, Andrew T. Berman, Executive Vice President NMP Media Corp.