As a wrap up to the 2009 NAMB/WEST event held in Las Vegas, I am writing this article to accomplish two things: One, to express my sincere appreciation to all the hard workers who made this event in Vegas a great success, and to give a big heartfelt THANKS. I want to say thank you to all who came out to the conference and fully packed the rooms of speakers for each and every session, and to say thanks for your respect that the National Association of Mortgage Brokers would put on a conference that makes it worthy of attendance like in year’s past.
Attendance was strong at the event, with nearly 1,000 attendees making the trip to Vegas for NAMB/WEST. I am pleased to report that we had strong attendance from all of NAMB’s state affiliates. My hat goes off to the state representatives who made this happen in their state. These people took this conference on their backs and pushed it to their state members and provided the reasons why these people needed to attend and be on hand in Las Vegas for the full conference.
The individual speakers all delivered very strong presentations, and must admit that I gained a wealth of great new knowledge out of every time slot. As a veteran of 35 years in the business, I took home some tips and tricks from the speakers and sessions in Vegas that I plan to use in my every day business plans. I am still toying with the fact that some type of video can help us, I just don’t know if America is going to want to look at me day in and day out!
I want to send a big thank you to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage for sponsoring Sunday’s entire day of education.
Dr. Ted C. Jones, director of investor relations for Stewart Information Services, delivered his upbeat 2010 economic forecast to a packed house to kick off Sunday’s mornings events. Members of the NAMB board, including Jim Pair, Harry Dinham, Denise Leonard and Roy DeLoach, provided a very insightful look at the latest in legislative and regulatory changes coming down the pipe. Theresa Ballard of BFO Solutions, Ken Perry of Broker Knowledge and Ginger Bell of Go2Training kept pace with the regulatory updates by focusing in on the SAFE Act, MDIA, HVCC and the Red Flags Rule in their session.
After a lunch break, the afternoon continued with Nancy West from HUD’s presentation on the FHA marketplace and Jeff Wilson from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs dissected VA loans. Sunday’s sessions concluded with a unique first-of-its-kind speed dating style roundtable event where attendees had 10 min. to spend moving from table to table and meeting one-on-one with the industry’s top wholesalers and affiliated service providers. In addition, Rene Rodriguez from Volentum and Fred Arnold from American Family Funding delivered their presentation on honing your leadership skills in a troubling economic environment.
Monday’s sessions focused on networking and social media and we kicked things off with the duo of Blogger Mark Madsen and Mark Green from Top of Mind Networks providing their tips on effectively utilizing social media outlets, such as Twitter and Facebook, to enhance and market your business. In a second Monday morning session, Frank Garay and Brian Stevens from Think Big Work Small discussed how to enhance your business through the use of video. The information we received from Frank and Brian was presented in everyday language that will surely benefit us all.
The exhibitor showcase, as I mentioned earlier, featured nearly 50 companies that wanted to meet with mortgage brokers. The role of the exhibitors, who included the industry’s top lenders and affiliated service providers, was to help the mortgage broker attendees find the newest products and services to enhance their business. I personally went to each booth and they were all inquisitive on how I did business and exactly what type of business I did. They presented me with ideas and plans on how to make my business more profitable and better equipped me to handle the changes that are coming down the pike. The other response from them was to talk to me as a decision-maker in my office and how they might be able to help me improve my loan officer quality and the quality of my business.
I feel a great deal of the success of the exhibit hall may have been attributed to our Free Pass Program. Through the Free Pass Program, managed by National Mortgage Professional Magazine, NAMB industry partners and exhibitors distributed free passes to their clients and their guests that provide access to the expo.
We are now getting ready to start planning the 2010 version of NAMB/WEST. All attendees should receive a survey on the last event. Please help us in the answering the questions so that we may make the necessary changes that will improve this conference for all. I want to thank all of the NAMB staff who came out to help, and even those who stayed back in Washington, D.C., because without you, we cannot pull all of events of this magnitude. I would also like to thank our event planners, Kinsley and Associates … Allison, Stephanie and Devon. You three did a tremendous job, and as smooth as NAMB/WEST 2009 went, the future should be even smoother.
NAMB now turns its attention to Washington, D.C. for its 2010 Legislative & Regulatory Conference, set for Saturday-Wednesday, Feb. 21-24. As our industry faces regulatory pressures on almost a daily basis, now is the time to show our elected officials the important role that mortgage brokers and the mortgage industry will play in the recovery of the American economy. Our strength in numbers through our participation in the Legislative & Regulatory Conference and our march on Capitol Hill will demonstrate to our elected officials that we are here to help and educate the American consumer, contrary to the picture painted by mainstream media. So make you plans today to join us as we take to the halls of Capitol Hill and convey the message of NAMB to the members of Congress. For more information, visit www.namb.org and click on the “NAMB 2010 Legislative & Regulatory Conference” link.
Donald J. Frommeyer is treasurer and Membership Committee chair of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, and senior vice president of Amtrust Mortgage Funding Inc. in Carmel, Ind.