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A few years ago, things looked very bleak for NAMB and for our industry. We weren’t at all certain the country would survive economically, much less our industry. NAMB was $1.5 million in debt and had no money in the bank. Our wholesale lenders were going bankrupt, the big banks had left the wholesale channel, membership was plummeting, and our conferences were only drawing a few hundred people and losing money. Even voices inside NAMB were calling for us to declare bankruptcy and start a new association. A few of NAMB’s top leaders said, “No way! We will not declare bankruptcy. We will not quit! That is not the news that our economy needs. We have a responsibility to our industry and to our country.”
As NAMB’s treasurer, perhaps the only person foolish enough to take the job, I insisted we would survive, no matter what we had to cut and what work we would have to do ourselves. NAMB’s board took on the monumental task of doing all that a paid staffer had done previously. It took a lot of sacrifice. Wounds that had divided our membership and our state chapters were healed, in no small part due to the uncanny ability of Don Frommeyer to build consensus. Within two years, our state chapters were solidly back in the fold and NAMB was in the black. The rest is something of a fairytale-like story.
As people began to realize that NAMB was here to stay, membership began to slowly rise. Our social media channels began to pick up members and followers. Government officials still knew NAMB and probably didn’t realize how perilously close we can come to extinction. Picking up the ball on legislative issues was much easier, especially since we were able to maintain our primary lobbyist, Roy DeLoach.
The last shoe to drop into place was the restoration of NAMB’s conferences. Vince Valvo has been a godsend. He took our great content, sold out the exhibitor booths and made attendance soar.
Today, NAMB is back! Everything NAMB did at its peak is now back in place. Our conferences are great and very well-attended. NAMB National is vying to become the largest mortgage conference in the United States. Top speakers are back at our Legislative & Regulatory Conference, and we will be unveiling the details on NAMB East shortly. We are able to influence lawmakers to introduce legislation favorable to originators and we help the CFPB understand our issues and consider them. Membership had tremendous gains this year. Our social media presence is gaining 20 percent year-over-year. Wholesale lenders are in lock-step with NAMB. Our leadership is nothing less than amazing.
What does all of that mean to you? It means your industry and your job are safer and more productive. When you have a strong trade association, your interests are powerfully protected in many ways. Trade associations help the industry to grow. You are not alone, just as long as we band together to promote our industry and solve our problems. We protect one another because we don’t stand a chance going at it alone. There are still far too many mortgage originators who haven’t gotten that message. If you haven’t joined NAMB, do it today. We have kept NAMB membership costs among the lowest of any national trade association.
You may be reading this article at NAMB National. If so, thanks for coming to Las Vegas. Enjoy yourself at the great parties and social events. Learn how to be the best possible mortgage professional at our sessions, and don’t forget to take advantage of all of the opportunities to learn how to make more money. It is all made possible by your membership in NAMB.
John Councilman, CMC, CRMS of AMC Mortgage Corporation in Ft. Myers, Fla. is immediate past president of NAMB—The Association of Mortgage Professionals. He may be reached by phone at (239) 267-2400 or e-mail [email protected].
This article originally appeared in the October 2015 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.