NCRA’s 27th Annual Conference was held in November at the historic and beautiful The DeSoto Hotel in Savannah, Ga. This year, more than 140 consumer reporting professionals, representing all three national credit repositories, seven national public record providers, about 80 percent of the mortgage credit reporting industry, and many the nation’s largest resident screening companies, attended the conference. The event kickoff featured a Welcome Reception at the historic DeSoto Hotel, with NCRA’s traditional marketplace and one major change this year, the inclusion of a fundraiser for Homes for Our Troops (HFOT). HFOT had an exhibit, a co-branded booth developed by NCRA member Birchwood Credit, originally designed to help HFOT raise funds at New England area mortgage events. I am delighted to report that NCRA Conference attendees donated $17,350 in less than 48 hours! That’s an average of $121 per person from our group to help build homes for some of America’s bravest who have paid a very high price for the freedoms we all enjoy. We were honored to have as Special Guests Marine Corporal Tony Mullis and Ben MacDonald from HFOT to help us with this fundraiser.
For the next two days, we addressed the latest and most compelling topics in consumer reporting. The Opening Session of the Conference included the annual transfer of the association’s officers. Many thanks to 2019 President Mary Campbell of Advantage Credit in Fargo, N.D. for her service to the association and welcome aboard 2020 NCRA President Bill Bower of Contemporary Information Corporation in Lancaster, Calif. and 2020 Vice President Debbie Loyning of Alliance 2020 in Renton, Wash. Thank you to the outgoing members of the board of directors, including: Julie Wink of DataFacts in Tennessee, Paul Wohkittel of CIS in New Jersey, Gary Glucroft of The Screening Pro’s in California, and Janet Curtis of SARMA in Texas–and thank you Janet for returning for another term. They have all provided NCRA with great leadership over the last several years. We welcome three new directors to the NCRA board: Jeff Gentry of Service First and Jim Norman of MFI Credit Solutions, both in California, will join Mike Brown of CIS in New Jersey, who will transition into NCRA’s leadership. A full list of NCRA’s board of directors
is listed each month on page six of National Mortgage Professional Magazine
and we thank all of our board members for their dedication and contribution to our association and the industry as a whole.
Master of Ceremonies Murem Sharpe made sure the highlights of the agenda were kept on track, starting with the Keynote Address by Bea Wray, author of What Harvard Taught Me But My Kids Made Me Learn, sponsored by TransUnion. Bea delivered an informational and motivational address that focused on leadership and family/career balance as taught by her time earning an MBA with honors at Harvard, and reinforced by her children. Speaking of TransUnion, the teams from Experian and Equifax all delivered information-packed sessions about developments at each of their respective national credit reporting agencies and sponsored many events throughout the Conference.
As usual, the federal government was well-represented again this year. The CFPB’s Assistant Director of Enforcement Susan Stocks and FTC Senior Attorney Tiffany George provided what we refer to as the “State of the Consumer Reporting Union,” as each addressed the group on a variety of issues as the primary regulators for our industry. Along with the regulators, NCRA Legal Counsel Christi Lawson, a partner at Foley and Lardner in Orlando, was kept busy in several sessions that also featured national prominent FCRA counsel of Eileen Ridley, another partner at Foley & Lardner’s San Francisco office. Michael J. Saltz Esq., a partner in Jacobson, Russell, Saltz, Nassim and De La Torre LLP, provided insight on both FCRA and his specialty, resident screening issues. These experienced legal counselors shared insights on both regulations and litigations providing incredible guidance into the ever-changing world of consumer reporting.
NCRA introduced a new strategic alliance partner at the conference, eCredable and their new program “Lift,” which helps consumers capture telecom and utility data not currently being reported to the national credit bureaus, and add it to the national file for insert into at least one of the three bureaus to “Lift” the consumers score. Steve Ely, CEO of eCredable, provided a background on the program and how NCRA members can help mortgage and rental applicants obtain higher scores to help them secure housing. Call an NCRA member to get more information on this valuable program. Ken Twichell, senior vice president of ServiceLink, NCRA’s Flood Services partner, and Sally King, a founding partner at NXG Strategies, offered details on their respective Flood and Identity Theft Restoration programs. Both of these programs have been with NCRA for more than a decade, offering great value to our members and their customers.
The compliance aspect of consumer reporting is always a challenge, and this year, two sessions focused on this ever-important topic. First was an update on the NCRA Compliance Services program, which helps resellers vet the technology providers of the end-users (yes, that’s you mortgage originators), so that everyone is in compliance with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The Experian Third-Party Risk Review is the primary focus of this program currently; however, this is not just an Experian issue as discussed by Roy Goodwin, NCRA CS director; Christi Lawson, NCRA counsel and partner at Foley & Lardner; and Tim Lobdell of Experian, with me serving as moderator. And since compliance is almost all-consuming these days, Jackie Drziak, executive vice president of All in Compliance, provided additional training.
The feature event for networking and entertainment had to be historic in nature, as we found ourselves on hallowed historic grounds. Sponsored by MeridianLink
, we had a “Jazzy Night in Madison Square,” just a few steps from the DeSoto Hotel and in the heart of Savannah’s Historic District. “Savannah Dan,” who is a walking history book, brought to life stories of the American Revolution and Civil War battles that took place on the very ground we stood, to the backdrop of a traditional southern dinner, cocktails and some jazz for a little R&R to break up two long days of educational sessions with true Southern hospitality.
The fun continued with the Annual Awards Luncheon, which featured Advantus’ Michelle Streeto receiving the Directors’ Award and Gary Glucroft receiving the President’s Award. Both of these NCRA members served their company, the association, and the consumer reporting industry with distinction and outstanding service in 2019 and many years prior.
On the GSE front, Mark Fisher, risk management and technology solutions at Fannie Mae, updated attendees on Day One Certainty and how Fannie Mae would be analyzing new credit score options according the FHFA plan for a new score in mortgage lending. Bryan Sawyer with Sharper Lending and Wesley Zauner with MeridianLink
both addressed their firms’ additions to Freddie Mac’s Loan Prospector portal and what that means for their customers. Barrett Burns, CEO of VantageScore, added to the GSE’s process of changing credit score options, which he believes VantageScore should be included. This change will not come quickly, as both Barrett and Mark outlined a multi-year process that will kick off in 2020.
Last, but certainly not least, a session titled “Inside the Beltway–A D.C. Report and Discussion with NCRA’s Lobby Team” had me as the Referee/Moderator between Roy DeLoach, a registered Republican Lobbyist and Mike Chapman, a registered Democrat Lobbyist, and both partners at DC Strategies. From the impeachment process, to the GSE’s going private, and the elections in November 2020, with everything you might imagine in between, we hashed out various scenarios regarding Capitol Hill activities. There was only one conclusion we all agreed upon, the remainder of 2019 and the year 2020 will be very interesting.
Next year, NCRA’s 28th Annual Conference will be held the first week of November in Tucson, Ariz. Stay tuned for details!
Terry Clemans is executive director of the National Consumer Reporting Association (NCRA). He may be reached by phone at (630) 539-1525 or e-mail TClemans@NCRAInc.org.
This article originally appeared in the December 2019 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.
Attendees take part in the Day Two Sessions
CFPB Assistant Director of Enforcement Susan Stocks delivers the “State of the Consumer Reporting Union” report
Special Guests Marine Corporal Tony Mullis and Ben MacDonald detail the Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) fundraiser program
Bea Wray, author of What Harvard Taught Me But My Kids Made Me Learn, delivers her Keynote Presentation
NCRA hosted its “Jazzy Night in Madison Square” as part of its 27th Annual Conference in Savannah, Ga.
The gavel of NCRA leadership is passed as Executive Director Terry Clemans and Immediate Past President Mary Campbell welcome new NCRA President Bill Bower
Chris Papastathis of Experian was on hand to share the latest news from his firm
A packed house listens in on Keynote Speaker Bea Wray’s presentation
NCRA Executive Director Terry Clemans presents outgoing Board member Janet Curtis with an award for her service to the association
NCRA Executive Director Terry Clemans presents Advantus’ Michelle Streeto with the Directors’ Award
NCRA Immediate Past President Mary Campbell presents Gary Glucroft with the NCRA President’s Award