The Mortgage Bankers Association kicked off Monday morning with its Industry Welcome, which included a special interview with Fox News Anchor Megyn Kelly.
Thousands of mortgage bankers and industry experts poured into the second floor auditorium to hear from industry experts such as Quicken Loans CEO Bill Emerson and MBA CEO David Stevens.
Overall, these leaders were optimistic about the state of the economy. In fact, Stevens even ventured to say it was better than ever.
“Lending is safer and sounder than any time in history,” he said.
While they agreed the housing industry recovered from the Great Recession, both agree that there are still more improvements to be made. They focused on three, specifically, that the industry is beginning to see.
“Change brings challenge, but with challenge comes opportunity,” new MBA Chairman Rodrigo Lopez said.
If you can only remember three things from this conference, make it these three. As Emerson puts it, these changes are coming whether we like it or not – it’s better to be prepared.
1. A movement towards more technology.
“Technology is coming to our industry…so we can get on the bus or get left behind,” Emerson said.
Some companies are already moving towards a more digital world, but for others it will require many changes.
“Technology presents a new frontier…we must be ready,” Lopez said.
As Millennials move into the housing market, and new studies suggest that could be soon, they will want, no – expect, a lender that relies heavily on technology.
2. The level of diversity.
The Millennial generation actually has the largest share of immigrants, Lopez said.
Because of this, “The face of America is evolving,” he said. “Cultural diversity leads to broader ideas and greater success.”
Minorities are starting to play a much larger role in the housing market. In 2015 immigrants were the only group that increased its homeownership rate, and they are closing the gap with native-born U.S. citizens.
Stevens continued his call to lessen the regulation restraints enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
While those regulations had a place during the housing crisis, it’s important to find a balance between consumer protection and lender safety, Stevens said.
He renewed his call for a housing policy director at the White House in order to represent the needs of the housing industry in Washington.
“This is not just a dream, it’s the only option,” Stevens said. “It’s the only way to untangle the confusion and imbalances. It’s the only way to avoid the housing crisis to come.”
So far, many of the experts at the conference say the same thing: The industry is headed in the right direction, but many changes are still needed.