Written by Michael Banner, as originally published in The Reverse Review.

This year’s Expo will be held October 24-26 at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. Considering the changes we have seen in our industry these last 12 months, as well as the changes about to take place, it is more important than ever that as many of us attend as possible. And when I say “many of us,” I mean independents.

I’m sure the big boys – the few that are left – have their plane tickets and hotel reservations. I’m sure they have blocked out those days on their calendars and confirmed with the powers that be that their expense accounts will cover their meals and expenses for those few days.

It’s just a little different for those of us who actually depend on funding loans to cover these expenses. Do I sound bitter? I hope not. It is not my intention.

I am very glad the location is on the East Coast as I am located in Florida and it is much more convenient than coming out to California, as I have done several times. However, this does make it much more inconvenient for our friends on the West Coast, which is a real bummer because many of the great players of the industry are out there. Nothing can be done about that.

I like the premise of having the Expo on the East Coast one year and West Coast the next. Kudos to NRMLA!

But I would like to point something out.

The backbone of the mortgage industry has always been the independent. The largest players in the nation have always seen the most success from their wholesale division, not retail. This is a fact, not an opinion. And the reverse mortgage industry is no exception.

Now before all my friends in Met retail or Genworth retail start sending me mean emails, let’s all take a deep breath. This is the mortgage industry; accept it. It always has been and always will be.

With the untimely exits of BOA and Wells Fargo, the backbone of this industry needs to know that the few giants that remain are here to stay. And the best way to get that message across is at this trade show!

For those of you that haven’t had the pleasure of meeting the national players, this is the time and place to do it. Have a conversation with Peter Bell and the staff from NRMLA and see the passion they have for this great industry. Meet the players of Met, Genworth, Security One Lending, Reverse it! and others (no one was intentionally omitted; I just can’t list them all), and witness their commitment to not only seeing our industry survive, but prosper!

All that being said, maybe having this Expo in one of the most expensive cities in the country – and at one of the most expensive waterfront hotels in that city – might not have been the best decision.

I know all the big boys will be there, but how many of the hundreds of producing loan officers I converse with on LinkedIn will be there? These are the producers, these are the people that have survived these last two terrible years and these are the people that should be there. Hmm…

Here is my suggestion for next year: Vegas, baby!

The deals are always incredible. The flights and hotels are within reach of the masses! Remember the masses?

Many of you may be smiling at this, but I am dead serious. In addition to the financial reasons, many would consider making this trip a vacation, with our wives or girlfriends (or both!). This is why so many large conventions are held in Vegas. It increases attendance. And higher attendance is good for all.

The year after that it’d be back to the East Coast for Disney World here in Orlando. The same reasons apply.

Think about it…because this is the last word.