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MBA and NAR going virtual with all remaining 2020 events

Both associations cite health and safety concerns as leading factors

On Wednesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association announced that all in-person scheduled events will be transitioned to a virtual format through December. The MBA made the decision after evaluating the re-opening protocols of host cities, the release said.

“As our nation continues to experience the impact of COVID-19, the health and safety of our members, staff, and hotel partners remains our top priority,” the MBA said.

In early May, MBA Chief Operating Officer Marcia Davies was hopeful to bring back in-person attendance starting with the Risk Management, QA & Fraud Prevention Forum scheduled for Sept. 13-15. However, the MBA wishes to give hotel and convention center partners the time to develop and implement social distancing and sanitation protocols, according to the release.

As of today, the MBA’s online calendar shows in-person events beginning Jan 25, 2021, for the Independent Mortgage Bankers Conference in Austin, Texas.

“As we look beyond 2020, we are working diligently with our members, hotel partners and host cities with the desire to be able to resume large in-person conferences in 2021,” the MBA said. 

The National Association of Realtors also announced that the 2020 Realtors Conference and Expo, originally scheduled for November in New Orleans, will be converted to a fully virtual format.

After conducting multiple surveys last month to gauge member’s and association staff’s willingness to attend in-person, 67% of nearly 4,000 responses noted lingering safety concerns, continued expectations to avoid crowds and lack of certainty a vaccine will be available by that time, according to the release.

“While positive indicators begin to show our economy is rebounding and treatment options for COVID-19 are proving more effective, so much remains unknown about this virus and the circumstances we will face as a nation come this fall,” said NAR President Vince Malta. “In order to prioritize the health and safety of our members, staff and sponsors, NAR looks forward to hosting a fully virtual REALTORS Conference & Expo this November.”

In March, the NAR canceled its Joint AE Institute and Realtor Broker summit originally scheduled for that month and transitioned to its first-ever virtual iteration in May, the release said.

“While maintaining our primary focus on the safety and well being of our members, NAR has used the circumstances surrounding this pandemic to consider how we can evolve and better prepare for the markets of the future,” said NAR CEO Bob Goldberg.

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