The Mortgage Bankers Association‘s Annual Convention and Expo this year is going well. I’m very pleased with the things I’m seeing, all of which are evidence that we’re moving in the right direction as an industry, however slowgoing it may feel. The first thing I noticed this year was that there’s a much bigger trade show floor than we’ve seen in recent years. There are more exhibitors and bigger booths — not the two-story booths that we saw a few years ago, but they’re still larger, nonetheless. This is a good indicator that we’re finally beginning to recover from the housing crash — people are willing to spend money on exhibiting because they feel it is an investment that will pay off. We’re also seeing interesting people from outside the industry with booths on the floor. Home Depot, FedEx and Google particularly stand out in my mind. Just a few short years ago, we weren’t seeing anyone from outside the mortgage industry. It was such a mess that nobody wanted to touch it, so it’s a good sign when outsiders can recognize we’ve turned a corner and want to get back in on the action. I’ve been noticing a lot of lenders coming out of information sessions, as well. Not only does this mean that they are willing to spend the money, but it means that they are genuinely interested in learning how to improve our industry. They want to know how to do things better, and are actively engaged in learning the ins and outs of compliance. Somewhere along the way I heard that there are more than 3,000 people in attendance this year, which is a lot of industry players wanting to improve the mortgage space. Stay tuned. Next week I’ll talk about the not-so-great things I’m seeing at the conference. Rick Grant is veteran journalist covering mortgage technology and the financial industry. Follow him on Twitter: @NYRickGrant
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