17th Annual Eastern Secondary Kicks Off Summer In-Person Conference Season

In-person conferences are back! The most recent conference, the Mortgage Bankers Association of Florida’s 17th Annual Eastern Secondary Market Conference and 67th Annual Convention, gave attendees a welcome reminder in the value of networking, sharing ideas, and conducting business face to face.


The conference hosted several panels, such as Non-QM—Past, Present and Future State, Remarks from Rob Chrisman, and Disrupt or be Disrupted. Several MCT employees were in attendance, including Tom Farmer, Page Woodall, David Burress, and Ben Itkin, who was a panelist on the Capital Markets Executive Panel. Though the Supreme Court’s FHFA decision was not rendered until the final day, there was much for attendees to discuss, such as shrinking margins across various lending channels, changing Gfees, the continued digitization of the mortgage space, and 2nd home and nonowner-occupied caps.


The elephant in the room at any conference is where interest rates are headed, and the Eastern Secondary Market Conference was no exception. Treasury rates have moved down in recent weeks, though mortgage rates have been stubborn largely due to fear among MBS investors of prepayment risk. Mortgage companies that react well to rate movement rather than predict where rates are going to go will always have the advantage over competitors. The question among attendees was if inflation will eventually be enough to drive rates higher. U.S. Treasuries still have good demand among overseas money managers, which keeps the price high and rates low.


The “game changers” participants were chatting about were how direct lending continues to have a big impact on helping companies around the thin margins of correspondent lending, and how machine learning, artificial intelligence, and OCR systems are allowing companies to do more with less people, speeding up the lending process dramatically. At the end of the day, mortgage banking is a people business, but there is a lot to be said for eliminating friction between application and closing.


The Capital Markets Executive panel garnered particular interest among attendees, and was conducted in front of a packed exhibition hall. Joining Ben Itkin, MCT’s Managing Director of Business Development, was Chris Bennett, Principal, Vice Capital Markets and Bill Cosgrove, CMB, President/Chief Executive Officer, Union Home Mortgage. The panel was moderated by Michelle Knoebel, CMB, SupportLink3.


Much of the time was spent talking about eroding margins in wholesale and consumer direct. Demand is inelastic, meaning that overly tight margins will help things right themselves as it forces companies out of the space. Originators are in the business of providing liquidity, and we have seen the industry go from record volumes last year to squeezing every basis point out of production this year. Mr. Itkin mentioned the MCT Enhances best Execution (EBX) tool to help companies determine which loans to retain. Panelists agreed that the private market is in price discovery mode, meaning the private market will eat up the Fannie and Freddie 2nd home and nonowner-occupied production if pricing continues to worsen.


Events are relatively quiet in July, but in August, September, and October, things really ramp up:


We look forward to seeing you there!