We recently got an email promoting the MBA’s yearly Technology Solutions Conference & Expo (taking place April 11 – 14 in Las Vegas). This is a great show which we at LodeStar try to attend annually. We do produce an online closing cost calculator, after all. But, in most years, we probably wouldn’t have much to say about the show until during or after.
This year, however, feels a little different.
First of all, it will be interesting to see what the attendance (and protocols) for spring industry conferences look like in 2022. We’re not too far removed from the “hybrid” or “online” convention of 2020 and early 2021. Fall of 2021 was a welcome step back toward a more traditional conference season, but it was still a bit unusual. Now, with the pandemic continuing to linger, we’ll be interested simply to see how attendance is, and how MBA manages the health and safety protocols.
The biggest reason we’re excited to experience the 2022 MBA Tech show is that it could be seen as a bit of a litmus test or barometer on the mortgage industry. Specifically, it’s been almost two years since the last live tech conferences. We’ve mentioned in the past that it was interesting to see the tech shows, which had usually been attended primarily by sponsors, vendors, speakers and tech evangelists—anyone but mortgage lending executives—transformed by hundreds if not thousands of lending COOs, CEOs, partners, owners, directors (folks with areas of expertise that were not purely focused on systems or tech) attending sessions and visiting the exhibit hall. In a very visual, if not scientific, way, it was a bit of a snapshot that gave us the impression the mortgage industry might finally—finally!—be starting to embrace technology as a means to battle production costs.
And then, of course, came the Big Shutdown. For good reason, our attention turned to WFH, remote closings and the basic health and well-being of the people in our industry.
We haven’t had a great opportunity to see visual proof of mortgage lenders’ continued interest (or waning interest) in applying more technology to its processes. Until now.
We’ll be especially curious to see if—assuming a large lender crowd does attend—there’s increased interest in technology designed to improve the consumer experience at closing. Or interest in more production-side technology. Or will the focus continue to be on POS and LOS technology, where it’s been predominant for some years.
We’ll also be very interested to see how the content reflects where lender attention, when it comes to technology, is focused. Once upon a time, the sessions seemed to fixate on building the “cradle to grave” mortgage technology, or simply extoling the virtues of the theoretical eMortgage, as if the potential existence of this unicorn needed to be proved. But in the 2018 and 2019 conferences, we saw more focused and dedicated content, which indicated to us that lenders are starting to ask questions harder than “why should we spend on technology?”
We’ve spoken frequently here about the massive need of our industry to start working toward building technologies that collaborate without the need for a physical integration. MBA Tech 2022—even just by what brands and technologies are sponsoring and exhibiting—could give us some insight into how far we’ve come there as well.
It should be an interesting spring on many fronts. We’ll be looking forward to what MBA Tech brings as well. And hey, the show is in Vegas. What could be bad about that?
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