One man’s perspective on the MBA Secondary Conference…

I had the privilege of attending the MBA’s Secondary Conference in New York City a couple of weeks ago.  I love this conference. It’s one of the few times of the year when I can get together with the folks I work with all year to talk about the segments and markets on which we focus (correspondent, warehouse and even a little wholesale).  We’re not talking about compliance (as much as we do at other conferences, anyway).  We’re not discussing REO.  We’re talking secondary market.  It’s a great place to do business and renew acquaintances.

This year’s event felt a bit like a crossroads to me. A crossroads after a long, cold winter. The telling clue was that there were not as many attendees as I’ve seen in the past.  The big conversation topic was really…”what’s it going to be?” Capital and lack thereof ; self-starter LOs; branches, overhead, reduced margins and so on.  Maybe even a few regrets from bankers who now wish they’d have gone to medical school!

I heard a lot of speculation about what tomorrow will bring.  Nobody knows…and yet, everyone knows. Or at least they have a theory or opnion.  As I heard it, rates will go up and rates will go down. There was a lot of “what to do” and more “what to do?”

There was discussion about MSR financing, sub debt, mergers ,shutting down  and reduced warehouse costs . In fact, there was all kinds of talk but I don’t know how much action will come of it. “Did you hear that so-and-so went out?”  “Did you hear that our old friend just sold his business?”  I saw a lot of tired people.  My guess is that many of them only 12 months ago were expecting the trees to grow through the clouds.  I also saw many who knew the recent boomlet couldn’t and wouldn’t last.

So I guess you could say that the one takeaway I brought back home on the plane with me was…”what is going to be?”

Stay tuned.

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