Our team's takeaways from MBA Annual 2019 - Blog | Blend

Collaboration, conservatorship, and other insights from our time at MBA Annual 2019

MBA Annual 2019 brought a variety of industry experts together for knowledge and perspective sharing last week in Austin, TX. MBA economists forecast a slowdown in originations for 2020 and an uptick in first-time homebuyers over the next three years. Competition will be ever-challenging, and we’re prepared to help our customers differentiate themselves in a tough market. We attended a multitude of sessions, and these are our key takeaways.

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Collaboration is driving progress

We love to see our long-term customers presenting compelling thought leadership. U.S. Bank is employing technology to improve the customer experience and achieving this in collaboration with Blend and Fannie Mae. During Banding Together for the Borrower Experience of the Future, Blend’s President Tim Mayopoulos was joined by Henry Cason from Fannie Mae and Thomas Wind from U.S. Bank. They discussed their partnership on One-tap Pre-approval for Mortgage and how the three organizations banded together to create something they wouldn’t have been able to accomplish alone. One-tap shows customers their buying power and allows them to download a pre-approval letter on the spot.

Wind knew U.S. Bank’s expertise lay in its understanding of customer needs and their team’s role as a trusted advisor. Cason noted Fannie Mae’s existing framework and dedication to their own customers. Both recognized the need to create the next evolution of Instant Decision, but knew they didn’t have the technological expertise to create the best experience possible. Blend was uniquely positioned to help Fannie Mae and U.S. Bank by leveraging its core capabilities and “freshness of thought,” as Wind put it, to build One-tap with these two strong partners.

We’ve learned a lot from this collaboration and will continue to choose strong and communicative partners. We value partnerships that allow us to impact the project at hand through our unique perspective and technological expertise.

The more things change…

The state of conservatorship for the GSEs was a hot topic during multiple sessions, and we were able to gain insight into the viewpoints of government agencies and the GSEs themselves. The GSEs are going through big changes as they prepare to exit conservatorship, but their leaders are serious about keeping their core principles. Mark Calabria, director of the FHFA, outlined his plan for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to re-commercialize, emphasizing the positive effects that recapitalization will have for the two companies, particularly in the event of an economic downturn. Fannie and Freddie are also preparing for competition in the secondary market, to which Hugh Frater, Fannie Mae CEO, says “Bring it on.”

Susan Stewart, Vice-Chairman of the MBA and CEO of SWBC Mortgage, led a panel in which David Brickman, CEO of Freddie Mac, said that ending conservatorship will be positive for both companies, allowing them more room to focus on existing priorities including affordable housing. Brickman and Frater also noted the importance of innovation and technological agility in order to better serve customers in today’s competitive environment. Commitment to customers has long been important to both companies, and their leadership made it clear that this will continue. Cason called this commitment “almost an obsession,” saying Fannie won’t write a line of code without customer input. Brickman emphasized that the pursuit of these priorities will all be done in a way that serves the larger goal of exiting conservatorship.

With Blend’s President Tim Mayopoulos at the helm of Fannie Mae post-collapse and throughout their entry into conservatorship, we have a lot of insight into how to continue to work with the GSEs, whether or not conservatorship ends anytime soon.

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