Last month I had the good fortune to attend the Crittenden Real Estate Finance Conference in Miami. This was the fifth year in a row that I have attended, has been a conference panelist three of those years. One might wonder why I would return year after year, to the same conference, with largely the same organizations represented at the conference. I can honestly say that I have never actually met a client at this event, and it certainly consumes a significant amount of time, money and effort in order to attend the conference, so again, you may ask, why bother attending at all? The answer is, of course, obvious and simple, INFORMATION!
The principal of mortgage banking is rather easy, an intermediary presents a lender to a borrower to fund some type of real estate project. In practice, it is far more nuanced and convoluted. Lenders often times have geographic and product type limitations, others provide a slew of financial products, such as preferred equity, mezzanine debt, and senior secured debt. Some lenders are willing to provide high leverage, and in turn, command premium pricing, while others would rather be lower on the capital stack, but offer reduced rates for lower risk. The challenges that professional mortgage bankers face, is understanding who the appropriate lender is at a particular moment in time, in order to fill the simple mandate of introducing a borrower to a lender that will fund a particular project.
Getting back to the Crittenden Conference, I am a loyal patron of this conference, because every year 300+ lenders attend, share with there colleagues, peers, and other industry professionals, what there particular platform is doing at that moment in time. Every year it astonishes me how lenders that I heard the previous year, saying they would never do such and such, are now the leader in the industry for that very product, while the product they were well known for, is no longer one they are willing to provide. The capital markets are a living, breathing creature that is constantly morphing and changing. New lenders emerge with regularity, and staple lenders that have been around for decades often times change there focus. While I would like nothing more than to go to every conference and come home with a new client, sometimes coming home with information can be far more rewarding and beneficial. I am already looking forward to next year’s event!