ACUMA 2016 Review: Interview with Bob Dorsa
From September 18 to September 21, 2016, American Credit Union Mortgage Association (ACUMA) held its 20th Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. During the four-day festivities, attendees were able to connect with each other, exchange information and listen to educational seminars from major players in the industry. FICS® has attended the annual ACUMA conference for the past five years and knows just how much of a benefit ACUMA is for the industry.
FICS spoke with Bob Dorsa, president and co-founder of ACUMA, to get his thoughts on the momentous event.
FICS: How was the 20th anniversary of the ACUMA Conference?
Bob Dorsa: ACUMA’s 20th anniversary conference was the largest and, by all accounts, the best ever. Moving the venue from Las Vegas to Washington, D.C. was a bold move by the ACUMA board. Our intent was to show our representatives in Washington (CU Trade Groups, GSEs, CFPB and elected officials) how serious credit unions are when it comes to housing finance. While we had our best week, the largest lender in housing finance, Wells Fargo, seemed to have its worst. I believe the contrast between the two options is remarkable. More consumers are finding credit unions the better choice.
FICS: How was the turnout?
Dorsa: It was our largest turnout with slightly more than 400 participants. Most [participants] were either professional staff from the leading credit unions or Mortgage CUSOs and the remainder were top suppliers serving their clients. Our events have been building steadily, along with our market share, which is now approximately eight percent of all originations nationwide.
FICS: What do you think was the most important topic discussed at the conference and why?
Dorsa: It’s difficult to select just one. Compliance is always necessary these days, and the opportunity to hear very talented and knowledgeable speakers and engage in a Q&A with credit union mortgage lending leaders was outstanding. Hearing from the leaders (presidents of CUNA, NAFCU and NASCUS) in our “Viewpoint Sessions” does not happen often. Sharing the agenda of a single event, joined by senior staff from Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the FHLB, rounded out the Washington, D.C. voice for our event. Keynote speakers like Juliet Funt, WhiteSpace and Lawrence Yun, Ph.D., SVP and Chief Economist from the NAR were also special. A panel of Washington D.C. lobbyists, reporters and ACUMA’s talented advisor Tracy Ashfield was frank and to the point. Even early in the last morning, I could see everyone in attendance was fixated by the discussion. There was an incredible presentation from Craig Martin, of JD Power & Associates, that also provided great insights to consumers in the housing marketplace. Those were the speakers’ highlights, but the true value of the event was the networking among the 400 participants all focused on making credit union mortgage lending the gold standard in our nation.
FICS: What was the topic everyone at the conference was excited to hear/discuss?
Dorsa: The [attendees] were all excited to hear that credit unions are finding their way in to the hearts and minds of homebuyers. From a meager two percent market share nearly a decade ago, our increase is now nearly 400 percent. They were excited to hear this because it was due to the brilliance of many of our participants these results occurred.
FICS: What are you most looking forward to at the 2017 ACUMA Conference?
Dorsa: Getting closer to our double-digit achievement for market share originations.
FICS: Is there anything else you’d like to add or mention?
Dorsa: This was a milestone for me personally. As the co-founder [of ACUMA], we started with a few dozen people 20 years ago and a market share barely recorded or monitored. We have withstood the housing market collapse and the recession of 2009-2010. We did all that and have a stronger and more trusted housing finance brand than ever. I was very humbled by the tribute. However, it is the credit union leadership and [our motto of] always placing the borrower’s interest first that has propelled our growth. I sense that this may in fact be a turning point for our cooperative brand of banking in years to come. Our steadfast trust inherent to credit union members versus the big banks still doing what they have always done has made customers recognize our difference.