Thank you to the over 2,000 mortgage industry professionals who joined us in Dallas, TX September 18-20, 2023 for the 20th-anniversary celebration of Five Star Conference and Expo.
We hope you enjoyed all of the insightful sessions, learned new information you can apply to your daily work, and are leaving with many fruitful new connections. We appreciate everyone who attended, all of our speakers, and all our sponsors who made the event possible.
Read on for a recap of the conference sessions and events.
Legal League Summit Sets the Stage
The 2023 Five Star Conference kicked off with the much-anticipated and members-only Legal League Servicer Summit. Legal League members and invited Lenders, Servicers, Government Entities and GSEs gathered to delve deep into the legal intricacies shaping the mortgage landscape. Discussions centered around emerging regulations, where experts delved into the challenges and opportunities presented by evolving regulations. Attendees gained a comprehensive understanding of compliance measures, and an overview of the legal framework governing the industry1.
FORCE New Member Mixer
The conference also kicked off with a warm welcome for new FORCE members at the FORCE New Member Mixer. Attendees gathered in a relaxed setting, where they had the opportunity to network and forge connections with fellow industry professionals and notably, the FORCE Advisory Council. Insights and experiences were shared as new members embarked on their journey with the FORCE.
The Force Rally: Energizing the Industry
A highlight of Day 1 was the Force Rally + Reception. This high-energy event brought together FORCE members and invited asset managers, fostering collaboration and camaraderie. Discussions ranged from the state of the market to effective training principles, commercial REO, soft skills, and how to succeed in any market conditions. Brandon Lawler, Director Real Estate Marketing & Sales, Fannie Mae delivered a Keynote Address regarding the State of the REO Market. Attendees left the Rally inspired and equipped for success in the REO sector2.
Exhibit Hall Welcome Social
Attendees stepped into the heart of the conference action at the Exhibit Hall Welcome Social. This lively gathering provided a prime opportunity to explore the latest innovations and services from industry-leading exhibitors. Experts were engaged with, cutting-edge solutions were discovered, and lasting connections were built.
Opening Night Reception
Set against the backdrop of industry excellence, the Opening Night Reception, sponsored by Xome, offered an evening of celebration and networking. Attendees enjoyed a curated private reception experience with peers while soaking in the vibrant atmosphere of the conference.
Lending Forum Spotlights Industry Trends
Day two of the conference brought the spotlight to the Lending Forum. A Keynote Address was presented by Stanley C. Middleman, Founder, President, and CEO of Freedom Mortgage Corporation, who provided an in-depth state-of-the-industry keynote. In the panel discussion following, experts explored current trends and innovations in lending, shedding light on strategies to navigate an evolving market. A topic focus was on how the industry can further support and expand the American Dream of homeownership. Attendees gained valuable insights into the future of lending, ensuring they stay ahead of the curve3.
REO Courses Open to All
The FORCE sponsored an opportunity for any and all conference attendees to learn the ins and outs of REO through seven curated REO courses. Topics covered included Commercial REO, BPOs & ARVs, Reverse Mortgages, Short Sales 101, How to Get and Keep HUD Listings, Comprehensive Main Scope Rehab, and Preparing for Hedge Funds.
Executives Gather to Discuss Property Preservation
The conference included a well-attended discussion on Property Preservation and Management. Industry leaders came together to explore strategies for maintaining and safeguarding properties, a critical aspect of the mortgage process. This session provided critical awareness into ensuring the long-term viability of properties in the market4.
Single-Family Rental Roundtable: Navigating New Horizons
The Single-Family Rental Roundtable provided strategic intelligence into the growing market of rental properties. Industry leaders explored strategies for success in this dynamic sector, emphasizing the need for innovation and adaptability. Attendees left with a fresh perspective on the evolving landscape of single-family rentals5.
Bourbon & Bubbles – AMDC Happy Hour
Hosted by the American Mortgage Diversity Council (AMDC), “Bourbon & Bubbles” offered a vibrant networking opportunity. Attendees connected over light bites and engaged in purposeful conversations on DEI topics. Tables rotated every five minutes, fostering new connections and ideas for DEI initiatives in work and life.
Keys for Life Gala – Recognizing 30 Years of Mortgage Excellence
A highlight of Day 2 was the celebration of the Keys for Life Gala. The program paid tribute to pioneers and visionaries who have made significant contributions to the mortgage sector. This memorable event was a testament to the industry’s growth and adaptability over the decades6. The evening also featured the Five Star Institute paying tribute to a number of U.S. military veterans during a special presentation. A donation of $10,000 was made on behalf of Guardian Asset Management to the Military Warriors Support Foundation.
Another special moment of the Gala was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Kim Yowell, EVP of Servicing for Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. The award celebrated an individual who has demonstrated exceptional dedication and contributions to the mortgage industry over the years. It was a fitting tribute to someone who Steve Jacobson, Founder and CEO of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation referred to as “an expert in the field of servicing.” Jacobsen continued, “Any mortgagee would be able to trust a person like Kim Yowell.” 7
Servicers Shine: Acknowledging Excellence
The last day of the conference shined the spotlight on servicers during the Mortgage Servicing Forum. A Keynote Address from Ann Thorn, Head of Home Loan Servicing with Wells Fargo discussed the current state of the mortgage servicing space, the impact of rules and regulations on the industry, and the future of industry. The session panels highlighted the exceptional contributions of servicers in the industry, the latest trends and innovation in mortgage servicing technology, and an array of regulatory concerns currently facing the servicing space8.
Meaningful connections were forged at FORCE Connect, a dedicated networking event designed to facilitate valuable interactions between FORCE members and Asset Managers. Insightful conversations were engaged in and relationships built, contributing to long-lasting collaborations.
Legal League Servicer Certification (Levels I and II)
Attendees had the opportunity to elevate their expertise with the Legal League Servicer Certification program, which offered both Level I and Level II certifications. This immersive experience provided in-depth knowledge on default servicing matters crucial to the mortgage industry. Key takeaways were received to enhance professional skill sets at both levels.
Women in Housing 2023 – Empowering Change
The third day of the conference was highlighted by the Women in Housing Leadership Awards Luncheon. This empowering gathering showcased the pivotal role of women in the mortgage industry. An inspiring Keynote Address was delivered by Julia Gordon, Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The following She-Suite panel discussion was moderated by Ann Thorn, Head of Home Loans Servicing for Wells Fargo and presented insights from Tanya Brennan, Managing Partner & CEO for PhoenixTeam; Tiffany Fletcher, SVP Compliance, Operational Support and Vendor Management for VRM Mortgage Services; Jocelyn Martin-Leano, President & CEO for Enizio Strategies; and Miriam Moore, Division President of Default Services for ServiceLink.
The winners of the 2023 Women in Housing Awards are as follows:
- Rising Star Award: Micole Booker, AVP, Senior Preservation & Post-Sale Disposition Manager, Flagstar Bank. (Read Micole’s profile and those of the other Rising Star finalists by clicking here.)
- Leadership Award: Robin Wright, Managing Partner, Wright, Finlay & Zak, LLP. (Read Robin’s profile and those of the other Leadership Award finalists by clicking here.)
- Keys in Hand Award: Stacey Walker, Director, Single-Family Affordable Lending, Freddie Mac. (Read Stacey’s profile and those of the other Keys in Hand Award finalists by clicking here.)
- Corporate Social Responsibility Award: Jane Larkin, VP, Default Servicing, Colonial Savings. (Read Jane’s profile and those of the other Corporate Social Responsibility Award finalists by clicking here.)
- Laurie A. Maggiano Legacy Award: Jodi Gaines, Chief Client Officer & EVP, Insight One. (Read Jodi’s profile and those of the other Maggiano Award finalists by clicking here.)
This powerful event left a lasting impression on all, reaffirming the importance of inclusivity in driving industry progress9.
The conference concluded with a powerful and well-attended REO Forum. Engaging discussions and expert insights were gained into the intricacies of managing and marketing REO assets. Strategies to optimize REO portfolios were discovered, ensuring attendees stayed at the forefront of industry trends.
All in all, the 2023 Five Star Conference was a resounding success, offering invaluable insights and fostering meaningful connections within the mortgage industry. As we reflect on the dynamic discussions and celebrations, it’s clear that the industry is Built to Last, driven by the dedication and expertise of its professionals. We look forward to the continued growth and innovation that will shape the future of the mortgage landscape.
- Legal League Summit – MReport
- The Force Rally – DSNews
- Lending Forum Spotlights – MReport
- Executives Gather to Discuss Property Preservation – DSNews
- Single-Family Rental Roundtable – MReport
- Recognizing 30 Years of Mortgage Industry Excellence – MReport
- Yowell’s Lifetime Achievement – DSNews
- Servicers Shine – DSNews
- Women in Housing 2023 – MReport
For more detailed information about each session and speaker, you can visit the official conference agenda.
Thank you also to our 2023 Five Star conference sponsors: