The Association of Independent Mortgage Experts (AIME) just completed their first regional event of the year in Irvine, California, and the focus this year was all about the attendee experience and ensuring that everyone feels some kind of ownership of the event.
“We thought the experience was more important than just the content,” said Anthony Casa, chairman of AIME. “We’re focused on making sure from the time somebody comes in the door that they are welcomed and that they feel like this is their event and that the engagement is very high.”
Part of AIME’s motivation for focusing on creating that feeling is to continue to build up the broker community with a united message and feeling. The other motivator is to give each event a little something different so that people want to come back year after year. More than 1,000 originators came to the event this year, which was about double the attendance at last year’s event in Irvine.
“There was a lot of gratitude in the space; you could tell that these people were really waiting for this breath of fresh air to come around that Anthony and AIME have been able to provide them, and I was just blown away to be a part of that experience,” said Saleem Sabree, AIME event coordinator.
Casa has been hosting small seminars on going to the independent broker channel, and the breakout sessions at the AIME event in Irvine were the biggest yet, with more than 150 retail loan originators attending these smaller workshops.
“A lot of people have heard about the growth of the broker channel, they’re hearing all this positive stuff and there’s a curiosity to it. But I would say that the big part, the disconnect, is really being able to hear in a setting where you can ask questions to your peers,” Casa said.
For most attendees, the idea of becoming independent isn’t a bad one, but there are a lot of logistical questions, such as the amount of time it takes to get up and running and what the transition period would be like. Top producers who have made the transition from the retail channel were on hand to answer questions about the move, not only how it worked out for them, how they were able to grow their business.
Casa said that he was excited to take the things that he’s learned from the past few months and share them with others at the Power Originator Summit.
“The broker model’s better than the retail banking model, but you as a loan originator, you’re not a retail banker. You’re a loan originator. What we’re saying is, this is a better model for you and it’s also a better model for the consumer,” Casa said. “I’m looking forward to sharing with the audience a) what I’ve learned, but b) the value proposition of going independent and also what it means to them and also their communities.”
The next AIME event is in April in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, followed by one in June in Atlantic City, NJ. They will be taking a fresh look on content and featuring new faces and voices so the broker community hears from their peers and other successful mortgage brokers.
Want to hear more from Anthony Casa? Don’t miss his session “Going Independent in 2019: breaking down the barriers” at the Power Originator Summit in Anaheim, CA on April 4th.