ICE Experience 2023 General Session Recaps

Mortgage industry experts gathered from Feb. 27 – March 1 for ICE Experience 2023 at The Wynn in Las Vegas. Here, we’ll boil down the key takeaways, session highlights, and share industry-shaking intel from ICE Experience 2023.

Day One General Session Recap

ICE Experience’s first keynote session featured Ben Jackson, president of Intercontinental Exchange; Tim Bowler, president of ICE Mortage Technology; Jonas Moe, SVP, marketing & market strategy at ICE Mortgage Technology; Jamie Siminoff, CEO, founder, and chief innovator at Ring; Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and former chairwoman at Etsy; Bob Hart, SVP, business and client development at ICE Mortgage Technology; Stephanie Dobbs Brown, chief marketing officer at Intercontinental Exchange; Egypt Sherrod, HGTV personality and real estate broker; and Laura Escobar, president of Lennar Mortgage.

Key Takeaways:

After opening remarks from Ben Jackson, Tim Bowler, and Jonas Moe, the Tuesday morning keynote session featured a fireside chat with Jamie Siminoff, Caterina Fake, and Bob Hart.

The panel spoke in length about the importance of innovation in the mortgage industry and beyond. Siminoff, when asked how to foster innovation in an organization, said that sometimes you have to put constraints – even artificial ones – on a team to encourage them to think bigger.

Fake agreed, saying that innovation often happens when organizations restructure to remove guardrails and more adequately support risk-taking.

The trio also discussed the power of branding and how to build a successful brand. Fake said, “If you ever need to spell out the name of your company on the phone to someone – no, you’ve got to do something else.”

Siminioff noted the importance for organizations to celebrate failure to a certain degree, otherwise its members won’t feel incentivized to take risks. And while failure shouldn’t be celebrated too early, it should be embraced to advance innovation within organizations.

Fake and Siminoff agreed that one of the most important aspects of innovation is timing. When creating new products, it’s crucial to time the launch according to market need. When innovating on existing products or ideas, the timing of constraints placed onto the market often lead to new, better solutions. Siminoff noted that the current market struggles the mortgage industry is facing allow the industry to adapt and evolve to overcome.

After the fireside chat, Stephanie Dobbs Brown announced the 2023 ICE Innovation Award winners.

Laura Escobar then interviewed Egypt Sherrod. The two spoke about Sherrod’s journey to the real estate industry and how her passion for helping others access home ownership inspired her to stay in the industry.

Sherrod then discussed the biggest hurdle for most people wanting to become homeowners today: affordability. She noted that between down payments, closing costs, mortgages, and the overall cost of maintaining a home, this goal is unfortunately out of reach for many. Escobar agreed, but thinks that increasing borrower education and fighting common misconceptions – such as needing 20% down or needing a credit score in the 700s – can help.

Sherrod also said that lenders, agents, and others in the industry should adapt to the technological shift to meet the next generation of borrowers where they’re at. Young millennials and Generation Z value convenience and technology-focused solutions.

When asked about how to solve housing affordability, Sherrod said that institutional buying is the prime issue and is “soaking up inventory across the nation.” Sherrod also noted that industry peers can support organizations that support equitable housing, as well as support legislation that helps make homeownership more affordable.

Day Two General Session Recap

ICE Experience’s second keynote session featured Bob Broeksmit, president and CEO at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA); Teresa Bazemore, president and CEO at FHLBank San Francisco; Kevin Peranio, chief lending officer at Paramount Residential Mortgage Group; Courtenay Dunn, director, government affairs at Intercontinental Exchange; Steve Young, football hall of famer and football analyst; and Chris Edmonds, chief development officer at Intercontinental Exchange.

Key Takeaways:

After opening remarks from Jonas Moe, the second day’s general session kicked off with a panel that featured Bob Broeksmit, Teresa Bazemore, Kevin Peranio, and Courtenay Dunn. 

The panelists discussed common issues facing the industry in 2023. Bazemore said that the Federal Home Loan Bank system is exploring alternative underwriting opportunities, as well as helping more potential buyers access homeownership and easing affordability concerns.

Peranio noted that demand from first-time home buyers is high, and echoed Bazemore’s concerns about affordability. Peranio and Paramount Residential Mortgage Group are helping originators access technology to streamline their workflows, as they are often the first person a first-time home buyer speaks to during the process.

Broeksmit spoke about how the MBA is working to improve the industry at the legislative level and prevent bad outcomes for the industry. He also spoke about affordability and how the MBA is working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to focus on making homes more affordable.

Housing affordability was widely discussed, and Peranio spoke at length about the topic. He noted that builders were largely disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic, but new advancements like 3D-printed homes can help. Speaking on down payments, Peranio suggested allowing more options for buyers to collect their down payments.

“Do we really care where the down payment comes from? I mean, do we really care – it’s a one time expense to open the door, and then their monthly cash flow is what matters,” Peranio said.

Broeksmit also spoke about down payments and about the myth of needing 20% down to purchase a home. He emphasized the need to create and highlight down payment assistance programs for buyers. 

Down payment assistance was on Bazemore’s mind too, as well as assistance with closing costs and the ongoing cost to own a home. She noted that homeowners often spend all their savings on their down payment and closing costs and are then unable to respond to an emergency or something that needs repaired in the home.

Steve Young took the stage next. He spoke about his time as a professional football player on the San Francisco 49ers, filling Joe Montana’s shoes, and leading the team to a superbowl win.

Young spoke about how humbling football can be, and how to respond when you mess up in front of thousands of people on live TV. He heavily emphasized the importance of taking accountability for your actions in every aspect of your life. 

Young also touched on his time after his football career, and the impact that pursuing other passions and building a family had on him. He noted that while a having a career is important, it can’t be the center of one’s life. 

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