NRMLA Weighing Decision to Return to In-person Conferences

The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA), the predominant reverse mortgage industry trade association, is still aiming to determine the best course of action for its upcoming Annual Meeting and Expo slated to take place in November, 2021. While the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic have diminished in parts of the country due to the availability of multiple vaccines, the threat continuing to be posed by virus variants has caused the association to internally deliberate on the best way forward to facilitate industry events while keeping industry participants as safe as possible.

This is according to a meeting of the NRMLA Executive Committee broadcast at the association’s Virtual Summer Meeting on Tuesday. While there remains a desire from both the association and certain members to return to a face-to-face meeting format, the availability of both vaccines and difficult COVID-19 variants make the ultimate decision for such a move more complex.

“Let me first say that no decision has been made,” said Scott Norman, co-chair of the NRMLA Board and VP of field retail at Finance of America Reverse (FAR). “We will have a conference in November no matter what, but we’re still trying to make sure that we’re putting a conference together that is not only safe with this new Delta variant, but to also be in a position where we can make sure that everybody can get there. One thing that has been pretty active is that a number of people have voted not to have a face-to-face conference.”

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Because of the presence of those perspectives, the decision to have an in-person event has other factors at play including the likelihood that members will attend, finding a location that is beneficial for the membership and the association, and striking the right economic balance in terms of where and when the event could take place.

“I think that it’s critically important over the next two weeks to really discuss with the board of directors, and those that are on this call today, what is in the best interest of the association and what’s in the best interest of all of you,” Norman said. “It’s really going to come down purely to the economics of it, and [asking if] we can put together a conference that works for everybody.”

The last in-person reverse mortgage industry conference that took place was NRMLA’s 2019 Annual Meeting and Expo, which emanated from Nashville, Tenn. That event received a resoundingly positive critical reception from industry players and NRMLA members according to NRMLA President Steve Irwin who spoke to RMD shortly after that conference took place, and Scott Norman later told RMD that the Nashville event was “the most energized and informative annual meeting [he had] attended in ten years.”

Since early 2020, NRMLA — like much of the broader business world across the planet — has been holding a series of virtual conferences up to and including the summer event taking place this week via Zoom.

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