The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) has announced that it will hold its first in-person conference in nearly two years this coming May 23-24, when it hosts its Western Regional Meeting at the Irvine Spectrum in Irvine, Calif. This is according to an email sent out to the association’s membership late last week, and an interview with association president Steve Irwin conducted by RMD.
Like much of the global business community, the association opted to avoid in-person industry conferences as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic presented risks and challenges to public health. Last summer, NRMLA had deliberated about returning to in-person conferences in time for November, 2021’s Annual Meeting and Expo, but ultimately decided to maintain a virtual format for that event due to the rise of a more infectious variant of the coronavirus that caused harsher illness according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“After careful consideration and discussions with members and board members, and careful review of local policies, we just feel the time is right to get back to in-person events,” Irwin told RMD in an interview. “We’re very, very excited about it.”
Members appear to be excited as well, Irwin says, with the appetite for in-person industry events being very high after not having met since November 2019’s Annual Meeting and Expo in Nashville, Tenn. However, the necessity of conducting virtual events in the intervening time still proved valuable to the association, and other future digital events are possible, Irwin says.
“I think we learned that there’s an opportunity to continually offer educational content through virtual platforms, but the time is right at the moment to get back together and share those opportunities in person,” he explains.
With nationwide COVID-19 infection rates having dropped precipitously after another more virulent variant ravaged the U.S. late last year and in early 2022, many of the public safety mandates imposed at the state and federal levels in various localities have either been rescinded or diminished. While the World Health Organization (WHO) does still recommend caution, many states are moving ahead with lifting mask mandates entirely by mid-March including Washington and California.
The nature of health guidance can change, and NRMLA is mindful of this ahead of the Western Meeting.
“[Health] requirements are very fluid, but we will necessarily adhere to whatever local requirements are in place, absolutely,” Irwin says.