Jon O’Brien is operations director at the Professional Mortgage Packager’s Alliance
The first Packager Summit presents an opportunity to network, gather information and swap the latest gossip. And the formal sessions should help delegates gain insights into specific aspects of the industry and hear informed debates among leading industry thinkers and practitioners.
On top of this, I would like to make a plea for packagers to look beyond their own firm’s needs and focus on bigger issues. Trade associations and cooperatives have proved that joining forces can achieve a lot more than individual efforts in terms of securing benefits such as exclusive products and competitive fees.
We are facing some serious sector-wide issues and I hope the Summit will be an opportunity for packagers to reach a consensus on how to press for the resolution of two key issues, both of which rest in the hands of lenders.
The first is that of technology in the packaged mortgage distribution chain. Packagers and packager associations offer huge benefits to lenders in terms of bulk distribution through their wide broker base, but the pace of technological development is so rapid that we need financial and practical help from lenders to ensure systems are compatible and remote access to lenders’ processing systems is fairly shared rather than just given to big players.
The second issue concerns lender distribution strategies. While some lenders have declared their support for packager-based distribution, many are not wholeheartedly committed and there is a suspicion that if they could find a cheaper alternative they would pull the plug without shedding too many tears.
Nobody expects a guarantee from lenders to use packager distribution but we need to know their intentions. A beneficial outcome of the Summit would be if lenders were persuaded to get off the fence.
Nigel Payne is managing director of The Mortgage Business
The fact that the Packager Summit is happening at all is one in the eye for the narrow-minded harbingers of doom who hailed regulation as the end of packagers.
We plan to play our part in ensuring the event creates an environment and framework for increased understanding and commitment to the packaging sector. It is not only crucial to ensure the Summit is seen as a recognition of the success of the sector, but also that it provides the opportunity to lay the groundwork for future events. We must try to ensure that this marks the beginning of a new era for the packaging sector.
Our commitment to and participation in the event will cement in place in packagers’ minds that TMB takes packagers seriously. We hope to take from the Summit a deeper understanding of the issues our customers see as important whether this relates to products, distribution or technology. This will help us shape our proposition to ensure our business grows hand in hand with our customers’.
Despite the healthy competition that exists between the participants in the event I hope there is an appreciation of the value of creating a sense of common purpose that will help the overall growth of the packaging sector. Addressing key issues and topics with a unified voice would be a boost to the sector as a whole as well as the individual companies involved.
I’m looking forward to further developing existing relationships and forging a greater understanding of the steps that companies such as mine can take to work profitably alongside packagers.
In summary, the lenders that listen more than they speak will get most out of the Summit, and the best evidence of a successful event will be the bringing forth of ideas to form the basis of an even bigger event in 2008.