This year’s Mortgage Bankers Association convention in Chicago can be considered a success on many levels. New chairman Debra Still said there were 3,500 registered attendees. Plus there were a large number of “unofficial” attendees, people who took advantage of the large public space in the Hyatt to meet with their industry cohorts.

And the convention ended on an upbeat note, as MBA economists Jay Brinkmann and Mike Fratantoni official divulged their $1.3 trillion projection for 2013 volume. Industry vendors came out with plenty of new tools for both originations and servicing, an observation I base this on what seems to be a record number of press releases in my email box. The Doobie Brothers concert showed the band still gets people rocking out.

But there is plenty of uncertainty right now, starting with the election and continuing over the macro-economic issues of Europe, Iran (and the Middle East) and China, any of which could have an impact on rates.

While in the short-term mortgage bankers will prosper, long-term planning (as Barry Habib recently said) needs to account for the worst. The message Still gave in her first speech as chairman rings true against this backdrop.

She said it “starts with being fully committed to running a better business. Nowhere do we have more control than in how we choose to operate our own companies.”