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With margins thinning and competition intensifying, lenders attending the 2018 Mortgage Bankers Association Technology Conference in Detroit were most interested in automation that could help them address those issues.

Point of sale systems that aim to provide better experience for borrowers were a hot topic at the show, which the MBA held in the hometown of the best-known digital platform in the business, Quicken Loans' Rocket Mortgage. Several Quicken executives were on hand to discuss strategies in this area and give attendees tours of the city, and Chairman Dan Gilbert recounted how he built his company at the meeting.

In line with discussions about how to not only provide a strong customer experience but also create a more efficient mortgage process was a lot of buzz around the use of electronic notarization, e-notes, blockchains and data-based electronic verifications of borrower information.

Governmental hurdles to creating more efficient, digital mortgages also were on the minds of attendees at the residential and commercial mortgage meeting, which was led by MBA Vice Chairman and CBRE executive Brian Stoffers in lieu departing CEO David Stevens. The group, which laid out the changes it is lobbying for to address those concerns, hopes to name Stevens' successor soon.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac representatives also attended the meeting and shared tips and information about their latest required technology implementations, including the Uniform Residential Loan Application and the Uniform Closing Dataset.

Cyber security was another theme at the conference, where speakers shared lessons learned from recent breaches and incidents involving wire fraud.