On paper, the AIME Fuse 2019 National Conference held in Las Vegas on October 11-12, had all the hallmarks a conference needs for success: inspirational headline speakers, panels of mortgage experts and plenty of networking time. But as soon as 2000+ attendees began to converge in the halls of the Bellagio, even before formal programming began at this second annual event hosted by the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts, the distinct character of this particular event quickly emerged – all ignited by the explosive energy continuing to build in the independent mortgage broker community.
Anthony Casa’s vision for AIME, the organization he launched as Chairman in 2018 to exclusively support independent mortgage brokers, stems from his own experience as an independent broker/owner. While he was growing his New Jersey-based brokerage, Garden State Home Loans, Casa realized he had few resources for networking or support that were specifically applicable to small independents. In 2016, Casa hired a group of loan officers to prospect from Garden State’s database for possible refinances and discovered that many of their clients had already been refinanced by their supposed lending “partners,” behind their backs.
“We felt betrayed — it was a massive amount of loans that had been refinanced without our knowledge,” Casa said during his keynote at the conference.
According to Casa, it became glaringly obvious in speaking with other brokers from across the country that this was an epidemic that was not only negatively impacting brokers, but was ultimately a terrible outcome for their borrowers who were unknowingly being subjected to paying more for the same loan products that the broker would have provided for less. It was a turning point for Casa, who was determined to level the playing field for brokers.
Less than two years later, AIME has helped increase mortgage broker share to almost 20% of the market. In addition, a growing number of originators from retai