« EDUCATION continued from page 19 Mortgage brokers have long known the importance of building a team of professionals that helps them ex- ceed borrowers’ expectations. typically, team mem- bers have included loan processors, appraisers, real estate agents, underwriters, and escrow and title offi- cers. Dramatic changes in the lending landscape, how- ever, call for a new team member: an education expert. In today’s mortgage market, having a top-notch education professional on your team can be the difference between a business that hums with effi- ciency and one that finds itself in regulatory and fi- nancial trouble. the best education experts will prepare brokers and loan originators for mandated licensing tests. they also can inform you of industry changes, im- prove your overall professionalism and help your company grow. Here’s a closer look at what an education profes- sional can bring to the table and why you should consider adding one to your team. Knowledge the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (aka, the S. A.F.E. Act) requires mort- gage-loan originators who don’t work for a feder- ally regulated depository institution or a subsidiary of one to pass national and state components of the S. A.F.E. mortgage-loan-originator test. Originators also must pass state-specific omponents for each state in which they seek licensure. Preparing for these tests and increasing your knowl- edge in other areas can be xpensive and time-consuming. It also can be a waste of energy if the person teaching you does not have rele- vant expertise. this expertise includes knowing the ins and outs of prelicensing- and continuing-education require- ments. It also includes keeping track of who in your office has taken which courses, who needs to take what next and who is a good candidate for future courses in a particular niche. Education-providers must prepare loan originators for all possible questions on the S. A.F.E. test. they also must do it in 20 hours, which is how much preli- censure education the S. A.F.E. Act requires. If a provider’s course material focuses on the wrong areas, loan originators face the prospect of ailing the licensing test despite completing the edu- cation requirement. On the other hand, some education-providers may play on testing fears and scare brokers and loan orig- inators into overpriced cram courses. the test is designed to ensure that licensees un- derstand the legislation that governs the industry. the conference of State bank Supervisors continu- ally monitors all test questions to make sure they meet appropriate testing standards for validity and performance. Education-providers should develop methods to track changes in the test and to adjust heir training as necessary. You can add an education expert to your team in various ways, including as: • Full-time,;in-office;employees; • Consultants; and • Independent;providers. When interviewing education professionals, ask about their expertise and experience with the S. A.F.E. test. choose providers who can prove their ability to increase test scores and to enhance your staff’s knowledge base. Ask about their familiarity with mortgage-lending procedures and make sure they understand how the industry works.
Most important, make sure they are on the list of
approved education-providers authorized to offer
prelicensure and continuing education in accordance
with the S. A.F.E. Act (see sidebar).
Beyond the test
Education-providers should be S. A.F.E. Act experts.
With so many recent changes to the mortgage-lending industry, however, the best providers offer more
than just exam preparation. they also keep close
tabs on all legislative and regulatory alterations and
understand the subtleties involved.
For example, did you know that FIcO scores fluctuate based on overall credit trends? In many cases,
people who had a score of 620 in 2006 would have a
score of 650 today, assuming no other change in their
credit history. this reflects a shift in response to more
consumers becoming delinquent in their payments.
Education experts should thrive on learning and
teaching little-known facts such as this. the more
you know, the less mystery will surround many of the
industry changes taking place.
Other examples of changes education experts
should know well are those implemented by Fannie
Mae and Freddie Mac. Do you understand all the
products Fannie and Freddie offer and their differences? Education experts should. there are times
when Fannie may approve a loan that Freddie won’t
— and vice versa. Knowing about this upfront can
save you time and money.
An array of changes handed down by the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) also
requires attention. Are you familiar with all the FHA
changes that have occurred in the past two years
and those that are forthcoming? Do you know,
for example, how condo guidelines have shifted?
Your education-provider should.
What about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
(VA)? Do you know about its origination-fee cap and
the impact it has on origination charges listed on
good-faith estimates? Education experts should be
able to discuss such things and guide you to a well-informed decision about whether VA lending is feasible for your office. they also should provide or recommend courses that fit your interests and help you
build your business and your niche lending areas.
• NMLS;Resource;Center;S. A.F.E.;Act;page:
On the Web
In some cases, you can use elective courses to ful-
fill mandated education requirements, as well. this
can make a big difference in the quality of education
For example, in some cases a management course
may be more appropriate than a class on loan-application basics. then again, even experienced
professionals occasionally need a refresher on the
basics, especially in the wake of fundamental industry changes. Education experts can help you think
through your options.
Adding an education expert to your team also can
help you save time. by hiring someone to focus on
education and testing changes — and who stays
abreast of shifting rules and regulations — you
allow your staff members to spend more time on
Moreover, by making sure you and your team
get the best education and the best information
available, you can increase your confidence and
provide your clients with better service. brokers
who take education seriously and who make a
point to exceed licensing requirements can find
themselves building a business based on client
referrals and trust.
top producers build their success on a founda-
tion of education and experience. but experience
without education can lead to painful lessons.
Education, on the other hand, offers context and
meaning to every experience. It also can help you
increase your aptitude and make your job easier and
clients respond to loan originators they trust and
to those they believe genuinely enjoy helping them
find the best mortgage possible. When the market
begins to pick up steam — whether that be next
month or next year — educated originators with
satisfied clients will be in the best position to receive
referrals and keep up with growth.
by adding an education expert to your team, you
can position yourself for future success and keep up
with federal and state changes that will continue to
affect your business for years to come. •
Linda Williams is the CEO and trainer
for Mortgage Trainers of North America
where “knowledge is power, power to
drive your business and your success.”
She has been a mortgage professional
for 30 years and a trainer for 15 years.
For more information on Williams or for
training opportunities, visit www.mtgtna.com or e-mail