By Christa L. Nadeau
director of education
Mann Mortgage LLC
Education Starts at the Top
Mortgage companies must implement a comprehensive and ongoing training program
The mortgage industry has un- dergone enormous changes in the past few years that have affected compliance, product offerings,
underwriting and business development. It is a daily challenge for mortgage professionals to stay abreast of all
these changes. As a result, training and
education should be a staple in every
company’s platform. Our people must
be taught the right way to do loans in
today’s challenging loan environment.
Mortgage bankers and brokers must
be dedicated to expanding their knowledge base and must devote time and
resources to develop training offerings
for employees in all job functions. this
training will give employees knowledge that will result in increased profitability for loan officers and their company. the training program must provide value to all individuals involved
and must be offered regularly and systematically to be effective.
A comprehensive training program
should start with the on-boarding of
new employees, and ongoing training
should include compliance, program
guidelines, business development and
industry changes. It also must target
the specific needs of processors, loan
originators, underwriters and operations staff.
On-boarding and assimilation
the on-boarding and assimilation process for new branches and employees must address all training areas.
Mortgage companies should develop
an on-boarding system that helps
branches and individuals understand
company policies and procedures,
origination processes and operations
support. Employees will experience
If you are working on developing a
comprehensive training program for
your company, you should ensure it
entails the following subjects:
• on-boarding and assimilation
for new employees
• compliance training
• program-guideline updates
• business-development tips
• company-policy information
By involving management and
all employees in the training process, as well as making it an ongoing program, mortgage companies
can keep themselves and their employees up-to-date and in compliance with any changes.
less frustration during the transition
and have fewer file errors, which can
more quickly result in a more profitable branch.
the assimilation process is the time
required until branches or individuals
can operate effectively and efficiently
on their own. A monthly orientation is
effective in training new employees
on how to assimilate to their new company. the training should cover human
resources, branch-support topics and
who to contact in each department for
questions about specific topics.
Regulatory guidelines continue to
tighten in the mortgage industry, and
it is imperative that mortgage professionals understand these guidelines
and originate loans that are compliant.
Mortgage companies must offer
compliance training regularly to cover
recent guideline changes and how they
should be implemented in the origination process. A comprehensive training
program should also include weekly
compliance calls to review proper procedures and include a frequently asked
questions (FAQ) segment to discuss
specific loan-file issues. the trainings
must address how to properly disclose
and re-disclose within federal guidelines and the company’s specific loan-origination software (LOS) system.
For instance, many originators continue to struggle with the Real Estate
Settlement procedures Act’s guidelines
for a change of circumstance, and each
LOS has a different system to re-disclose when a qualified change of circumstance has occurred. training should be
continual and repetitive to support ongoing questions and concerns.
program guidelines have become
more restrictive in the past few years,
and originators are forced to adapt
with the credit markets. Biweekly or
monthly training should be offered
that discusses in detail conventional
and government loan programs and
their specific qualifying factors.
Many investors offer program-specific
training on niche loan products such
as Fannie Mae’s Homepath Mortgage,
Freddie Mac’s Relief Refinance
Mortgage, Fannie Mae’s Desktop
Underwriter (DU) Refi plus, the Federal
Housing Administration’s (FHA’s)
Section 203(k) rehab program, etc.
Additionally, investors often are willing
to offer a company specific training on a
loan program that will allow originators
to become experts.
Mortgage-insurance guidelines also
have changed, and with FHA’s recent
annual mortgage-insurance premium
increase, private mortgage insurance
may be a better fit for some borrowers.
Mortgage-insurance companies also
offer specialized training, and many are
willing to further specialize trainings for
individual company needs.
“A company’s training
program must be ongoing.
This ensures that
are being followed at every
step of the loan-origination
and sales process.”
Originators and processors must
know how to credit-qualify borrowers per program guidelines accurately.
training should include how to accurately read automated-under writing-sys-tem findings; how to calculate income
for wage-earners and self-employed
borrowers; where to locate guidelines
and how to read them; how to understand investor overlays; and how to
present the file to an underwriter.
there are many tools for income calculation, such as the scheduled analysis method or adjusted-gross-income
method, and investors and mortgage-insurance companies regularly offer
online courses to train individuals on
how to qualify.
Also, companies should offer
monthly processor training and include
training on a specific topic and an opportunity for discussion and questions. Input on topics can come from
processors, underwriters and closers.
processors are crucial to good file submission and get a feel for the loan being submitted. they should be trained
to submit only complete files to minimize underwriter touches. this can
speed up underwriting turn times for
the whole company.
Business development includes product knowledge, credit qualifying, and
sales and marketing. these tools are
necessary to originate and process
loans within program guidelines. they
also allow originators to prequalify a
borrower accurately; speak knowledgably and confidently about loan programs; and effectively sell themselves
to borrowers and referral partners.
As refinance demand and production decreases, for example, originators
must know how to market purchase
business effectively. they should be
provided the training to know how to
systematically capture this business.
there are numerous marketing
companies that are willing to show
originators their products and how to
implement them. the key is to figure
out which products are effective and
help originators set up a systematic
approach to marketing to increase
business from referral partners.
Most companies already have originators who have developed an effective marketing plan, and many of these
successful originators are willing to
teach other originators how they established their system. Monthly calls
highlighting these originators’ successes are motivating and can help
other originators develop their own
Information about changes to company
policies and procedures and how they
affect origination activities must be discussed regularly. Having a weekly post
that includes all changes by department minimizes the number of e-mails
sent and provides a place for all important information.
Many of these changes must also
be included on a training call to show
employees how to implement them
and to answer any questions. this
training should be provided in a timely
manner and multiple times to reach all
• • •
A company’s training program must be
ongoing. this ensures that best prac-
tices are being followed at every step of
the loan-origination and sales process.
Federal and state regulations, as well
as agency and investor guidelines, are
changing at a record pace. Continual
training can help mortgage profession-
als keep up with these changes and
stay compliant. •
Christa L. Nadeau is director of education for
Mann Mortgage LLC, which has 31 branches
and 223 employees. She has 12 years of
experience in the mortgage industry. Nadeau
graduated from the University of Colorado
with a degree in biology and secondary
education and taught high school science and
math before entering the mortgage industry.
She also taught and developed Nationwide
Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS)-approved
curriculum. Reach Nadeau at (406) 837-3930