Risk Management Is Big Focus of Training

One way the current subprime market crisis is affecting the industry, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association educational division, CampusMBA, is increased demand for training options, especially for deeper knowledge on investment risk and market specific training.

MBA vice president of education, John Golden industry, said support for mortgage training programs and demand for courses has been steadily increasing, showing there is wide support for a standardization of industry expertise through certification.

CampusMBA offers certified mortgage servicer options through various educational programs designed to provide expertise on all components of the mortgage industry, including originations, underwriting, servicing and capital markets.

"The CMS designation is really being seen by many organizations as a very important badge of quality they can show to their customers as well as to their business partners," Mr. Golden said.

As to how the current mortgage market developments have changed the demand for qualifications that help increase knowledge and expertise on specific markets, the executive sees "greater demand fro more specific training and getting down into different areas of the marketplace."

One such example he said is increased interest in learning about the FHA market and products starting earlier this year since many lenders are exiting the subprime marketplace.

"Overall we're seeing that smart companies in this industry are realizing that because of the turmoil in the market this is the time when they need to invest in the skill sets of their employees for greater efficiencies, as well as to show that they operate a highly skilled, high-quality organization with career professionals," Mr. Golden said. "It's a message we need to get out to the wider public that this is an industry of highly trained career professionals who care passionately about the job."

"Specific to servicers, we have some very robust programs that have proved to be very successful," he said.

In 2005, CampusMBA partnered with Fidelity Information Services to start the certified mortgage servicer training program and designation for residential mortgages.

The program consists of three levels. The achievement certificate includes Web-based courses, the professional certificate also consists of a variety of Internet courses and the master servicer certificate is acquired after attending classroom courses at the CampusMBA Mortgage School of Servicing.

In August, the MBA relaunched its Mortgage School of Servicing in Jacksonville, Fla., in partnership with Fiserv, where 50 new professionals from across the industry attended. So far, 41 professionals have become certified mortgage servicers. CampusMBA offers two master CMS certificates. To become a master CMS, Mr. Gold said, participants must complete all the available courses and the electives, "which is quite an undertaking." Currently about 1,400 people are enrolled in the CMS program in different stages in their path to getting certified.

"What we have also done back in May of this year, we launched a commercial certified mortgage servicer designation for the first time," Mr. Gold said. "Up to 190 people enrolled in that. Some large commercial servicing organizations have signed up large groups of people into the program. It has received great industry support."

Moreover, since CampusMBA operates primarily online, it can accommodate as many people as are interested in taking the program.

"The initial levels are online courses, so the students go through it at their own pace, at their own convenience. Then they have to take tests at the end of each level in order to progress to the next level," he said.

For the final level of the CMS designation students just have to sign up for one of the available schools to get into a classroom. Several sponsors besides Fiserv are making that possible. For instance, First American is hosting the next classroom courses for the school of mortgage servicing in November at their facility and also train a number of their own staff.

"It is an important indicator of the cross-industry support that this certification has," Mr. Golden said. "When we first started working with Fidelity they said they wanted this to be something that was adopted across the industry, because they saw as much as we do the importance of the whole industry raising its standards and increasing its professionalism, and also having sort of a unified standard across the industry. Certification can help do that."

He also stressed that the industry should keep in mind how designations and certifications fulfill a number of different roles.

"For the organization it is a way of upgrading skill sets, as a way of showing quality to customers and partners, and then from an individual point of view it's obviously a good career move and a differentiator in a competitive market for an individual to have certification."

Going forward, Mr. Golden said, "Servicing is going to be increasingly important, we're really gratified how the industry has reacted to get their folks trained and certified." (c) 2007 Mortgage Servicing News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.mortgageservicingnews.com http://www.sourcemedia.com/