Servicer Designation Added to MBA Education

The Mortgage Bankers Association has launched the industry's first formal training program for loan administration professionals.

The MBA has added a "certified mortgage servicer" designation to the roster of credentials it offers through its educational affiliate, CampusMBA. Parti-cipants will also be able to earn specialized credentials in three key areas of the servicing business: loan administration, financial controls/investor administration and default administration.

The program includes a hierarchy of designations, starting with a certificate of achievement, tied to the completion of coursework and industry experience. Participants can then go on to achieve the CMS designation with additional coursework and experience thresholds.

While it will typically take at least a couple of years of coursework to complete the CMS designation, the MBA expects some experienced industry executives to test out of early courses, allowing the first class of CMS designations to be awarded at next year's MBA National Mortgage Servicing Conference.

To achieve the CMS designation, a minimum of two years of industry experience and the completion of a loan administration program are required.

The program also includes a "Master CMS" designation, which requires a minimum of seven years of industry experience in addition to completion of all three specialty tracks.

Dan Thoms, vice president of education at the MBA, told MSN that the education and certification program will increase the sense of professionalism within the loan administration field, where employee turnover is often very high.

"One of the largest constituencies of employees in the marketplace in the mortgage banking space is in servicing," he said, noting that there is currently no educational and certification program designed specifically for servicers.

Mr. Thoms said companies view training and education as a competitive advantage that may help attract and retain employees who might otherwise move into other industries.

"Professionalism in our industry is something our members take very seriously," Mr. Thoms said.

The program will be administrated through CampusMBA, the industry group's educational affiliate. CampusMBA has about 30,000 participants enrolled in coursework. Mr. Thoms said that early indications suggest that between 200 and 500 industry employees will seek the servicer certification annually.

The MBA training and certification is being sponsored by Fidelity Information Services, which also owns the nation's largest loan servicing automation bureau.

Lynn Hatfield, senior vice president of professional services at Fidelity Information Services, said that Fidelity's existing professional training services make it a natural fit to provide subject matter expertise for the MBA's new certification program. Her group of 75 former servicing executives provide consulting, training and mentorship to users of Fidelity's Mortgage Servicing Program.

"We have a pretty concentrated group of experts right here at Fidelity who really understand servicing soup to nuts, every aspect from loan boarding to disposition," she said. Ms. Hatfield said all the training will be "unbolted" from the specifics of Fidelity's Mortgage Servicing Program so that it is "platform agnostic".

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