As the Chair of the MISMO Education Committee, I have a passion for creating industry education opportunities. I especially enjoy working on MISMO educational content given that MISMO Standards represent an organized and taxonomically defined superset of all the data and documents, the raw materials, if you will, required to run our industry. Develop a foundational understanding of these raw materials, and you will certainly develop a foundational understanding of the business itself.

It goes without saying that our industry has endured an unprecedented amount of change over the last five years. We are dealing with the implementation of Qualified Mortgage (QM) and Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) rules, overhauled servicing rules, and enhanced oversight and enforcement of existing rules such as the CFPB’s enforcement of RESPA/TILA rules. Additionally, with the advent of the NMLS and SAFE Act compliance, loan officer, processors, underwriters, appraisers, and their respective companies are forced to comply with an unprecedented level of education and licensing requirements. There is no end in sight considering that the CFPB will be replacing such time-honored and foundational documents as the Good Faith Estimate, Truth In Lending form, and HUD-1 Settlement Statement with new “Integrated Disclosure” documents next year. This will be followed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s overhaul of the standard loan application with the Uniform Loan Application Dataset (ULAD)

To help navigate the plethora of changes that we are facing, we have just as many training and education options designed specifically to help us keep up. Although there are a number of fee-for-service education options in our industry, there are just as many options that are completely free. Many vendors and mortgage services organizations offer compliance training. Check with your loan origination system provider or your product and pricing engine provider. I had the opportunity to attend the Accenture Mortgage Cadence user conference and the Optimal Blue user conference last month. The general sessions and breakout sessions at these events were loaded with great content on how to use tools and technologies to ensure QM/QRM compliance, as well as how to design processes, policies and procedures to ensure auditable compliance. If you or your staff do not have the opportunity to travel to these types of conferences, check with your service providers to see if they offer webinar versions or pre-recorded presentation content.

Like other service providers, MGIC offers a host of free training and education opportunities in the mortgage industry. Given that we are a credit risk mitigation product in the residential finance industry, it is in our best interest to ensure that best-in-class underwriting standards are being adhered to. Therefore, we offer professional and applicable training on such topics as reviewing self-employed income, evaluating the appraisal, and how mortgage insurance works.  Further, MGIC offers great training designed to help you increase your business and uncover new opportunities, as well as how to maintain a polished social media presence. The ‘Training’ tab on MGIC’s website is where you can sign up for these free webinars, and consider a consolidated training curriculum for your staff using a resource like MGIC’s training opportunities as the basis.

Be sure to check out government entity and GSE provided opportunities as well. The CFPB and FHFA offer a great deal of transparency on their websites, and any new rule or regulation will be thoroughly documented and available to the public at large for self study. Both organizations often host webinars to explain complex rules, going above and beyond to ensure that effected organizations have as many education and training opportunities as possible. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offer similar instructor guided online education sessions to discuss emerging business requirements. Although many of these sessions are free, Fannie Mae uses its Housing Finance Institute® (HFI™) InDepth program to provide a fee-based education curriculum. The cost of individual online instructor guided courses is typically $250 per person, and the level of professional instruction content and format is top-notch.

Perhaps the gold standard in education in the mortgage industry is that offered through the Mortgage Bankers Association and the MBA Education program. Courses offered span all aspects of the industry, and are offered in professional instructor guided online or classroom setting formats.  The highest designation that an individual can achieve in the mortgage industry is the Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB) Designation. Through the coursework applied in the School of Mortgage Banking classroom training, completion of rigorous exams, and demonstrated industry participation, students interact with subject matter experts in all aspects of our complex industry. Earning a CMB also allows individuals to participate in the CMB Society and opens up invaluable networking and business development opportunities.

Regardless of whether you or your staff are looking to brush up on underwriting best-practices, learn about new rules or regulations, or earn a certification through Fannie Mae’s HFI™, MISMO’s Education program, or the CMB program, our industry offers many training and education opportunities. Make it a priority to seek out training options and invest in yourself. And, if you manage a staff or department, invest in their education. Not only is this a proven method to ensure best practices are being followed, but it is a rewarding journey for your top performers.

What other educational programs have you participated in? Please share in the comments.

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