NAMB's Certification Team Launches E-Newsletter
Cert Alert to serve as a resource for certified mortgage professionals
I'm excited to announce the launch of a new electronic newsletter designed specifically for certified mortgage professionals. NAMB Cert Alert contains industry news, announcements from the Certification Committee and staff, and information on how to maximize the value of your credential. As our industry continues to face challenges and seek new opportunities, we hope that you will use this resource as a tool to stay on top of changes and better serve your clients.
Most importantly, the e-newsletter will connect you with NAMB and its certification team so you have easy access to the information you need to make your credential work for you.
We welcome your feedback and suggestions.
Michael D'Alonzo, CMC, Certification Committee Chair
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Collecting "News on You"
Future issues of NAMB Cert Alert will include a "News on You" section highlighting certified mortgage professionals accomplishments and news. Please send "news on you" to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to include "CertAlert" in the subject line of your message.
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Certificant in the Spotlight
For more than 20 years, Michael D'Alonzo, CMC, has guided his clients as they make one of the biggest financial decisions of their lifetime. "I've always felt strongly that we, mortgage brokers, are professionals," D'Alonzo, who serves as Chair of NAMB's Certification Committee, said. "I take what we do as professionals very seriously."
D'Alonzo opened his own mortgage brokerage firm in 1991. During the past 17 years, it has grown to include three offices and 14 employees. He attained his certification in 2000 to demonstrate his commitment to his clients, profession, and industry as a whole.
This seasoned broker and long-time volunteer was president of the Pennsylvania Association of Mortgage Brokers for two consecutive years, from 2000 - 2002, and was recently voted "Broker of the Year." He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. Cert Alert caught up with D'Alonzo to learn more.
Did anyone encourage you to seek certification?
At the time that I was looking to get certified, there were only four other people in Pennsylvania that had achieved their certification. I saw this as a way to set myself apart from my competition in my own state.
What did you expect the certification process to be like?
I thought initially that the process would be complicated. I wasn't sure if I would qualify for the CMC and I was fearful of the exam.
Was it what you expected?
The process was much simpler then I thought. It was spelled out what qualification I needed for the CMC certification. The outline of what I needed to know was easy and helpful to use as a study guide.
What are the rewards of earning your credential?
There have been several rewards. The main reward is knowing that I have bettered myself and in the process become a better resource for my customers. The other obvious reward is the financial gain that I have received because of my certification. Without a doubt, I have earned the business of at least two to three consumers every year because of my certification.
How is the Mortgage Industry changing?
The mortgage industry is undergoing tremendous turmoil. The Sub Prime fallout is far reaching evidenced by the amount of large national lenders that have closed their doors. The foreclosure rate is on the rise and credit guidelines have tightened significantly.
Will having credentials help mortgage professionals adjust to the changes?
Absolutely. More than ever consumers are fearful of the mortgage industry. They need to know that the mortgage professional that they are dealing with is truly professional and well educated. What better way then to use your credentials to demonstrate this. More than ever, we as professionals need to stand out. I see my certification as a way for me to stand out in the crowd.
What is the value of certification?
Certification demonstrates your commitment to yourself and the mortgage industry. No different from a CPA, financial planner, attorney, or any other professional, a certification holds weight. It sparks the interest of consumers, adds instant credibility, and will make the consumer feel more at ease that they are working with you. At least once or twice a week, people ask me "what is a CMC?" They soon find out that it is an impressive designation that evidences my industry experience, knowledge, and level of commitment to provide superior level of service and be the best I can. It truly makes an impact.
How does certification distinguish you from other mortgage brokers?
Certification gives me an advantage over any other mortgage originator that does not hold a credential. There are many mortgage professionals that are excellent at what they do. They are educated and experienced, but they don't hold a certification. A certification is the official proof of your experience and knowledge level. When in competition with another mortgage professional without a credential and all other factors being equal, a consumer will more likely choose the professional with the certification. Once again, it helps me stand out in the crowd.
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Certificants Poised for Changes Resulting from Recent Legislation
A Detailed Summary of HR 3915: The Expanding American Homeownership Act of 2007
NOTE: THIS BILL IS NOT YET LAW
The U.S. House of Representatives ("House") passed H.R. 3915 on Nov. 15, 2007. The U.S. Senate has chosen to take-up its own mortgage reform effort, which is different from H.R. 3915. Should a bill be passed in the Senate, it will need to be reconciled with H.R. 3915. This is done through a Conference Committee comprised of Republicans and Democrats from both the House and Senate. If a compromise bill can be achieved, it will go back to each chamber of Congress for a final vote and then will be sent to the President for his signature. After this, a formal rulemaking process would need to take place before the bill could go into effect. However, this reveals the direction of Congress on these issues.
The key points of the legislation for certificants are outlined below.
- The bill establishes a national registry for all loan originators (which include brokers, bankers, and all loan officers).
- Federal banking agencies must establish and maintain a parallel registry for employees of federally regulated depository institutions.
- The bill will enhance professional standards for all loan originators, which will impact registration, licensing, education, and testing.
- The bill requires that all state-licensed loan originators at state-chartered banks, lenders, and other financial institutions be licensed in their state as a mortgage originator, submit to fingerprinting and criminal background checks, and satisfy minimum education and testing requirements for licensure.
H.R. 3915 Education Requirements
The pre-licensing education requirements for state-licensed loan originators are:
At least 20 hours of education reviewed and approved by the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry with at least 3 hours of Federal law and regulations and 3 hours of ethics which shall include instruction on fraud, consumer protection and fair lending issues.
H.R. 3915 Testing Requirements
The requirements for testing of loan originators are:
- An individual must pass, in accordance with the standards established under this subsection, a qualified written test developed by the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry and administered by an approved test provider.
- A qualified test consists of at least 100 questions and adequately measures the applicant's knowledge and comprehension in appropriate subject areas, including: (i) ethics; (ii) Federal law and regulation pertaining to mortgage origination; (iii) State law and regulation pertaining to mortgage origination; and (iv) Federal and State law and regulation, including instruction on fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending issues.
- An individual shall not be considered to have passed a qualified written test unless the individual achieves a test score of not less than 75 percent correct answers to questions.
- A State-licensed loan originator who fails to maintain a valid license for a period of 5 years or longer shall retake the test, not taking into account any time during which such individual is a registered loan originator.
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News for You
NAMB's Recertification Deadline has passed. If you were due to recertify by December 31, 2007, the deadline has passed. If we did not hear from you by January 31, 2008, your credential has been deactivated. If this applies to you, please call us today to discuss your status.
Find a NAMB Broker: You spoke, we listened. NAMB is pleased to announce that effective immediately, a database of all certified NAMB members is available online by clicking on "Find a NAMB Broker" at www.namb.org. We welcome your feedback on this new resource.
Lending Integrity Accepts GMA to Fulfill Education Requirement: To display the "Lending Integrity" seal, members must take a minimum of six hours of professional education annually (or equivalent). This requirement is waived for members who hold a valid GMA, CRMS, CMC. Click here to learn more about Lending Integrity.
Are you moving? Has your email address and phone number changed? Make sure to keep NAMB updated with your current contact information by emailing email@example.com. This will ensure you receive important news, updates, announcements, etc.
Would you like to be profiled in NAMB's Certificant Spotlight? We want to hear from NAMB Certified Mortgage Professionals who have a story to share! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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