Tag Archives: finance

10 Steps To Becoming a Mortgage Loan Officer

We receive questions on a regular basis concerning the process to become licensed as a loan officer.  Becoming a mortgage loan officer can be as simple as 1.. 2… 3…, or actually 1 to 10.

Step 1:  It all beings with the State where you want to be licensed

Each state will require a minimum of 20 hours of pre-license education.  In addition, some states may require certain state-specific education.
Check your state requirements here:  State Licensing Requirements

Step 2:  Enroll in a pre-license course with MTI – That’s so easy… just click the link below.

Get me into a class now!

Step 3:  You’re going to need an NMLS ID number – that’s simple too… just a few minutes.

You will need to create a user account with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLS).  There is no cost to do this and it only takes a few minutes.  Select the link below then select create an “Individual Account.”
Need My Number Please

Step 4:  School Time!  Complete your pre-license education

Step 5:  The work beings.  Study, Study, Study

Be sure to prepare yourself for the NMLS national test.  Most students will spend 40-60 hours of study to prepare.  It’s not an easy test, but if you follow the instructions of your fabulous MTI instructor, you should be prepared!

Step 6:  GO ACE THAT TEST!

Step 7:  Where do you want to work?

Finding the right place to work as an MLO might take a little time.  If you know someone in the industry, find out where they work and why.  You’ll want to find a company that has your values and provides the right customer service you intend to provide.  Loan officer compensation can vary from company-to-company, but money shouldn’t be your only consideration.  Remember if the company isn’t run well, your compensation won’t matter, because you won’t close any loans!  But, now that you’re ready to be licensed, there will be many companies in your area wanting to hire you!

Step 8:  Complete your registration with NMLS and file your papers with the state

The job is never complete until the paperwork is done.  You will need to complete your NMLS registration using your NMLS account, complete your fingerprinting and file your MLO license application with the state.

Step 9:  YOUR LICENSE IS ISSUED!

Now it’s official… you’re a licensed mortgage loan officer!  After you’re done partying, it’s time to start helping!

Step 10:  Help hundreds achieve homeownership!

Now you’re a well-educated, licensed, loan officer and it’s time to turn your attention to helping hundreds of consumers in your area make one of the largest financial decisions of their life… how to properly finance their home.  Because you are well-trained, you’ll be there to guide them to the right decision and you’ll be there to make obtaining a mortgage a pleasant experience.  Along the way, you may make a lot of money… and that’s not bad at all!

 

Visit our website for more information and skills-development courses – MTIProEd.com

12 Tips for Licensing Exam Preparation

Being prepared and feeling fully confident is a major key to successfully passing your licensing, or other, examination.  Feeling uneasy or that there was more you could have (or should have) done to prepare can distract from your concentration, and potentially lead to failing.

Use these tips to help set up a study plan in preparing for your examination.

One:  Be Prepared

Know the specifics, such as:  the location of the exam center, the number of questions and how much time you’ll get to complete the exam, and what materials you are allowed to bring.  Knowing the logistics will reduce the chance that a simple, but significant, mistake is made.

Two:  Set Aside Time

Determine how you will fit in your study time and make sure it is a priority.  You schedule meetings, lunches and classes, right?  Scheduling your study time is just as important.  It is even more important to set these schedules and expectations with your friends and family.  Be sure to keep others in the loop on your progress and success, and they should be able to understand your need for uninterrupted study time.  A series of shorter study sessions disrupted over several days is preferable to longer, but fewer study sessions.

Three:  Don’t Try to Cram it in

Select a reasonable chunk of material to study.  Make a list of topics that are likely to be on the exam and prioritize these subjects based on how important they are and how much more you need to learn about them.  Spend the majority of your time familiarizing yourself with the subjects you are less confident about, and do it at the beginning of your study session, when you have more energy and are ready to dive in.

Four:  Dress Uncomfortably and Sit at a Desk

If you dress comfortably and set up your study session on the couch, you are apt to lose focus, be interrupted and be less productive.  Sit upright at a desk and avoid dressing casually so that you can remain awake and attentive.

Five:  Study Buddies

When possible, it is a good idea to work with someone with whom you can review material, discuss potential questions and clarify concepts.  Utilizing a study buddy can help to keep you focused and grasp information in a different perspective.

Six:  Seek Support

Check with other students to get their perspectives on what information will be on the exam.  Utilize a group setting where you can share study ideas and strategies.  Verbalizing and writing the information is key to storing the material in your long-term memory.

Seven:  Put it in Your Own Words

Don’t just memorize the information and move on.  You should be able to explain the main idea in your own words.  By putting it in a context that you understand, you will have an easier time recalling it than if you simply repeated a concept over and over without really connecting to it.  Study buddies can be utilized here, explain in your words the concept and see if the concept is understood by other individuals.  If you find people are able to receive your explanation well, then you are likely obtaining an understanding of a particular concept.

Eight:  Test for the Test

Spend a lot of time with practice exams, if available.  As a basic rule of thumb, test until you consistently obtain scores of 90% or better on every practice exam.  For an added challenge, you can come up with study questions while you’re reviewing material you are not as comfortable with.  This will force you to do some mental searching while you study.  Studying this way helps to replicate the act that you’re preparing for in the first place, so it’s  good idea to incorporate it into your study regimen.

Nine:  No All-Nighters

Reviewing familiar material is a good way to prepare, but trying to learn something for the first time right before an exam is just going to stress you out and make it harder for you to focus on what you do know.  When scheduling your exam, make sure you give yourself an adequate amount of time to study and feel prepared.

Ten:  Be Physically Prepared

This may seem obvious, but it’s something we see some students struggle with.  Make sure that you’ll have time to review your notes and get an adequate amount of sleep the night before your exam.  Have a balanced breakfast, and avoid drinking too much coffee.  Taking care of yourself physically will help ensure that your can focus on the matter at hand when you’ve got the exam in front of you.

Eleven:  Try Chewing Gum

An informal study by a Cornell University marketing professor has shown that chewing gum offers improved memory and concentration which may improve your test-taking abilities.

Twelve:  Don’t Be Over-Confident

While confidence is important, studies have shown that feeling too confident can lead to complacency.  A little bit of anxiety can actually be helpful for test takers in keeping you focused.  Instead of trying to completely shun anxiety, see it as a tool that can help you stay aware of what you’re doing and on the lookout for potential mistakes.


 

Do you have any other tips, not listed here, that have helped you in the past?  Comment and share them.


 

Visit our past blogs for more testing tips and strategies.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter:  MTI Services Corp.  |  @mtitraining

For more information visit our website:  MTIProEd.com

Testing Tips & Study Strategies

It is completely understandable why the vast majority of our students are so focused, and somewhat fearful, of their NMLS licensing examination. This exam will determine their fate as a licensed mortgage loan originator, should he or she fail (even by the slightest of margins) they must wait, at minimum, another 30 days before testing again.

Word has spread throughout the industry as to the difficulty of this exam, only helping to enhance pre-exam jitters and anxiety.  On a daily basis we receive inquiries about preparing for the NMLS exam, everything from how many prep tests are enough to any techniques we can provide that will help with answering exam questions.

It is MTI’s goal to have every student succeed and pass their licensing exam.  We have compiled some of the best techniques and strategies to help students get fully prepared for their exam and enter their exam location with the full confidence and belief they will pass and leave a licensed mortgage loan originator!

Utilizing some of these techniques can assist you in understanding, retaining, and retrieving the information learned and provided during the licensing course.

  • Spacing Your Study Times.  In most cases students will have several weeks to prepare for their exam, it is quite rare that a student will take their exam just days after completing their coursework.  Even though they may have weeks, some students try and cram for their exam just days before they take it.  They would do better if they spent a little time studying every few days following the course.  Spacing self-tests and study time every few days allows the brain to partially forget, and then re-learn the information, with powerful effects on memory.
  • Changing Things Up With MTI’s Preparation Tests.  Shuffling different types of practice questions into an unpredictable order is a technique known as Interleaving.  This is accomplished through the use of MTI’s practice tests, provided to each student.  Students often study in an orderly fashion that builds on the last item studied.  Interleaving questions builds on a crucial testing skill:  figuring out what kind of problem the question is asking.
  • Try an Exam Wrapper.  As you use MTI’s practice tests, you will find they are immediately scored after completion and you have the ability to review.  After completing a practice exam try also completing an exam wrapper.  An exam wrapper is a set of brief instructions, printed on a piece of paper.  The instructions will lead you through the process of reflecting on how well you prepared for the practice exam, how well you performed, and what you can do differently on the next test.  If you find yourself struggling with obtaining acceptable scores, this method may help you to determine how to better prepare.  CLICK HERE for an exam wrapper you can use with your preparation, or, as an example to build your own.
  • Calming Your Testing Fears.   Before a high-stakes exam, many people often experience a quickened heartbeat, sweaty palms, and/or butterflies in their stomach.  These feelings may be interpreted as meaning, “I’m so nervous,” which in-turn causes them to become more anxious.  Many studies have shown that spending 10 minutes prior to an exam writing down, on any piece of paper, whatever comes to mind significantly helps to reduce the levels of stress and anxiety and allows for better performance on the exam.  Some students will begin to feel their level of anxiety increase when taking the practice tests as well.  If you have a high level of anxiety when test-taking, try this technique prior to the next practice test and compare your results against previous tests.

To some the thought of the NMLS licensing exam can be overwhelming and scary.  Take full advantage of your preparation time and integrate some of these techniques, or the additional tips and strategies we have posted.  Allowing yourself adequate time to prepare and utilizing the preparation tools provided by MTI will provide you with an arsenal for triggering successful passing of your exam!

Follow MTI on Facebook or Twitter:  MTI Services Corp.  |  @mtitraining

Visit our website for more information:  www.MTIProEd.com 

Tips to Overcoming Test Anxiety

Think back for a moment.  Back to a time when you had a very important test to take, one that you placed great importance on.  Prior to this test did you feel tense, have trouble focusing, feel sweaty, or possibly get headaches?  If one, or more, of these symptoms sound familiar, it was quite possible you were experiencing a high level of test anxiety.

It is very common for individuals to feel a higher level of anxiety prior to taking an important test, such as a licensing test.  Knowing the implications of the test, some people can even begin to feel these increased levels of anxiety while preparing and studying.  Bottom line is test anxiety can happen to anyone.

According to Ryan Ferguson, an expert in test preparation,

“The way to fight test anxiety is to be prepared, be confident and do not over-study.”

Students can often fall into traps prior to a test that can lead to high anxiety.  One of these traps is pre-test hysteria.  Pre-test hysteria normally occurs during the minutes leading up to the test.  This is the time when nervousness can take over causing students to begin going over all the notes right before the test.  This will only increase anxiety and possibly cause students to make mistakes.  Instead, students should take this time to relax and not overthink questions.  Deep breathing exercises are a useful aid, as well as, simply grabbing a piece of paper and writing down whatever happens to come to mind.  Both of these help to calm the body and keep the mind sharp.

Another common trap is cramming, although this one can be a little more difficult to avoid in certain situations.  Cramming for a test can cause students not to recall information for longer periods of time, since it is contained within short-term memory.  However, life happens, and there are times when a student may have no choice, but to cram for a test.

Should a student be left with no other choice but to cram for a test, there are a few steps he/she can follow to get the most out of the cramming.  To begin, the student should start by determining which of the topic areas are most difficult, those where he/she feels deficient.  Next, he/she should organize the preparation materials to the best of their ability.  Finding unique ways to recite the information will go a long way in helping to recall the information during the test.  Many experts suggest making up rhymes or comparative tricks to help remember the information during the test, plus this kind of memory enhancement is a form of studying.  Students can also try different methods of reading through the material, such as out loud or with a ‘study buddy’.  The different ways a student reads through the material the better the information will be retained.  The final, and most important step to cram studying, is to relax and try not to stress yourself out.  Try some of the tips mentioned previously in this article to aid with relaxation.

It is fairly obvious the major key to testing anxiety is relaxation.  This can be very easy to say, but not so easy in practice.  If you know you struggle with high anxiety during tests, or, if you find yourself suddenly anxious about an upcoming test, try some of these tips.  They may sound rather mundane, but many time the simple things can have a great impact on us.  Anxiety can play a huge role in the outcome of testing results and finding a way to curb the anxious feelings may be the difference between a pass and fail result.  Lastly, trust your instincts.  After all the preparation and studying, don’t second guess yourself, trust your instincts and trust your preparation.

Follow MTI on Facebook and Twitter:  MTI Services Corp.  |  @mtitraining
Visit our website for more information:  MTIProEd.com 

Source:  The Collegian

The New Mortgage Language

Part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act, Sections 1098 and 100A) directed the CFPB to combine certain disclosures that consumers receive in connection with applying for and closing on a mortgage loan under the Truth-in-Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.  Effective August 1, 2015, the integrated mortgage disclosures rule goes into effect.

Part of the new rule, will change the terms mortgage industry professionals use and the forms consumers will receive during the loan application and loan closing.  The Good Faith Estimate, Truth-in-Lending Disclosure and HUD-1 Settlement Statement will be eliminated from the loan process and replaced with the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms.  In addition, new terms will be included in the forms; Total Interest Percentage and Approximate Cost of Funds.

The Good Faith Estimate and the Initial Truth-in-Lending Disclosure will be replaced with the Loan Estimate and the HUD-1 and Final Truth-in-Lending Disclosure will be replaced with the Closing Disclosure.  Both of these forms will be consumer friendly and will take on a similar look and design establishing a sense of familiarity for the consumer.

Both new disclosures will include a new term, Total Interest Percentage or “TIP.”  Though different than the TIP provided to the food server at your favorite restaurant, it does show the borrower the percentage of total payments made over the life of the loan that is interest and for a normal 30 year loan this can be in the high 60s.  The new term Approximate Cost of Funds (ACF) is found in the Closing Disclosure and reflects in a percentage how much the borrower is paying in non-loan related charges.

Most of the soon to be replaced disclosures have been part of the mortgage lending industry for almost 40 years.  We have grown accustom to their presence, but as we move forward these new disclosures will not only change the appearance of our documents, they may also provide something we’ve long needed, disclosures a borrower might actually understand.

Developing Your Business – Tip No. 4 – The Government offering No Down purchases?

In the midst of a collapse in the mortgage and financial markets and a tightening of credit underwriting guidelines, is it possible a true No Down Payment opportunity still exists, and is one you can actually get closed?  As far fetched as it may sound, the answer is a resounding – yes, maybe!

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 created an incredible opportunity for a group of home-buyers, one that could allow them to purchase a home with ultimately no money invested in the transaction.  No down payment or closing costs, as long as the real estate agent and mortgage lender understand the new rules.

Under ARRA, first-time home-buyers are given a tax credit of up to 10% of the purchase price not to exceed $8,000, or $4,000 for married filing separately.  This tax credit, unlike the tax credit provided in 2008, does not require the home-buyer to repay the credit, as long as they remain in the home as their primary residence for at least 36 months post closing.  Additionally, as of February 25th, the IRS will allow this credit to be taken in either the 2008 or 2009 tax year.  The only requirements to receiving the tax credit are, they must purchase the home prior to December 1, 2009 and their adjusted gross income does not exceed $75,000 for single or $150,000 for joint filers. 

So what about the No Down Payment and closing costs I spoke about?  If you’re working with someone who qualifies as a first-time home-buyer, someone who hasn’t owned a home in the previous 3 years, and you can place them in an FHA mortgage, here’s how it could go together.   FHA requires a minimum down payment of 3.5% of the purchase price (must be paid by the buyer), plus they need money for closing costs, unless the seller agrees to pay those costs.  If you negotiate the right transaction, your buyer will have no money invested in the transaction, compliments of the government.

Here’s a scenario:  You have a buyer purchasing a home for $140,000,  they will need $4,900 in down payment and an estimated $2,900 in closing costs (may vary slightly in different areas), for a total of $7,800 invested.  If they purchase the home , having the money necessary to close the transaction, they would after closing, immediately file tax return form number 5405 with the IRS (either with their original tax filing or in an amended return, depending when they purchase).  The will receive the $8,000 tax credit funds, making their investment in the property zero.

Now you have ability to help many people buy their own home, using this government assistance program, in a time when home buying opportunities are at their highest level.  This becomes a win-win-win situation for everyone, go help you community!

Developing Your Business – Tip No. 3

Have you ever thought about your business hours?  Not your company’s hours of operations, your business hours.  Are you a 9 to 5 type?  Or do you put in 70 – 80 hours a week?  How would you define your hours of operation to your customers? 

Too often the mortgage industry is seen as open during “general business hours”, or a typical 9 to 5, Monday through Friday.  But is that how you see your business?  Is that how you want your customers to see your business?

Wouldn’t you like to have your business open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year?  Wouldn’t you like it if customers could see you, do business with you, any time of the day or night?  Do you think your business would increase?  Do you think your customers would find value in that convenience?

I know what you must be thinking.  How can I be available 24 hours a day 7 days a week?  It would cost a fortune to have staff members available all hours of the day.  And really, how much mortgage business will there be at 2 or 3 am?  Good considerations.  But in today’s business world you have the ability to offer your services on a 24/7 basis, and not have to stay up all night. 

The proliferation of the Internet and the acceptance of the general public to use the Internet as an acceptable way to do business, can extend your business hours to 24 hours  a day.  Having your own website, not just a company site, will allow you to actively interact with your customers, 24/7.  But to do this properly, your web site must be more than an advertisement or static website with nice pictures but very little value to the visitor.

Your customers must know that your personal website is just like your personal office assistant, it connects them with you and your business directly.  The site should illustrate how you conduct your business, how they as a customer will be treated.   So how you build a website is crucial.  Your site must include certain elements:

a. Interactive.  The site has to allow your customers to interact with you in describing and fulfilling their needs.  From content to activities like taking an application, the site has to allow your customers the ability fulfill their needs.

b. Relevant Content.  Your customers must be able to find content that is important to them.  This could include interest rates, loan status, educational content and current mortgage market information.  The content should be easily found and delivered in a format best suited to your customer.

c. Communication.  Customers need to know you are serious about staying connected to them.  They should feel that you treat their loan with absolute priority and that you use the website to help you accomplish this.

d. Security.  For your customers to rely on your site as an extension to your office.  They must feel their information and communications are private and secure.  Each customer should have unique access to obtain and provide information.

Your business day doesn’t have to end when the office doors are shut and locked.  Your business can continue to grow as you sleep, relax or take a vacation.  Proper use of the Internet will truly allow you to conduct business 24 hours a day, and with those hours where will your business be 1-year or 5 years from today?

The recession is ruining your business!

Turn on you local news, pick up a newspaper, read any blog or even listen to President Obama, the economy is in a serious recession and your business is likely to decline and possibly fail.  Prepare yourself, cut your expenses, trim your staff and pray you can make it.  Is this how you feel each and every day?  I know I have and I’m starting to resent it.  Unfortunately, much of the financial crisis we’re experiencing is nothing more than a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I’m reminded of a fable I heard a very long time ago.

Mr. Battaglia had a flourishing hot dog stand on Rt. 38 on the edge of a very busy shopping center near Lombard.  He had signs extending every few miles from Chicago to Geneva.  They read:   Stop at Battaglia’s!  We Serve the Best and Largest Hot Dogs in the Midwest, Tasty Char-Grilled Franks with a Sauce from a Cherished Family Recipe.  He ran ads in the newspapers and handed out circulars in the cities around him.  His hot dogs and service were good and his business was BOOMING.  Things could not have been better. 

He decided to expand.  He met with a financial consultant who had an MBA from one of the larger business schools.  The consultant, after hearing Mr. Battaglia’s expansion plans, said “All of the financial writers and even Washington say that the business outlook isn’t bright.  We’re on the brink of a serious recession, there is double digit inflation, money is tight and expensive, there is an energy crisis and people won’t drive to your hot dog stands.  It would probably be wiser to think in terms of a holding action and even a cut back in expenses.”

Mr. Battaglia, who didn’t have a great deal of formal education, respected the learned counsel of his advisor.  He went back to his hot dog stand and tried to think of ways to cut costs to prepare for the oncoming recession.  What to cut?  Not the hot dog and bun orders —  he needed those for his present business.  He decided one of the expenses he could cut immediately would be the newspaper advertising and the circulars.  He stopped these services immediately.  He realized that the consultant’s advice was sound because within four weeks his sales began to drop.  He thought to himself, “The consultant and financial forecasters are really smart.  The recession is beginning.”

To cut expenses even more, he decided to take down half the signs which would cut his sign maintenance costs.  At the end of two months his business was down 40%.  “This recession is really serious,”  he told his family, “but I’m going to give it one last try.”  He took his diminishing capital and put the road signs back up, began advertising in the newspaper and passing out circulars again.  At the end of three months his business was once more booming.  He was thankful that the recession was so short-lived and that he survived it.

What part of your financial difficulties could be answered in a simple fable?

Developing Your Business – Tip No. 2

Today’s economy may provide your customers wealth building opportunities they may never have considered in the past.  With traditional investment sources, such as the stock market, falling to 15 year lows, many consumers should consider moving their money to “Their Own Bank.”  No not the bank down the street, but rather they should become their own bank.  Many people who have liquid assets continue to buy big ticket items, like cars, boats and furniture, and end up borrowing the purchase from their local bank.  If they became their own bank, the interest they would pay these institutions could go to benefit themselves and build wealth along the way.

Here’s what I’m talking about, let’s say Joe has $10,000 in his stock fund, and he wants to buy a car that requires a $10,000 loan.  If he were to get that loan from his bank, it would be at 7.5% interest over 4 years, and he would have payments of $241.79 per month.

If Joe took the $10,000 from his stock fund and bought the car; then executed a loan to himself from the “Bank of Joe,” for $10,000 at 7.5% for 4 years, at the end of the 4 years Joe would have paid himself $11,605.92.  This would mean his $10,000 returned him 16.05% over 4 years TAX FREE, potentially much better than the stock market would have done over the same period of time.

With a falling stock market and uncertain financial times ahead, your customers need to change how they view money and how they utilize debt to their advantage.

Developing Your Business – Announcement

With our current economic times, we as consumers and business owners must become creative in our decision making.  MTI has recently begun a blog series designed to provide sales tips for the residential mortgage finance industry, and ideas these professionals may use to benefit their clientele.  Each week a tip or idea will be posted, check back often.