Tag Archives: financial

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

What happened to Trump Mortgage?

There’s been a lot of media coverage in the last few months on Trump’s failed business ventures, including Trump Airlines, Trump University and GoTrump.com. But fewer people are aware of the short-lived Trump Mortgage, an endeavor that got off the ground in 2006 and cratered less than two years later, after the housing market crash. So, what exactly was Trump Mortgage?

In 2006, Trump opened a mortgage brokerage that operated out of Trump Tower in Manhattan, during the housing bubble right before it burst. The company had a goal of generating $3 billion worth of mortgages, but ended up hitting only $1 billion before going out of business.

With more attention focused on Trump business ventures recently, publications like The Washington Post, CNN Money and Time have taken a closer look at what happened to the NY mortgage company, especially in light of comments Trump himself has made on the campaign trail.

Trump has said that he predicted the crash, saying in 2015 that he knew the housing market “was a bubble that was waiting to explode.” He’s also said the downfall of Trump Mortgage was the result of poor management, and he had very little to do with it.

However, The Washington Post points out that during the launch of Trump Mortgage at a glitzy press event in 2006, Trump seemed exuberant about entering the mortgage business. He introduced CEO EJ Ridings (a supposed Wall Street expert with years of experience), joking that if the company wasn’t a big success, “you’re fired.” It turned out Ridings had been introduced to Trump by his son, Donald Trump Jr. Ridings had grossly overinflated his qualifications, having only spent 3 months at a Wall Street firm and a few years as a mortgage broker before that.

CNN Money points out that before Trump Mortgage launched in 2006, he gave an interview to CNBC about the new venture. When asked what he thought about the future of housing, given concerns of a bubble, he said it was a great time to start a mortgage business. He also wrote a blog titled “The Housing Bubble: Doom and Gloom Don’t Pay” for Trump University students. He wrote, “You need to take risks in business. Are you the type of person who takes advantage of positive situations when they present themselves, riding them out as long as they last? Or do you heed every message of doom and gloom, avoiding risks that could be some remarkable opportunities?”

In 2007, NY business magazine Crain’s published a piece about the rise and fall of the company. They reported that Trump “downplayed his role in the failure.” Trump said he simply licensed his name to the mortgage company, and had no ownership stake.

Trump Mortgage didn’t end there. Brooklyn-based company Meridian Financial took on the Trump moniker, becoming Trump Financial. Its CEO David Brecher said, “I could not think of another branding name that has as much clout.” Trump Financial quietly exited the market two years later.

Was Trump’s decision to start a mortgage business in 2006 just bad timing, or a terrible business decision all-around? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

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.

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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

CFPB report finds less than 50% of borrowers shop around for mortgages

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a breakdown of an important consumer behavior report. The National Survey of Mortgage Borrowers was completed by over 1900 homebuyers last year. These surveys asked approximately 100 questions covering the entire mortgage process, from when the consumer first started shopping for a mortgage, all the way through closing. Findings of the survey say that the overwhelming majority (77%) of first-lien mortgage purchasers only ever fill out one application.

Survey Key Findings:

  • Almost half of consumers who take out a mortgage for home purchase only seriously consider a single lender or mortgage broker before choosing where to apply. Shopping is somewhat higher among first-time homebuyers, but not by much.
  • Borrowers rely primarily on their lenders, brokers and real estate agents for information on the mortgage lending process. Far fewer consumers obtain information from outside sources, including friends, family, co-workers, housing counselors and even the web.
  • Most consumers report being “very familiar” with types of mortgages, available interest rates, and the process of taking out a mortgage. Those who are “unfamiliar” with the mortgage process are less likely to shop are more likely to rely on real estate agents and personal acquaintances.
  • A large number of borrowers report that factors NOT directly related to mortgage cost – including a previous relationship with a particular lender or broker, the lender or broker’s reputation, or even geographic proximity – are “very important” in their decision-making. Borrowers who express these preferences are “much less likely” to shop.

How much do consumers shop?

Apparently, not much. 77% percent only applied to one lender. First-time homeowners are slightly more likely to apply to more than one. The survey found the most common reason for shopping was to find the best deal. 5% of consumers that applied to multiple lenders did so because they had been turned down elsewhere. CFPB concludes in the report that a large amount of consumers ARE NOT getting the best mortgage possible due to lack of shopping.

How familiar are consumers with the mortgage process?

51% of consumers say they are “very familiar” with the process, start to finish. 14% say they are not at all familiar. Most consumers were most familiar with their own credit score and history, while only 49% said they were “very familiar” with the amount of money they would need for closing. 14% said they were “completely unfamiliar” with closing amounts. 25% of first-time homebuyers said they were “completely unfamiliar” with the process. The report found that the less familiar the consumer is with the process, the less likely they are to shop. For example, consumers who had researched available interest rates were almost twice as likely to shop as those who were unfamiliar.

Where do consumers go for sources of information on getting a mortgage?

The study found that 70% of consumers used their lender or broker as their main source of information on taking out a loan. 33% said they used their real estate agent as the primary source. Only 20% of borrowers said they used the web as a source of information “a lot.” Even fewer used friends, personal contacts, or financial planners. Less informed consumers tend to rely on personal acquaintances and real estate agents far more often than consumers who called themselves “very familiar” with the process. CFPB speculates this might be because those types of sources can provide information in laymen’s terms.

What do consumers look for in a lender/broker?

The three most important characteristics for the borrower are:

  1. Having an established relationship with the lender/broker. (42% said this was very important.)
  2. “A local office nearby” is very important for 40% of borrowers.
  3. Reputation of the lender/broker is very important for 41% of borrowers.

Consumers who had a prior relationship with a bank or lender – or were located near one – were much less likely to shop around than those who did not.

CFPB caveat:

This analysis doesn’t attempt to evaluate the extent to which shopping improves outcomes – like fewer delinquencies and foreclosures, for instance. But they’re working on getting that data as well.

Conclusion:

So, why do so few people shop around for a mortgage (even though it might benefit them financially), preferring instead to borrow from a bank or institution they have an established relationship with, or one that is conveniently located?

A recent piece on National Public Radio suggested this pattern in consumer behavior may be explained by consumer math skills. Specifically, many consumers may not understand how compound interest accrues over the life of the loan.

Link to story: http://www.npr.org/2015/01/13/376836545/consumer-agency-launches-tool-to-help-you-find-a-cheaper-mortgage

The CFPB report suggests a simpler explanation – people simply prefer going to their neighborhood lender/broker, or going to the bank they’ve already established a relationship with.

What does this data mean for brokers, lenders, and banks?

Solidifying a presence in your community may be the best way to drum up business. Making yourself available to the consumer as an resource for information can be an invaluable tool – the report clearly suggests consumers prefer this method of deciding on a mortgage provider to any other.

What does this data mean for consumers?

Shopping around may be in your best interest, especially if you are new to the mortgage process, and finding someone who will take the time and effort to get you the best loan available may require more than one pit stop.

Link to report: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201501_cfpb_consumers-mortgage-shopping-experience.pdf

Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Changes the Mortgage Industry Forever

Blogs and websites have been on fire since the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law on July 21, 2010.  Though many mortgage lenders and mortgage loan originators (MLO) are still unclear as to the total impact of this new law on their income, there are a few elements of the law that are known and will affect every mortgage loan originator.  The compensation provisions of the law go into effect on April 1, 2011 and set up new provisions for all MLOs.  Although the industry experienced new disclosure requirements with the new Good Faith Estimate (effective 1/1/2010), and the inclusion of yield spread premium (YSP) into the Origination Charges, followed by a credit of the YSP to the borrower, established the new way of disclosing these fees, the MLO still financially benefited from YSP.  That compensation process will come to an end.  Also, the ability to price a loan differently due to loan size or complexity will not be a pricing option effective April 1st.  All loan origination compensation must be computed on the loan amount and cannot be adjusted for a difficulty factor.  Additionally, origination compensation must be paid by either the borrower or the lending source, not both.

Though these changes will affect pricing policies for many mortgage companies and MLOs alike,  they are not the end of our industry, but rather a signal for the need to alter operations.  The mortgage industry over the past several decades had become bloated with under-trained individuals earning incomes that rivaled physicians and attorneys.  Unharnessed revenue structures allowed unskilled MLOs, untrained processors and managers to maintain high incomes without sufficient industry knowledge, all at the consumer’s expense.  Mortgage lenders could afford to maintain an unskilled workforce as per loan profit margins negated a need for sufficiently trained employees.  Mortgage lenders of all sizes will now need to evaluate the cost of loan originations.  A need to streamline origination and processing functions will become critical.  Each dollar saved in the process becomes an additional dollar of profit and a potential compensation dollar.  The need for a MLO to understand everything about the origination/processing procedures and to efficiently compile a closable loan file from the point of origination will be essential, if the MLO wishes to maintain a reasonable earnings per hour spent compensation.  Effective training programs for all MLOs and processors will become an equally essential part of every successful mortgage lender’s operations.  The once neglected training area will be at the forefront of every profitable mortgage lender’s staffing protocol.  The days of unskilled, under-educated production and ops staff are gone.  The ability for mortgage companies to retain employees who are sufficiently trained, will become increasing more difficult.  As per-loan revenues fall, additional profits will only be achieved through greater efficiency and higher skill set of their workforce. 

Though the Dodd-Frank Bill set out to achieve consumer protection through the establishment of compensation limits, the new law will also reach well into the operations of every mortgage lender.  Along the way the law might possibly not only change the operations of the lender, but may also ignite changes that will improve our industry forever.