Do you remember the business just five years ago? What about 10 or 20 years ago? I can remember back 32 years ago when it was a male-dominated industry and brokers owned real estate or insurance companies. You might be wondering why reminiscing is important. I use it to learn from and plan where I want to go and sometimes need to go. Working hard is second nature to those of us in the industry, especially this year.
When I think about how I got started and why … newly married, a new baby, but good flexibility and a great sense of accomplishment helping someone finance their home, it brings a sense of pride. I learned the “ropes” the way most of us did back then, through trial and error and from great teachers where I worked. Their experience and willingness to share gave me the skills that I have today. The sad part was that there was no education or little formal training then. That is the purpose and reason I passionately support certifications and promote obtaining at least one or even all you can. It is also why I share this with you and stay active promoting certifications at NAMB and in my home state of Michigan with the Michigan Mortgage Brokers Association (MMBA).
Certifications are very important, especially in light of all the licensing and registration taking place throughout the country. Knowledge is a powerful item to have. Letting your clients, peers and industry partners know that you take this profession seriously and want to be the best you can sets you apart from everyone else. It is one thing to be forced to obtain some knowledge through licensing, and says that you are the same as everyone else who must do it for the sake of just being in the business. It is totally different to step up and show that you are an involved, growing leader in your profession.
Studies have shown that even though the general public may not understand all the “initials or letters” behind someone’s name, they respect the fact that they must be more knowledgeable in order to have obtained them. I can speak from personal experience where I have gotten business referrals simply because I had those initials behind my name. I proudly use my certification initials on everything. I gladly take continuing education to further my knowledge and maintain those same certifications. It is a sense of accomplishment and pride to all of us who know that we were not forced to obtain them or keep them.
I encourage everyone out there reading this article to research which certification you should start with. Take the next step to a higher level of professionalism and set yourself apart. NAMB has three available and excellent places to start. We have developed the materials and test to assist you in taking your career to new horizons. There are many of us willing to help you become the next professional to proudly declare: “I am certified and chose to set myself apart from the crowd!”
Pava J. Leyrer, CMC, CRMS, CMP is president and owner of Heritage National Mortgage Corporation in Grandville, Mich., and Certifications Committee chair for the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. She may be reached by phone at (616) 534-4993.