There are many things to consider when choosing your pre-licensing or continuing education (CE) provider. Whether you are a seasoned mortgage professional or just getting started, content and delivery are just two factors to think about. If you don’t want your hours to be a waste of time, then you need to do your research.
Technology in the 21st Century allows you to choose not only when and where, but how you take your required mortgage education. Before deciding on a course, you should ask yourself what environment best fits your needs?
Not all mortgage education providers are created equal. In order to be Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS)-approved, a course provider must offer material on federal laws and regulations, general mortgage knowledge, loan originator activities and ethics. However, how that material is delivered, and the environment in which it is delivered, can affect your retention and ultimately, your mortgage career.
Today, many loan officers think that an online course is the best answer. It’s flexible and you can do the work according to your own schedule. However, not everyone retains the information they’ve been exposed to in an online setting. Others find great value in live courses or private on-site instruction. Here, you can interact with the instructor, and at the same time, learn from the questions and comments by the other participants. These also have a social benefit.
Another venue is that of Webinars. This too is an online format, yet with live human instruction. For some, this is the best of both worlds. It’s online, so you can do it from your home or office, yet with a live instructor to deliver the content and interact with.
Each venue has its own benefits and drawbacks. When studying on your own, you must read the material, process and retain it and hope you understand it properly. On the positive side, you have the flexibility to fit it into your schedule so you don’t have to take time out of the office. Live classes have the burden of finding the day and time to be out of the office and away from your files, employees or clients, but many get more out of the live classroom environment because of the participation and interaction. With Webinars, there’s the benefit of doing it from your computer and have a live instructor to ask questions and run scenarios by. On the downside, you must find the uninterrupted time to be present and participate in order to receive credit.
One last thing to consider when looking at your mortgage education is the actual material presented. Some providers only offer the bare minimum requirements. Others give information with either more of a finance or real estate focus. While others realize that you are a residential mortgage loan originator and focus on the specialized mortgage content that you need to do your job best. Don’t be afraid to call ahead and ask about the material and delivery of the class you’re considering.
Ultimately, you the loan officer are responsible for knowing the laws and regulations in your industry, therefore, it’s up to you to choose the format, venue and content that you will get the most out of. Mortgage education is not one size fits all. Review your options, do your research and choose the one that best fits your needs.
Sharmen Lane of Loan Officer School may be reached by phone at (917) 583-3830 or e-mail [email protected]