First Professional Reverse Mortgage Designations Awarded

The first round of Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional designations were awarded to six members according to a statement from the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association.

In order to earn the designation, individuals are required to have a minimum of two years of experience in the reverse mortgage business and close at least 50 loans.  Additionally, individuals must take 12 hours of continuing education courses as well as NRMLA’s three-hour ethics course, pass a background check, and sit through a three-hour exam.

“We were intent on creating a Certification that is rigid enough to demand the respect of professionals and government officials and the confidence of America’s seniors,” said Peter Bell, NRMLA president. “On behalf of the entire membership, we congratulate our inaugural designees all of whom, have demonstrated a deep understanding of the product and an eagerness to continually pursue additional education.”

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“Through this process, I discovered a lot of things I wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to learn,” said Anissa G. Palmatier, a reverse mortgage consultant with PNC Reverse Mortgage LLC who earned the designation. “What the underlying political reasons were in how they structured the reverse mortgage. What everyone else does in the process from beginning to end. My knowledge is much more comprehensive now which should give my borrowers much more confidence in me.”

The certification is valid for three years, during which time designees must sit for an additional 12 hours of continuing education per year to be re-certified.

The CRMP designation was created by an Independent Certification Committee comprising members of NRMLA that will administer the program, while working in concert with Professional Testing, Inc. For three decades, Professional Testing has developed more than 2,500 programs, administered over 1.2 million exams, and maintained licensure and professional certification examination programs for 125 occupations.

Others who earned the designation include: Henrietta Belcher-Stack (WSFS Bank), Clarence “Buck” Harbuck (Financial Freedom), Eric Kirschbaum (Cambridge Senior Capital), Kenneth Klawans (iReverse Home Loans LLC), Anissa G. Palmatier (PNC Reverse Mortgage LLC), and Eric Rittmeyer (Fidelis Mortgage).

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  • Like most credentials of this nature, those who are among the first to get it are usually are among those who deserve it the most. So to those who obtained the CRMP — Congratulations!!! No doubt, you are among the best in the industry.

    However, this is one time I do not agree with the conclusion of Peter Bell. Few professionals will look more favorability on a certificate holder over someone without it. Even the Society of CSAs requires more education than this certificat and their exam is directly related to that education. I hope the CRMP does not eventually fall into that category of certificates in the minds of legal and financial professionals. By the way, I hold a CSA and earned it through examination.

    If this program had been introduced 4 years ago, it might actually have some meaning and substance today. Now with the NMLS, having evidence of a background check means far less. In fact one has to question why it is even necessary for those who have passed the background checks under the NMLS.

    Without a review of some of the fifty loans by an experience qualification committee within NRMLA, what do fifty allegedly closed loans actually indicate? If all were done improperly and cleaned up by processing with little participation by the originator, the certification committee is doing little more than overseeing a certificate mill.

    Since employees of non-member firms are eligible, how can there be any expectation of standardized quality or training of originators or other individuals who might get certified. Without more stringent requirements, NRMLA is playing with fire. Many expect to see the CRMP die out or become little more than an interesting curiosity.

  • Wow, I can hardly wait to get my own CRMP to impress my borrowers. — if everyone would just get on board it would be a great cash cow for NRMLA. I doubt it will ever be, or meant to be, more than that.

  • Of course, the NMLS exam hardly touches reverse mortgages at all, so, in that sense, the testing may be a strength. (But I did find the wide ranging information available in the NMLS education gave me insight into the laws which make so many crazy forms necessary in a reverse mortgage app.) In fact, with the bank employees who are only required to have an NMLS number but not required to take the NMLS coursework or testing, this may sadly be the only form of formal(?) mortgage education they ever get. I still think it may be a case of too little, too late rather than better late than never.

  • Another feel-good designation for those who like to have letters after their names. At least it comes from a non-profit organization.

    The CSA designation, on the other hand, is totally bogus as it is not at all rigorous and comes from a for-profit company that is essentially in the business of selling seminars and designations.

    If you want to see a financial-services designation that has truly rigorous requirements and is a symbol or achievement, check out CLU or CFP.

    A consumer is in no way assured that he or she will get better (or more ethical) service from the holder of a designation than from one who does not have a designation.

    • HECM Vet,

      What does the status of the certificate issuer being for profit or non-profit have to do with the quality of a certificate? Becoming a non-profit is as easy as creating a non-profit corporation under the laws of most states. Being a non-profit corporation has absolutely no special income tax status and basically means the corporation has no shareholders. I must admit this is a unique but, to put it politely but bluntly, very specious argument.

      Why do you bring up the CLU and CFP? What special legal rights, privileges, or duties do they provide their holders? Some call them little more than vanity certificates and status symbols.

      Despite the amount of tax education they achieve in their respective certificate programs, the IRS does not accord CFPs or CLUs the status of CPAs or attorneys; in fact the IRS does not award CFPs or CLUs any special status solely by virtue of holding these certificates.

      As to service, holders of certificates usually have a higher stake in their industry than those who do not hold them. They have a reason to provide service at least at the ethical level of their peers, if not better.

      • Cynic,

        You seem to enjoy spending your time disagreeing with others, whether your arguments have merit or not. In this case, they do not.

        The non-profit organizations to which I refer are trade associations or educational foundations which are affiliated with such associations. They have a stake in creating and upholding professional standards for their members.

        For-profit companies such as CSA, on the other hand, exist primarily to maximize the return on investment for their shareholders. The CSA designation is available to anyone who will pay their fee, sit through their seminar and complete their relatively easy exam.

        I bring up CLU and CFP as examples of meaningful designations because these are highly regarded within the financial-services industry. Of course these designations do not entitle their holders to practice before the IRS or dispense tax advice. That is not their purpose. They are awarded only after a lengthy process that takes into account experience, education and passing a comprehensive examination.

        CPAs and attorneys, as you well know, are not only usually degree-holding professionals; they are licensed after, among other things, passing an extremely difficult examination that is administered by the relevant state board of examiners.

        In choosing a professional to advise me, I would look to the candidate's references, education and experience first. An alphabet soup of designations wouldn't impress me. If I were to seek advice on whether to obtain a reverse mortgage, the last person I'd consult is someone who is going to earn a commission if I get one!

      • HECM Vet,

        Your reply is much better and clearer than your comment. However, you are the author of both.

        In the second sentence of the first paragraph and the first sentence of the next paragraph in your comment, you argue that the CRMP is better than the CSA because the CRMP comes from “a non-profit organization” while the CSA certificate comes from “a for-profit company. This is your argument, not mine. I did not dream it up. Until your reply you never argue the trade association and the education foundation position. It is new in your reply. Which is actually your position? It seems very fluid.

        As to the qualifications about CPAs and attorneys, maybe someone who is more familiar with such things should discuss that but from my view, you greatly oversimplify the situation.

        Why I bring up the IRS is because it allows a group of individuals who may or may not have any degree to sit for an exam which, if passed, gives those individuals (enrolled agents) the same rights as attorneys and CPAs in representing their clients. However, the IRS does not view CFPs as having the necessary requisite to avoid taking their exam even though the minimum standard of tax education for CFPs is higher than that needed by either CPAs or attorneys. I was quite surprised when I first found that out and have no idea why; however, it may be that Congress and the IRS do not trust any trade association by itself to adequately administer their own membership requirements and disciplinary structure.

        Why you bring up degrees is odd since most CFPs have degrees and a degree is not a necessity in some states for holding either a CPA or license to practice law. I have met many CPAs who do not hold any degrees in accounting, tax, or for that matter any business discipline.

      • Your reply to my reply does not disagree with or refute my reply; it just adds to it matters that I assumed you and the readers already know.

        You may note that I used the word “usually” before mentioning degree-holding professional. Yes, some old lawyers actually don't have a degree (although this is rare today). I have a CPA friend whose degree is in marine biology. Anyone who can pass the test may become an EA.

        My position regarding designations is very simple: Some may have more value than others, but all of them serve mainly to boost the holder's self-esteem.

      • HECM Vet,

        While I cannot speak to other exams, I can provide some insight into the CPA exam. Like the CFP exam, it is our national (not state)professional trade association, the AICPA, which creates the CPA exam. The examination and grading are overseen solely by the AICPA.

        I have no idea what you mean by: “CPAs … are licensed after, among other things, passing an extremely difficult examination that is administered by the relevant state board of examiners.” What state board of examiners are you referring to and in what way do they administer it? I have never heard or read that before. What is your source?

        [Weren't the person who argued not very long ago that California reverse mortgage originators (except those who are specifically exempted) did not have a fiduciary standard when dealing with borrowers because the language was removed from AB 329? Did you ever get that resolved from AB 260 and that it applies to all mortgage loan originators?]

      • “The California Board of Accountancy (Board), within the Department of Consumer Affairs, is responsible for examining and licensing Certified Public Accountants (CPA) and for enforcing the state laws regulating the practice of public accountancy. The Board is a state regulatory agency and is not part of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) or any other professional society.” –California State Board of Accountancy website

        All states and other U.S. jurisdictions employ the Uniform CPA Examination, administered by the AICPA, for licensing purposes. Each state board of accountancy, however, is still responsible for examining and licensing CPAs.

        You are splitting hairs in your futile effort to disagree with my post.

      • HECM Vet,

        You just did not read through the booklet you correctly quote from on the California State Board of Accountancy website for first time applicants. If you are really that interested in the CPA exam itself please go to the website cited in the following quotation from that same booklet: “Additional detailed information related to the Uniform CPA Examination is contained in the Candidate Bulletin – Information for Applicants, and the CPA Exam Alert. Both are accessible online at the Uniform CPA Examination’s Web site located at http://www.cpa-exam.org”

        That website once again is http://www.CPA-exam.org. You will find it is the AICPA and states on that webpage: “The Uniform CPA Examination protects the public interest by helping to ensure that only qualified individuals become licensed as U.S. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). Individuals seeking to qualify as CPAs – the only licensed qualification in accounting – are required to pass the CPA Examination.”

        While I do not expect you to be an expert on matters related to CPAs, your vigorous attack on others related to the fiduciary responsibility standard required of specified California mortgage originators under AB 260 was incredible, especially with your excuse that someone told you it was no longer in AB 329. You will find me disagreeable with those who mislead others with half truths while all the time making personal attacks on those who provide correct information. I personally find such behavior despicable.

  • “A consumer is in no way assured that he or she will get better (or more ethical) service from the holder of a designation than from one who does not have a designation. “

    However, most times they will, I think.

  • Admin,

    The HECM Vet seems to have changed names to Guest. Was this person actually the HECM Vet? Why one person would go back and change psuedonyms is odd unless you notified that person to stop using someone else's name. Very odd.

  • Admin,rnrnThe HECM Vet seems to have changed names to Guest. Was this person actually the HECM Vet? Why one person would go back and change psuedonyms is odd unless you notified that person to stop using someone else’s name. Very odd.

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