Leading reverse mortgage lender Finance of America Reverse (FAR) has rolled out a new online portal for its wholesale partners offering credits toward the Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional (CRMP) designation offered by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA).
The designation aims to conform to best certification practices found in other financial services industries, and is overseen by a governing body with its own dedicated policies and procedures which determine all decisions related to the awarding of a certification. While there are a number of ways to earn CRMP-specific continuing education (CE) credits necessary to earn or maintain the designation’s status, FAR’s offering for its partners allows a series of courses to be accessed any time, and from any web browser.
Several NRMLA member companies are equipped to offer CE credits for the CRMP designation and actively do so, as long as the courses are submitted to the independent CRMP certification committee. The committee ultimately makes determinations regarding approval, making suggestions or improvements to the courses, or not approving them, according to NRMLA President Steve Irwin.
The designation and FAR, certification process
In the case of this new portal, the courses being offered by FAR have already been approved by the certification committee, and the company has taken it upon itself to simply offer those existing and pre-approved courses in a new online environment. FAR is one of two leading lenders which offer the largest number of CRMP CE courses — the other being Reverse Mortgage Funding (RMF) — and is currently approved to offer 12 courses that are eligible for credit.
FAR currently has 11 employees with the CRMP designation, and covers the fee for those seeking it out according to Sherry Apanay, the lender’s chief development officer, who adds that the company has offered CRMP courses for credit since 2015. In creating this portal, the company is displaying its commitment to the designation and the value it projects to prospective clients, she says.
“I think it’s evident with the number of approved CRMP courses we offer that FAR is a staunch supporter and we encourage every eligible licensed loan originator to obtain the CRMP designation,” Apanay tells RMD. “To be eligible, there is a prerequisite of having funded at least 50 reverse mortgage loans or having at least three years of reverse mortgage experience.”
Courses are offered in both “basic” and “advanced” categories. Basic courses are largely for those seeking to meet initial requirements to qualify for earning a CRMP, while existing certified professionals are restricted to “advanced” level classes only in meeting ongoing CE requirements.
FAR’s portal offers eight courses in the “basic” category and an additional four in the “advanced” category, all of which can be accessed at any time. All of the offered classes are 60 minutes in duration. At the end, the student takes a quiz and if a score of at least 80% is recorded, then one CRMP credit is awarded upon transmission and approval by NRMLA. FAR wholesale partners are directed to take their classes through the “Xcelerate” portal.
Individuals must also submit eight CE credits each year to keep their certification current, she says, and those can be earned by completing online courses or by attending NRMLA conferences.
“Especially in the current traditional mortgage market environment, we know there is a shift to purchase loans and that there will be fewer refinances, so we believe now is a great opportunity for originators to expand their offerings and become more familiar with a solution that could help their future customers,” Apanay says.
Education landscape across the reverse mortgage industry.
As the primary certification available to members of the reverse mortgage industry, FAR sees a great deal of importance in supporting the CRMP program and the trade association, Apanay explains.
“FAR is strong supporter of NRMLA and we greatly value the partnership,” she says. “We’ll continue to champion the CRMP designation and add CRMP courses annually. Next month, FAR has two CRMP classes on the calendar that may be of interest to those pursuing continuing education credits: Financial Safeguards for Reverse Mortgage Borrowers & Insights into Understanding Our Aging Population. Notably, these continuing education programs and CRMP training are available to everyone, not just FAR employees and partners.”
In terms of the broader education landscape across the industry, Apanay believes that having a standardized educational metric is beneficial, and the CRMP is one such tool to help accomplish a level of understanding for reverse mortgages, she says.
“We want to ensure that those who interact with potential borrowers, partners and other stakeholders really understand how reverse mortgages work and the guidelines associated with the various products available in the market today,” she tells RMD. “If more lenders would encourage the CRMP designation, we could mitigate some of the risk we’ve seen with misinformation and help better dispel misconceptions about the products and the industry.”
This is the latest evolution of FAR’s broader industry education initiatives. Last summer, the company announced the development of a new reverse mortgage education platform designed to equip its wholesale partners with relevant, customizable educational resources and materials that can expand product knowledge and provide better potential service to clients. “Finance of America University” (FAU), launched alongside additional offerings including the introduction of an enhanced “Policies and Procedures” (P&P) Documents Center on its “Xcelerate” Wholesale Portal.
Visit FAR’s CRMP wholesale portal.