Finance America Reverse (FAR) announced Earlier this week, a new educational platform for reverse mortgages was developed that is designed to equip the company’s wholesale partners with a wide range of relevant, customizable educational resources and materials that can expand product knowledge and deliver better potential services to customers.
The new platform, dubbed Financial University of America (FAU), is launching alongside additional new offerings, including the introduction of an enhanced Policy and Procedure (P&P) documentation center on the Xcelerate wholesale portal.
To determine how the program was conceived and what will be required for its implementation and success, RMD met with Lorraine Geraci, Vice President of Learning and Development at FAR, to discuss how the FAU is intended to influence the educational practices of a major reverse mortgage lender.
Choice-Based Educational Approach Focused on Professionals
Gerachi explains that one of the main components that helps define the FAU approach over previous FAR efforts is the amount of choice prospective students will have in assimilating the material.
“The audience is mainly sales and operations professionals. People can choose the classes they need at the moment to improve their backward knowledge, or they can also enroll in one or more learning paths, ”she says. “For example, Reverse Fast Track Newbie consists of 10 complete online classes to give the new professional an overview and introduction to backselling.”
Complementary Pathways provide more educational material on specific topics oriented to the opposite, including the use of Loan Disbursement Systems (LOS), which are designed to reverse; guidelines for reverse mortgages, including financial appraisal; and general information about the reverse mortgage loan process, which can usually require some training for people who are just starting out in this business. The FAU isn’t just for newcomers to the reverse mortgage business, however.
“We also have advanced paths for our more experienced partners that cover all the products that FAR offers, including EquityAvail and our HomeSafe package,” she says, referring to the company’s traditional proprietary reverse mortgage and its new hybrid forward-reverse product… “We will continue to expand these areas and the different classes available depending on the needs of our partners and our sales team.”
What Makes FAU Different From Previous Educational Activities
In terms of how FAU differs from other educational events that FAR has led in the past, the addition of updates on each subject, as well as the use of more engaging media such as videos, highlight that the company is making a concerted effort to meet Gerachi says people where they are, in terms of how they prefer to learn new information.
“Our new FAU Learning Management System includes updates to all learning resources and provides more structured learning paths, reporting and testing,” she explains. “There are also exciting new videos here for quick module learning. With our new enhancements, wholesale partners can request specific paths for their teams and can ensure that team members complete those paths before the reverse mortgage is sold. “
These efforts, in particular, are aimed at increasing the practical knowledge of professionals about the broader range of facts associated with reverse mortgages, which, in turn, will hopefully lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction, she says. In addition, previous educational efforts undertaken by FAR also contributed to the establishment of FAU, Geraci says.
“The Learning and Development team has worked very hard over the past 9 years to create a library of educational resources for sales and operations professionals. All resources were created by instructors who have worked in the reverse industry for many years, ”she says. “We started with one backsales specialist who created training from scratch. Since then, we have added dedicated sales instructors, trainers and operations instructors who are constantly reviewing, updating and creating new training materials for the needs of our employees and partners. ”
This also extends to the hiring of professional curriculum developers who strive to make content as engaging as possible, as well as a dedicated curriculum administrator responsible for supporting the various elements of the FAU as a whole.
“The Learning and Development team has come together to create the perfect flow of informative, engaging and learning materials to help our employees, partners and the industry at large,” says Geraci.
How FAU was created and how FAR defines its success
FAU is the result of a significant investment of time and effort on the part of the Geraci team, and each class included in the curriculum had to be developed in-house. The choices previously discussed include more traditional, passive activities, like PowerPoint presentations that can be watched at the student’s leisure time, or video content for those who may need more engaging learning material, she said. After that, each class had to be defined for the best learning path so that it could be properly implemented.
“The new improvements are the result of a desire to support our partners and our internal sales teams,” explains Geraci. “We have received requests for structured training approaches from some of our partners based on their respective needs. We also wanted to meet the needs of our in-house sales teams. We now have an easy-to-use online learning experience for busy professionals with built-in tracking, measurement and reporting tools. ”
In addition to receiving direct feedback from those using the FAU, FAR will closely monitor the success of the program through responses from surveys embedded in courses. There are also “customizable reporting capabilities” that will allow companies and / or partners to track and monitor the progress of their loan officers, Geraci said.
“The exams and quizzes are built into specific courses, and in some cases the student cannot move on to the next section without passing the knowledge test / quiz,” she says. “We will continue to collect feedback from our partners and employees to measure the success of the FAU, and will make adjustments to proposed courses and other FAU features as needed.”
CRMP Accountability Courses
As is the case with some of its counterparts in the reverse mortgage industry, FAR offers courses that can be taken to obtain a loan to earn the special title of Certified Reverse Mortgage Lending Specialist (CRMP) from the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA). The inclusion of this material in the FAU makes sense, Geraci said.
“We’ve partnered with NRMLA for many years on a variety of educational content and value NRMLA, including some of our important CRMP classes,” she says. “At the moment we have 11 classes that we offer both in real time and online through the FAU. Through our virtual learning modules, we can confirm that people have viewed CRMP online classes and provide attendance data to the NRMLA to assist them with their assignment. This gives professionals more opportunities to obtain CRMP status. “
On top of that, FAR specifically said in its announcement of the new program that the FAU will help ensure accountability in the learning curve for reverse mortgage lending professionals. When asked to clarify this, Geraci brought up topics that many reverse mortgage lending professionals are likely familiar with in terms of reputational difficulties in the larger industry.
“As many people in the reverse mortgage industry know, it is important to be aware of the uniqueness of a reverse mortgage and how different the reverse mortgage process is from conventional forward lending,” she says. “As more professionals learn about the specifics of reverse mortgages and how their clients can benefit from various products, it helps the entire industry. We want professionals to have a good understanding of products, ethics and processes to represent our industry well. FAR is committed to providing compatible, approved educational resources for employees and approved wholesale partners through a variety of attractive platforms. ”