For the first time in a decade, the Accredited Mortgage Professional designation is undergoing some major changes meant to strengthen the brand. But will they? John Bargis, VP of Mortgage Edge and former CAAMP chair, weighs in
In a move designed to build clout and better distinguish brokers from other Accredited Mortgage Professionals, CAAMP is set to overhaul the country’s chief designation. The changes, which officially take effect on July 1, include written examinations and the creation of a sister certification for lenders and others – one that paves the way for a broker-exclusive AMP. Details are forthcoming, says CAAMP, but industry veterans are already sharing their initial thoughts and, indeed, concerns.
CMP: Do you think the changes put forth by CAAMP effectively address broker concerns?
The biggest issue is that the AMP really doesn’t mean a whole lot to the consumer public because, as far as I’m concerned, we’re putting the cart before the horse. They are not doing an effective job on a national level of creating awareness about what a mortgage broker really does and the value they bring to the consumer. Once we deal with that, we can deal with the mechanics of designations.
CMP: Brokers have long called for the AMP designation to be strictly theirs. CAAMP has listened but they will also be establishing a separate designation for lenders, Realtors and other non-brokers now holding the certification. Do you feel brokers have a right to be concerned that these changes won’t go far enough in helping elevate consumer perception of brokers?
Absolutely. There is already a broker-only designation in the industry (CPMB), but it still doesn’t address the main problem, which is consumer awareness of mortgage brokers and their value proposition. Multiple designations will only lead to mass confusion and waste more time and money, only to yield the same results: A whole lot of nothing. Those leading CAAMP clearly don’t get the message that the industry continues to send them with waning AMP numbers. That should be speaking volumes to them.
CMP: What’s the best way of educating the public about the role of brokers?
: The entire industry needs to come together on this. There isn’t one particular group that’s going to effectively send that message to the consumer public. You’ve got to get the larger brokerage houses to set aside the fact that it’s not just about them; it’s about the industry and the associations. The associations have to stop bending to the pressure that’s exerted on them by these nationals and concentrate on what’s best for the entire industry. This is where the regional associations do a much better job as it relates to regulatory representation for brokers and not lenders or other associate members.
CMP: CAAMP is now requiring potential AMPs to pass a written exam. Do you think this will be sufficient in weeding out “bad” brokers?
I think it’s a good thing, but if CAAMP is under the impression that this is going to prevent bad brokers from remaining in the industry, they’re quite delusional about that. This is about passing an exam. If you have a certain level of knowledge of what the industry is all about, but you don’t really practice it, you can still pass the exam. This will do absolutely nothing to separate good from bad.