The Mortgage Underwriter Programme began in 1995 in an effort to address the differences in the economies and housing/mortgage market in the ECCU Countries.
The programme was planned and organized by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, in collaboration with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMCH), during the formation of the Eastern Caribbean Home Mortgage Bank (ECHMB). The objective of the programme during that period was to upgrade underwriting standards in the region and to make participants better aware of the workings of the ECHMB, by providing primary lenders with information on how the secondary market for mortgages will operate; and to provide a forum where professionals in the mortgage lending industry through the ECCB region could meet and share experiences.
The programme again was held in March 1996, with two seminars, one in St Lucia and one in St Kitts. They were both coordinated by Mr. Bill Hall of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) who contracted Steve Leistner of the Real Estate Institute for Democracy (REIC) to assist. The three modules of the programme were then introduced, Modules1, 2,& 3.
As the years went by, CMHC who at first coordinated the sessions phased out most of its programmes but currently works alongside the REIC who uses some of its programmes. Modules one and two are coordinated by REIC using some of the materials of the CMHC programmes, while Module 3 is owned entirely by REIC.
DETAILS OF THE PROGRAMME
The Programme address the major issues that are likely to impact on the efficiency of the mortgage underwriting processes and servicing practices including title, development planning, land use, structural integrity of buildings, property valuation and credit assessment. The target participants are those officers who are involved in the mortgage lending, decision-making and administration of mortgages in their institutions, and those who are expected to be so involved.
Module 1- REIC 2340: Mortgage Lending for Residential Housing
This course is designed to sharpen risk assessment and risk management skills, it is fundamental to anyone involved in underwriting residential mortgages.
Module 2 - REIC 2341: Property Risk Assessment, Credit & Electronic Underwriting
Invaluable for those working in an underwriting environment with a background in credit and property risk assessment, this Risk Assessment and Real Estate Valuation program also looks at automated underwriting, review appraisals, property value and personal databases.
Module 3 (2 courses)
REIC 2600: Ethics and Legal Issues Regarding Mortgages & Registration
(1) Ethics 2600
This program deals extensively with ethical codes and management issues. Using case studies, group discussions, workshops, and videos, participants will study various real estate ethical codes and will acquire the tools and strategies to maintain strict ethical standards in a business setting.
(2) REIC 2285: Legal Issues Regarding Mortgages & Registration
Participants developed the skills of understanding the various legal pitfalls involved in real estate today. It is oriented towards any person who deals directly and negotiates with consumers of real estate.
The Programme which is being undertaken in three modules over a period of eighteen months is designed to equip participants with a level of training, in partial fulfillment of the eligibility requirements for accreditation as a Certified Residential Underwriter (CRU).
At the end of each Module, a “Take Home Assignment” is submitted to participants to be graded by REIC within 30 days after each Module. Upon successful completion of all three modules, participants are encouraged to apply to REIC for the CRU designation, which cost Canadian Dollar - $262.50 ($250.00 + 5% tax).
To date, about fifty (50) participants have met the eligibility requirements for Accreditation.
These participants can attest to the ongoing significance of the Programme, both to the individual seeking to enter the mortgage lending industry, and to the institutions that recognize the value of upgrading the proficiency and professionalism of their staff.
The main co-ordinator for the programme is Mr. Steve Leistner of the Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC), who provides the expertise on the programme. But in addition, local persons and sometimes ECHMB Managers are invited to make presentations on relevant subject matters in order to bring the Caribbean perspective on topics related to the mortgage industry.
ECHMB pays REIC a standard fee plus reimbursement for travel and taxis incurred to and from Canada for the Co-ordinator, along with his hotel accommodation and per diem of US$100.00 per day during the programme days. The local presenters, excluding ECHMB’s staff, are paid a stipend of EC$500.00.
The registration fee is currently EC$3,000.00 per participant per Module. The session runs daily for one week. This fee covers all proramme materials, on-site visits to projects, Registry’s Office, coffee breaks and lunch on programme days.
Participants are allowed to attend the programme at any given time since it is not necessary that persons should enter the programme in ordinal sequence.
The programmes are held in different Islands to allow for as wide participation as possible by reducing travel costs for the institutions.
A three Module cycle was recently completed in November 2012. A new cycle is schedule for June 2013 in Dominica.