Written By: Stacey Sprain, Op-Ed Writer
I’ve been writing so much lately about FHA that I decided to ‘switch things up a bit’ this week and provide some quality tips and information that I think you’ll find helpful for VA processing.
VA training is hard to come by as many of you have probably found. It’s not out there all over the place on the web like FHA training is. The thing is it actually is out there. You probably just haven’t run across it because you’re not a “psycho website searcher” like I am. Below I’ll share some of the “secret hiding places” where I’ve found VA training is actually readily available- most directly right from VA!
In my opinion, VA actually does the best job organizing and presenting their home loan program guidelines. The Lenders Handbook is well put together, organized by subject and is very easy to read and follow. You won’t need a fancy law degree or 67 years in the industry to understand the program guidelines and requirements. You’ll find the handbook at http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/pam26_7.html. The best thing is that unlike HUD and their handbooks, VA actually DOES update their guidelines with changes at the point when they issue a Circular announcing the actual changes.
You’ll find the DU Guide for VA Loans athttps://www.efanniemae.com/sf/guides/duguides/pdf/vaduug.pdf. This guide is also a must-read for those processing VA files through Desktop Originator or Desktop Underwriter.
Freddie Mac Loan Prospector offers a great FHA/VA Documentation Matrix at http://www.freddiemac.com/learn/pdfs/uw/total_matrix.pdfthat is a must have for all VA Processors. Add that to the FHA/VA Processing Worksheet that you’ll find athttp://www.freddiemac.com/learn/pdfs/uw/total_pw.pdf
and it won’t take you long at all to become a VA processing expert.
VA has an actual training page on their federal website which you can access at http://www.homeloans.va.gov/train.htm. There you will find a link that opens to a list of upcoming live training broadcasts and a list of prior broadcasts with training materials available to download or print. I highly recommend printing and saving the student materials from prior broadcasts because they serve as very helpful tools and resources for training. As example, you will find student materials from the December 5, 2007 broadcast called “The A to Z of the COE” provides a short 17 page reference guide that explains all you as a processor might need to know about the VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE).
VA also offers an online training self-paced course called Hometown USA: VA Credit Standards for which you’ll find information athttp://www.homeloans.va.gov/train.htm. The course is provided in modules by subject and includes questions and activities totaling 20 hours.
Several of the VA Regional Loan Centers offer their own VA training information.
Atlanta RLC covers the states of GA, NC, SC, and TN and unfortunately doesn’t appear to offer any specific training information at their website. http://www.vba.va.gov/ro/atlanta/rlc/index.htm.
You can contact Atlanta’s Loan Production Department at 888-768-2132 with questions you aren’t able to find answers to after referring to the VA Lenders Handbook.
Cleveland RLC covers the states of DE, IN, MI, NJ, OH and PA and hosts a Training Page athttp://www.vba.va.gov/ro/cleveland/training.htm. On that Training Page you will find their Lender Training Guide most recently updated January 2008. Go tohttp://www.vba.va.gov/ro/cleveland/Training_Guide_Cleveland_January_2008... to access the guide. The staff at Cleveland RLC is also happy to accommodate training requests and suggestions. They provide a training request form which you can find athttp://www.vba.va.gov/ro/cleveland/VA_Loan_Training.pdf.
Denver RLC covers the states of AL, CO, ID, MT, OR, UT, WA and WY and offers a list of PowerPoint presentations covering a range of subjects. Go to the Lender Training Page athttp://www.vba.va.gov/ro/denver/loan/lendertraining.htm where you can access them. Denver also offers an Excel prequalification worksheet at http://www.vba.va.gov/ro/denver/loan/docs/prequal-04.xls.
Houston RLC covers the states of TX, LA, AR and OK and provides a Lender Training Guide for access at
http://www.vba.va.gov/ro/houston/lgy/Documents/Lender%20Training%20Guide.... Houston also provides a training request form that you will find athttp://www.vba.va.gov/ro/houston/lgy/Documents/Outreach.pdf.
Manchester RLC covers the states of CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, RI and VT and provides their own Lender Training Guide athttp://www.vba.va.gov/ro/manchester/lgymain/lp/2006%20Training%20Guide%2....
They also offer a Realtor Training Guide athttp://www.vba.va.gov/ro/manchester/lgymain/lp/2006%20realtor%20guide.doc. You can email training requests and suggestions toNH_LP@vba.va.gov. You’ll find a schedule of live training opportunities which includes some great training sessions for originators, processors and underwriters athttp://www.vba.va.gov/ro/manchester/lgymain/lp/loanprocessing.htmand the registration form athttp://www.vba.va.gov/ro/manchester/lgymain/lp/registration%20form.doc.
Phoenix RLC covers the states of AZ, CA, NM and NV. You can subscribe to their free mailing list which will keep you up-to-date with news and events that affect the four-state RLC jurisdiction. Simply go to http://mailman.listserve.com/listmanager/listinfo/phoenixrlc. Phoenix RLC also has their own training page which you can find athttp://www.vba.va.gov/ro/phoenixlgy/VA%20Training.htm. The Phoenix office offers live training for originators, processors, underwriters and appraisers.
Roanoke RLC covers the District of Columbia, KY, MD, VA and WV. They do not list any training information on their website at this time but rather defer to the Fed VA training website.
St. Paul RLC covers the states of IL, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD and WI and provides a Lender Training Guide athttp://www.vba.va.gov/ro/central/stpau/PDFs/November%2007%20Complete%20G.... You may also email training requests and suggestions to RLCTT@va.gov.
St. Petersburg RLC covers the states of AL, FL, MS, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. You can subscribe to the free quarterly newsletter at http://www.vba.va.gov/ro/south/spete/rlc/index.htm. St. Pete accepts email training requests atLENDERTRAINING@VBA.VA.GOV.
FHA Online University offers two options for their FHA/VA Processor training session. You can participate in the six hour class by listening for two hours on three consecutive evenings or you can listen in for three hours on two consecutive days. Go tohttp://www.shop.loanprocessortraining.org/product.sc?productId=5 for more information. Note that NAMP members receive discounted pricing on the training sessions.
About The Author
Stacey Sprain - As an op-ed writer, Ms. Stacey Sprain is currently a NAMP® Certified Ambassador Loan Processor (NAMP®-CALP). With over 15+ years of mortgage banking experience, Stacey is also a Quality Control Manager for a major mortgage lending institution.