Meet one of the industry’s newest CMBs, Fannie Mae’s Christy Moss
There is no bigger industry stage than Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual meeting, nor bigger professional achievement than earning MBA’s Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB®).
CMB candidates must acquire 150 points earned through a combination of professional experience, secondary education (optional), continuing education through industry and/or MBA-sponsored events or courses, as well as participation in MBA at the local, state and/or national level.
After accumulating the required points and passing a comprehensive written exam, candidates undergo an oral exam with a panel of CMBs.
Those who pass can append their name with “CMB” and wear a lapel pin to make them easy to spot at industry events.
It’s not an easy nor fast process.
Of the estimated 74,000 people in the housing finance industry, about 1,200 have earned a CMB. Fannie Mae’s Christy Moss was among 40 new CMBs sworn in during a ceremony at MBA Annual in October.
The Difference Having a CMB Makes
Moss has worked at Fannie Mae for 10 years and currently is a relationship manager in the company’s business development organization. One of her roles is to work with new single-family lenders that want a direct relationship with Fannie Mae. She has to be ready to answer a range of concerns and questions – which vary by company size, structure, and business lines, and what’s happening in the wider industry. She also helps support Fannie Mae’s relationship with the MBA.
Although she’d spent 20 years on the correspondent investor side of the business before joining Fannie Mae, she felt earning the CMB – and especially its “rigorous curriculum” – would make her a more informed and valued subject-matter expert to the lenders she works with and to the MBA. “As a business development professional, we have to have a broad understanding on how lenders operate to make an impact,” she explains. “You have to first understand their business, what keeps them up at night. And then provide insight on how your tools or product can help their business.”
Seeing challenges from the customer’s point of view lets her have conversations where there’s give and take on both sides, she says. “The process forces you to think about issues in the industry in a different way and helps you better understand how lenders make decisions.”
It’s a viewpoint appreciated by Silverton Mortgage in Atlanta. Christy helped Silverton onboard and remains in close contact even when they are delivering through an aggregator or co-issue. “Christy brings a wide lens to the conversation,” says Josh Moffitt, president of Silverton. “She is a very valuable advisor to us, and a great asset to Fannie Mae.”
It took Moss several years to earn the CMB designation. She took a prep course to get ready for her six-hour written exam. Candidates have to pass all six sections to move on to the next stage. She then had a one-hour panel interview with three senior industry CMBs.
She completed the CMB requirements in May 2017 when she passed the oral exam. “I’ve been in the industry 30 years and this gave me an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment,” says Moss.
Many of her current and former peers were at the swearing-in ceremony at MBA’s Annual Convention in October.
She’s already finding that being a CMB has its benefits. The group meets in-person twice a year, at MBA’s Annual Convention and MBA’s National Advocacy Conference, discussing current industry topics and initiatives. Many members are C-suite executives so hearing their insights firsthand is helpful to Moss as she thinks about directions Fannie Mae can take with its technology and products.
Plus, if she has a question or needs to do additional research, she’s able to email her fellow CMBs for feedback. Those insights are important to her role at Fannie Mae, she says, since knowing what’s important to customers is the first step in meeting those needs.
Sharing Her Platform
The value of earning the industry’s highest professional designation hasn’t been lost on her peers. Half a dozen Fannie Mae employees have been in touch with Moss asking her for advice on navigating the CMB path. Of those, three have started their journey.
Moss is their biggest cheerleader. “It took me a few years, but the CMB is the best thing I have done for my career. As a relationship manager and an industry professional, I need to be a subject-matter expert about a lot of things,” she explains. “That’s what really appealed to me. I wanted to have a broader understanding of all aspects of our industry to better serve my customers.”
For more information on the CMB designation, visit MBA’s website.