How to Become a Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional (CRMP)

Credentialing for high-level reverse mortgage specialists

If you are in the mortgage loan business—perhaps as a loan originator, processor, underwriter, counselor, compliance officer, or something else—then you may be interested in becoming a Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional (CRMP). The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA), the industry trade group for reverse mortgage professionals, offers the certification.

The CRMP certification demonstrates your knowledge and competency in reverse mortgage lending and your dedication to upholding high standards of ethical and professional practices.

Key Takeaways

  • Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional (CRMP) certification is offered by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA).
  • Eligibility requirements include three years of experience originating reverse mortgages or working in the reverse mortgage industry.
  • Candidates must earn continuing education (CE) credits, pay an application fee, pass an exam and background test, and attest that they will adhere to a strict code of ethics.
  • To maintain certification, CRMPs must acquire ongoing CE credits and agree to an additional background test every three years.

Why Obtain CRMP Certification?

The mortgage loan industry is highly competitive, and reverse mortgages are still a mystery to many people. One way to set yourself apart from the competition and help instill trust with clients is to demonstrate the vetting and additional training that comes with CRMP certification.

Your CRMP designation lets borrowers know that you are a high-level professional who is both knowledgeable and committed to high ethical standards. As a CRMP, you will be seen as placing the client’s needs above personal gain, recognition, or achievement. The CRMP code of ethics, enforced by the NRMLA’s Independent Certification Committee (ICC), and annual continuing education (CE) requirements ensure that you are up to date on reverse mortgage rules and regulations and reassure clients that you are being held to a high standard. 

Any properly licensed or registered mortgage loan originator can legally originate a reverse mortgage. CRMP status is simply a professional credential that demonstrates advanced experience and knowledge.

Eligibility Requirements for CRMP Certification

To be eligible to begin the CRMP certification process, you must be one of the two following things first:

  • A loan originator with a minimum of three years of experience or who has personally originated and closed 50 or more reverse mortgages.
  • A non-originator who has been in the reverse mortgage business for a minimum of three years in underwriting, processing, operations, training, title and closing services, appraising, counseling, wholesale sales, or loan servicing.

CRMP Certification Process Step by Step

If you decide that you want CRMP certification and meet the eligibility requirements listed above, the next steps are listed below.

Step One: Earn 12 CE Credits

Once you meet the requirement for experience in the reverse mortgage industry, your next step is to earn 12 CE credits. All credits must be earned less than one year before submitting your CRMP application. Credits can be earned at NRMLA conferences or by completing online courses that have been reviewed and approved by the ICC. A course list is available on the NRMLA website.

Step Two: Letter of Recommendation

Submit a letter of recommendation written and signed by a senior manager of your company. If you own your own company, ask an industry colleague who is a senior manager to submit a letter on your behalf.

Step Three: CRMP Ethics Workshop

Complete the course “An Explanation of the NRMLA Code of Ethics and Its Impact on Your Daily Routine” (commonly referred to as the “CRMP Ethics Workshop”). This is a two-hour course offered periodically at NRMLA in-person meetings and virtual classes.

As part of the application process, you will be asked to submit your current Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) mortgage loan originator license number, if applicable, and sign a consent statement attesting that you agree to follow the CRMP code of ethics.

Step Four: Submit an Application

This involves the following actions:

  • First, you log into NRMLAonline.org with your username and password. If you don’t know either one, use the password retrieval link.
  • Once you are logged in, select “Manage My Profile.”
  • When the next page appears, select “CRMP Application.”
  • When filling in the application, use your legal name as it appears on your official government-issued ID.
  • You must pay a nonrefundable application and testing fee of $250 when the application is filed. It is not possible to submit payments electronically through NRMLAonline.org, so you must request a copy of the payment form by emailing NRMLA Vice President of Communications Darryl Hicks at dhicks@dworbell.com.
  • You must meet the deadline for submitting applications, which is 30 days before sitting for the examination. Applications received by the deadline will be processed in 15 business days.

NRMLA will notify you if the information is insufficient or incomplete. Your application is reviewed again when incomplete or missing documentation is received.

Step Five: Background Check

Once you’ve been notified that your application has been approved, you must complete an ICC-approved background check using NRMLA’s approved vendor, General Information Systems (GIS). Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) background checks are not accepted. The cost is typically $49.95 (though some states may charge more).

Step Six: Authorization to Test

If you successfully pass the background check, you will receive an “Authorization to Test” email with instructions for scheduling an exam time through Pearson VUE.

Your application will be held for up to one year. If it remains incomplete after that period, you must reapply, meet the then-current eligibility criteria, and pay the appropriate fees. 

Step Seven: Take the Exam

As noted, the CRMP exam is offered through Pearson VUE, which operates more than 2,000 remote testing centers throughout the United States. Your “Authorization to Test” email will contain details about scheduling your exam. There is no special preparation required for the exam and no study guide. Questions are taken directly from mortgagee letters, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) handbooks, and other regulations that govern the home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) program.

Step Eight: CRMP Certification

At the conclusion of the exam, you will be notified whether or not you passed. The final step is to submit your initial-year certification fee of $175. Request the payment form by emailing Darryl Hicks at dhicks@dworbell.com. 

Cost of CRMP Certification

As noted, there is a $250 nonrefundable application fee. If your application is approved, the next step is to submit to an online background check, which costs $49.95 (although some states may charge more). If you pass the background check, you will receive an authorization to test. Following successful completion of the exam, you will pay a $175 certification fee.

The certification fee is paid annually as long as you maintain your CRMP status and must be submitted on or before the anniversary date that you earned the CRMP designation (which also appears on your CRMP certificate). In addition to these charges, you may incur other costs traveling to NRMLA events to obtain credits. 

If You Fail the Exam

If you fail the exam, you must wait six months before you can retake it. You will pay a $195 reexamination fee each time. If you fail three times, you must wait one year before you are eligible to retake it. A reexamination fee is also charged if you fail to show up for the exam at the arranged time or don’t follow proper procedures to cancel and reschedule the exam.

Ongoing Certification Requirements

Because the reverse mortgage industry continually evolves, CRMPs must complete eight hours of approved CE credits annually. Every three years, you must retake the ethics course and submit to a new background check.

How much does it cost to become a Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional (CRMP)?

There is a $250 nonrefundable application fee, a $175 annual certification fee, and a triennial $49.95 background check fee, which makes a grand total of at least $474.95 to start. There also may be other costs incurred, such as traveling to National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) events to obtain credits.

Is a lender required to be a CRMP to facilitate a reverse mortgage?

No. Any properly licensed or registered mortgage loan originator can legally originate a reverse mortgage. CRMP status is a professional credential indicating advanced experience and knowledge.

How much experience do I need to become a CRMP?

Generally, the answer is three years, working in the reverse mortgage business as a loan originator or in underwriting, processing, operations, training, title, and closing services, appraising, counseling, wholesale sales, or loan servicing. However, if you have personally originated and closed 50 or more reverse mortgage in less than three years, you are also eligible.

The Bottom Line

CRMP designation is not necessary to work as a reverse mortgage originator. However, it is recognized in the industry as a credential indicating superior knowledge and competency as well as adherence to a strong ethical code. The initial cost of attaining the certification is at least $474.95, with ongoing annual charges of $175 and triennial charges of $49.95. Is that a small price to pay for such an advantage? You’ll have to make up your own mind about that.

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