Certification: Slippery Slope To Employment

I’ve been keeping a close eye on the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) and their Certification process.  As close of an eye as I can as Eric Miller, Executive Director of NAMFS refuses to discuss anything about their Certification or even return emails about such.  On the flip side, there is a new program creeping up onto the scene as well from Rob Preston.  Preston’s program seems to have some heavy backing from the National Property Preservation Guild (NPPG).  What neither NAMFS nor NPPG seem to have yet is a clearly defined Statement as to why a Contractor should have to purchase either Package.

When a doctor or a lawyer go to become Certified, they reach out to the American Medical Association (AMA) or the American Bar Association (ABA) respectively.  Both the AMA and ABA base their Membership and Continuing Education Programs upon transparent and accredited metrics.  So, when I hire a doctor or a lawyer I know that the materials they studied upon were the same whether they were in Los Angeles or New York.  This is extremely important as both their Membership and Continuing Education are premised upon laws, rules and regulations.  As a member of the general public I am able to go pull the cirriculum which either has studied.  Further, there is a way to both verify that a person possesses the licenses necessary to practice either and —and here is the IMPORTANT ISSUE — there is a way to verify Complaints.  The latter of the previous sentence is NOT present in either the NAMFS nor NPPG/Preston Models.

No matter what name we want to call this new found Product; Certification goes by many names, all roads lead to Rome.  In this instant case we are talking about both the ability to obtain gainful employment and the possibility in the near future to receive discounts upon Insurance Policies.  I want to take on the employment issue first as it holds the largest real time merit.

Dear Valued Vendor:

Our industry is experiencing a period of examination. Through this analysis, service and security changes are mandated to ensure compliance and eliminate risk.

In response to these new client-requested initiatives, all AIM vendors will be required to complete industry skills training to remain an active vendor.

AIM, in association with the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS), is announcing our new vendor training requirement.

The NAMFS Academy

The NAMFS Academy includes various formats of e-learning, including Basic Literature, Video, PP Presentations and Multi-Media. AIM certifications will be offered in the following:

· Inspection (Inspection & General Industry Modules)
· Preservation (Pre & Post-Sale, General Industry & Recurring Services Modules)
· Inspection & Preservation (Inspection, Pre & Post-Sale, General Industry & Recurring
Services Modules)

AIM vendors will need to enroll and complete the certification applicable to their services performed.

Training must be completed within six months of AIM notification. All existing vendors will need to complete their training by November 30, 2013.

NAMFS Academy Registration with 20% savings!

With multiple Programs out there for Certification; for a Company to begin to require only ONE option of training, it would appear to  clearly trespass upon the employee vs. independent contractor relationship.  I would also venture the guess that the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) as well as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will both weigh in on the matter as I have requested a determination from both.  Even if NPPG gets the Preston Model in the door there are going to be issues at play.  What I AM optimistic about is the fact that Preston has a few GOOD things going.

Rob Preston is no stranger to the Game.  Almost a decade ago, Preston was on the NAMFS Membership Committee and was present when NAMFS established its Educational Committee.  While we are still awaiting a hard copy of this Contract we have it on good faith that Preston brought forth the genesis of the FIRST Educational Program ever contemplated by NAMFS.

It is a very slippery slope to say that, “Well, NAMFS really has the Contractors and Clients in mind here.”  The reality is that the NAMFS is beholden to a Membership comprised almost exclusively of non field working Companies.  NAMFS Members are DEPENDENT upon Contractors remaining the docile sheeple they have been for the past twenty years!

It is against the law to force someone to pay money to be able to work.  In essence, the above letter sent out would have Contractors enter into this bondage.  No wiggle room for AIM nor NAMFS here.  If both are going to require that I take their training to work then they have dictated PRECISELY how to perform the job.  Hell, Safeguard Properties (SGP) has more common sense than that!  If the bondage was transparent it would at least be a bit more palatable; however NAMFS does NOT seem interested in openness.  A simple check of the press releases from both reveal that the NAMFS has been preoccupied with really nothing other than Conferences and the NPPG seems to simply be preoccupied with issues surrounding the PPI.

Basic questions such as whom precisely formulated the questions and answers and from precisely where did aforementioned originate are the fundamental foundations of a free and open society.  As a matter of fact the Obama Administration is under siege, right now, for refusing to answer these elementary questions!

As a matter of fact NAMFS cannot even seem to put up a list for its Points of Contact.  That, alone, is a bit scary.  I mean we are only talking about a line or two of hyperlinking.  It has been down for a couple weeks now.  I want you to remember folks, the NAMFS is the folks whom are going to ELECTRONICALLY CERTIFY you!  They are going to keep all your records.  I mean I personally consider this just a bit on the serious side.  If you cannot email anyone do you simply send a mail via the US Postal Service?!!!!

Here’s the rub:  NAMFS’ Educational Model is dependent upon volunteers.  Preston’s is his sole vocation.  So, do the math.  I am going to seriously break this down in Part Two this week.  Make no mistake I am LIVID over this!  It is not going to happen on my watch; monopolization is not coming to town!  For those of you whom thought you were just going to hang out on the fence row, well those days are over.  Whether or not NAMFS sat down and contemplated monopoly I do not know … yet.  I do know this:  Eric Miller’s Statement from the “Officers” said NOTHING about their Model in front of the Underwriters of the Insurance Industry.  Let me get this straight:  Pay NAMFS hundreds of dollars to be a Member and then hundreds more to take a their Test or pay hundreds and HUNDREDS of dollars to take their Test?!  You have me SERIOUSLY confused with the Craigslist Contractor out there.  The AIM Situation is already being addressed and dovetails with the IRS Ogden Unit.  If there is to be absolutely NO options for employment nor discounts OTHER than NAMFS then we are all heading to Court.

I am not a supporter of ANY Testing, Certification, Education or any other word NAMFS  may dress the process up with is suspect without transparency and documentation.  Just because you are able to clean someone up it does not necessarily mean that you would take them home to meet mom.  This is the shot across the bow though.  When NAMFS reached out to the Insurance Industry that was the final straw.  It is one thing to offer Education at will.  It is QUITE a different thing for a non profit organization to play financial politics.

Folks, this is Part One in a Three Part Series which will come out this week.  In the next part we are going to take NAMFS down memory lane about a decade ago.  Way back to the Tempe, Arizona, Conference.  We are going to talk a bit about the previous NAMFS Presidents and their direct relationship with the Educational Committee’s establishment.  Hell, it’s going to be like a great big family reunion with everyone holding hands and singing Kumbaya.  Yeah, it’s time to open the files and let the fresh air in.

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