The National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) has had a far too cozy relationship with Aspen Grove Solutions (AGS) for nearly a decade. Under the stewardship of Eric Miller, NAMFS Executive Director, AGS has used the non profit NAMFS platform as a piggy bank. Miller, whose salary consumes over NINETY NINE POINT SEVEN PERCENT of all NAMFS member dues, has fought transparency including violating federal law by refusing to present the NAMFS 990 tax return for public inspection. Over the years, though, Miller has worked extremely closely with many of his former Lender Processing Services (LPS) — now ServiceLink — colleagues whom have used AGS like a revolving door. In the middle of the last decade, Miller teamed up with Jim Taylor, Wells Fargo, and AGS to roll out the widely failed AGS background check. In fact, so riddled with verification issues, the AGS ABC Number is no longer even accepted by one of the Top 5 biggest Mortgage Field Services Industry firms. Millions of dollars have been raked in, though, regardless. Much of the controversy has been the $157 price tag for those in New York plus the $100 annual renewal, plus the $50 subscription fee.
Building on that, the very same investigation — which AGS outsources to First Advantage — is marketed for as low as $7, historically, with the State of Arizona’s General Contractor background check. A side note to the AGS background check system is firms such as ServiceLink and others are now refusing to accept their results and have opted to begin operating their own background check system. A real world example dealt with one contractor being authorized for Conceal and Carry in 32 states, but could not cut grass on a vacant home.
The NAMFS – AGS axis has been questionable, at best, for years. NAMFS has been hacked, incapable of implementing https security, and now, most recently has laid bare its NAMFS Academy to the public. Now, I am all for transparency; however, I do not believe it was ever the intention of the NAMFS membership to allow the training platform they have invested in to be released, free of charge, to the public. So, we did a little bit of digging. The NAMFS Academy runs on WordPress which powers approximately 37% of all websites on Earth. So, the software is mature and not the issue. It runs the Divi theme which I deploy on many of my Client’s websites. Again, a robust and mature software package. And the NAMFS Academy runs Tin Canny Reporting on their LearnDash, which is a WordPress plugin — also robust and mature. Some back-of-the-envelope math tells me that at the least expensive, solo distribution the NAMFS Academy is costing about $500 a year to run, just from the Software as a Service (SaaS) side. Figure about $50,000 for buying — or stealing if you speak to Stallion — the material produced, I would wager no one wants that information out in the wild for free. Funny thing is that is precisely where the NAMFS Academy is!
If that were simply the story, no party and no foul as either AGS are the laughing stock of the coding community or they purposely forgot to add several lines to .htaccess files on the website — and it is not the first time. You would have to ask them. Where the plot thickens, though, is that the NAMFS Academy is forcing the use of Adobe Shockwave which hit end of life on 19 April 2019! In fact, Flash is such a security threat that it is impossible to even operate today as demonstrated by the below screenshot. In this screenshot you will see that none of the NAMFS Academy videos or quizzes work anymore.
More telling, though, is the specific flavor of Shockwave which NAMFS or AGS chose to use. Just like Terms of Service (ToS), End User License Agreements (EULA) are bindable upon all whom use software — just a heads up. And this also impacts the Camtasia software which they used to pump a bunch of the non operational videos out, as well. Theoretically, this means that first, none of the information in the NAMFS Academy is ever updated annually. Second, it means that potentially the NAMFS Academy has not had any students over the past year. Finally, though, we can say with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY that the material was never accurately proofread. Below is a screenshot from the NAMFS Academy which shows that this is the case.
See the title of Module 4 and the improper &? That is the bit character for Ampersand which is what we call the & symbol. So, for an Association claiming to be the Be All End All with 30 years of history, I certainly would have misgivings about anything produced by Eric Miller and his Aspen Grove Solutions pals.