The Mortgage Collaborative University is a valuable educational platform for mortgage professionals who want to improve their skills, knowledge, and career prospects. It offers flexible and comprehensive courses, delivered by industry experts, with a focus on practical applications. The collaboration aspect of TMCU creates a community of professionals who can share knowledge and insights, leading to continuous learning and networking opportunities. If you’re a mortgage professional looking to improve your skills and stay ahead of the competition, TMCU is definitely worth considering. Listen as Stacie Weider of The Mortgage Collaborative discusses the benefits and broad range of courses that cater to the needs of mortgage professionals at different levels of expertise.
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The Mortgage Collaborative University with Stacie Weider of The Mortgage Collaborative
I’m excited to have Stacie Weider here. She’s with the Mortgage Collaborative and they’ve got some exciting new things that you should be listening to, especially for TMC members. But for those of you who are considering joining, and actually, even if you’re not a TMC member, this is going to be something you’re going to want to pay attention to because it’s some new education. Stacie, good to have you on the podcast.
Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to be a guest. What’s the saying? I’m a longtime listener and first-time guest.
Well, it’s good to have you here and joining me listeners, as we got my co-host, Marc Helm. So, Stacie, for those listeners that do not know who you are and your journey to where you’re at and what you’re doing, share with us a little bit about your background,
Sure, so I have been in the mortgage industry for 18-plus years. I am the Director of Learning and Development for the Mortgage Collaborative, and I am developing and growing our new division, which is TMCU, which I know we’ll talk about a little bit more in later. My background is mostly in the mortgage, started out in 2002 as a junior loan officer for a large retail bank. I worked my way up, over the years to a loan officer, a sales manager, branch manager, and then assistant VP running multiple branches, and in around 2013, I hit kind of that crossroads in my career where I needed to decide if I was going to pursue what I felt like was my purpose, which was to go into professional learning and development or kind of stay on the path that I was on and rise to higher levels within the bank I worked for, I chose to pursue my learning and development career, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last year. So, I’ve been really blessed to have the opportunity to work with thousands of mortgage professionals and help them bridge the gap from where they are and where they want to be through training and coaching.
I love the part of your story. You’ve pursued your passion because I think too many people get stuck and they’re afraid to do that. So, I applaud you for that. Well, we’ve got a fellow educator on here, my co-host Marc.
Stacie, you know, I think the listeners would love to hear about what you’ve got on board for TMC and TMCU. It’s, fascinating to me because you’re getting an opportunity to grow something from scratch and build it your way and make sure it serves the purposes you want for the organization, could you share your thoughts about that with us?
TMC, the Mortgage collaborative actually reached out to me about a year ago and presented me with this really interesting and wonderful opportunity to bring to life a goal or a dream that they had to develop and provide learning and education for their network, lender members, and preferred partners. They hired me to come in and pretty much build out this dream that they’ve had for a long time to start providing, mortgage-specific training to their member network and then eventually out from there into the greater mortgage industry. I’ve been here for a year building out a foundation for that training. We exist to provide relevant and engaging, effective mortgage-specific training and education to our members. And everything that we create is driven by the needs of our lender members and our preferred partners as well. We are now at a place where we have. Four great course offerings, how it created the content, and how it can help mortgage executives and managers, in those four key areas.
Part of your story that I like is they came to you. And said, what would you like to teach? And which really gets into what your vision is, your mission, and how you execute on this. That is, I thought that was really unique. Talk about that.
I was on my last interview with them, and they asked me, you know, what would be the first course that I would create or that I would teach, and my answer was, I don’t know. That really depends on what the members tell us. That’s the key piece of, of what we created and how our vision will be for future courses, is that we create our content based on the business needs of our lender member network.
Well, that’s so good because so many people say, well, I have a passion to teach this, and I hope you’ll like it. When it comes to educating and really meeting the needs of the members, it’s so important that you go out and talk to them. So, you did. And what is some of the things you heard?
We did a thorough needs analysis of our member network, and we also created a lender advisory panel made up of some of the sharpest and most experienced leaders in the mortgage industry within our network. And with that needs analysis. And a survey of our network, we found the top number one skill that they wanted and needed in regard to training and education was effective communication. We thought it was going to be sales that came in second, but it was actually effective communication, and that is the very first course that we created and deliver.
Stacie, what really intrigued me about your working on is what makes you different than everything that’s out there. There is so much education in our industry. A lot of it is sales oriented and like you said, communications are what they asked about. But you know, as we know, communications are all about can’t be a good salesperson unless you’re an effective communicator. So that, that kind of plays into both sides there. But what, what’s going to make you different in the program? You outlay. I love how you’ve laid out your structure initially, but what’s going to make you different long term and how your vision’s going to play into it, and how you’re going to develop your whole curriculum over a period of time.
Absolutely. I’d like to answer that by starting off with kind of where we fit into the mortgage education realm right now. There are a lot of great options. You have compliance and NMLS training providers who do certification around sales and guidelines. Tons of stuff on YouTube. There are things that MI companies offer. There’s a lot of great stuff out there. Where we fit in is we really operate more like a learning and development division for our network, where we create and deliver content, like I mentioned before, that is truly driven by their business needs.
So instead of creating content that we feel like is needed or we feel very strongly needs to be put out into the marketplace. We instead go to our executive board, our lender advisory panel and the learners within our network and say, what do you need? What performance improvement training is going to move the needle in your business, and how can we help you with that?
That is, that’s definitely one of the first ways that we’re moving in a different direction. The second piece that, that makes us a little bit different is in the format. We’ve talked about the way we develop the content and the purpose of the content. How we deliver it is based on, again, what our lender member needs tell us they want. But most importantly, it’s a hybrid method.
Elaborate on the hybrid method. I think I know where you’re going with that but elaborate on the hybrid method.
The desires and needs of learners are always changing. We have almost four different generations of professionals and learners working in the industry right now. So how do you adjust to what they need? And after doing extensive research and reading validated studies, you know, we really discovered that the hybrid approach is, is the best method for that. Which means it’s a combination of instructor-led virtual trainings or in-person training and self-paced learning within an online portal. Our classes are a combination of that. There’s some portion that its instructor-led and a large portion that is something they can do on their own time, at their own pace. They can look at it on their mobile phone or their tablet. It’s designed to meet the learner where they are and how they want to consume training content versus what’s easiest for us or best for us.
That, that’s really good. Mark, any follow-on questions to that?
I was intrigued by your educational background. Can you talk a little bit about your master’s degree? Because I think it’s important for the people to understand where you’re coming from with all.
If you would’ve asked me to stay three years ago, would I continue my bachelor’s degree? I probably would’ve said no way. College was hard enough the first time around, but I really just wanted to solidify and grow my knowledge when it comes to providing the absolute best learning and development and having some more structure around doing a needs analysis, gathering the needs putting training together, putting in the mechanisms for measurement and all of those pieces, I decided to take the plunge and get my master’s degree in instructional design, which I completed last year. It’s helped me even from day one, the first course helped me be a better trainer a better course developer, and a better partner to the to the leaders and executives that I’ve worked with.
That’s good. I like instructional design, put a little more meat on the bone for those of us may not understand what is all-encompassing within the instructional design degree.
I didn’t even know they had a degree in that. Yeah. I’m fascinated by it because too much of education has all been about the knowledge base of the individual that teaches, and they teach what they’ve learned. And they don’t really have a structure to it. That’s why I was totally fascinated when she mentioned that I just think it’s, wonderful and I wish I’d had that opportunity to experience some of that in education.
The instructional design master’s degree is, really about teaching a systems approach to creating and designing, learning, and development in the most effective way possible. You hear that our first course is communications and some people may label that as a soft skill or a nice to have when in reality, and there’s, you know, countless studies and research that show that communication internally and externally within a company is probably one of the most overlooked and undervalued core competencies, and the great part about it is it’s one of the things doesn’t cost a ton of money to fix, and I think that was validated when we went to our network and said, what do you need? and what they told us is we need our internal teams to be able to communicate more effectively so we can have less miscommunication, less errors, save costs help more customers.
All those different things, we really tie the course content to tangible metrics that can be measured after the fact. I talk about the communication course again; the different sections of the course are directly related to behaviors that we provide a one-page evaluation sheet to the managers of the students who attend the course and say, you know after they attend this course, we want to make sure that you get your return on investment and evaluate whether or not you’re seeing these communication skills being applied. We also help them coach their students as well to reinforce those skills. I think that’s one of the places that we are different. And I think we fit in well with, others. We do have a preferred partner in our network who does compliance and NMLS training, and they do an amazing job at that. That’s not something that is where our core competencies are.
Well, I’m excited about what you’re going to be doing. One of the things you mentioned that. You’re also going to have courses in leadership. That’s one of Marc’s of my favorite topics. In fact, we have a podcast Lykken on Leadership in addition to Lykken on Lending. Give us some insights into what that course is going to have for content.
Strategic leadership is one of our newer courses, and this course is really focused on a few key areas, and it’s designed for those that are managers of people. People are, so managers that have direct reports and the course starts out with an assessment of the student’s leadership style and strengths. We help them identify their leadership style. What’s their primary style? Most leaders, you know, shift styles, but what’s their primary style? What are their strengths and how can they best apply and adapt their skills and strengths to business and team dynamics, which of course are always changing?
We then help them focus on evaluating their team. We give them an empirical framework that’s designed to help them analyze and correct gaps between current performance and desired performance. I used to call this kind of my A, B, and C players when I was managing a branch. I had my A players who were meeting or exceeding their goals. I had my B players who were maybe just barely meeting or just under meeting their goals and then C players, and then put together a plan on how you can get the C to the B and the B to the A. In a simplified terms, that’s what that framework does.
That’s really good, I got a little follow-up. Since you’re an educator and you’re a developer of education programs, I want to ask you a question. The world changed during Covid, and we did so much online with teams and zoom and all these other ways to communicate with people. What do you think is the future of virtual education? Can be across the board in many disciplines. I’m a part of a small education think tank. It’s about six of us that get together about once a quarter and one of the things we talk about is, are we just right around the corner from having virtual classrooms where you don’t have to go across the state, across the country to attend a university? You can participate and be a student at Harvard University from Hollywood, California. So, what do you think about the virtual classroom of the future, and what do we have to look forward into the future? Engage at what could be, might be, and should be.
I think that is a fascinating question and the first thing that comes up to mind is the technology, you know, Chat GPT and all of those things. How are they going to impact it? But I think it’s going to continue to evolve more into a virtual setting, but I certainly don’t think there will be a time where there isn’t going to be a need for an experienced or professional learning and development expert or trainer to be a part of it because it takes a person with emotion and feelings and understanding to be able to design these experiences. But I see a future where it’s a mix and, and it’s kind of what we’re trying to create right now is it’s moving away from I join a webinar and I listen to a teacher and I have some interaction, and then I do an assignment and turn it in. Maybe I read a book into more of a total immersion of learning experience.
So maybe I do attend a quick Zoom webinar with the instructor, but then I go into an online portal where I can consume the content in a way that works best for me. Maybe I want to read it, or maybe I want to watch a video on it. Maybe I want to interact with someone else to help me understand it. And I see kind of that being the future of learning and development is, it’s going to be a mix of different things, but I think the whole experience is going to be incredibly important because there’s so much information being thrown at us on a daily basis. The previous ways of training, and learning the way that, you know, we’ve had in the past aren’t as effective, especially in the generation Z. It’s harder I think for them to sit down and consume a lot of information at one time. It’s got to be an experience.
I agree that Excellent, excellent answer, excellent answer. Yeah, I agree. I, I agree. It has to be an experience and when you experience something, it just opens up new parts of your brain cells. I’m just encouraged about your whole approach. You’re open-minded. First of all, you’re listening to your customers and you’re listening to those that have needs, and you’re designing the system around it. So, kudos to you for that. And then you’re also applying the various learning styles to this. That is one of the things that’s so important, especially when we get. Hopefully further and further away from what has been set in classroom traditional education models. I think those are flawed and failing, I am really excited about what you’re going to be doing there. Now you’re just getting this off the ground for someone signing up for this, what are they going to get and what will they experience?
What does the learner experience, what does the executive or the manager who purchased the course experience, one of the first things is to make sure that whatever course content is applicable to whatever they’re trying to solve for. I think training is often thrown at problems as like a catch-all type solution it only works in certain scenarios where there is a knowledge or a skills gap, and that’s where our training focuses. So the leadership, the communication, and the business development courses that we have created are meant to solve very specific performance and behavioral Issues or gaps for our learners, the communication course, I think we’ve, we’ve pretty much already talked about that, but what a student will experience is they will when they attend the course, they will, again, it’ll be a hybrid method where they have an online instructor-led welcome webinar with me where we do an overview of the course, we get to know a little bit about each other, and we set expectations. From there, they go into our TMCU customized learning portal where they will access the content, they’ll watch videos, they will interact with the content, and they will complete assignments that are applicable to what they do every day. For example, in the communication course, one of the exercises that they do is they pick three of their coworkers, typically, one of them is their manager, and they will try to determine what their communication styles are.
Now, of course, they’ve already done the reading and the assessment on this, but they take what they’ve learned and they’re going to apply it to what they’re actually doing today and then they try to guess those, and then they come back, turn the assignment in, and then they go back, and they meet with them to discover where they correct. It’s just, it’s a wonderful process and helps them communicate more. So, there’s many assignments like that within the courses.
This is really encouraging what you’re developing there at TMC and what’s the level of interest that you’ve experienced thus far?
We have been collecting data from all of our students. In fact, for our first two courses, before we even launched them, we did pilot classes with our lender member network. We actually had some of our executives from our lender advisory panel take the class and get their feedback from there we may changes based on what their thoughtful feedback and our evaluations have been overwhelmingly positive but we’re always evolving and making it better. I don’t like to say that we have evergreen content, you know, content that you create once, and you just put up on the shelf. We have evergreen topics, and we’re always looking. To improve. So yes, but we are just getting started and really excited for the future. I’d love to tell you all about each one of the classes. But definitely, we have that information for listeners on our website.
Where can they go to learn more about each one of these classes?
They can go to mortgage collaborative.com/tmcu.
Do you give a certification or a certification of completion? What’s the, what does someone taking your courses, what can they expect to get after?
After they’ve completed the course, that includes the assignments and exercises and attending the live classes, they do get a TMCU completion certificate.
Stacie, thank you so much for joining us here and sharing this exciting news and the latest developments there at the Mortgage Collaborative. We’re members of the Mortgage collaborative, very proud of our relationship and membership and I really expect this to take off. Marc, any final thoughts, that you want to share?
I just think it’s fascinating and I think you’re going to do an outstanding job of continuing to build and grow the curriculum, and it’s going to be exciting to see what happens for you and we’re the future holds for you. I, I’m really excited for you and I’d love to get future reports on how things are going.
Stacie do come back and give us updates on what you’re doing, especially as you develop the curriculum and courses. Thank you, Stacie, for being with us here today.
Thank you so much for having me and for the opportunity to share a little bit more about what we’re doing at TMC.
You bet. Also, good to have a listener who’s been listening for a long time and a first-time guest, and this won’t be the last time we’ll have you on. You’ll be back. I can tell you that for sure.
Thank you. Bye-bye. Thanks, Marc.
About Stacie Weider
Stacie Weider is the director of Learning and development at The Mortgage Collaborative with 18+ years of experience in the mortgage industry. Stacie spent the first decade of her mortgage career helping thousands of homebuyers purchase and refinance their homes while also building and running profitable mortgage branches. For the last 8+ years, Stacie has applied her mortgage experience and training knowledge to design, develop, and deliver effective communication, sales, and leadership training to thousands of mortgage professionals. In her current role, she is creating and delivering mortgage-specific education that delivers returns in the form of improved performance and business results for IMBs and Depositories. Stacie holds a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s degree in instructional design. She lives in Avon, Indiana with her fiancé and 3 Siberian Huskies.