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Best Mortgage Education

Ohio Savings top mortgage lender in training rank

March 15, 2006

By MortgageDaily.com staff

People new to their mortgage-related positions are likely to receive much better training at a handful of companies recognized as the best workforce trainers and developers.

In Training magazine's fifth-annual Training Top 100, BMO Financial Group placed 14th and ranked second highest among real estate finance companies. The placement was due to its series of "productive" selling trainer sessions to personal banker sales teams -- in observing performance before the training and three months after, there was a 35 percent increase in both personal deposits and sales points, according to the magazine. Among other things, the Canada-based banker additionally provides graduate students with annual tuition reimbursement of up to $10,000.

The third-best trainer within the mortgage industry was Capital One Financial Corp. in spot No. 18. The magazine said the "What's in Your Wallet?" company uses iPods with computer-based training to deliver some courses. Sixty percent of participants using this training reportedly said their time spent learning increased, while 79 percent said they had applied what they learned.

Additionally, the editors of the magazine chose to recognize the parent of Capital One Home Loans for Outstanding Training Initiatives. Apart from employees being able to listen to company programming through Audible.com's spoken-word resources on iPods, the magazine noted the Virginia-based company has a mobile audio learning channel, which aims to supplement competency-based and leadership and management programs, as well as keep employees updated with relevant information.

BB&T Corp. followed at No. 19, commended for a regional mentoring program that reportedly aligns strategic partners throughout the bank to develop a blueprint for layering key sales and services behaviors and critical financial services areas. A program consisting of informative tapes and CDs the North Carolina-based bank made for sales people to listen to while they drive earned it a spot on the Outstanding Training Initiatives list. The audible program highlights top performers and their best practices, the magazine said.

Within the top 40, Wachovia Corp. filled slot No. 22 for developing a safety and health curriculum for locations that had high workers compensation claims and subsequently lowering annual losses on such claims by about $2 million; Wells Fargo & Co. came in 25th for providing training sessions to help sales partners learn about products in other departments and cross sell them -- which resulted in $5.5 million in revenue; and American Express Operations Training landed at No. 31.

The remaining first half of the ranking included: Edward Jones at No. 43, which was followed by HSBC-North America for two workshops in sales techniques that resulted in account executives still exceeding sales goals four months post-training; Regions Financial Corp. in 46th place and also commended for Best Practices due to its job rotation program in which employees desiring to get into management fulfill a variety of positions within information technology and retail banking; and Scotiabank at No. 47.

The last half of the list included Washington State Employees Credit Union, First Pioneer Farm Credit, and in 69th place was PNC Financial Services Group Inc., which the magazine said created a certification financial planner program that mirrors the industry designation program and has reduced out-of-office time by 80 percent, while participants acquire an average of three new sales opportunities that generate an average $4,000 in revenue.

At No. 11, Ohio Savings/AmTrust Bank was again the top-ranked mortgage-related company on the list, as it placed 10th in the ranking for 2005.

The Cleveland, Ohio-based bank was commended for its program designed to teach new hires how to process loans, noting the attendees processed an average of 16 more loans in a 90-day period than employees who did not go through the program.

The lender has 2,534 U.S. employees, 26 full-time trainers, making its ratio of full-time trainers to worldwide employees 1-to-97, and trains employees 39 hours on average annually. Among incentives, employees in graduate school each receive tuition reimbursement of $9,666 annually, while undergraduate students receive $7,641, according to the magazine.

The bank was also one of nine companies on the list recognized for Best Practices, which honors companies for training programs and innovative ideas about learning that stand out from others. Ohio Savings/AmTrust was commended for its Required Manager Training program that requires all managers and supervisors attend in order to enhance human relations skills, which the company reportedly says helps managers relate to, empower and retain direct reports.

The program requires completion of three courses or 12 hours of the training each year through the Ohio Savings/AmTrust University, or through external courses and seminars. The university provides courses such as "Dealing with Difficult People," "Managing Conflicts," and "Creating and Capitalization on a Diverse Workforce."

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