“Knowledge and Education Are All Relative…Let’s Not Be Too Narrow”

By: Stephanie Diana Wilson

As I have stated before I am in the financial industry and I specialize in mortgage compliance, condo compliance and ground lease/ ground rent.  All of these are aspects of the mortgage industry that require a lot of reading and reading comprehension and really scare Loan officers and Underwriters.  Rightly so since people like me are in charge of auditing them for loans they do that may not be within compliance.  While working on my MBA I am working with my college to make sure in this degree I have a big personate of technical writing.  Since these courses are often in computers, communications or English departments I actually had one of the advisors in this arena ask me, today “Your BA is in English why are you using your degree for evil?  And if you knew you were in that field why wouldn’t you pursue a math based degree?”. 

Now contrary to many the financial industry isn’t evil, if it was then everything our country is built on is evil.  However, what is evil is that we don’t ensure that all children when they are in high school have a firm understanding of the math used in the financial arena and how to read and interoperate the fine print used in this industry.  I do a lot of volunteer and outreach for the low income communities in my area to help those who are victim of the various crimes such as identity theft and predatory lending.  And I have found that most just don’t know how to understand what they are reading.  This was more so in the past but; I have found this is still an issue. 

While working as a Processor I would have to send to borrowers a document called a GFE.  A GFE is short for Good Faith Estimate.  Now what this form does is it breaks down the entire math involved in the loan.  However, it is laid out like what many layman borrowers have described as IKEA instructions and they don’t understand how to read it.  When I would try to get the loan officer to explain the form to their borrowers they often times don’t understand how to read it either.  Thus those with compliance and reading skills tend to be the best interpreters. 

Now this concerns me not only because loan officers are thus less helpful to their borrowers but, it leaves the borrower open to predatory lending and loan officers for being sued for having incompliant loans.  Also this worries me because on the news we all see how schools especially here in the San Francisco bay area are making pushes to encourage primarily math and science especially among women.

I am sad to say in many companies in my field it is still a man’s world primarily so it is nice to see young women like myself being encouraged to pursue career fields that are not traditionally women’s careers.  However, I feel that by pushing such a singular education we are creating a future issue that will cripple our economy and country.  We, need to encourage the creativity of the arts, the intellect and wisdom of literary arts, while still encouraging math and science.  Perhaps encouraging a more diverse education rather than push for what we NOW need in the work force.  Otherwise we will be robbed of the creative innovators of tomorrow and the auditors like me who makes sure everything reads properly and no one is being screwed over.  Education is the accumulation of skills and knowledge but, knowledge is relative and like it so is Education.  My education may be in a more creative and comprehensive field but, I wield it to the benefit of all in an industry many feel it is out of place in.

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