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Allonhill Academy

About six weeks ago, I ran into Colorado State Senator Chris Romer at a charity function.  He asked me how things were going, and I did what I do best: I left off the sugar-coating and told him how I really felt.

Allonhill is busy putting together teams of analysts to review loans in mortgage securitizations.  Although there hasn’t been a lot of volume in the market, the big banks, hedge funds and aggregators of mortgages are preparing for new loan originations to come to market in the form of securitizations in the next few months.  We’re working with a number of them to configure our system to meet their needs, to set up policies for reviewing loans from their programs that will satisfy rating agency requirements, and to firm up our own policies and procedures to accommodate flow production.  All of this requires us to have people in place, trained and ready to review files, beginning now, and ramping up in the coming months.

I told Chris I was having a hard time, because ALlonhill needs to hire people.  Lots of people.  We need people with mortgage and due diligence expertise, and people with HR, staffing, system development, internal audit, legal and data management expertise.  And we need to have them trained.  I explained that the sad thing is, we are a company that is very good at loans and mortgage securitizations.  We aren’t really built for mass hiring and training, yet we find that we need to be able to do both.  I knew Chris planned to run for Mayor of Denver, so I challenged him to explain to me what Colorado and Denver would be willing to do to help me employ all these people.

By the time I got home that night, I had an email from Chris introducing me to Karen Bleeker, of the Community College of Denver.  CCD is located two blocks from Allonhill’s offices.  They put together corporate training programs, for a living.

Thirty days, to the day, after that encounter with Chris Romer, he came to our offices to announce his candidacy for Mayor.  And while he was there, he handed out the first graduation certificates from Allonhill Academy.  CCD had put together a class to train our analysts for file review on our largest flow production bank.  CCD worked with our management team to develop the curriculum and to deliver the class.

The graduates of this program were the first at Allonhill to go through a ten day training that covered the company’s mission and purpose, ethics, securitization fundamentals, our system, and the technical aspects of the file review they would soon be asked to conduct.

Not only do we have more than a dozen graduates now, we also have a program that we are already implementing again, with the next wave of analysts on this account.  And we are already well underway with CCD to develop a much broader curriculum, for all of our employees.  We plan to open our Academy to the industry once it has been fully developed.  CCD is making that possible, and I am in debt to them, and to Chris Romer, who demonstrated to me what a business and community partnership can accomplish.