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How to Become a DE-Certified Underwriter

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Becoming a DE (Direct Endorsement) underwriter opens up new career opportunities in the mortgage underwriting industry with high demand. A DE underwriter works on FHA loan underwriting. With an FHA loan, DE underwriters, who work for the lender, validate and certify that mortgage application documents are valid and meet FHA requirements so that the FHA loan is qualified to be endorsed with FHA insurance. To become a DE underwriter, the lender certifies the qualifications of DE underwriters and registers them with HUD in a process called nomination. However, the process to become a DE underwriter is challenging because of the changing FHA lending requirements.

Choose one or more DE training schools. Choose a DE training school that provides the most DE instruction and classes.

Take as many DE-related courses as possible and obtain a certificate of completion from the training school for each course. Each course typically lasts about eight hours at the most. HUD does not mandate a certain number of courses or specific course requirements. Training schools are not accredited or related to HUD in any way. You want to acquire enough DE knowledge to pass each lender's own specific requirements for its DE underwriters, which can vary considerably.

Apply for a DE underwriting job with employers looking to hire DE underwriters. The employer must be a HUD-approved FHA lender that can do DE underwriting. Most mortgage brokerages do not qualify as an FHA lender that can do DE underwriting.

Pass the employer's specific requirements for its DE underwriters. You may need to present the DE training school's certificate of completion as well as take the lender's internally created DE test, which tests knowledge of recently updated FHA requirements. There are no HUD-mandated requirements for testing job applicants. Each lender makes up its own tests and requirements.

Ask the employer for a nomination to HUD as a DE certified underwriter. Nomination requires the lender to certify to HUD that the employee is fully qualified to be a DE certified underwriter. There are no formal HUD requirements, training requirements or national testing requirements as to whether an individual is qualified for nomination. Each lender makes its own call. The employer-specific testing often makes the lender comfortable enough to certify to HUD that the new employee is qualified for nomination to DE underwriter status. The nomination process involves the employer logging into HUD's internal site and adding the employee personal information (name, Social Security number, address, phone number, etc.) to the DE underwriter list, which goes into effect as soon as the information is submitted to HUD.


Being fully certified as a DE underwriter requires being nominated by a current employer who is an approved HUD lender. A DE training school cannot promise or provide DE underwriter certification. In some cases, the employer will dispense with the testing and prefer that the job candidate already hold DE status from another lender, which makes getting hired extremely difficult. The requirements vary considerably from employer to employer, because there is no specific requirement stated by HUD for hiring.


Loss of a DE underwriting job also terminates DE underwriter status with HUD because the employer is required to remove any non-employees from the HUD DE underwriter list. Any gap in DE underwriting employment will result in a much more difficult job hunt as a DE underwriter.