The Willis Bryant Award recognizes outstanding academic achievement in MBA Education’s School of Mortgage Banking (SOMB) program and is awarded yearly to a top student graduate at MBA’s Annual Convention. To be eligible, a student must achieve a grade of "excellent" on all SOMB exams, demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities in the classroom and have made a significant contribution to the mortgage industry.

This award was established in the name of Willis R. Bryant, following his death in 1965. Bryant, a mortgage banking pioneer of the 1950s, was a former lecturer at the SOMB who authored Mortgage Lending Fundamentals and Practices, a former SOMB textbook.

The winner will have their name added to the Willis Bryant Award plaque at MBA’s Headquarters in Washington, DC. They will receive complimentary enrollment in the CMB program and waived fees for the CMB exam and a CMB prep course. The winner will also be publicly recognized across MBA online and social media platforms.

Congratulations to our 2023 Willis Bryant Award winner, Karley Bond. Read more about Karley.

2024 Award Eligibility

  • Achieve final exam scores of at least 90% in School of Mortgage Banking I and II
  • Successful completion of School of Mortgage Banking III between August 1, 2023 and July 31, 2024
  • Demonstrate exceptional leadership in the classroom and a significant contribution to the mortgage industry

How to Apply/Application Deadlines

2024 Application Deadline: September 1, 2024

Apply Now

Application Requirements

  • Describe a recent leadership experience, a substantial contribution to the industry and career aspirations
  • Submit a Letter of Recommendation from a supervisor or mentor describing the applicant's talents and strengths, future in the industry and leadership abilities

2024 Award Timeline

  • September 1: Applications deadline for 2024 award
  • September 30: Winner is notified by MBA Education
  • The winner is recognized during MBA's Annual Convention and Expo in Fall 2024

Amanda Straub
Senior Training Coordination Specialist
Mortgage Bankers Association
Phone: (202) 557-2921
Email: [email protected]  

From Past Willis Bryant Winners

“Having been named to receive the prestigious Willis Bryant award has left me feeling truly humbled and honored. It’s a recognition that goes far beyond just a personal achievement; it also signifies all the hard work and dedication to the mortgage banking industry. Pushing oneself to learn, grow, and step outside of one’s comfort zone is one of the best things you can do for yourself, both personally and professionally.”

2023 Willis Bryant Winner: Karley Bond

"Winning the Willis Bryant Award means the world to me. When attending the School of Mortgage Banking courses, I wanted to learn as much as possible and meet as many amazing people as possible. Doing both allowed me to expand my knowledge and network in a significant way. By winning this award, it demonstrated my commitment to the mortgage industry and gives others the opportunity to see what hard work and dedication can bring."

2022 Willis Bryant Winner: Natalie Weaver
"The School of Mortgage Banking helped speed up my transition from an IT-centric role to a business-centric one. It not only gave me a good perspective of the different players and activities in the Mortgage Banking industry, but also the important role that Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and FHFA play. The Willis Bryant Award was the “icing on the cake” and has motivated me to double-down on my commitment to the industry and the continuous learning that is needed to succeed.”

2020 Willis Bryant Winner: Frederico Pereira, CISA, CISSP, AMP, Freddie Mac

"Having balanced careers in the mortgage industry and the Navy Reserves over the past twenty years, receiving the Willis Bryant Award helped connect me to my mortgage background. Receiving the award helped validate my conviction to continue my mortgage career following the expiration of my Active Duty service within the next few years.

SOMB was both challenging and rewarding due to the fact that it introduces students to every aspect of mortgage banking. I was able to bring this knowledge back to USAA to help front line loan officers and processors gain insight into the process as a whole."

2017 Willis Bryant Winner: LCDR Steven D. Smolik, SPHR
"Willis Bryant’s passion for the education of young men and women entering the mortgage business matched my priority to attract new talent to the industry and provide education to enable them to thrive.  To be selected as the recipient of his namesake award was a capstone for my work to attract, grow and retain top talent in the industry.

The curriculum of SOMB provided me with in-depth information about all facets of the mortgage industry, presented by industry leaders in their area of expertise.  Equally important were the relationships I developed with the MBA staff, instructors, and fellow students.”

2015 Willis Bryant Winner: Susan Brown, CMB, AMP, CoreSGB, LLC

"Being fortunate enough to be a Willis Bryant Award winner is extremely humbling. In all fairness it is not individual recognition. The Willis Bryant Award takes corporate backing, a great sponsor, and family support. The path to the Willis Bryant Award has given me a much better understanding of mortgage lending and our responsibility to home ownership.

The Mortgage Bankers Association does a tremendous job enlisting Certified Mortgage Bankers and industry veterans to lead the courses. Without question, the professional relationships created through the courses with peers and instructors is definitely one of the greatest takeaways from the courses. MBA sets up the courses promoting interaction and camaraderie. As a result of the Schools of Mortgage Banking, we have a national network to exchange ideas, discuss strategies, and partner our initiatives."

2013 Willis Bryant Winner: Steve Shoemaker, Synovus Mortgage
“Being a Willis Bryant Scholar helped me to better understand myself personally and professionally and helped me to develop and refine the current and future paths for my career in the mortgage industry.

Completing the School of Mortgage Banking was an amazing experience that not only assisted me in boosting my knowledge of the mortgage industry as a whole, but it helped open pathways for me in my career that I hadn’t imagined.”

2011 Willis Bryant Winner: Jodie Morgan, CMB, Wells Fargo Funding

Past Willis Bryant Award Winners

October 2022
Natalie Weaver, AMP
Senior Business Development Specialist
Colorado Housing and Finance Authority

October 2021
Daniel Jensen, AMP
Information Technology Specialist
Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of the Inspector General

October 2020
Frederico Pereira, AMP
Audit Director
Freddie Mac

October 2018
Stanislav Kornienko, AMP
Quantitative Analytics Director
Freddie Mac Multifamily

October 2017
Steven D. Smolik, AMP
Business Advisor, Real Estate
USAA Federal Savings Bank

October 2015
Susan Brown, CMB, AMP
SVP, Residential Construction Production Manager
Umpqua Bank

October 2015 
Carol Placek, AMP
Senior Examiner
Federal Housing Finance Agency

June 2014
Andrew Wideman, CMB, AMP
Vice President, Correspondent Sales
Title Source

October 2013
Steve Shoemaker, CLO, AMP
Vice President, Area Sales Leader
Synovus Mortgage Corp.
Hoover, Alabama

July 2013
Rebecca Wright, AMP
Senior Vice President
SunTrust Mortgage

August 2011
Jodie D. Morgan, CMB, AMP
Account Executive
Houston, Texas

June 2010
Margaret Felts, AMP
SunTrust Mortgage, Inc.
Richmond, VA

January 2010
Brett Mills, CMB, MBA, AMP
Manager/Senior Loan Officer
Academy Mortgage Corporation
Layton, UT

June 2009
James Parsons, AMP
Colonial Bank
Montgomery, AL

February 2009
Paulo Rodriguez, AMP
Home Mortgage Consultant
Wells Fargo
Miami, FL

July 2008
Rodney Gayle, AMP
Assistant Vice President - Sales
MetLife Bank
Bridgewater, NJ

May 2008
Christopher Ercol, AMP
GE Money

January 2008
Robert Bates, AMP
National Product and Sales Director-Home Equity
CitiMortgage, Inc.
Eureka, MO

August 2007
Tom Harms, AMP
Director, Residential Lending Team
State Farm Bank
Bloomington, IL

May 2007
Tom Kenny, AMP
Vice President, Sales Manager
Bank of America Mortgage
Atlanta, GA

March 2007
Kevin Myler, AMP
Weehawken, NJ

September 2006
Karen R. Jenkins, CMB, AMP
Relationship Manager, Resource Mortgage Solutions
Netbank, Inc.
Columbia, SC

January 2006
Karen Mastro, AMP
One West Bank
Irvine, CA

June 2006
Michael Greenwood, AMP
Senior Vice President
Huntington Mortgage Group
Columbus, OH

August 2005
Jonathan Miller, AMP
President and CEO
Paragon Lending Solutions, Inc.
Aurora, CO

April 2005
Robert V. Taylor, AMP
Chief Executive Officer
Greater Nevada Mortgage Services
Carson City, NV

January 2005
Wanda R. Sanchez, AMP
Corporate Chief Underwriter
HF Mortgage
San Juan, PR

August 2004
David E. Frase, AMP
Executive Vice President, Warehouse Lending
Texas Capital Bank N.A.
Dallas, TX

July 2004
Lori Minshall, AMP
Marketing Manager
Freddie Mac
McLean, Va.

April 2004
G. William Elliott, Jr., AMP
Rocky Mountain Mortgage Company
Albuquerque, NM

Greg A. Tallmadge, AMP
PHH Mortgage

Rocky I. Planck, AMP
Irwin Mortgage Corporation

Michael J. Royal, AMP
B.F. Saul Mortgage Company

Dana Wilkinson
Fannie Mae

More Past Willis Bryant Award Winners

James M. Grashaw
DMR Financial Services

Debra L. Hassing
PMI Mortgage Insurance Company

Cameron Tennyson
Freddie Mac

Jo Ann Crook
Alltel Information Services

David C. Schneider
Old Kent Mortgage Company

Carl Kopplin
CUNA Mortgage Corporation

Russell Dee Rasmussen
PMI Mortgage Insurance Company

Edward J. Windham
Central Pacific Mortgage

Jeffrey L. Rosen
Capital Initiatives Corporation
Ross G. Bennett
Market Street Mortgage

Robert A. Smedley

First National Bank of Louisville

Susan Rytting
Merchants Mortgage Corporation

Debra Casale
American Security Bank

Doug Gray
Chase Bank of Arizona

Devon M. Cohen
Goldome Realty Credit Corporation

John K. Holmgren
United Savings Bank, F.S.B.

Terry Rowland
Shearson/American Express Mortgage Corp.

David W. Shuart
Criterion Financial Corporation

William H. Startweather
First Security Bank of Utah, N.A.


Michael D. Jordan
Commerce Mortgage Company

Robert E. Shank
The Abacus Group

Judith P. Kent
Union National Bank of Little Rock

David C. EnnisCameron Brown Company

Frederick J. Norak
Federal National Mortgage Association

Mark F. Posnick
Margaretten & Company, Inc.

Bruce L. McCandless
Utah Mortgage Loan Corporation

Penelope Dunn
Bankers Mortgage Company of California

Andrew P. Galenas
The Mutal Benefit Life Insurance Company

Walter G. Barker, Jr.
U.S. Leasing Realty Advisers, Inc.

Ronald E. Zuzack
Commerce Bank of Kansas City

D. L. Herron
American National Mortgage Company

Doyle W. Bradsher

First National Bank of Memphis

Ricardo Bird
The Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A.

Ronald F. Poe
Dorman & Wilson, Inc.

William A. Petzold
Proctor Homer Warren, Inc.

William F Bey
Great Lakes Mortgage Corp.

Bernard W. Baker
Ralph C. Sutro Company


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