Written By: Bonnie Wilt-Hild, Op-Ed Writer
Strong word revolution and I am seeing it everywhere. The dawning of something new and powerful that has profound effects on certain aspects of our daily lives. Revolution has been with man since the dawn of time and has had both positive and negative effects on perceived acceptable behavior none of which we as individuals unanimously agree upon but often times accept as the norm. Sometimes, it is as simple as a trend that eventually finds itself incorporated into everyday life and other times it is a clear revolt which results in significant changes in the way we perceive things. Think about it, girls now wear pants which wasn’t too trendy in the 30’s but is now an often unthought-of way of life and how about civil rights, that was pretty powerful stuff unlike the pants but both were revolutionary in some way.
Now, the revolution that I am talking about is not quite as impressive as changes brought about by Dr. Martin Luther King, but in my opinion impressive never the less. I am seeing them everywhere and some are decidedly awesome while others well leave a bit to be desired. Take the concept of healthy lifestyle, this I find outstanding since I have decided that I wanted to outlive my husband and spend the insurance money on a boat. (Don’t think I’m mean, I have discussed it with him and we have both decided that I will ceremoniously maintain his ashes in a lovely container around the stern area and even name the vessel after him).
Now, the Hollywood trend of carrying your children around until halfway to legal maturity I think silly, seriously why not at least use a stroller or as crazy as this sounds, let them walk, my kids did ok with it. Ok, back to the revolution at hand and by that I mean the one occurring in the mortgage industry, that being the rebirth of the mortgage professional. No kidding, it’s really happening and I see it more and more every day.
Six months ago, I was still struggling with loan officers who were still embracing the lending mentality of 6 years ago. You know, the one that resulted in the collapse of the mortgage industry, declining markets nationwide and caused most mortgage professionals to resemble used car salesmen. I used to refer to them as application takers because none of them actually new a thing about mortgage lending except that they got paid when the loan closed and all they had to do to earn the check was fill in the blanks on the 1003.
Not only did they have no concept of how to qualify a borrower, they also had no conscience from a fiduciary standpoint where the borrowers were concerned. I think a lot of underwriters found themselves in a constant position of saying NO, you can’t charge that, or no, the borrower does not qualify because they have no job! Sounds crazy but it’s was the unfortunate reality of the times.
Things are slowly beginning to change however, and I find that I am no longer shouting at loan officers, calling them used salesman and complaining because files that in no way work are being originated and making their way to underwriting. Take it a step further but my loan officers are now pursuing purchase business, meeting with their business partners, spending time in realtors offices’ and actually calling or coming into my office with applications and credit reports asking that I take a look at them before they tell their agents that they can get the done.
In other words, they are qualifying their borrowers, hallelujah! I am having crazy flash backs to the banking days of old, you know the ones before fax machines and the internet, when we underwrote files by examining the borrowers documentation as opposed to AUS findings, when loan officers where mortgage bankers and people actually dressed appropriately as opposed to wearing shorts and flip flops to a mortgage application and completed the mortgage application with while wearing a pair of sun glasses.
Now, I realize that most of the underwriters are becoming extremely excited right now because quite frankly we thought a change in tide where underwriting practices were concerned would never come let alone a change in industry mentality and here we are making history, revolutionary history and it is defiantly a positive change. So, as we move forward do your part by helping those individuals who want to make the positive change from application taker into mortgage banker even if your part is to yell at them until they go home a put a suit on and hit the streets in the hopes of generating new business. If they need you to prequalify their borrower until they get the hang of it, do it, it will only help them be more successful with their business partners and hopefully embrace a more sound way of doing business which in the end will make your days far more pleasant. As always, happy underwriting!
About The Author
Bonnie Wilt-Hild - As an op-ed writer, Bonnie has held many mortgage underwriting positions, including Senior FHA DE Underwriter for a major lending institution. With over 25+ years of senior-level FHA/VA Government underwriting experience, Bonnie is considered the "Queen of FHA Loans".