Providing Qualify Service

Written By: Bonnie Wilt-Hild, Op-Ed Writer

The past few weeks have been quite interesting around the office for me, not because I have had opportunity to learn new things or underwriting interesting cases, but because I have had to endure a whole new level of customer complaints. It seems like more and more these days, when I pick up the phone it’s my boss saying to bring some loan officer to her office because again, she had just gotten chewed by another customer or real estate agent and in a time of dwindling business not to mention fees, this is never a good thing.

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So off I go to round up the loan officer who committed the crime of poor customer service so that we may again attend another meeting in the principals office and often to my surprise, I find that the loan officer cops a whatever kind of attitude and actually gets offended that he or she is called out by management. I generally sit there in complete disbelief because one, my boss is not the kind of women that you give that kind of attitude to and finally because who in their right mind, in this market, would not care if they make both their business partners and customer angry.

The most recent infractions that have resulted in the loss of two business partner relationships in the past month had everything to do with the basics. Not staying in touch with the borrower or realtor, not returning calls, not requesting information in a timely manner so that cases can move through processing into underwriting and ultimately to closing. This stuff is really important guys and girls, because nobody, particularly the borrowers and realtors, want to hear a day before settlement that their loan is suspended and approval (or declination) is pending the receipt of 27 outstanding items. This goes back to not only the loan originator but also the processor. Take it a step further, underwriting really dislikes it when they get three cases thrown at them with a “have to do it right now, the borrower is waiting for a call”, directive. Make it worse, because the processor let it sit (mostly because the loan officer never got them the stuff they asked for a month ago) or if they received the requested documentation, never bothered to review it, underwriting comes back with a possible declination because the tax returns are indicating a Schedule C business with significant losses that affect the borrowers DTI. When I explain these things, the loan officer looks terribly surprised because of course it’s not their job to look at anything and the processor is even more surprised because, well the loan officer should have handled and when it’s all said and done, underwriting is just shaking their heads and the borrowers and realtors are furious.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say maybe if everyone in the process shares equal responsibility, such as the loan officer asks the right questions and looks at the documentation provided, and the processors actually pick up the case and review it, not just stuff the paper in the file and wait for underwriting to tell them what to do next, maybe the borrowers and business partners will be delighted with the service and offer of some referrals or even more business. This would most certainly be better than having them call your boss and say the service provided was the worst ever and they would never recommend a potential homebuyer to your institution. More food for thought, if all loan officers and processors do is fill in blanks and fasten paper in files, well lets just say a reduction in salary is in order. I can give an 8 year old a crayon and 1003 and tell them to fill in all of the blanks and as far as just sticking paper in files, most first graders could pull that off, it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist.

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In closing I would like to say that in a housing market like the present one, loan originators are a dime a dozen and everyone is scraping to make a living. As far as the rest of the staff is concerned, there are so many people laid off and looking for employment in the financial sector that it’s not hard to replace someone who doesn’t make the effort. The only thing that is going to set the fair loan officers and processors apart from the outstanding ones (whose resumes are laying on your bosses desks) is service above and beyond. Keep that in mind when you take the next application or set it up for processing. Have a great week.


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".


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