Tips for an Organized Work-Space

Written By: Frankie Lacy

Maintaining an organized workspace is essential for loan processing and underwriting efficiency. Underwriters and processors may encounter a wide variety of loan scenarios in their day to day work life, some of which are unfamiliar. When we keep tools, resources, and contact information on hand, we can cut down on the time it takes to look up guidelines and find the answers we need. Expertise in the mortgage industry is more about proficiency in finding answers than knowing all the answers off hand. The industry changes so quickly that we could never hope to know everything all the time.

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Agency, mortgage insurance, and investor guideline websites should be listed as favorites in your web browser. In addition, make subscriber services such as CoreLogic, LexisNexis, or Data Verify web browser favorites. Usernames and passwords must be kept in a secure place. Preferably, there should not be hard copies of your list of usernames and passwords. A password secured Microsoft Word or Excel document is the best place to store this list.

All hard copies of loan file documents should be stored alphabetically in a locked cabinet for consumer protection. Have a file organizer on your desk with dividers labeled Conditions, Rush Requests, and New Underwrites. Each day you can pull the files you need to work on and place them in the appropriate folder. This is a time management tool that will help you prioritize your day. Communication on files should be stored in the loan’s memo pad/conversation log. However, you can also store copies of emails in a folder labeled “Communication on Files” (or something similar) in Outlook.

Copies of frequently used underwriting/processing forms should be visible on your computer desktop. Some examples of forms to keep on your desktop are:
• Processing and underwriting checklists
• Income calculation forms
• Password protected username and passwords list
• A list of standard conditions that are frequently added to the conditional approval
• Frequently used fax cover sheets

Program, policy, and interoffice memos should be filed away in Outlook email folders for easy access. Hard copies of these items may be filed by date or topic in an accordion folder or 3-ring binder. The goal is to find a low maintenance filing method that makes it easy for you to find the information you need as quickly as possible. Newsletters and job aids can be hung in cubicle walls for easy visibility. Some examples might be job aids for frequently used mortgage websites, a list of frequently used phone/fax numbers, or important notices from management.

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Many processors and underwriters also maintain a desk calendar for reminders on closing dates for month-end, rescission dates, and holiday closings. You can also use the calendar to remind you of upcoming trainings, meetings, etc. On a personal note, I write my monthly production goals in the margins and my daily production numbers (under each date) on my calendar. This helps me keep my eye on the ball when I’m trying to meet bonus or incentive goals!

About The Author

Frankie Lacy - As an active NAMP® member and a NAMU®-CMMU designee, Ms. Frankie Lacy is a 13-year mortgage industry veteran with extensive conventional mortgage underwriting experience. Frankie is also a mortgage instructor for Mortgage Underwriter University ( Topics of Frankie's expertise include: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, USDA Rural Housing, underwriting to investor overlays, self-employed borrowers, personal and business tax return analysis, rental income, condos/co-ops/PUDs, and more. Frankie is a Davenport University graduate with a degree in Business Administration. If you're interested in becoming a writer for NAMP®, please email us at:


Opinion-Editorial (Op-Ed) Disclaimer For NAMP® Library Articles: The views and opinions expressed in the NAMP® Library articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official NAMP® policy or position. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world application as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of NAMP®. Nothing contained in this article should be considered legal advice.