Quality Vs. Production

Written By: Frankie Lacy, Op-Ed Writer

Most lenders are in full swing of the busy summer season. Many of us have seen an uptick in submissions as families purchase new homes and few seek to refinance their existing home. With this increase in business comes an increased demand on underwriters to decision loans as quickly as possible. As sales contracts inch closer to the offer expiration date, rush requests become more common. Month end brings even more rush requests and a sense of barely controlled chaos!

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So in the days of Ability to Repay, QM, and heightened focus on loan quality and compliance, how does an underwriter manage it all? Surely there is an increase in overtime hours worked and many of us welcome the additional income. However, too many hours worked too many consecutive weeks in a row can lead to burn out and errors that would usually be avoided. Is there one simple strategy that we can employ that will make it all seem more manageable? For me, the answer is NO!

When the industry becomes busy and work seems to become overwhelming, I find it helpful to move from trying to over-manage my desk and my time to a more flexible approach. I know that each day will bring different file scenarios, various interruptions, management requests to shift mid-stream, and other headaches. I try not be too rigid in my expectations for how the day will play out. I maintain an open mind and am quick to adjust to new demands as they arise. It’s important to put on a “thick skin” and not get too rankled by emails or phone calls that are less than polite. Admittedly, this is easier said than done, but it is key to maintaining peace in your workday.

I also try to focus on the benefits of my work; my income, the skills I am building, the contacts I am making, and other benefits or perks available to me. Too much emphasis on what I dislike or cannot control creates added stress to an environment that is already highly charged. I also find that taking short breaks from my desk, sometimes just ten minutes at a time, help me to catch my breath. Just stepping out into the sunshine or trading a few quick text messages with family or friends can brighten a difficult day.

Finally, I try to have as much fun as possible outside of work to let off steam. It’s important to connect and engage with the people and experiences that make the daily grind worth the hassle. I find that I am more refreshed and ready to take on the challenges of a crazy week when I am bolstered by good times and doing the things I enjoy.

I know what you’re thinking; this doesn’t give me a strategy for underwriting any faster! The truth is, no one really has that figured out. We all do the best we can, working longer hours when we can and using the various tools and resources at our disposal to help with quality control. There is a saying about the mortgage industry; it’s either feast or famine. In my 14 years as a mortgage professional, I have always found this to be true. Most mortgage operations are quite similar, with each one having their own set of unique complications. Find the best strategies to manage those issues that are effective for you. In the end, it really is a great career!

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I would love to hear from you about the different things you do to manage mortgage madness. Leave a comment below!

About The Author

Frankie Lacy - As an op-ed writer, Ms. Frankie Lacy is a 15+ year mortgage industry veteran with extensive conventional mortgage underwriting experience. 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.


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