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IndyMac acquires Financial Freedom, releases 2Q profits

Sep 11, 2005

How's your bedside manner?Randall Schlangercustomer service, professionalism Several weeks ago, I spent the weekend in the hospital with the worst backache of my life. After a battery of tests, I was told that I am suffering from three degenerated discs as well as spinal stenosis (a congenital narrowing of the spinal canal). I was told to see a surgeon, since the only remedy would be extensive surgery. As instructed, I made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon for further evaluation. When I arrived at the doctor's office, I was met in the exam room by physician's assistant (PA). After the formalities were done, he asked me what brought me to his office. I explained the situation and preliminary diagnosis. The PA then took my MRI films into another room to review them and returned a few minutes later. After reviewing the films, I was told that surgery is the only option for my condition. Trying to come to the appointment as educated as possible, I had already done research on the Internet regarding my condition. This is the point at which I started to ask questions that I had already outlined before the appointment. I had a list of approximately 20 questions regarding the procedure and the expected outcome. After four or five questions, the PA cut me off and said that yes, this is major surgery, however, they do it everyday and it is nothing to be concerned with. He said that the surgeon had looked at the films and felt confident that they would be able to correct the problem. When I asked if I could talk to the surgeon, I was told that he was busy and would meet with me during a pre-operative appointment. That was the end of our professional relationship. As I left the doctor's office, I began to think back on my years in the mortgage business. In my mind, I began to draw a parallel between my doctor visit and all of the mortgage clients I have worked with over the years. This made me ask myself, "How is my bedside manner?" Was I dismissive of the borrower's concerns and questions? Did I take the time to make sure that they felt comfortable with the process? As mortgage professionals, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that the mortgages we deal with everyday are the largest financial decisions most people make in their lives. Every month, we take applications, process loans and attend closings. We shouldn't lose sight of the fact that once the customer gives us their documentation and signed disclosures, they don't see what goes on behind the scenes. For borrowers, waiting for an underwriting decision is like waiting for test results from their doctor. The bottom line is that we should not keep our customers in the dark. When the loan is in the processing stage, call your borrower and let them know what timeframe you are estimating to get to the closing table. Reassure them that there have been no surprises in the loan so far and let them know where you are in the process. If there is a snag, create a plan of action to resolve the issue and then call the borrower to let him or her know what the problem is and how you plan to resolve it. This is your borrower's back surgery; how's your bedside manner? Randy Schlanger is an education development manager for the Capstone Institute of Mortgage Finance. He has been working in the mortgage and finance industry since the late 1980s. Randy can be reached at (770) 956-8252 or e-mail [email protected].
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Sep 11, 2005
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