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National Mortgage Professional
Sep 19, 2005

Back to basics: Genuine customer serviceCharlene SalpietraMortgage,customer service Our business has done so well for so long that many employees have opted to make it a numbers game, which promotes the attitude that the more loans you close, the more money you make. I have witnessed loan officers who cherry-pick customers in order to close the easier, less time-consuming loans. They even passed customers to other LOs if the loan size was not big enough. I would like to share my thoughts with you about customer service and the magical numbers that accompany it. The sub-prime market has always been one of my favorites, but I work in an office that has a strong reputation for its government-lending expertise and willingness to compete with banks for the conforming market. We spend so much time analyzing new marketing strategies and investing big dollars in technology that we struggle to attract business from real estate agents. Our predicament can be remedied by returning to the basics. A recent transaction reminded me of the rewards that come with offering genuine customer service to clients. I had a "call-in" from a young couple who was starting a new family and wanted to purchase a home. The conversation started on a negative tone. They wanted to get pre-qualified, and we were their last resort. They had talked to several banks and mortgage brokers and were told that their credit was not good enough. One loan officer told them that it would have been better if they had filed bankruptcy rather than attempted to pay the creditors. They were greatly concerned about being penalized for trying to do the right thing. They had made arrangements with creditors to repay the debt that the couple had accumulated through college and some poor buying decisions. With credit scores in the mid-500s, they could not find anyone willing to put some effort into helping them clean up their credit report and documenting their ability and willingness to repay their debts. They were anxious to meet me when I told them that they stood a very good chance of getting 100 percent financing for a new home. You can only imagine how prompt, prepared and attentive they were for that appointment! I promised to commit my time and knowledge in structuring the loan and presenting it to a "Make Sense Underwriter" for an approval, provided they complete a list of conditions and documents. They worked diligently to complete the tasks and provided an excellent letter of explanation to add to the file. Needless to say, we did get the approval and closed their Rural Economic Development loan. Remember, this program is 100 percent financing with no private mortgage insurance or pre-payment penalties and a great fixed rate. My lender provided me a great opportunity to make good money on the deal as well. As our new homeowners were leaving the closing, they reminded me of their discouraging start to this adventure and shared that they knew they were worth investing some effort into. They asked for a stack of my business cards and gave me the names of two colleagues who needed to refinance their home. The couple was going to attend a family gathering later that day and wanted to announce the exciting news about their new home. They assured me that they would offer my name and company to everyone there. Later that day, they called back to tell me that the seller of their home was having trouble getting approved at their local bank and needed to close quickly on a home for their family. They wanted to schedule an appointment to return to our office. The moral of this story is that it is a numbers game. When you take things back to the basics and give your customers genuine customer service, they will supply you with a number of referrals! Charlene Salpietra is Indiana Association of Mortgage Brokers Treasurer and Secretary. She may be reached at (812) 858-5455 or e-mail [email protected]
Published
Sep 19, 2005
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