Who is more valuable?Marian DeBonisaccount executives, loan processors, loan officers, underwriters, loan closers
Recently, I was in Lake Worth, Fla., assisting a fellow mortgage
professional with her operations, when I had the most remarkable
conversation with an account executive. We were describing a loan
scenario to the account executive when he actually said to us that
he would be happy to see if he could get us a FICO exception for
the loan. He also went on to say that normally he wouldn't do that,
since it requires too much time on his behalf. I would have dropped
the phone right then and there if it weren't for the fact that we
were on speakerphone at the time. As I was driving home, I decided
that I had to share this with everyone.
I titled this piece, "Who is more valuable?" because I am
curious which entity of the business is more valuable. Bypassing
the third party providers for now, is it the loan processor, loan
officer, underwriter, account or loan closer? If it weren't for the
loan officer, then the loan wouldn't exist. If it weren't for the
loan closer, the loan closing documents wouldn't exist. If it
weren't for the loan processor, the loan wouldn't achieve its goal
of moving out of origination, through processing and off to
underwriting, eventually to hit closing. If it weren't for
underwriting, the loan wouldn't be given an approval or denial,
since automated underwriting is only a recommendation.
So that leaves the account executive. As an account executive
(which I was at one point in my mortgage career), I always wanted
to be the person that could offer great products and great service.
Understanding my products and reading credit reports and 1003s were
vital to performing at a high level. However, what differentiates
one account executive from another? Are they all the same? Believe
it or not, not all account executives are the same, and there is a
definite distinction between them. I've seen account executives
come and go, as I have with loan officers, but those who are
successful are the ones with the product knowledge.
Processing relies heavily on account executives prior to loan
submission because not all lenders want the mortgage companies
calling underwriters for answers to loan scenario questions.
Obviously, this is because if the underwriters were problem solving
all day, they couldn't possibly underwrite any files. However, what
if your account executive isn't as knowledgeable as he should be?
What if he has great sales skills and no mortgage knowledge? Johnny
may be a great account executive because he is so friendly and
returns all of your calls, but what if he can't answer program
questions and has to call his office for every answer to every one
of your questions? What if Johnny is empowered to write
pre-qualifications, and when you send your loan in, it gets kicked
out because he forgot to check his guidelines? Better yet, what if
the loan gets re-priced after you already sold the borrower on that
rate because Johnny forgot to verify the rate adjustments prior to
issuing the pre-qualification?
Working with knowledgeable account executives should be one of
your criteria for choosing whom to work with - not just whomever
offers the best par-plus pricing. So next time your processor
complains about an account executive, sit down and take the time
out to find out why. On the flip side, take time out to acknowledge
account executives who do know their jobs and give it their all,
because every time processing was in a jam with a deal, that
particular account executive had all of the correct answers. It is
highly unproductive to be structuring loans for a particular
lender's program only to find out that the loan doesn't fit that
lender's guidelines. Yes, there are exceptions such as LTV and
debt-ratio exceptions. I'm not saying that there aren't. But what I
am saying is that every loan can't be an exception. It goes back to
the old adage, "time is money," and that adage can't be truer than
in our business.
I remember many instances where the loan officer would tell me
that the account executive said one thing but it wasn't documented
on the pre-qualification. One scenario that comes to mind is when I
had a refinance, and the existing mortgage being paid off was with
a private person, not a private institution. The loan officer
insisted that the account executive said that a verification of
mortgage would be fine and that canceled checks were not required.
Being the kind of processor I am, I just found it hard to believe
and wanted it documented right on the pre-qualification. So, I
contacted the account executive and asked her to update the
pre-qualification to show that only a verification of mortgage
would be required. Next thing I know, I am getting an update on the
pre-qualification, and it is calling for a verification of mortgage
and cancelled checks. I told the loan officer, the loan officer in
turn called the account executive, and before I could blink, the
loan was on hold because the loan officer had to find a new lender
for the loan. It was revealed that the borrower didn't have the
last 12 months of cancelled checks, and there were no exceptions on
the program due to the borrower wanting cash out, having low credit
scores and a high LTV.
So, are account executives valuable? Absolutely, I'd say. Are
they more valuable than the other entities? Well, I guess it
depends on how strong the other players are. Surrounding yourself
with a strong, knowledgeable support staff will work wonders on
your origination/closing ratio and your monthly revenue. The best
compliment we can get as mortgage professionals is a happy borrower
who cant wait to do business with us again.
Until next time ...
Marian DeBonis of Tamarac. Fla.-based Cyberspace Financial
Inc. is a licensed mortgage broker, contract processor and mortgage
trainer for Cyberspace Financial Mortgage School. She can be
reached at (954) 724-4591 or e-mail [email protected]