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Historically strong home sales expected in 2006 as upward trend cools

Mar 08, 2006

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].
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