Stearns Lending Inc., a national wholesale and retail mortgage banker, has announced that it has grown its business by more than 65 percent since early 2009. Stearns utilizes Loan-Score’s platform to automate pricing and underwriting for each of its 18 wholesale branches, as well as its new affiliate branches. Currently, Stearns is the 15th largest lender in the country.
Integral to Stearns’ growth strategy has been the launch of a robust broker portal for its extensive network of originators. At the portal, brokers log in, upload a 3.2 file or manually enter a 1003, pull or re-pull credit, and return an instant automated underwriting decision.
The portal also allows for pipeline management, document uploads, lock requests, visibility of conditions sign off, and real-time communication with underwriters and processors. The depth and accuracy of the decisioning offered to brokers at the point-of-sale (POS) significantly elevates customer service and establishes broker-to-lender trust.
The flexibility of Loan-Score’s solution allows Stearns to customize and private brand different portals, screens and flows for each of its business channels. Dubbed SNAP (Stearns Network Automated Portal) and FLASH (Fast Loan Automated Service Hub), each affiliate branch is empowered with tools to manage their own pricing, profit margins and lock desk controls.
“Stearns Lending has always strived to provide customer service that is second to none,” said Stearns Chairman Glenn Stearns. “In part, we have been wildly successful because our customers know that when they do business with us they receive immediate attention, and this in turn helps them better service their borrowers. Our brand promise at Stearns is ‘Yes, we can help you.’ The implementation of Loan-Score’s PPE and AUS assists us in delivering on that promise using leading broker-facing tools and instant, accurate decisioning. This has resulted in the development of a very positive brand image that has our brokers continually coming back to do business with us, which is key to our growth strategy.”
Loan-Score’s solution also integrates bi-directionally and seamlessly with Del Mar DataTrac, Stearns’ back office loan processing and fulfillment platform. Once a decision is rendered at the POS, the full 1003, pricing, loan details and conditions automatically populate into DataTrac, which then becomes the system of record. Communication between back office staff and originators provides status updates throughout the underwriting process.
“Stearns turned to us due to the accuracy of our decisioning platform, our tight integration with DataTrac, and our ability to customize the solution to their unique workflow,” said David Colwell, executive vice president at Loan-Score. “Previously, Stearns was using a PPE vendor as a standalone system. Most of these solutions are essentially one-size-fits-all applications that do not pull credit to decision and underwrite off of the complete set of underwriting guidelines for each investor. This didn’t lend well to Stearns’ growth mode, which is why they turned to Loan-Score.”
“An additional benefit to Stearns is the use of our new AUS interface with FHA TOTAL Scorecard," continued Colwell. "The interface will save them significant time and thousands of dollars by not having to use other AUSs that charge exorbitant transaction fees to connect to Scorecard. In 2007, Stearns Lending Inc. had 80 employees, but now boasts over 800. Stearns is currently the 15th largest lender in the country in terms of volume, and the company continues to grow at a rapid rate.”
For more information, visit www.stearnswholesale.com or www.loan-score.com.