Loan Officers and Their Secret Weapon
Written by David Reed on Thursday, 13 April 2006 7:00 pm
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Good loan officers are hard to find. You can get all the referrals you can handle, but they don't count until the "rubber meets the road." Or your lock registration reaches the lock desk.
Face it, you won't really know how good your loan officer is until you're stuck with them. For better or for worse. But do you want to know a secret?
The best loan experience out there may not rest solely on your loan officer. It might very well be reliant on someone you've never heard of … your loan processor.
The loan processor is the single most important support person a loan officer has, and they can carry a lot of weight in a mortgage company. It's the loan processor that does all the heavy lifting during your loan approval. Your loan officer is out getting more loans or taking your Realtor to lunch or "whatever."
Great loan officers can't be great loan officers without great processors. In fact, I wager that a prerequisite of being a great loan officer is in fact having a great processor. Just as a loan officer can completely screw up a mortgage deal, so too can a bad loan processor kill a loan.
And having been one of those "great" loan officers, I can attest to that. Because I brought in lots of deals, I could also choose who could process those deals. I would choose the smartest, most efficient processor in the building and make them "mine."
In fact, over the past 15 years in mortgage lending, I had a total of 4 processors.
Why would I want the best processor? The processor is the one I would rely on to take care of problems when I was out making calls. Great processors know how to take care of day to day problems that the
loan officers or sometimes even the borrowers themselves never even know about.
Great processors can take a loan application from start to finish and make it look easy. But trust me, being a loan processor is difficult. It can be stressful. Processors take all the various elements of loan approval, put them together, in order and at the right time to make sure everything is done when and how it's supposed to be done.
They can get yelled at by people they'll never meet over things that are completely out of their hands.
It's the loan processor that deals directly with attorneys, insurance agents, appraisers, inspectors, underwriters, closers, title companies, closers and, oh yeah, the borrowers and the loan officer.
The way to find the best loan officer is to find the best loan processor. So how can you do that? Do you call all the mortgage companies and ask to speak with all their loan processors? No, but you can come close.
When talking to a potential loan officer about their rates, fees and programs, you should also be asking about that loan officer's experience in the industry. How long have you been in the business? Do you have any referrals from people I might know that can attest to your experience? Good questions to ask.
But ask one more. How long have you been working with your loan processor and how long has he or she been processing mortgage loans?
If your potential loan processor is brand new or the loan officer doesn't have a choice on which processor to use, it's more likely you'll have a bumpy experience.
If however, your loan officer has not only been in the business for ten years but has also worked with a particular loan processor for a long, long time, then you've found your ticket. Your loan officer and processor work as a team. The longer they've been working together, the better off you'll be.
I'll bet you didn't know that, did you?