So what exactly does the ideal or perfect mortgage loan officer look or act like? Well, in my over two decades in this business, I have run across all kinds and have heard a few legendary stories as well. My short list of attributes is by no means going to be the very same as the next guys, but I can tell you that my list covers the various things that most consumers complain about when going through the mortgage process; a highlights list so to speak. Everyone has their own needs that should be met and I will suggest to you that there is the perfect mortgage loan officer out there for the vast majority of us; you just need to find him/her.
Here is my opinion of what an ideal mortgage loan officer looks like:
- Experienced/Knowledgeable: These two are not exactly the same thing, but for purposes of this article, indulge me. Experience should lead to knowledge. The longer your loan officer has been in the business, the more road tested that loan officer will be. Knowing where the problems can and will occur in the mortgage process and how to avoid them is a HUGE deal. Another area is confidence in the fact that you have been placed in the right mortgage loan product. There are many programs available and everyone's needs are different, so you need to know that you are being placed in the right loan for your specific needs.
- Friendly: This may seem a bit basic, but you would be amazed with what you will run into. A friendly loan officer is one who will not discount your opinion about the process you are going through at the moment. You won't feel like you are imposing on your loan officer's time when you speak with him/her, nor will you know when your loan officer is having an horrific day (which does happen).
- Attentive: Any loan officer still in the business and earning more than half of minimum wage will have more than your loan in process. Each loan takes time and energy to bring from application to close, but yours is one of those loans. Ideally you feel as though you are the only loan your loan officer has to work on, but reality dictates otherwise. If you are ever told that your loan will be dealt with as soon as others have been worked on or seem to be told more than once that your file is next on the stack to work on, that is a clear indication that your loan officer has way too much going on or is just plain inattentive. This will easily lead to expired rate locks and missed closing dates to name just a few.
- Accessible/Returns messages promptly: Once again, this seems basic, but you need to know you are able to reach your loan officer anytime you have a question or need something. You should not have to track down your loan officer for any reason at all. One call or one message is all it should take for you to converse with your loan officer. They are working for you and there is no excuse for a day or more to go by without being able to find or to receive a call back from your loan officer; not acceptable!
- Obsessed with confidentiality: Banks and lenders have a mandatory responsibility to maintain the highest level of confidentiality when it comes to your personal and private information. There are so many rules and regulations lenders have to work within, but that does not mean things do not slip by or are unknowingly shared when they should not be. My personal favorite is when loan officers share details about borrowers with Realtors. It may be something as harmless as a comment about a credit score presenting a challenge, but that should only be discussed with the borrower, period. If the borrower chooses to discuss this with anyone else, that is purely up to them to do so.
- Meets deadlines: If your loan officer gives you a deadline for something, you need to be able to rely on that deadline. Things can and do come up during the process, and a deadline can be missed, but this shouldn't happen often. If you are having deadlines missed consistently, that is a problem. Being told to expect revised numbers by a certain date, disclosures to be sent by another date or your file to be out of underwriting by a certain time, you should be able to rely on these deadlines. The closing date is not the only deadline you should be concerned with.
- Attends your closing: In my opinion, this is mandatory. In all my years of managing loan officers, I made this a mandatory thing and even had this as part of my annual performance reviews. The reasons for this are numerous, but the most important one is supporting you at closing in any manner you need. Explaining numbers or documents and assisting with any changes that may occur at the closing table are common needs. Explaining any differences, whether real or perceived, at closing compared to what was expected or discussed before closing is the biggest one. Anything and everything that can or will come up at closing should be handled by your loan officer. Your loan officer's role does not end when your loan is approved; it continues beyond your loan closing if you have a good loan officer.
This article is a bit lengthy and was not supposed to be, but I am very passionate about this subject. It is a privilege, not a right, for your loan officer to have your business; expecting a certain level of service is not asking too much. One more piece aimed at Empowering you to Manage your Mortgage.