Colorado Association of REALTORS | Get Your Client’s Mortgage Closed On Time
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Get Your Client’s Mortgage Closed On Time

Get Your Client’s Mortgage Closed On Time

How Finding the Right Lender Can Get Your Client’s Mortgage Closed On Time

By Todd Crowley


Picture this: You’ve been working with your clients for months—putting in additional hours, working late nights and weekends—trying to find them the perfect house. The home is found, the purchase contract is signed, you have worked through the transaction details, and you are ready to close.   It is the day before closing, your client has arranged time off from work to move, the moving truck has been scheduled, and you get a call from the lender -an underwriting issue has come up and you have to delay the closing.

Your clients are upset, the seller is upset, everyone is inconvenienced and you get to spend the next few days putting out the fire. What a nightmare!  You would think this happens rarely but, according to a recent Realtor Confidence Index survey, more than 20 percent of closings are delayed.  Many of these delays are related to underwriting or loan processing—and most of the time they are preventable.

Considering the closing is your client’s final impression of their real estate experience, wouldn’t you want it to go as smoothly as possible?

The truth is the impact of closing interruptions and delays can be mitigated by looking for certain capabilities in a bank or lender.  Here are the top three things to consider in a lender to help get that loan closed quickly, make your transaction go smoothly, and keep your clients happy.

The lender offers “portfolio mortgages” that it can keep on its own books: 

Most banks package and sell loans to government agencies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or other Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE). In fact, according to recent data, Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee roughly nine of every 10 U.S. residential mortgages.

When banks sell mortgages rather than retaining them, they must comply with inflexible GSE rules for approving homeowners, leaving many qualified buyers whose situation doesn’t fit with the current GSE underwriting framework out in the cold.

FirstBank, which is Colorado’s second largest bank by deposits, carries many of its own mortgages and services them all.  As a result, it doesn’t need to meet the same underwriting requirements and has more flexibility than your ‘run of the mill’ institution.  For instance, if a borrower can’t provide a certain piece of documentation right away, that wouldn’t hold up the underwriting process.  FirstBank may still move forward with the loan, whereas other lenders couldn’t.

Its officers have underwriting authority/don’t get paid on commission:

Most loan officers aren’t underwriters and don’t fully understand the underwriter’s job. They may miss necessary items or requirements during the onset of the loan application process.  It’s frustrating to think that many times a loan officer will pre-approve a loan only to have the underwriter deny the loan days before the closing because something was overlooked.

Banking officers who aren’t paid on commission—typically a percentage of the loan amount—may be allowed underwriting authority.  Consequently, they understand the process better, can make quicker and more reliable decisions as to whether to approve the loan, and are generally more focused on building a better relationship with your client.

At FirstBank, loan officers are not paid on commission, have underwriting authority and are well-versed in the underwriting process.  Officers are also assigned to the loan not only from application to closing, but through its entire life. Because FirstBank services its own loans, customers can continue to work with the same officer on any mortgage needs or questions years down the road.

It takes pride in customer service:

You want your client to have the best financing experience possible and work with an institution that cares more about growing relationships than commissions or fees.  Banks that truly value their customers and have a reputation for it want to make the loan process as fast and painless as possible. They usually work hard to meet the timeline outlined in the purchase contract.

As one of the best performing banks in the nation, FirstBank can attribute most of its success to excellent customer service.  It’s a large part of the company’s culture and one of the main reasons FirstBank grew from a tiny trailer coined the “Check Wagon” in 1963 to more than 115 locations and $14 billion in assets.

FirstBank strives to make any financial transaction, including the purchase of a new home, as easy, pleasant and efficient as possible.  Our service culture is the cornerstone of our business and drives our “Mortgages Made Easy” philosophy.   In fact, our commitment to quality service has led FirstBank to close over 98% of our purchase mortgage transactions on-time.

Have you ever worked with FirstBank for any real estate financing needs? We want to hear from you! Please click here to fill out a quick survey and be entered to win an iPad Mini. *Visit link for details.



Todd Crowley is the Executive Vice President of Mortgage Operations for FirstBank, Colorado’s largest locally owned bank and its second largest depository institution.  FirstBank is also a leading mortgage lender and continues to experience a high level of growth due to its unique business model and high level of customer satisfaction.  If you have any questions about this article or would like to contact Todd, he can be reached at 303-239-5112. 







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