Your Mortgage: The devil is in the details

Mike Miles

By Mike Miles

If I were to interview all of the mortgage underwriters and loan processors in the mortgage industry about the benefits of the digital mortgage age … chances are that good a majority of them would say that so far, it’s not adding much back-end efficiency.

What’s back-end efficiency? It’s my way of describing how fast and accurate a mortgage processor and underwriter can perform their jobs. I consider the back-end of a mortgage loan the part of the process that involves the support team (loan processors, underwriters, and closers) validating loan application details by satisfying loan requirements identified by the underwriters according to mortgage loan program guidelines.

So, is there a front-end? Yes. It’s the sale-side, or the loan origination side, which involves the borrower, loan officer and sometimes a loan officer support person(s).

The idea of a “push button” mortgage loan was silly when it was first advertised. In many ways it still is. It trivializes the importance of making sure that a mortgage loan application is 100 percent accurate with borrower and loan details identified and explained in their entirety so that the support teams can do their jobs.

The “push button” mortgage is really a lead generator. It attracts people to enter their own best guess of information needed on a digital loan application platform. It attracts people to be able to order their own credit, run their own automated approvals, upload their own documents and price their own rates and programs. It sounds slick and in many ways it is. However, expectations can be misleading.

Don’t get me wrong … I’m not some curmudgeon setting out to disprove technology. Quite the opposite. Our small but powerful firm, Fountain Mortgage, invests heavily into technology to help streamline the process. I embrace the technologies available to both companies and individual borrowers. However, the best form of communication and efficiency still resides with people talking to people.

Here’s why: There are too many loan guidelines and too many possible borrower situations for current technology to keep up. People need to be able to spend time discussing all parts of the transaction to help the back-end teams verify exactly what’s needed … nothing more and nothing less.

At some point, artificial intelligence will catch up, but for now it should be expected that borrowers will still be in discussions with front-end mortgage personnel. However “old school” that may seem, taking that extra time will save hours, days and even weeks spent in the back-end part of the mortgage loan. The only question is if you want to speak to a person that’s a local specialized expert (referred by a real estate agent, substantial positive and real online reviews … etc.) or a person that’s in a big operation’s call center?

This weekly Sponsored Column is written by Mike Miles of Fountain Mortgage. Located in Prairie Village, Fountain Mortgage is dedicated to educating, and thus empowering, clients to make the best financial decision possible for their situation. Contact Fountain today.

Mike Miles NMLS ID: 265927; Fountain Mortgage NMLS: 1138268