Your Mortgage: Why does a loan take days or weeks to get approved?

Mike Miles

By Mike Miles

Here is maybe one of the most boring questions I’ve ever asked … is anyone ever curious what happens during the life of a loan before the big closing day? Does anyone envision a vanilla folder stuffed full of papers stacked on a leaning pile of other folders on top of a desk waiting to be reviewed by a cantankerous underwriter with a huge rubber stamper?

The good news is that this vision isn’t reality at all. A mortgage loan travels through many layers as it makes its way through the process. Here is a quick summary:

  1. Loan pre-approval/loan origination – This is when a loan officer pulls credit, obtains basic income and asset documentation, completes a loan application and obtains an initial approval based on client needs and loan guidelines. The initial approval is generated by an AUS (automated underwriting system).
  2. Loan compliance – This is when the finished loan application is checked for accuracy and compliance on things like disclosures, dates, and loan costs before the application is sent for borrower signatures.
  3. Loan processing – This is when the loan is transferred to a loan processor. The processor performs a pre-underwrite review of the loan. Processors may request additional documents from borrowers. Processors begin verifications related to credit accounts, assets for closing, employment and income. Processors assign loans to underwriters and continue communicating between underwriting and borrowers and loan officers.
  4. Underwriting – This is when underwriting confirms/verifies that all loan documents provided by borrowers, loan officers, and processors satisfy loan guidelines.
  5. Pre-closing compliance – This is when the loan package is reviewed by quality control personnel. This is basically an internal second-level review ensuring that all previous levels (loan origination, processing and underwriting) have been properly documented and completed.
  6. Closing prep – This is when the loan is prepared for closing by a person called the “closer” who works for the lender. This person sends the closing package to another closer at the title company. This is generally when a closing disclosure is sent to the borrower and title company at least three days prior to closing.
  7. Loan closing – This is when the loan documents are signed by borrowers and notarized typically by the closer at the title company.

Pretty easy, right? Overall there are about 7 to 10 people involved with a mortgage loan. That might seem like too many, but lending regulations and guidelines demand it due to the levels of documentation. What’s described above is a general overview of a loan’s life before being consummated (closed). This process can take anywhere from an average of 20 days to as long as 45 days depending on which lender you choose to use. Choose wisely.

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