They All Do It The Same Way

From: Ameen Kamadia

Sometimes, as small mortgage companies, we get scared by the larger lenders. They have so much more money than we do. They have more employees, great websites, 800 numbers, celebrity spokespeople, and huge advertising budgets. So they must also have great systems that are so much better than ours, right?

Wrong. These large companies use the same words, the same procedures, and the same applications we do. There is nothing magical or extraordinary about them.

As a test, I called a couple of the big boys recently to see how they handle customers. First I called Quicken. I got their number from their website, and I called asking about refinancing one of my investment properties.

The guy who answered my call was basically an order taker. He asked me some basic questions and tried to crack a couple jokes to get me in a good mood. Then he told me they had the right loan for me and that to proceed, he would have to check my credit. Once he did and my score was good enough, he transferred me to the loan officer.

I went trough the same questions with her. What was my house worth? What was my current balance? What type of loan did I want? How much do I earn? She then calculated my debt ratios using the credit report. I qualified for a full doc loan.

But I had told them ahead of time the kind of loan I wanted, and the loan scenario I created for this test was an interest only, no income verification, 80% LTV refinance - no cash out with fees rolled in. The first fellow I talked to said they could do that - which was the only reason I let him run my credit. The loan officer was saying no. Their stated loans only go to 70% LTV. So I said no and hung up. The whole process took over 30 minutes.

There was nothing wonderful about the process. Nothing that would make me want to call them again. A few months from now, I will have totally forgotten that I ever called Quicken. They have all that money, and they couldn't provide with me any incentive to do business with them again.

It's been almost 2 months, and I never got anything in the mail from them either. Even after they checked my credit, and saw more than one mortgage, and I told them I owned several investment properties.

Then I called Ditech. You know, the company portraying mortgage brokers in their ads as fat, bald, and slow. They advertise loans with closing costs of $395. Well, that's a gimmick. They just raise the rates. Their phone system was even worse than Quicken. The person I talked to asked me some basic questions, had trouble with her computer, and kept putting me on hold. After the third time on hold, I hung up. So much for them being fast.

What have we learned from this?

1. We should keep track of our competition by posing as a customer every once in a while.

2. The big lenders do the same things we do. And many times, they do it worse than we do. By offering Amazing Service and by developing relationships with our clients, we have nothing to be afraid of.

Happy Originating!


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