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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   October 2008

3 Things to Get, 1 to Give and 1 to Earn

Staying in business often requires taking all five points to heart

True mortgage professionals focus on doing what is right for their clients ahead of any personal gains. Those who did not do this in the past are likely either looking for a different career or trying to change their ways to re-enter the industry. Those who have built their reputations around the client-for-life philosophy, however, are benefiting from doing things the right way even in the current lending environment.

There are five things that mortgage professionals must do to attain greatness in this industry, to add value to the business and to look after their clients’ best interests:

1. Get a Lending Integrity Seal of Approval. Although this designation is not required by most states, brokers should consider attaining it. Basically, it’s a National Association of Mortgage Brokers designation that signifies that holders complete six hours of continuing education annually, which include two hours in ethics courses; have three professional business references; have undergone a background check; and have agreed to abide by a strict code of ethics. For more information on how to attain the seal, visit www.lendingintegrity.org or www.namb.org.

2. Get a list of testimonials. Testimonials from past clients will add credibility to your business profile. Doing things the right way, at the right time and with the right tools is crucial. Testimonials can reaffirm your credibility as a mortgage broker.

3. Get the knowledge and tools to make interest-rate-float and -lock recommendations. Although it’s not advised to do business with a company solely because it offers the lowest rate, rate is a crucial piece of the puzzle for many customers. If you understand what affects mortgage rates, the market and technical indicators, you will be seen as a true mortgage professional. With this knowledge, you can recommend decisions that will greatly impact the rate -- and hence, the payment and interest charges -- clients receive.

4. Give an accurate and complete list of disclosures. This helps build trust because it eliminates confusion before closing. Closing should be a formality, not a what-if situation. Your clients deserve and appreciate honest information upfront, even if it means an extra 30 minutes of your time. If you cannot share the disclosures in person, then e-mail, fax or overnight them to your clients and set up a conference call to answer their questions or address their concerns. You should address any unknowns -- homeowners’ insurance, cash-to-close, aggregate adjustment, etc. -- at this time, as well. If there’s any indication something can change, tell the clients how it will affect them and how it will be addressed.

Some of the disclosures and forms you should review with your clients include the:

  • Truth in Lending Act disclosure;
  • Good-faith estimate;
  • Uniform underwriting and transmittal summary;
  • Loan application;
  • Equal Credit Opportunity Act disclosure;
  • Mortgage-loan-origination agreement;
  • Notice to receive a copy of the appraisal report;
  • Servicing-disclosure statement;
  • USA Patriot Act form;
  • Credit-score-information disclosure;
  • Privacy-policy statement; and
  • Benefit-to-borrower worksheet.

Additional disclosures could apply depending on the loan program and the state in which you are originating.

5. Earn clients’ trust. Trust is probably the best indicator of if someone should do business with you. It’s earned. Have you done the right things to earn your clients’ trust? If they do not trust you, they will go to another broker. Make sure you earn clients’ trust with honesty, timeliness, professionalism and ethical practices.

If you master and build your business around these items, you will see your client and business-partner base grow. You also will earn repeat and referral business. You will have the opportunity to become a great mortgage professional, mastering the skills necessary to grow your business going forward. 


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