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Residential Department: From the Editor: May 2015


From the Editor

We’re off to see the wizards of underwriting

Working on this issue of Scotsman Guide reminded me of the scene in “The Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy’s dog Toto grabs the curtain within his little teeth and pulls it back to reveal the truth about the Wizard: He’s just a regular man pulling a bunch of levers behind the scenes to make the magic happen.We’re off to see the wizards of underwriting

Before immersing myself in articles about the world of mortgage underwriting this past month, that part of the origination process had remained hidden behind a curtain from me. Like many homeowners, my mortgage interactions were limited to meeting with a loan officer at the beginning of the process, gathering reams of documents for an assistant, and then meeting with a settlement agent to sign even more reams of documents at the closing.

Everything in between gathering documents and signing other documents happened behind the curtain.

I was only vaguely aware that any number of people were hustling around behind that curtain pulling levers, pushing buttons, and making everything work — as if by magic.

That’s not to say that originators, assistants and settlement agents don’t have a lot of work to do; plenty of tasks must be completed to get a mortgage loan from application to closing. But a lot of that work happens behind the scenes. In fact, a common comment made by our featured top originators month after month is how they wouldn’t be as successful as they are without all the hard work put in by their staff and by the many people involved in the underwriting process.

So, this month, we pull back the curtain a little to take a peek at underwriting and provide some tips for improving the process. Our lead article by Michael Mahoney of Genworth U.S. Mortgage Insurance discusses how maintaining open lines of communication between borrowers, originators and underwriters can make the process go smoother. Turn to Page 33 to read Mahoney’s article.

Next, Karen Dickson of Guardian Mortgage Co. Inc. provides some tips for managing risk during the underwriting process. Find Dickson’s article on Page 40. If you’re a small lender looking to streamline your settlement services, you might be interested in the article by Alok Datta of American Tax & Property Reporting Inc. on Page 80.

Continuing our focus on underwriting, Joy K. Gilpin of AllRegs discusses some points to consider about thorough documentation in her article on Page 100, while Jordan Petkovski of TSI Appraisal presents his arguments for a needed paradigm shift in appraiser education. Read Petkovski’s article on Page 116.

Of course, Scotsman Guide covers a wide spectrum of topics in every issue, and this month is no different.

Rich Leffler of AxSellerated Development discusses the perils of third-party vendor management beginning on Page 51. Clint Rosenthal and James Lamparter from Parkside Lending present a five-step plan for increasing business starting on Page 87. And Jim Deitch of Teraverde presents some harrowing tales of mortgage security breaches beginning on Page 105.

These and other articles can all be found in this month’s edition. When you’re ready, pull back the curtain and take a look inside.

Create. Educate. Illuminate.


Will McDermott is managing editor for Ask a Lender. Reach him at or (800) 297-6061.

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