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HousingWire Annual Virtual Summit

Sessions from HousingWire Annual 2021 are going to be virtually streamed on October 25. Register now for FREE to tune into what housing industry leaders had to say this year!

How Freddie Mac is addressing affordable housing challenges

Freddie Mac is focused on addressing limited access to credit, housing inequalities, creation and preservation of affordable housing supply and advancement of homeownership education.

A NAR board member tells (almost) all

For this week’s Houses in Motion, a miniseries that is part of HousingWire Daily, we spoke with Lisa Dunn about the pressing issues in real estate, including disclosure of agent commission.

MortgageSponsored Content

Getting first-pass approval with best-in-class underwriting

What can you do to get first pass approval?

Your borrower found the perfect home. You’ve collected and prepared their paperwork. Now it’s time to secure that mortgage! You both want a smooth process, so what can you do to ensure a quick and easy submission for underwriting, and one that is more likely to achieve a first-pass approval, meaning all the documentation is submitted and accurate on your first try? Below are just a few tips and tricks to ensure you can get that first-pass approval with minimal fuss.

Things to remember:

  • Document your thought process and show your work. As you well know, every loan is unique. Demonstrating your thinking will make your underwriter’s job easier and faster, resulting in a quicker decision.
  • Follow prudent underwriting standards and all applicable guidelines — GSE, Lender, Investor and Mortgage Insurance (MI). Your underwriter knows these standards and guidelines. Any deviations from them will be noticed and potentially prevent that first-pass approval.
  • Provide consistent information throughout the file. Inconsistencies will be noticed, and will require further review. The quickest path to a first-pass approval is ensuring there are no questions that the underwriter will have to take more time to address.
  • Ask for additional information from your underwriter when needed. Guidelines only show minimum requirements and may lead to questions. With Genworth, you can contact our ActionCenter® at 800 444.5664 or
  • Document red flag concerns. If you don’t, your underwriter will. Documenting those concerns upfront will speed up your underwriter’s review.


Be aware of common error trends, such as:

  • Income concerns, including:
    • Year-to-date earnings missing from paystubs
    • Verbal verification of employment missing from the file
    • Previous year’s income missing from the file
  • Asset concerns, including:
    • Primary residence conversion reserves not met
    • Insufficient funds for closing
    • Minimum borrower contribution not met
    • Large deposits without sources
  • Program related concerns, including:
    • Verification of taxes and insurance missing on other borrower’s other owned property
    • AUS submissions not updated with correct, current data
    • Seller contributions which are excessive or exceed actual closing costs
  • Documentation concerns, including:
    • Incomplete or expired income, credit or asset documentation
  • Appraisal concerns, including:
    • An “as is” appraisal with comments within the appraisal suggesting needed repairs
    • Comps used are outside of the subject property’s market, despite available comps within the market

Beyond the first-pass approval, what is it that truly comprises a best-in-class underwriting experience? To answer this question, Genworth conducted a blind survey in 2016, and again in 2017, polling over 400 underwriters, loan processors and loan officers. The primary research objective was to determine how important underwriting is when deciding on an MI partner.

Genworth’s surveys provided several important insights into what defines a best-in-class underwriting experience from the perspective of a customer. First, customers place a high regard on speed and underwriter competence. Also, good customer service, including responsiveness to questions, was weighted more heavily than other MI decision factors, and was determined to yield better referral rates than price alone.

The surveys also sought to identify, amongst MI providers, who offers that best-in-class service and experience. Two years in a row, respondents who are customers of both Genworth and other MI providers tended to recognize Genworth as best-in-class more often. And when asked what makes Genworth best in class, most respondents pointed to turn time/speed and ease of submission or use.

So, whether providing underwriting resources, best-in-class services, or simply answering questions, Genworth Mortgage Insurance is proud to play a part in making it “go time” for that ready borrower.


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