There’s an unfortunate reality that mortgage brokers live by in the lending business: every day, they have to make a choice between closing as fast as possible and getting the lowest rate possible. There is no such thing as having the best of both worlds. Or is there?
It’s only natural that in such a competitive industry, where closing deals accurately and as quickly as possible literally determines paychecks, that brokers prefer to partner with wholesale lenders that put them in the best possible position to succeed.
Turn times and pricing are easy things to research and compare amongst lenders because they are generally posted online. But what isn’t explicitly spelled out on a wholesale lender’s website is arguably the most important factor of all: client service.
The extent to which a wholesale lender goes to provide its broker partners with the most hands-on, VIP-like client service experience isn’t something that can written out in neat, easy-to-understand numbers. It’s something a broker has to discover in real-time by working with a specific company over time. The more a broker works with different lenders, they better understand that little things that make up the biggest differences between them.
Oftentimes, when thinking of what all goes into the loan process, it’s easy to forget that actual people are at the heart of making everything possible. If an issue arises with a loan that needs to be quickly resolved, it is a person on the other end of the phone that sees it through to completion. Even the flashiest technology platform is useless without the people to build it, enhance it, fix issues, and cater it to clients’ needs.
At UWM, we’ve built client service into our DNA. We’ve committed to wowing our clients, setting the gold standard throughout the industry for what excellent service looks like. We do things that other lenders don’t do, and every little thing matters to us.
How often do you call your Account Executive and leave a voicemail, only to wait several hours – or sometimes, not until the following day – to have your call returned? That’s not a thing here.
We hold ourselves to stringent, client-focused Service Level Agreements that dictate a maximum three-hour response time to phone and email inquiries. This past year, we implemented a “No Call Left Behind” initiative, which held our team members accountable for not allowing phone calls to reach a voicemail or dead-end. We pick up every single phone call, which streamlined and accelerated processes for our clients.
Company leaders are completely in the weeds of the business, jumping in to take calls on the front lines, and calling out to clients every month simply to thank them. Every single survey or bit of email feedback that a client sends is read and shared throughout senior leadership in order to make changes and create action plans.
We’ve made it a point to be strategically overstaffed by design. We have more people working in our technology and operations teams than any other wholesale lender in America because it ensures that our processes are the fastest and most efficient. Our average time from loan submission to loan closing was 15 days in 2017 – and we’re working hard to get that number down to 12 days by 2020. It’s all of the hard-working, service-oriented people we have working here that will make that a reality.
Closing timelines and rate differences are convenient for making lender-to-lender comparisons, but they don’t tell the full story at surface level. Instead of making a decision based solely on the ‘speed vs. price’ debate, brokers should prioritize the factor that gives them the best of both worlds: client service.