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Living in the Mortgage Underwriting Process

Matthew Wilde

March 8, 2021

I have been selling risk analytics and decisioning solutions for years now. I know the value proposition, and fully believe in it, because I speak with financial institutions who share their mortgage-related challenges with me every day. These are incredibly smart people that I get to speak with, innovating in their organisations to make decisioning and underwriting processes more precise, more intelligent, and progressively faster. What I didn’t know, until now, is how difficult it is to live through the mortgage origination process from the customer’s shoes. Since I’ve recently lived it, I have to share my story to corroborate the pain that all of my prospects are sharing — now from a slightly different perspective.

Mortgage in Principle: My Experience

Very recently, I worked with a mortgage broker to kick off the mortgage pre-approval process. My information was submitted to over ninety financial institutions. Now, with a particular interest in this business I was curious to see how communication would be handled and what the response times would be. After all, I’m speaking with these organisations every day and they are all telling me that they are bent on making this exact process more customer-centric, simpler, faster. The first mortgage in principle came back within fifteen minutes, and the remainder trickled in over the following forty-eight hours.

This is the part of the story where emotion plays its part. That is to say, when I was waiting for the pre-approvals to come in there was a new, unfamiliar part of my brain that jumped in the co-pilot seat. My logical brain went along its daily business while our new co-pilot counted through the list of things that were going to go wrong, and how that would rob us of all our hopes and dreams. That co-pilot made forty-eight hours feel like weeks, and was a huge advocate for that first pre-approval. ‘Fifteen minutes! They must really have their operation together; their customer service is going to be fantastic. If those other guys take twenty-four hours for pre-approval, I don’t even want to know what the underwriting process is going to be like.’ I suspect I’m not an anomaly here.

Also, read: Credit Underwriting Process

Receiving a decision in principle is only one step in the process – albeit, often the simplest – and I know my ‘after it’s all said and done’ recap is not going to be 100% sunshine and rainbows, nor should it be. Small doses of fear sharpen our senses in times when outcomes are heavy, and our decisions have consequence. Home buying is a big deal, and borrowing hundreds of thousands of pounds to spend on a house is not supposed to be as light-hearted as ordering a take-out. But, why shouldn’t it be as positive?

Mortgages: Heading in the Right Direction

I have my hopes high for the remainder of the process. After all, I’ve seen first-hand the positive steps that financial institutions are taking toward better, more customer-centric lending processes. Some are a bit slower than others (I know we’re not ordering take-out, but if you’re twenty-four hours behind your competitors, we have some work to do). I’m happy to be part of the solution, and look forward to sharing part two of this story so we can continue improving together.

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