Why do Underwriters feel the need to play GOD?

Real Estate Agent with Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate 535650

What is becoming painfully obvious is that some Underwriters seemed to have developed a God Complex. They are more than aware that the fate of a loan lies in their hands and they, in my lowly opinion, are asking for more insignificant information just to make life difficult.

For example: (This is my listing- we are now almost three weeks beyond the original settlement date)

The first requirement that has made the buyers agent head spin is the insistence on having the word PERMANENT added to the buyers medical condition. A mere "this patient will never be able to work again" was not sufficient. The buyer, who us obviously disabled was forced to run around after his Doctor to have a statement provided that his condition was indeed PERMANENT!!!!!

Task # 1 completed.......can we head to settlement?

Slow down Mr Buyer......there are a few more coming at you.

The Underwriter now needs his Divorce decree.......despite being married to his 2nd wife for 18 years......from his 1984 Divorce!

The third and last (hopefully)requirement is PROOF that the children from that 1st marriage no longer obligate him to pay child support.

He divorced their Mother in 1984!

The two children in question now have children of their own!  

The poor Buyer has had to jump through unnecessary and totally illogical hoops to appease. She wanted their birth certificates as proof. None of these requirements make any sense.

HOPEFULLY we can settle this home in the next few days unless the underwriter is going to require a full blown DNA test!
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Comments (67)

Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Although I understand the need for vigorous underwriting - the fact is that our economy will NEVER get out of the morass that it is in until lending is loosened so that people can do things like buy homes and sustain and start businesses.  This is where regulation needs to step in and force the banksters into line.   There is NO EXCUSE for this after all the money taxpayers poured into the system to keep it afloat.

Oct 19, 2011 01:52 PM
Tamara Inzunza
Realty One Group Capital - Alexandria, VA
Close-In Alexandria and Arlington Living

He who has the money makes the rules.  Reminds me of my daughter when we play board games.  She always changes the rules once the game starts.  Anyway, the underwriter is the ultimate CYA job.  But asking for a divorce from the 80's?  Was your buyer flagged as a polygamist or something?  WTH?

Oct 19, 2011 01:59 PM
Karen Crowson
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Rancho Bernardo, CA
Your Agent for Change
Hmm. Because they can? Much of the time there is no logic to what's being asked of the buyer.
Oct 19, 2011 03:37 PM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

This is  a very interesting discussion and I think we have to get back to some rational guidelines that reach the objectives of the lender.  I won't take over this post, but I am scratching my head of some of the things I am seeing.  Congrats on the feature and I too like the new photo.

Oct 19, 2011 04:01 PM
Joni Bailey
101 Main St. Realty - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®
Maybe the underwriter assumed he was a dead beat dad and still making installments on back child support! Lol! THAT'S CRAZY!
Oct 19, 2011 04:11 PM
Lisa Wetzel
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Carson City, NV
CDPE, SFR carsonvalleyland.com

Amazing but not unbelievable!  I hope that you settle very soon.  I just had one that made me really want to quit ... wanted the buyer to cancel a credit card that he never used in case her night use it!

Oct 19, 2011 04:20 PM
Lloyd Binen
Certified Realty Services - Saratoga, CA
Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411


It doesn't seem fair to blame the underwriter.  I agree the pendulum has swung back too far, but the underwriter is just working off a checklist to ensure a salable loan.

Oct 19, 2011 04:41 PM
Ted J. Macy
Top Agents Atlanta Metro - Milton, GA

Ellie, some of thes folks are so afraid of making a mistake, they should probably retire.

Good luck in getting this closed tomorrow.

Oct 19, 2011 04:59 PM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Frustrating isn't it Ellie.  But to answer your question from the title.  In these cases, they are GOD!

Oct 19, 2011 11:57 PM
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker

This is ridiculous. This person is just power hungry and doesn't sound like any kind of a decision-maker.

Oct 20, 2011 01:18 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Ellie, as noted by the mortgage people in the comments, the bank is just trying to verify all issues that show on the credit report and the rest of the documentation. The bigger annoyance is that they only go so far, see something, request information and put the file down until that is resolved, then pick it up and continue. The logic would be to prepare a list of wants and get them done all at once. That oarticular loan officer probably didn't have too much to do and wanted to make sure there were lot of papers in the file.


Oct 20, 2011 01:49 AM
Beverly Jo Cole
Southern Cross Real Estate, Inc. - Fort Lauderdale, FL

My biggest pet peeve has always been why doesn't the underwriter ask for ALL the conditions at one time... I am aware that some conditions pop up in the process, but when you've reached the final stages of approval, I find it unacceptable to say 'this is all we need" and once had suddenly they say, "Now this is all we need", etc, etc, etc... like groundhog day!!!!

Oct 20, 2011 03:36 AM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

I think the underwriters for the most part catch the heat on this issue, when the real problem lies further up the food chain.  Yes, there are definitely those that seem to like the control and power they have.  But for the most part, I believe they themselves live in fear that they will be held accountable in any number of ways for loans that go bad down the road.  The heirachy and rules are all wrong.  The underwriters are just the ones that have to try to implement the new rules and thinking.  Until all those issues are addressed and taken care of, this problem within underwriting will continue to exist ...

Hope all turns out well for your buyers.  Please keep us posted as to their success ...


Oct 20, 2011 04:04 AM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Sometimes you just take that opportunity when it comes to you.

Oct 20, 2011 05:00 PM
Michael S. Bolton
Michael S. Bolton,Inc. - Zimmerman, MN
MN Appraiser

Hi Ellie, And here all this time I thought it was appraisers that the UW didn't like. It seems like they're looking for a way to deny the loan. Keep at it, and Good Luck!

Oct 21, 2011 03:48 AM
Brenda Mullen
RE/MAX Access - Schertz, TX
Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!!

Somebody needs to report that Underwriter.  That is a gross abuse of power and if that lending institution truly requires that for a loan, then I would make sure to never work with them!  Absolutely INSANE!

Oct 23, 2011 05:53 AM
Jayson Holland
Listings.com - Denver, CO
Jay Holland

I agree with Jeff. Usually we are seeing these INSANE and STUPID requests about 24 hours prior to scheduled closing.  Great explanation from David #26. I think we can all agree they are going a little too far.




Oct 24, 2011 10:40 AM
Beverly Femia
BlueCoast Realty Corporation - Hampstead, NC
Broker Realtor Stager - Greater Wilmington, NC Are

These do seem to go beyond checking off all the boxes on the checklist.  But, it is true, that underwriters are people too and are frightened of repercussions.  I sure hope this closes soon for you!!

Oct 24, 2011 02:08 PM
Rodney Mason
Guaranteed Rate NMLS# 2611 - Atlanta, GA
VP of Mortgage Lending - AL, FL, GA, SC, & TN

As many other loan officers have stated, these are all very valid requests to comply with agency (i.e. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA) guidelines.  Unless it is a portfolio loan, all lenders underwrite to the standards of the agencies as well as the Secondary Market. 

In order to use any type of income to qualify, it must be deemed reasonable and consistent to continue at least 36+ months. For disability income, temporary disability will generally not continue for 36+ months and therefore usually cannot be used.  If the disability income is deemed to be permanent, then that does meet the 36+ month requirement and can be used as qualifying income.  In this case, the wording makes all of the difference.

Unless documentation, like a divorcee decree, is presented, then the underwriter has no way of knowing when a divorce actually occurred or the ages of any of the children born from it.  Also, just because someone is divorced doesn't mean they did not later reconcile and have more children.  Without birth certificates, child support agreements, or a divorce decree, the underwriter has no way of knowing a child's age.  While child support generally ends at age 18 or when the child graduates college, alimony does not always have a time limit.  The fact the husband remarried has no bearing on the situation.  Unless the person receiving the child support remarries, then it can be paid out indefinitely regardless of whether or not the husband remarried. 

The fact is that Underwriters do not play God.  Instead, they work from factual data and not hearsay.  If you were lending the moeny from your bank account, you would be asking for much more than a person's name and phone number.

Oct 30, 2011 10:04 AM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Love our Great City - Love our Clients! Buckhead - Midtown - Westside - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Dear Ellie,

Among the 70 answers before mine are all of my thoughts.

Underwriters w/too many files
Agents w/out complete files
Underwriters who are bound by the rules of others (principals)
AND - once in a while - I am sure - an underwriter who is actually the problem.

Obviously, the case above shows a lot of being careful about every detail. We can all learn from that and have the divorce decree ready ahead of time. I will certianly ask for it from now on. AND, ask for the birth certificates of any children from earlier marriages as well.  as Rodney Mason (#70) says: "... Underwriters ... work from factual data and not hearsay."

Have a happy day -



Nov 03, 2011 04:27 PM