Here a Rush, There a Rush, Everywhere a Rush, Rush
Volume is up. That means turntimes are up. Along with stress levels. Deadlines are approaching everywhere. The only thing that typically doesn't go up when volume goes up is levels of customer service. And I don't care if the BBB and JD Power had a baby together and it was a lender named "Service", when volume spikes, service slips - it's simple economics, really - supply and demand. There is a huge demand for loans, and a limited supply of employees trained to handle loan files. A lender has 2 options - either have current staff work 20 hour days to mitigate the slippage in service levels & turntimes, or hire more people (either new hires for the company, or contract workers, usually underwriters or processors). Either approach has the same problems - new hires need to learn on the go, and sometimes it's a bumpy ride, and even seasoned contract workers need to learn the lenders processes and unique operations.
Recently, one of my purchase loans that needed to close in 3 weeks (only way borrower could get her offer accepted) was assigned to a new processor. I'd never worked with him before, and I was super nervous. That anxiety quickly turned to gratitude as he hit the ground running, excelled in communications, and made what should have been a stressful process for everyone involved a smooth ride to the settlement table. 3 weeks on the job, he had 30+ files to work on, and he nailed it. *I tipped my cap, gave him a standing ovation, and applauded until he made a curtain call*
Another loan needed a rush just yesterday. An FHA streamline, which had to close by the end of the month to avoid interest being charged to the borrower for the entire month of April (have I mentioned before that HUD likes ripping people off?). As we approached the deadline, I involved our operations team, gave them a heads up that closing/scheduling would be seeing this file last minute and it required immediate attention, and had our processing manager rush what would normally be a 4-5 day part of the loan process through in less than 48 hours. We'll be doing settlement tomorrow and the loan will fund this month.
I wish I could say the "rush" stopped with these 2, but I have 3 other files ongoing that are operating on an ASAP closing date. Especially in the purchase market where inventory shortages & bidding wars are forcing offers of 30 day closes or less, nearly everything requires a rush to get things done on the schedule everyone else wants/needs to keep.
So what's my point? Well, there are 2. For one, I want to publicly acknowledge the amazing operations team that is working behind the scenes that bust their butts so that our clients don't see too much of an increase in turntimes or slip in service despite how crazy things really are. My team is AMAZING, from applications to processing to underwriting to closing. Our CEO consistently notes that the key to our success and rapid growth as a national lender is the people on board working as a team to accomplish our goal of making mortgages easy. I agree.
The second point is to shed some light on how operations work for a mortgage company in times like these when rates are down and so many markets are seller's markets. We have rate locks to meet deadlines on (shorter rate lock terms mean better rates, so we try to get things done quick to save people money), HUD guidelines that force us to squeeze loans with FHA payoffs in by the end of the month, and purchase deadlines, many of which are less than 30 days from the date of a contract. We DO understand that your loan needs a rush. We DO think your loan is incredibly important. We DO want you to feel like you're our only client. I just hope you'll realize that there are many, many others that need a rush, and we are striving to make every client feel like our only one. In times like these, patience is truly a virtue. Some understanding goes a long way, too : )
Here's some food for thought - you're faced with 2 loans, but you can only rush one to close on time:
Your first client is a young, single first time home buyer, currently living rent free with family, and you have a closing/contract settlement date set for the next day. Movers are scheduled (and paid for), utilities have been scheduled for transfer, seller is using the proceeds from the sale to purchase a new home the following day.
Your second is a buyer/seller couple with young children that's using proceeds from a morning sale of their home (they are vacating for good in the morning and their buyers are moving in in the afternoon) to consummate their new purchase in the afternoon. Though a tight timeline, since their home will be sold they need to move into their new house the same day they sell their old one.
Let's assume your closing department is booked solid, and there will be no time to possibly get loan packages together and wires sent out for both clients - you have to choose one. Both clients were perfect - they returned documents on time, and did everything they needed to on their end - the delay and reason both files are down to the wire is because of delays from the IRS in getting needed documentation to the lender in a timely manner. Which loan do you choose to use a rush on and close as scheduled?
I know my answer, though it's not an easy situation, and I'm curious which one you would choose to close on time?
These kinds of scenarios come up frequently, and though it's never easy, sometimes they are just decisions that need to be made.