NJ First-Time Home Buyers


Don't Blame the Underwriter - Blame the Loan Officer!

Don't Blame the Underwriter - Blame the Loan Officer!

Steve are you out of your mind? Aren't you a loan officer?

The Mythical, Mystical UnderwriterThere has been recent conversation about underwriting and underwriters and how grossly depraved and wicked they are - denying loans, taking a shotgun to files, stripping them of all their dignity ...

But as a loan officer that is experienced with both the broker side and the banking side of mortgage lending, I am here to say more times than not ...


We loan officers are on the front lines. It can be wickedly brutal out there. We work our brains and hands to the core to obtain business, and when we finally get the business in the door do you think we would ever admit that we made a mistake? (We all know what the answer should be, as well as the factual answer).

Enter the mythical creature known as the underwriter!!!

(Excerpt from an unknown work of Plato)

"Loan Officer EaseThe underwriter was born in the underworld, the offspring of Barney Frank and Michael Moore. (The one pictured above is actually a quite beautiful one). Underwriters are so mean because they never see light, they are fed LOTS OF CRAP, and people want them to be God and approve horrendously looking files that were DOA. "

The reality is as mentioned above. Loan officers more times than not are to blame when "files go wild". But as typical (oh that hurts) salespeople, loan officers think they are never wrong, always right, and you shouldn't question their authority. HOWEVER the mythical underwriter to blame is a wretched, depraved being that lives only to deny potential home owners from ever living the American Dream. After all, if the underwriter is damned to the underworld, he/she is not letting anyone else experience happiness.



  • Set the right expectations from day one
  • Write REAL pre-approvals
  • Be in constant communications
  • Be human
  • Under promise and over deliver
  • Take off the "Sales Hat" and be more professional
  • Be able to admit a mistake
  • Allow direct contact with underwriters so the truth can be told (yeah right)


  • Proactively provide sales contract and anything else important to the loan officer as fast as possible. (I've had agents send over contracts 2 weeks after being fully executed).
  • Listen to the loan officers regarding time lines, stipulations, potential pitfalls (assuming the LO does his/her homework)
  • Attempt to work with the same lenders and get a really good feel and working relationship under their belt (wonderful long term success)
  • Take initiative for their buyers and sellers and be in constant communication with the loan officer (agents on both sides of the transaction)

We could go on forever with tips and ideas. The fact is that a knowledgeable experienced loan officer is the most important part of the financing wheel ... more important than the underwriter, the lender itself, the appraiser, the rate, the closing costs ... (you get the point). Some of us have learned the hard way ...

Garbage in = Garbage out


Steve Kappre is a mortgage loan officer in New Jersey. For more info or questions feel free to contact Steve.

  • NJ First Time Home Buyer
  • Purchase, refinance, rehab loans
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Call direct @ 856-419-3561 | Subscribe to Steve's blog via e-mail

Comment balloon 90 commentsStephen Kappre • March 07 2010 08:33AM


Thanks for posting. We learn a lot from Active Rain blogs. Best Regards,

Posted by Edward & Celia Maddox, EXPERIENCE & INTEGRITY - WE TAKE THE HIGH ROAD (The Celtic Connection Realty) over 10 years ago

Ed/Celia - Thanks. I hope it helped!

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

I suppose it would be very easy for the loan officer to blame the unerwriter being that they are never seen or heard from, and and easy target.

My last deal that finally closed happened exactly that way.

Posted by Ralph Gorgoglione, Hawaii and California Real Estate (310) 497-9407 (Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes) over 10 years ago

Oh boy...you said a mouthful!  I have recently had to limit the amount of business I give to our in-house lender..I adore her and think of her as a little sister and I know she works really really hard....but my goodness...thre is some thing missing along the way.   Had several in a row that ended up being closed but to get there was a big pain in the hiney and I told her I couldn't handle it....or rather my nerves couldn't!   THat something had to change....I had 3 more in progress with her...and every single one was a nightmare to get closed....the last one we waited over 2 hours at the Title Company at an appt that she confirmed would be ok ....For docs!   uuggghhhh   don't give me "I hope" answer...give me the truth....I can handle it!   LOL  I may not like it but I can handle it!  LOL 

whew that felt good ...LOL  

Posted by Deborah Byron Leffler BzyBee Real Estate Lady! (Keller Williams Realty Boise) over 10 years ago

Very good information, Steve. I really cannot agree with you more!

Posted by William True, Sarasota Real Estate (True Sarasota Real Estate) over 10 years ago

I couldn't agree with you more. I've been working with a great loan officer for the past year (Rick Hubbert of OnQFinancial) and he has taken serious amounts of time to discuss with buyers why the loan they are seeking through some large nationwide conglomerate (which has really cheap fees) would never get through the underwriting process. The fact that the nation wide chain has no commissioned loan reps means they can get the loan forms filled out and sent on and be happy with their full day's pay whether they have helped the buyer or not.  I say we need more good loan officers. Thanks for this post.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 10 years ago

Steve.....as I previously stated to Lenn, I believe that it's up to the loan officer to advise the buyer and the broker with exactly what documents will be required to complete a package before it goes to the underwriter....if the underwriter has a complete package, there shouldn't be any surprises unless the buyer is not being forthright with his information!! we use loan officers who we can rely on to hand hold a buyer through the process.....there are two or three and that's it....they do a thorough job.

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 10 years ago

Ralph - It is easy for the LO to shift blame. The reality is I love working with underwriters. (At least mine)

Deborah - The truth can be very hard to get out, but it is the truth and it is always right.

William - Thanks

Glenn - Very interesting comment. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

Barbara - Right on. Having a loan issue should be as much a surprise to the loan officer as it is to the Realtor. Things happen. BUT with complete communication and candidness it should be a rarity, not commonplace. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

Steve, thanks for the recap.  I sometimes here from our loan officer that he doesn't always know which docs the underwriter will require...  is that true?  He claims they are the ones changing the goal posts.  Sometimes it gets so confusing as to who does what AND when!!

Posted by Lee & Pamela St. Peter, Making Connections to Success in Real Estate (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522) over 10 years ago

Featured @ Club Chaos

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Lee/Pamela - In my situation, I have direct contact with all underwriters that approve my loans (99% of the time unless it is something we don't do in-house). As far as not knowing the forms ... that rather confuses me. Get them all, or ask the underwriter. If you want send another comment her or an email to me about the particular form. I'll let you know if I know anything about it.

C - Love ya - you're the best!

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

There are 4 trusted loan orignators I use, one for the last 16 years. I know that they know theri stuff, that they have first class processors, and have not been afraid to take on an underwriter in selected situations. The loan officer is the front of a team, and the adage garbage in, garbage out works. Just ask anyone who got a sub-prime loan at Countrywide instead of the A paper they should have been.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 10 years ago

Joe - "The loan officer is the front of a team" - indeed.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

Good for you, Steve.  I have to agree that denials could have been predicted IF the Loan Officer had taken more time to seriously consider the credit-worthiness of the Borrower instead of just generating a stock, meaningless Pre-Approval.  It's not enough anymore for a prospective Buyer to simply have a "pulse" in order to qualify for a loan, so LO's need to be more thorough in their initial contact meeting with these folks.

Posted by Tom Boos, Providing the very best of service to Sellers and (Sine & Monaghan Realtors, Real Living) over 10 years ago

Same goes with cooking...better the ingredients, better the results.

Posted by Yvette Chisholm, Associate Broker - Rockville, MD 301-758-9500 (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Good Post.  However, I have seen underwriters request some strange things before approving a loan.  Underwriters have an interesting reputation, becuase it seemed that anything was being approved back in 2003/2004.  Was there any reason a NINJA loand should ever have flown?  Now it seems they are making up for the bad behavior by being exteremly festidious.

Posted by Geoff ONeill (John L. Scott Medford) over 10 years ago

Tom - No doubt

Yvette - Good one

Geoff - That may seem like the case. Loan options were nothing short of STUPID some years ago. The No income. asset. job loans were stretched to FAR to many buyers.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

Pre-approvals are only as good as the loan officer.

The only deals I had denied by an underwriter were property issues. The only other deals I lost after pre-approving were cases where the borrower lied about something on the applicaiton.

This isn't rocket science. A good loan officer KNOWS underwriting guidelines.



Posted by Tom Burris, Texas/Louisiana Mortgage Pro - 13 YRS Experience (NMLS# 335055) over 10 years ago


Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

Buyers always want the best rates, which is easily understood. However, in this day and age the lender that can get the deal closed is the one to choose as long s rates are 'competitive'... Maybe not the lowest, but 'in the ballpark'.

Posted by Vickie Nagy, Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Buyers always want the best rates, which is easily understood. However, in this day and age the lender that can get the deal closed is the one to choose as long s rates are 'competitive'... Maybe not the lowest, but 'in the ballpark'.

Posted by Vickie Nagy, Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) over 10 years ago

I am 100% convinced my 3 favorite LOs -- Dan, Brian and Bryan -- are the most important people in the world. No, wait, I am 100% convinced that my 3 favorite atttorney's assistants -- Jackie, Michelle and Kelly -- are the most important people. And the attorneys -- Jim, Don, and Doug. And my three favorite home inspectors -- Joe, Greg, and Bill. And then there's my admin -- Anne, Tricia and Judy....

It takes years to get a multi-member, highly fluid team in place. Of course clients can insert other people, including rogue LOs which make me shudder. The LO is a cog in a pretty complex machine. Great LOs are collaborators and strong communicators, they give clear and specific instructions, and recognize and respect the valuable role of each team member.

Thanks for the post, I wish I could send it to about a half dozen of my non-favorite LOs!

Posted by Leslie Ebersole, I help brokers build businesses they love. (Swanepoel T3 Group) over 10 years ago

Karen - I'm glad you enjoyed! And you are right, saying sorry and being honest is way more professional, not weak!

Vickie - I agree 110%. However as a lender people would think I am a snake if I said such!

Leslie - You can always create a fake email and send the link, lol.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

Steve: Very true for the most part. Occasionally the underwriters make a mistake or get a burr under their saddle about a file. But usually it's the LO's deal as much as we don't want to admit it! Thanks for the post.

Posted by Paul McFadden, Pest Control, Seattle, WA. (Paratex) over 10 years ago

Steve, I think you spoke about situations all of us have been in. It is easy to blame someone you cannot see or talk to.

Good post.

Posted by Ted Tyndall, I will help You find the Home YOU want to Buy (Davidson Realty Inc.) over 10 years ago

Great job.  Unfortunately, most LOs are no more educated or competent than the average real estate agent.  Reading the guidelines for the loan program are of primary importance to make the transaction go smoothly.  If you don't read the guidelines, you will end up in UNDERWRITING HELL!

My hubby is my favorite LO! 

Posted by Jenna Dixon, Empowers You With a Better Real Estate Experience (DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate ) over 10 years ago

I agree....this is why I like to work with mortgage brokers instead of direct lenders where the LO is really just an order taker.

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) over 10 years ago

Sadly the lending environment is causing a lot of disturbance.  The best thing to do as you've indicated is be in constant contact.  I also let the loan officer know the client is shopping.  I would imagine this keeps people on their toes.

Posted by Frank Castaldini, Realtor - Homes for Sale in San Francisco (Compass) over 10 years ago

Hi Steve ~ I agree totally. An experienced loan officer will have everything buttoned down before it gets on the underwriter's desk. If there's a problem, it's because the loan officer either wasn't paying attention or is not totally up on the rules (and I know they change a lot, but still there's no excuse for that). To blame the underwriter is a cop-out.

Great post.


Posted by Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices (Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268) over 10 years ago

Steve-  You are "Spot On". 


Garbage in = Garbage out


Then for an LO to turn around and put blame on the underwriter.  I had a manager once tell me when I first got in the lending business "Miljour, You just cannot polish a turd".  Well folks we have LO's that practice this concept every day. 


Thanks for speaking for all us LO's out there on this issue. 


Excellent Post.  BTW, love the pic.

Posted by Gary Miljour, Mortgage Originator NMLS Licensed in AZ and NC (American Financial Network, Inc. NMLS#207208) over 10 years ago

Hi Steve~  The good loan officers out there are worth their weight in gold and are very hard to find and when you do, you grab onto those gems!  I have a feeling that you are one of those rare gems!

Posted by Vickie McCartney, Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY (Maverick Realty) over 10 years ago

I need a gem in Southern California, I've just given up on the one I've been using :(

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) over 10 years ago

Steve - While I do agree that this may be the case sometimes, I'm going to politely disagree that this is the general rule.  I have recently had underwriters ask for stuff that not only is not a requirement for the program that my client is getting but they're not even a requirement and/or overlay for the lender.

I can't tell you how many times recently, I have had to instruct underwriters to their own guidelines, how many times I have had to point out to an underwriter that what they are asking for is in direct conflict with what their own guidelines state.  When I have escalated matters to management and pointed out the same things, management will invariably waive the condition.

As Tom pointed out, a good LO knows underwriting conditions.  When you (the LO) starts educating underwriters what their own guidelines state, you have to start asking yourself what is wrong with this picture?  JMHO

Posted by Donne Knudsen, CalState Realty Services (Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA) over 10 years ago

Steve, for the most part, you're right on. There are times however, no matter how tight and documented a file is, you get back some conditions that are simply out of the blue. It is so hard these days with all the different investor requirements to try and anticipate all the conditions that the UWer may ask for. Being proactive with both your buyer and Realtor and setting expectations at the beginning is so important in making sure the process is both smooth and seamless. So I agree with your premise to a certain extent, there are times when you just can't predict or figure what the UWer will ask for next.

Posted by Mike Wald (Mike Wald, Scottsdale, AZ, mortgage consultant, 480-241-2632) over 10 years ago

Steve, thank you for the honest assessment of the loan business.  Yes, GIGO.

Posted by Mark Montross, Listing and Buyer Specialist (Catamount Realty Group) over 10 years ago

Steve, thanks for your post.  I agree it is important as a realtor to have several local loan officers that you work with on a consistent basis that do their part as you state as long as the rest of the participants do theirs and get all necessary docs to the LO on a very timely basis.

I think many issues/problems can occur when the buyers insist on their loan folks who are generally not local.

Sue of Robin and Sue

Posted by Robin Dampier REALTOR®, Hendersonville & Western NC Real Estate Source (Coldwell Banker King) over 10 years ago

Thanks for some great info - and in my experience the loan officer ALWAYS blames the evil underwriter!!!

Posted by Pam Turner, REALTOR®, e-PRO®, SFR (Century 21 Belk Realtors Dalton GA) over 10 years ago

Finally a glimpse of the dreaded underwriter...too funny!!

Posted by Dawn Maloney, 330-990-4236 Hudson & Northeastern Ohio (RE/MAX Trinity Northeast Ohio Real Estate Specialist) over 10 years ago

Wow Steve,  I think you hit on a good topic here based on all the comments.  I share your beliefs on the proper way to do business.  It is much eaiser if you are upfront and honest.  The sad reality of our business is that there are still people out there that "claim" to be Loan officers.  I for one am loving the new registration and testing that is required as it is weeding out alot of the ones that never should have been an LO in the first place and gave our profession a bad name.  Thanks for the post.

Posted by Mike Wilbur (Guild Mortgage Company and Oregon Homes For Heroes) over 10 years ago

What a timely discussion since I just had the worst Friday due to the file being "in underwriting" and they were on a different time zone and "they" promised approval "in the morning" but we never got approval in either time zone "in the morning".


It's too bad that we have to blame anyone - if everyone would just be straight forward with each other and communicate the underwriting rules for the specific loan from the specific lender and match their buyer against those rules we would be 3/4 to getting the file approved.  You have to have the necessary documents for them to do their job and if they need additional documents besides the basic provide in timely manner.

Do your job, communicate with all truthfully and take responsibility for your actions...stop blaming the other guy....even when it might have been miscommunication between you (loan officer) - underwriting....admit it and move one and do necessary damage control including "I'm sorry I missunderstood a requirement and we now have to resubmit and get back in line".

It's not quantum physics - just paperwork and rules!  Take ownership of your part of the transaction and execute it and I will handle my side so we can complete it and make everyone happy!


Posted by Evelyn Santiago, Managing Broker Heart Realty Group, Inc., Passionate About Real Estate & Our Clients! (Heart Realty Group, Inc..) over 10 years ago

Fantastic comments folks.

I agree that underwriting can at times ask for stuff out of the ordinary. After all it is their job to verify that we all have a good borrower here. Some of you LO's chimed in about "you mostly agree" - and I agree with you! It mostly is the LO's fault and on occasion it is a funky underwriting thing. More and more I am thinking I have some awesome underwriters!!!

Thanks everyone for the great comments. It is a wonderful feeling when the truth (from many angles and experiences) gets out there!

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

Excellent information. I have a few that I recommend all the time because they have done a stellar job of communicating realistically to everyone.  It makes all the difference between heaven and hell, literally!

Posted by Peggy Chirico, REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate (Prudential CT Realty) over 10 years ago

Peggy - The RIGHT word - realistically!!!!

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

Steve:  I have to politely disagree somewhat on this.  There are issues currently occurring during underwriting that no amount of expertise or experience can prepare you for.  Loan Officers are sometimes being asked for documents that make no sense (or in my worst case scenarios have been provided multiple times.)  I believe the problem is multi-fold with "blame" that can be disbursed all around. 

I certainly do not claim or profess to be perfect or without error.  When something happens and it is my fault, I own up to it.  But with all the changes that have occurred in our industry in a very short time, it seems many times that there is no consistency with requests, even from the same lenders or underwriters, and NO ONE is sure just what the current rules are.  One underwriter will understand or interpret something one way and another, a second way.  It is my experience that it is very infrequently that all requests are delivered to a loan officer in one little perfect package.  It takes for alot of back and forth and cooperation between all parties involved to reach approval for closing.  Requests and instructions from underwriters can sometimes go on up to the very last minute ... and I've found in a couple cases ... even after closings.  Now THAT was disturbing .. let me tell you.  It is hard to relate instances such as these ... and harder for agents, clients, or other referral partners to understand why they are happening.  It makes no sense at times to me ... how do I possibly explain the delays and odd requests to someone that is not a lender?   

Underwriters are under an extreme amount of pressure right now.  They are crossing their T's and dotting their I's multiple times trying to eliminate every possible problem within a file and weed out bad loans/customers.  I understand that and sympathize.  But until clear rules, direction, and requests can be conveyed on a consistent basis to loan officers and they understand and know the exact route to take to gain approvals ... instead of the quickly changing, muddy rules found right now ... problems will continue to exist and processing will not be easy or any less stressful.

I know many extremely intelligent, qualified, and hard-working loan officers with years of expertise under their belt that are having a very hard time with their loans right now.  Do we all make mistakes or misunderstand something once in a while?  Yes ..no doubt you are right about that.  But in my opinion ... it is just the nature of the current industry and a sign of the turmoil that is found within it that is causing many of the issues we hear described in closing horror stories.  When those issues are addressed, clarified, and corrected you will see more efficient and enjoyable processing times and closings once again.

I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this problem and the perceptions of it ... thank you. 


Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) over 10 years ago

Any time spent on determining where the blame falls is counterproductive. Instead, I hope that agents and lenders focus on "what reality should be." We all need to work toward a common goal.

Posted by John Novak, Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace) over 10 years ago

Hi Steve,

I enjoyed your article and it obviously struck a nerve by the response. 

Like every profession, there are good and bad.  It does seem that there are some underwriters that are walking on egg shells and really hold on to their approvals for fear of approving a bad loan.  This when it is a perfectly good loan.  Eventually when you have provided your clients blood samples, they get your approval.

With all of the new guidelines, one thing I have had to do is really read the guideline...everytime!  I no longer rely on what I did last month.  You almost must just take the rear view mirror off as what is behind you does not matter.  If you check your guideline, you can eliminate much of the battle!

Posted by Bill Emhoff over 10 years ago

When Loan officer and Realtors work together it is important to establish the working relationship upfront. By doing so, when problems arise they would be easily dealt with.

Posted by Niema Thomas, CDPE, SFR, MBA (Century 21 Beachside) over 10 years ago

Steve, I think you are right on the money. In all professions it is always easier to blame the person in the back room that never sees the public. But it is all of our duty to pre qual a potential buyer and face reality when they give us their information.

Posted by Tony Hager, Broker (United Realty Texas) over 10 years ago

I too think that those "loan officers" that are good are worth their weight in gold.  I know a couple that I've worked with over the years and they are the ones I call when needed.

Thank you!

Patricia/Seacoast NH

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) over 10 years ago

I too think that those "loan officers" that are good are worth their weight in gold.  I know a couple that I've worked with over the years and they are the ones I call when needed.

Thank you!

Patricia/Seacoast NH

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) over 10 years ago

I too think that those "loan officers" that are good are worth their weight in gold.  I know a couple that I've worked with over the years and they are the ones I call when needed.

Thank you!

Patricia/Seacoast NH

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) over 10 years ago

Steve, Great article. We all need to focus on the prize. That prize is honesty with our clients. While the truth can hurt, the client deserves no less.

Posted by Linda Powers, On the Outer Banks (Resort Realty - Duck) over 10 years ago

As a REALTOR, I feel the loan origination and approval process is way too complex and not nearly transparent enough -- and I know there are lots of valid reasons to support this, but as long as all these conflict and competing priorities exist, coupled with the changing mortgage landscape where the rules seem to change on a daily basis and you throw in some agents who don't do their own due diligence enough, and you throw that into the big mortgage pot, it's amazing the process works as well as it does, imho.

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) over 10 years ago

Great Post!! As a Loan officer myself i agree wholeheartedly with you.  I tell my clients up fronts what they should expect, what pitfalls we may encounter and how we will handle the situation.  In my office, I am on the front-line and i take complete responsibility on everything that happens in my file, whether it be a credit issue, asset issue, appraisal dilemma, delays, doc's coming late etc. and trust me when I think I've seen it all, something new comes up.  if more LO's were like you and I we wouldn't be in this mess today.  now all I need is some more good Realtors to work with.  Where do I find you disgruntled ones??

Posted by Ann Zeilingold (First Meridian Mortgage) over 10 years ago

I've always said the underwriter is the bane to the loan officer, the loan officer is the bane of the real estate agent and the appraiser is the bane to all of us!  ;-)

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) over 10 years ago

Great article Steve, When I started in this business 10 years ago I would go from loan officer to loan officer before I found a couple good ones.  I ran into a bunch that could never get the deals done for whatever reason.  Sure the underwriter was always painted as the bad guy, but I knew better.

Posted by Home Design, Home Design and Real Estate over 10 years ago

Well said Steve....we all must take care of our own job and do it right....not look to blame the next fellow...

Posted by Dennis Duvernay Broker/Owner (Hillview Realty) over 10 years ago

Worst one I had was a LO who sent in papers saying my happily married buyer was actually single.  The switcheroo was not discovered until the closing table, at which point we had 5 homes closing based on this first domino of the closings.  We had massive issues, the LO VANISHED, after blaming the end lender for the mixup.  It was a nightmare.  And I don't care who you blame, you stay there to clean up the mess!  Ugh! 

Anyway - I also had "underwriters" request a statement from my kids' doctor to prove that they existed, for my own loan - huh!?

But often, I have wondered if it was really all underwriters or not.  Great article!


Posted by Joel Weihe, Helping you to use your VA home loan benefits (Realty World Alliance) over 10 years ago


I usually agree with you, but you have to admit in today's lending environment some underwriters are coming off with some outrageous conditions.

My files are checked and triple checked, and although it is not frquent, I have had some crazy conditions in the last 6 to 12 months.

Lenders seem to keep adding their own layers of requirements over FNMA, FHLMC, FHA, and VA.

Seems like an industry kneejerk reaction to me.

Thanks for the post.

Posted by Wayne L. Brown (Franklin Advantage Inc.) over 10 years ago

Well written, Steve.

A good loan officer knows what to expect from underwriting 99% of the time, & anticipates which items to collect without the 'get em all just in case' approach.  They also will not issue pre-approvals in the hopes everything works itself out in the end. 

Underwriters are human too.  They do miss things, & they do ask for extra items that sometimes seem unreasonable.  This is usually due to fear of missing something, or not enough knowledge.  I have the ability to communicate directly with our underwriters, & do so regularly. 

Sometimes things just happen to a deal that looked great until....the place under-appraised, or the borrower makes a change to their financial picture, or (gasp) the dreaded guideline change hits the file from nowhere.

Find a good LO & keep their number handy!  ( I'm available! )  :)

Posted by Jeff Coon, Branch Manager (Annie Mac Home Mortgage) over 10 years ago

Steve ! Congrats on a great and conversation starting post :o)

I tend to agree with your outlook on this, as I work a lot with Loan Officers who know how to put the package in the best position to be approved before it even hits the Underwriter.

...great comments too ! Cheers !

Posted by Sheldon Neal, That British Agent Bergen County NJ (Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited) over 10 years ago

Thanks everyone for the comments. Great stuff. Thank you for those that differed in opinion. Your differing comments make a wonderful learning environment for all of us!

To bounce some thoughts back;

  • Sometimes it IS the underwriter's fault - my point is that often loan officer's yelling "UNDERWRITER's FAULT" indeed have not communicated effectively in the first place. 
  • Things happen. We are all human in this process. But it should be the rarity, not the norm.
  • It IS harder than ever to follow guidelines and keep on top. NO DOUBT. I try to ask whomever will be underwriting the file directly hopefully all will be cleared up before the loan even goes into underwriting.
  • I must admit, I feel completely spoiled at this point because every underwriter I work with is in my office or the office down the street. I have everyone's e-mail and phone number, and if they take more than 1/2 a day to get back to me, I am confused! No doubt underwriters are not all the same. Some offices are more blessed than others!
  • I think if as a loan officer we work at a high level of professionalism, that the issues will be rare and our overall track record will carry us through!
Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

Wow - what a Pandora's Box! I love this thread...I worked as an underwriter for 13 of the 15 years I've been in this business and while I know there are some who actually get a kick out of giving LOs a bad time, most of us are just doing our jobs and trying to protect our company's interests. For so many years we were told to look the other way and approve ridiculous files and look where that got everyone. I think these days you really have to align yourself with lenders who you can trust if you're a broker - I prefer my local lender/bankers who seem to allow you to develop actual relationships with the internal production team including the UW. Every time I process one of my files I look at it with an UWs point of view and I haven't had many problems. Unfortunately these days the reality is that fewer loans can actually be done. Hopefully that will loosen up in the future.


Posted by Cari Anderson over 10 years ago

Cari - LOVE your input based on your background. Thanks so much for stopping by. Now if those in that underwriter's group could all stop by ... ;-)

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

I agree.  A "knowledgeable, experienced loan officer" is worth his weight in gold.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) over 10 years ago

As always, it is important for all professionals to communicate on a regular basis throughout the process.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) over 10 years ago


Like this post. Sure, it's easy to blame somebody who is never visible to the client. But it's also true that underwriters are ridiculous!

Posted by Aaron Vaughn, REALTOR© 512-845-4204, My knowledge is your power | eXp Realty (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

It is always easy to blame someone else other then yourself.  But i do have to say, some underwriters are a pain in the b..t!!

Posted by Ray Saenz, Homes for Sale in Laredo, TX - Texas, Realtor (Exit Realty Laredo) over 10 years ago

I have a wonderful originator I have been doing business with for almost 20 years she knows her stuff and I do my part as you suggested... underwriters have been making impossible demands for ridiculous things in the last 18 months... because they can... the powers that be are letting them have their power trips and control issues and yes they are making some really ridiculous demands or just saying NO to loans that would have been approved or could have been appealed...... they will not participate in conversation, they will not let the appraiser make the explanation... and we never get to see them, talk to them or even know where their office or email is.... now why is that?

I agree it is not all the underwriters fault, everyting is tighter now and the investors are not buying every loan and that is the way it is... but why are they not available to talk to, email or discuss problems and solve them? why is that?  

great conversation!

Posted by Debra Leisek ( Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska) over 10 years ago

for awhile there the guidelines seemed to be a moving target, and when you added on layering by investors it was difficult for both the underwriters and loan officers.

some of the worst comments from loan officers start with words like, "we'll see what we can do." real meaning, you have less than a 10% chance of approval.

where'd you get the picture of my old girlfriend. that is gretchen, isn't it?

Posted by Jay Beckingham, Seniors ROCK! (SWBC MOrtgage) over 10 years ago

Third party blame has been in the mortgage industry for years.  Blame the person no-one outside of the loan officer in the transaction can speak with.  There are times when underwriters ask for items that should not be requested, but that is when a good loan officer is able to handle the stips and get the deal closed.  My only frustration is when you educate borrowers on something and they choose to ignore your guidance because someone else told them they would be fine.  Guidelines shouldn't be an issue for a loan officer. I find the condition of the collateral or the chain of title to be bigger issues in my transactions. 

Posted by Kyle Jan, Phoenix AZ Homes for Sale over 10 years ago

I think all too often people blame those that you cannot see.  Underwriters become the victim of those who have dropped the ball.  Everyone needs to understand lending and the current guidelines.  It is important to know what the current guidelines are for various different types of loans.

Posted by Damon Gettier, Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE (Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert) over 10 years ago

Good stuff Steve! I always enjoy reading your blog posts. I think loan officers are scared to take the blame sometimes, myself included, when in fact they would get a lot more respect from Realtors and everybody involved if they just grit their teeth and admit they were wrong when a loan goes bad.

Posted by John Neil (Bank of Utah) over 10 years ago

John - I once heard a story about a loan officer that told a Realtor he didn't think he should do the loan, and out of respect, the LO later started getting all of the Realtor's business. Honesty goes a long way.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

Of course, as a loan officer, I don't fully agree...  But I do see your point.  My problem is that the banks I use keep changing policies and practices and my account reps are slow to get the word out.  Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I just can't stay on top of everything.  And I've been doing this over 10 years!

Posted by SEO Expert: Michael George, Real Estate and Law Firm SEO over 10 years ago

Mike - I stopped brokering loans about 4 years ago, I can't even imagine what you guys are going through these days. I have a hard enough time following Fannie/FHA guidelines.

We can't be perfect. No one is. But we can b honest. :)

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

I love it when I have gotten a contract a week or so after its been fully executed ,,, its always a fun time

Posted by Gene perez (Greater Mortgage Solutions & Valley Hills Realty ) over 10 years ago

I think you have to set expectations from the start.  It seems in today's market loan officers can get a little desperate to get a deal in and they will take anything and try to make it work.  Over promising and under delivering seems in a difficult market can be the start of a disaster.

Posted by Joe Hansen, Joe Mortgage Team (Joe Mortgage - Precision Mortgage Inc.) over 10 years ago

Perfect in and - lost in translation - out of touch out has been my experience lately.

Posted by Robert Earl -The Earl of St Pete, The Earl of St. Pete (St Pete LUXE Living Group) over 10 years ago

Good job dude, and so true. Don't have time to read the comments- suffice it to know you have another supporter that agrees most of those "wierd u/w requests" are actually LO's covering their butts because they screwed up.

However I must say in the last year I've commented that u/w seem to be tasked with throwing at least one curve per loan anymore. Something even the best LO hasn't been able to think of, just to knock us off balance. No it really doesn't happen every time, but when you get that "I need the tax returns signed prior to closing" condition out of the blue, you have to wonder...

Gerry Suarez, Jr.

Your FHA Loan Pro!

Posted by Gerry Suarez Jr., FL Mortgage Guru (Jet Home Loans NMLS 1660135) over 10 years ago

Well done... I know loan officers that can review a particular clients finances from day one and know right up front on what the underwriters are going to be asking for...

And others that think they can slam square pegs into round holes.



Posted by Paul Francis, Las Vegas Real Estate Agent - Summerlin Homes (Francis Group Real Estate) over 10 years ago

While the nasty underwriter is banished to the underworld do they at least have a comfy chair? Is that why they are perpetual crabasses?

Good post.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 10 years ago

Gerry - Funny you mention. I haven't had the "sign the tax returns" in a while, maybe because we pull 4506 on every file, as does each investor.

Paul - Right on.

Lyn - I heard they have to sit on wooden piano benches with no padding.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

LOL, couldn't stop laughing at your post.  Like my huband used to tell me, "Honey, underwriters are hateful people that are going to do their best so that you don't make your huge commission.  You see they are hourly wage earners and well, you're not."  LOL  He doesn't work mortgage anymore; he moved on to bigger and better things, but as a loan officer, he went to bat for me more than once with an underwriter who was delaying a closing.  I sure miss him working with me.  Not that it would help, since they don't allow loan officer husbands/wifes doing their realtor spouses' loans anymore.   

Posted by Ana Lee McIntosh over 10 years ago

Hi Steve,  While I admit that there are some terrible loan officers out there that haven't a clue as to what they are doing and hopefully most of them are either out of the business now or on the way out, but I will tell you a situation that recently happened to me that I certainly can't take the blame for.  I had an underwriter require the sales price be reduced due to second appraisal coming in lower than the sales price and once everyone finally agreed, including the seller/agent that owned the property and really didn't want to reduce the price, the underwriter changed his mind and said that his company allows for a variance and that we could go back to the original higher sales price.  Now we really have a dilemma because an ammendment was signed and in reality the buyer could have opted not to go forward with the higher original price.  Wouldn't it be nice if all of the underwriters were aware of their own company guidelines.  I guess just like us loan officers, the underwriters are having a hard time keeping up with guidelines that change daily and without notice.  So I have to say that, Yes sometimes it really is the underwriter's fault.  Thanks for getting your perspective out there and starting this dialogue.

Posted by Samantha Davault, Fort Worth, TX (Alexander Chandler Realty) over 10 years ago

Ana - Bigger and better than a loan officer!!?? I'm offended (ok not really). Funny.

Samantha - Why would the sales price change? That is wrong. Buyer just needs to make up the difference ... ???? Maybe it was that underwriters first job ... in the industry ... ?

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

Steve, I agree to a point when it's an inexperienced loan officer.  I've been doing this for 20 years and we are starting to get some weird requests.  For instance Monday, I received an "Okay to Close".  When I called to go over closing figures, I hear that they missed a condition.  After reviewing the appraisal they ordered through their management company, they want another one.  Okay fine, closing delayed....  In two days, the underwriter couldn't decide on which type of appraisal they wanted.  Besides the bank's "new" guideline that requires the Loan Officer to pay for the new appraisal personally (as the customer can only be charged for one full appraisal and one review), they wasted time trying figure out what to do.  Granted this came after the OKAY to CLOSE, when they had the first appraisal for over two weeks.  Two days later, we are now ordering another FULL appraisal due to not enough sales in the area.   Even coming to that decision involved me getting into a conference call with the sales manager & all underwriters involved in this deal to get them to make a decision.  Now we are looking at longer delays in closing.

So sometimes, it isn't the LO messing up and causes delays.  Their are inexperienced people everywhere in this process.  Yes all involved were livid, Realtors, buyers & sellers.  I spent the last couple of days listening to why did "I" let this happen and "how can they do that after they told the title company it's ready to close".  I worked hard to smooth the waters and basically cover every bodies butts.  I didn't place blame, just explained the process.  I spend extreme amounts of time having to cover why deadlines aren't being met when items are turned over to the banks.  Package is good (never asked more from the customer), hear everything from "were busy" to "can't commit to the turn times posted". 

So I don't agree with you that all delays are due to the loan officer, there is usually more to the story.  

Posted by Tina Willoughby, Mortgage Originator (Equity Resources Inc) about 10 years ago

Good evening Steve,

What a recap..this post is priceless!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) over 9 years ago
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Posted by xhygshi over 9 years ago

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