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  • Writer's pictureJulie Piepho


September 3, 2023

By Julie Piepho, Principal, BlackFin Group How many of you truly believe we will overhaul and automate the mortgage loan process from beginning to end – including purchase by the agencies – within your lifetime? I’m sure the show of hands right now would be close to 90%.

Unfortunately, the agony and amount of repurchases, as we speak, are phenomenal based merely on technical items that do not make any difference to the performance of the loan. Subsequently, mortgage teams are starting to go back to the old age process of checking the checkers to try to mitigate the repurchases. For example, in recent news, a letter was just sent by MBA back to the agencies about AVMs and the pending agency changes. When the reality is, the agencies have many, many appraisals and AVMS on almost every property in the United States (except new construction) making their pending changes even more challenging to digest.

My mantra for over 40 years in mortgage has always been Quicker, Faster, Better. How can we take the mortgage loan process from beginning to end – which means purchase from the agency or investor – in an expediated manner of time which saves every stakeholder in this process both time and money.

Now, let’s be real, it doesn’t all have to be automated (yes, it’d sure be great if it was). While the industry has come a long way with integrated LOS and POS systems that have APIs into credit reporting bureaus, income and asset verifications, prefunding QC, and doc drawing, to name a few; It’s time to focus on Loan officer customer satisfaction training. The touch points at pre-determined days can be instrumental in expediting the process, along with the loan officer taking a ‘complete’ loan application.

  • So, how can we become QUICKER, FASTER, BETTER? Look at how your loan officers take a loan application and onboard a customer. I’m hearing horror stories today that they don’t know how and are delegating so much of it to a processor. Who is the front line? The loan officer, and their team, if they have one, should be the ones killing it with the customer and getting all the necessary documentation into processing immediately to make that 10-day close. The same at closing – the loan officer or team should be there with the closing figure and praising the real estate agents and how seamless everything went – AND asking for referrals!

  • How is the technology being used? Are there still checkers checking the findings of the technology? Recalculating the bottom line of the automated IRS income because “their name” is on the 1008? Reviewing this can take a project in itself.

  • Have you created a project to go through ALL of your closing documents to eliminate the notary signatures and obsolete documents that would slow down a closing at title or an attorney’s office? If this is done, you can pre-send the majority of the closing documents to the customer ahead of the closing and only have a dozen or so go to closing which expediates the closing tremendously!!

  • What arrangements have you made with your appraisal management company (AMC) for a fee structure to ensure you can have 10 day closings? What changes do you have to make within your workflow process?

  • What processes are better within pre-funding QC and immediate funding QC to ensure your loans will be purchased at initial submission? (Besides have 2 checkers checking the checker!)

I’ve given you 5 thoughts to think about on how you can become Quicker, Faster, Better, in even today’s world. With the cost to produce a loan way over $14,000, it’s now not just all loan officer compensation. Know what you’re paying per loan for all of your technology. You might be surprised!

BlackFin is dedicated to helping mortgage lenders make your team quicker, faster, better. Learn more by contacting us at

Julie Piepho, CMB, is a Principal Consultant with BlackFin Group in the Mortgage Strategy Practice. Julie is nationally recognized as a Mortgage Strategy Consulting expert with over four decades’ experience leading and coaching sales and operations teams while in executive roles at Cornerstone Mortgage, Norwest Mortgage and Wells Fargo Mortgage. She holds the prestigious Master Certified Mortgage Banker designation from the Mortgage Bankers Association. For more information on how we can help contact

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