There are many options to consider when getting a mortgage to buy a home, but one that people often overlook is whether to get your mortgage locally, or with a national bank or lender. According to Barbara-Jean DeLoria, senior vice president at Florence Bank, the differences in the process can be striking.
Have you ever received your mortgage statement in the mail and found that the name of the bank on it had changed? In one extreme situation, DeLoria recalls a customer who nearly lost his house as a result of having his mortgage sold and resold by national lenders. “I had a surgeon give me a call; he was really frustrated,” DeLoria said. “The big bank had sold his loan four times. And even though he’d sent in the payments, they weren’t being credited to his loan. He’d finally had enough, and that’s when he called me.”
He learned first-hand the benefits of a local loan. Now you can, too!
1. Work With Local Originators
The benefits of local begin with your point person, the loan originator. For most of the national lenders, the loan originator is a salesperson who is paid on commission when the mortgage closes. “That’s their entire job,” DeLoria says. “Their main concern is the next application.” At Florence Bank, originators are not paid on commission and their core concern is not just closing the mortgage, but ensuring it’s the right mortgage for the borrower’s unique needs. They personally walk the borrower through the entire loan process. “We also have a team approach behind the scenes,” DeLoria says. “In most instances, at other banks, you’d never talk to a processor or underwriter. At Florence, we’ll get on the phone and talk to you directly and answer any questions you have throughout the entire process.”
2. Faster Turnaround
The benefit of working with a team doesn’t stop at personalized service, but also includes a faster turnaround on the loan. “We can get a commitment letter out much quicker than a mortgage company,” DeLoria says. “Most people have a closing date in their purchase and sale agreement, and we’ve never missed that date.” This is a claim many lenders can’t make. “Many need to give extensions,” DeLoria explains. “Or the borrowers end up having to switch products because they weren’t very well defined to begin with. But we focus on education, so everyone’s on the same page.” This makes for a quicker, smoother and more pleasant process overall.
3. Great Rates
Historically, DeLoria says, Florence has been able to offer very competitive rates. “As a mutually-owned bank, we have the flexibility to set our own pricing. Rates are rising again and we still have highly competitive rates,” she explains.
4. Quality Pre-Qualifications
Florence Bank devotes a lot of effort to understand the borrower’s needs and educating the borrower about the home-buying and mortgage process. “We do a lot of work with the customer, so we understand their situation and know what they can afford to buy,” DeLoria says. Our “pre-qualification letters are very solid.” Local lenders have a vested interest in making sure it’s a good loan, “so everyone, not only the bank, but the borrower, too, is protected.”
5. Your Choice in Attorneys
Many national lenders have a short list of attorneys that they allow customers to use. In some situations, borrowers who want to use their own local attorney may end up paying twice for legal work - once to their attorney and once to the lender’s counsel.
DeLoria says that when borrowing from Florence, the customer can use their own preferred attorney. “We allow an open list, which is unique in this market.”
6. Lifetime Service
Considering the surgeon who had nearly lost his house as the result of his mortgage being resold, one of the most striking benefits of a local mortgage with Florence Bank is the servicing over the lifetime of the loan.
Many national lenders originate your loan and then sell it to another company to service it, something you, the borrower, has no say in. It’s not uncommon to get a mortgage statement from a company you’ve never heard of or agreed to do business with.
“We service all of our loans,” DeLoria says. “That means we’re taking care of the payments, handling real estate taxes, everything.” Florence Bank staffs a nine-person loan servicing department to keep track of the details of each borrower’s loan to ensure that nothing is missed. And if borrowers have an issue, they can go into the bank and talk to the people servicing the loan - or to DeLoria herself.
“When you’re a customer here, you’re a face, you’re part of our family,” she says.
If you’re looking for more information and would like to have the positive experience of getting your mortgage loan at Florence Bank, click here!
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