Processors are a Bridge

A processor’s role has changed dramatically from the first widespread use of computers in the ‘80’s to the paperless task management systems of today. The automated systems moved the industry into thinking processing was an entry level administrative task. It is not uncommon to hear processors say ‘it doesn’t matter what documentation I think I need, the underwriter is going to change it or add to it anyway, so why bother taking the time to review it.” or “I’m not given the time to learn all the guidelines.” or “That’s not my job.” On the other hand the processor is also pressured to push loans through to underwriting as fast as possible. It’s that critical stage of a loan when the blame for delays and problems shifts to the underwriter or investor (it’s not my fault, the underwriter is being unreasonable etc.). Processors are motivated to simply record the receipt of a document and get the loan in line for underwriting. It’s become like a survival game of strategies to move the file out of their hands and put the ball in someone else’s court. The over reliance on automated underwriting as a teacher and the pressure to push loans through before they are fully documented causes measurable inefficiencies and disruptions in the loan process. The most efficient shops realize that processing takes time and expertise and underwriters shouldn’t have to process. In these shops, the processors have a unique combination of technical and sales expertise to bridge the communication between borrowers, originators, underwriters and closers. Processors are involved with the borrowers and are trained to keep communication clear, factual and service oriented. At the same time they are able to communicate with the underwriters on a technical level to insure the documentation will be understood and complete. This level of expertise has many benefits: • Reduced number of ‘touches’ by underwriting • More effective communication with borrowers • More confidence in the process from originators • Fewer last minute fire alarms • Reduced number of undetected eligibility problems When processors are given clear direction to see themselves as a bridge between sales and underwriting, they have a much clearer purpose. They begin to understand how important they are to the company. The concept of bridging also works to break down the walls that can build between the other departments. Processing managers must take the lead on this by insuring processors respect the hard work involved in sales and the challenges for underwriters as decision maker. Let the processors shadow an originator and an underwriter a few times and conduct follow up discussions to review improvements that can be made on all sides. Bridging sales and underwriting is critical in the borrower’s perception of the company and processors are the key to building that bridge.