First Time Story

Written by Posted On Friday, 09 September 2022 00:00

As a loan officer, it's pretty easy to get used to various aspects of the job. They aren't tasks as much as they are routine. But sometimes we forget the impact the loan approval process has on home buyers. 

I recall, years ago when I was still very young in the loan business, I got a phone call from a young lady who wanted to come in and talk about getting her on track to buy her first home. She warned me in advance however that there were some late payments on her two credit card accounts and her automobile loan. I said, 'sure, come on in and we'll get you on track.'

A few days later she showed up for her appointment along with her baby she was holding. She was a single mom but she was tired of renting and wanted to soon own her own place. She was recently divorced, too. In short, she had her fair share of the workload. So we talked for a bit and I told her I could prequalify her and tell her about how much of a loan she could qualify for. She was actually surprised at the size of a loan she could have but was reluctant to take on a higher loan amount. Basically she was uncomfortable with the amount even though her debt ratios were well in line.

I asked her if she'd like to complete a loan application to get the prequalification started when she then reminded me of her late payments on her credit cards and automobile loan. I told her I understood so let's see what her credit report actually looked like. 

In those days, we didn't get an instant response with regard to getting a credit report, much less the existence of credit scores. Instead, we filled out a credit request form and faxed it into a credit reporting agency. Sometimes the report wouldn't come back until the next day. I told her that was a possibility. We chatted for a bit, we talked about her young daughter, where she wanted to live and so on. Surprisingly, the credit report started coming in over the fax machine.

I retrieved the report and looked at the information. But I was kinda surprised that the report was clean. There were zero late payments. I told her that her credit was great. She was confused because she knew she'd made late payments. She got paid once per month but on the 15th. In her mind, when she made a payment a week or two after the scheduled due date, that was a late payment. I explained to her that late payments only begin marking the delinquent payment late when it was more than 30 days past the due date, not just a few days.

At that point, she sat silent. Then her eyes began to water up when it began to hit her that she could buy and afford a new home on her own. I quickly typed up a preapproval letter for her. We stood up and I walked her to the door of our office. But before I did she gave me a quick hug.

Loan officers can get into a routine and forget the impact of what we do in people's financial lives. This happened years and years ago, but I can remember the event just like it was yesterday. It still brings me joy to this day.

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David Reed

David Reed (Austin, TX) is the author of Mortgages 101, Mortgage Confidential, Your Successful Career as a Mortgage Broker , The Real Estate Investor's Guide to Financing, Your Guide to VA Loans and Decoding the New Mortgage Market. As a Senior Loan Officer and Mortgage Executive he closed more than 2,000 mortgage loans over the course of more than 20 years in commercial and residential mortgage lending. 

He has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox Business, Fox and Friends and the Today In New York show. His advice has appeared in the New York Times, Parade Magazine, Washington Post and Kiplinger's as well as in newspapers and magazines throughout the country. 

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