“Communication is the most important thing during the life of a loan,” says Scott Alexander, operations manager for Assurance Financial in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “It helps you deal with any issues that may come up during the process. And in dealing with TRID, it is more imperative than ever to ensure the operations group and the sales force are on the same page.”
Loan processors, underwriters and closers need to have a free flow of communication with loan officers. Eliminating communication barriers can go a long way to ensuring your operation is running efficiently.
“It is important that your ops team is talking to sales from day one so everyone knows where the expectations are on the file – what needs to be done to get the file through the process to meet that closing date,” Alexander told MPA. “It’s one of the steps we take which is enabling us to close loans on time, every time.”
The burden of communicating with sales falls on the operations team, Alexander adds, which Assurance preaches to them.
“Ultimately it is the sales force that pays all of our salaries, driving the income of the company,” he says. “So we have to make ourselves available to make sure the flow of those loans continues to run smoothly.”
It is equally important to have open lines of communication between the loan officer, the real estate agent who is handling the purchase, and the consumer, so everyone is aware of the timeline and closing date, he adds.
Technology is one way of ensuring that communications run smoothly.
“The technology we use generates an automatic alert to let all parties know what is going on,” Alexander says. “We’ve got centralized disclosures, so having those alerts automated in our loan origination system allows our operations team to stay on top of files without having to go into each file and ask, ‘Has this changed? Or has that changed?’ When changes are made, those alerts automatically fire off.”
But while technology can automate as much of the loan process as possible, the people who use the system need to understand what is happening in order for the company to remain compliant, he says. TRID must therefore be a part of their daily lives.
“If your operations people aren’t TRID-literate, then your loan origination system is telling you everything is alright when really it’s not,” Alexander says. “It is the operations group that is driving the loan estimates out, driving the closing disclosures out, making sure all of the fees are labeled correctly, and making sure everything is done in coordination. And sales is depending on us to make sure that is done.”
Assurance Financial is rapidly expanding throughout the Southeast and Southwest, and considers its focus on proactive communication to be one of the reasons it can be so focused on closing loans on time, every time.
As mortgage lenders struggle to close loans on time while complying with the new TRID regulations, communications between loan officers and their operations department is more crucial than ever.