Wells Fargo and B of A top in complaints

St Paul, MN:  This isn’t shocking news to us, but it looks like the big banks, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, top the list of consumer complaints – especially for mortgages.

Read the story from the Washington Business Journal at http://tinyurl.com/ljs3csh 

You can avoid a lot of the problems if you understand who you are working with. Always work with an experienced, professional loan officer. The largest financial transaction of your life is far too important to place into the hands of someone who just quotes rates, but is not capable of advising you properly and troubleshooting the issues that may arise along the way. But how can you tell?

80% of Loan Officers are NOT Licensed

CHECK YOUR LOAN OFFICER OUT on the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry 

http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org

Bank Loan Officers (Registered) versus SAFE ACT (Licensed) Loan Officers?
There is a BIG difference YOU need to understand

Washington has been busy protecting consumers from bad lenders right? Wrong! They have only done half the job, and sadly, the general perception by the public as to who is the better lender choice is completely wrong. Most people feel the brokers and the non-bank mortgage lenders have created all the problems. This isn’t true. Just the opposite. Consider the fact that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and banks make the rules, and the banks review, underwrite, and fund the loans for brokers.

Recent changes to the lending industry requires all loan officers to have a tracking number, known as an NMLS number (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry). It should be displayed on their business cards, E-Mail, web sites, all correspondence, and most loan documents. The display of the NMLS number may incorrectly make consumers believe the Loan Officer is licensed. Only 20% of Loan Officers are licensed. The rest are simply registered. Working with an unlicensed, untrained Loan Officer is not in a consumers best interest.

Simply put, Loan Officers at Banks, Credit Unions, or Mortgage Companies owned by a bank are NOT REQUIRED to be licensed, take classes, take continuing education, or pass any state or federally mandated tests to be a Loan Officer!

It is hard to determine if the Loan Officer is simply registered, versus licensed. nmls_checkWhen looking up a loan officer, you have to go to the bottom of their NMLS identification page and look under State Licenses/Registrations or Federal Registration heading.

  • A LICENSED Loan Officer will say “State Licenses/Registrations” and will have one or more STATES listed with all their state licensing information listed.
  • An UNLICENSED, but simply REGISTERED Loan Officer will say “Federal Registration” and the something like “Federal Mortgage Loan Originator”.

Now I am not trying to make this into a David versus Goliath story, but I am trying to emphasize the huge differences between Loan Officer training and education.  Look at it a different way. If you are sick and go to the Doctors office. Do you want to be treated by the receptionist, or the Doctor?


What do you know about your Mortgage Loan Officer?

What do you know about your Mortgage Loan Officer?

All Mortgage Loan Officers are required to register with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) & Registry. The Registry assigns each Loan Officer a unique identifier number that stays with them throughout their career. Using this number you can review professional background information for a Loan Officer through the NMLS database prior to doing business with them.

The display of an NMLS number tends to lead most people to believe all Loan Officers are licensed. This is far from the true. Only about 20% of Loan Officers are actually licensed, the rest are simple registered.

Licensed Loan Officers are required to have pre-employment mortgage education, must pass criminal background checks, must pass a difficult Federal Licensing test, must pass a difficult State Licensing test in EACH state they wish to do business, and must complete yearly continuing education requirements.

Simply registered Loan Officers could have been flipping burgers last week, and doing Loans today. While their employer may have some sort of internal hiring and training system, there are no mandatory state or federal licensing requirements, and no educational requirements.

Now I am not saying that simply registered Loan Officers are bad people, but when you are working on the largest financial transaction of the average persons life, who would you prefer? Licensed or unlicensed? Another way to look at it is to assume you are sick. Sure, you can go online to WebMD, self-diagnose your illness, go to the pharmacy, buy a scalpel, and attempt self surgery. Or you can go to the Doctor.

So how do you verify if a Loan Officer is Licensed or simply Registered? It only takes minute to find out.

  1. Simply go to www.NMLSConsumerAccess.org.
  2. Enter the Loan Officers Name, or their NMLS #
  3. Click on their name

Scroll to the bottom of the page.

  • If it says STATE LICENSES/REGISTRATIONS, then lists one or more States – They ARE A LICENSED Loan Officer
  • If it says FEDERAL REGISTRATION, then says Federal Mortgage Loan Originator – They ARE NOT LICENSED.

Licensed or simply registered? I think the choice is clear for smart homeowners.

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There are differences in Loan Officer qualifications. Know how to tell who you are working with

Is your Loan Officer Licensed, or simply registered? There is a BIG difference YOU need to understand

Recent changes to the lending industry requires all loan officers to have a tracking number, known as an NMLS number (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry). It should be displayed on their business cards, E-Mail, web sites, all correspondence, and most loan documents.

The display of the NMLS number may make many believe the Loan Officer is licensed. Sadly, this isn’t true, and working with an unlicensed, untrained Loan Officer can cause you many headaches and hassles.

Simply put, Loan Officers at Banks, most Credit Unions, or Mortgage Companies owned by a bank are NOT REQUIRED to be licensed, take classes, pass any tests, take continuing education, or pass any state or federally mandated tests to be a Loan Officer!

CHECK YOUR LOAN OFFICER OUT on the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry at http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org

My NMLS # is 274132

It is hard to determine if the Loan Officer is simply registered, versus licensed. When looking up a loan officer, you have to go to the bottom of their NMLS identification page and look under State Licenses/Registrations or Federal Registrationheading.

  • A LICENSED Loan Officer will say “State Licenses/Registrations” and will have one or more STATES listed with licensing information.
  • An UNLICENSED, but simply REGISTERED Loan Officer will say “Federal Registration” and the something like Federal Mortgage Loan Originator.

Who is Best? Banks, Brokers, or Direct Mortgage Lenders?

Now I am not trying to make this into a David versus Goliath story, but I am trying to emphasize the huge differences between Loan Officer training. As the new requirements have been rolling out across the country, many Loan Officers who have been unable to meet the new licensing and testing requirements, and especially those who have failed the new tests, have simply gone to the large banks to work.

Calling “1-800-Big-Bank” to get a loan??? YIKES. Here is a chart to show the differences:

SAFE ACT Loan Officers
(MLO’s)
Bank Loan Officers (RMLO’s)
Have Personal License Yes No
Registered in NMLS Yes Yes
FBI Background Yes No
Fingerprinted Yes No
Surety Bonded Yes No
Pre-Employment education Yes No
8 hours continuing education each year Yes No
Personal Credit checked Yes No
Pass Tough State Test Yes No
Pass Tough Federal Test Yes No
Complaint mechanism’s Yes No
Licensing fees and renewals Yes No
Loan Officer Designation MLO RMLO
NMLS = Nationwide Mortgage Lender System and Registry (Tracking Number)
MLO = Mortgage Loan Officer (Licensed and Trained)
RMLO = Registered Mortgage Loan Officer (simply registered)

I think the choice is clear. Who would YOU rather be working with on the largest financial transaction of your life? A fully trained, licensed, fingerprinted, and background checked Loan Officer – or the untrained, unlicensed, and simply registered Loan Officer at the bank?

The funny part is the cost for the service based on rates and fees are usually about the same, if not slightly cheaper in both rate and costs. Plus non-bank lenders usually close the loans faster, and have more knowledgeable and experienced Loan Officers.

The best S.A.F.E. ACT Loan Officer (non-Bank) analogy I can use is having a choice of working with an experienced CPA to do your taxes vs. you using Turbo Tax to do it yourself, but paying the same price.

Finally, THIS IS A CLEAR REASON why people should follow my #1 mortgage shopping rule: GOOGLE THE NAME OF YOUR LOAN OFFICER before allowing them to handle the largest financial transaction of your life!


Shopping for a Mortgage Lender. Inside scoop on how to choose one

Shopping Around For A Mortgage Lender?

Here is THE INSIDE SCOOP on how to IDENTIFY A PROFESSIONAL MORTGAGE LENDER, BROKER, and LOAN OFFICER

HERE ARE FOUR SIMPLE QUESTIONS your Loan Officer absolutely MUST be able to answer CORRECTLY. IF THEY DO NOT KNOW THE ANSWERS RUN, DON’T WALK RUN TO A LENDER THAT DOES!

1) What are mortgage interest rates based on? (The only correct answer is Mortgage Backed Securities or Mortgage Bonds, NOT the 10-year Treasury Note. While the 10-year Treasury Note sometimes trends in the same direction as Mortgage Bonds, it is not unusual to see them move in completely opposite directions. DO NOT work with a lender who has their eyes on the wrong indicators.)

2) What is the next Economic Report or event that could cause interest rate movement? (A professional lender will have this at their fingertips. For an up-to-date calendar of weekly economic reports and events that may cause rates to fluctuate.

3) When the Fed “changes rates”, what does this mean and what impact does this have on mortgage interest rates? (The answer may surprise you. When the Fed makes a move, they are changing a rate called the “Fed Funds Rate”. This is a very short-term rate that impacts credit cards, credit lines, auto loans and the like. Mortgage rates most often will actually move in the opposite direction as the Fed change, due to the dynamics within the financial markets. For more information and explanation, just give us a call)

4) What is happening in the market today and what do you see in the near future? (If a lender cannot explain how Mortgage Bonds and interest rates are moving at the present time, as well as what is coming up in the near future, you are talking with someone who is still reading last week’s newspaper, and probably not a professional with whom to entrust your home mortgage financing.)

One additional important aspect, is also understanding that not all Loan Officers are licensed. Be sure to only work with a licensed professional. You can verify a Loan Officer has a license by going to www.NMLSconsumerAccess.org

Be Smart… Ask Questions, and Get Answers!

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(C) 2011 – Joe Metzler – Mortgages Unlimited, St Paul, MN #274132.