June 25, 2018
Interview of a Loan Officer at Webster Bank
How long have you been a LO?
What different ways do you market yourself?
Anything from the standard. Figure out a niche and market that. For example there are few lenders that do land loans so I send out a piece to every land listing that comes on the market. There are others too. CRA, portfolio, Home Ready in low to mod income areas. I find it amazing how many realtors do not know these products exist. I do extensive marketing to past customers which Webster pays for and does all of the work.
What do you look for in a lender?
Competitive pricing, product, portfolio, comp plan and very important is the service levels – if the lender can’t deliver quality service then the saying you are only as good as your last deal is true.
What attracted you to Webster Bank?
As crazy as this sounds, initially it was the Keurig machine in every branch so customers could make themselves a cup of coffee which spoke to me about the importance of and commitment to the customer. In the cost cutting world we live in, those perks (no pun intended) are a thing of the past. And then it was the story of Webster and how the bank started. With those 2 things I investigated products, comp plan which is great especially for a bank etc but one thing Webster has that no other lender I have worked with in my 29 years is a non-producing sales manager.
What do you see the future is of a street LO?
For a couple of years I had concerns over online mortgage companies. I no longer feel that way. There are some people that are comfortable doing their mortgage online but in today’s complex mortgage industry, street loan officers are very much needed. Staying relevant and creative will always pay dividends to the street loan officer.
How much does price play a part with a borrower?
Initially borrowers feel that they need to shop for the best rate which is difficult given Dodd Frank. If you are competitive and not necessarily the lowest rate yet you demonstrate knowledge, responsiveness, genuineness, take the time to educate the borrower and offer them options over and above what they were thinking, I believe this wins out over rate.
How much does product play a part with a borrower?
Definitely need the products – if you lack one that the borrower asks about, it will be difficult to get them to consider an alternative even if it is to their benefit.
How much does product play a part in deciding who to work for?
Huge – in today’s world it is critical to have CRA products, construction loans, rehab loans, portfolio lending, non-warrantable condos, land loans etc. in addition to the standard programs – another reason I chose Webster.
What is your internal/operations support system?
Our non-producing sales manager is the biggest support I have had in my 29 years. Her job is solely to manage and support her RI sales staff. She is an incredibly strong advocate for anything we need from Operations while maintaining a great working relationship with the managers of processing, underwriting and closing. If there is an issue with the underwriting on a file, she immediately sets up a conference call with the underwriter to discuss it and if necessary escalates it to the department head. She has a strong voice so we have a strong voice. I personally have also found the managers to be very responsive and helpful.
What keeps you at Webster Bank?
I really like the bank atmosphere in general but the banks I have worked for have become very large and hard to deal with. It is nice to have an internal customer base to add to my outside customers. We are unique in some things we offer. One of those that is important to me is our pre-approval program. We allow the borrowers to formally apply for their mortgage while shopping for a home. We get them approved with a formal commitment letter which strengthens their offer and when they find a house we just need a sales agreement and appraisal to close. Makes for a much faster closing. Webster is a regional bank and has the size to have the offerings but not so large that they are not afraid to make a judgment call and does not forget and honors that there is a nervous borrower on the other end of the transaction that is feeling very overwhelmed. We are not perfect, after all we are a bank, but for a bank we are pretty darn good! No reason to leave or look elsewhere.
For more information on Webster Bank please contact :
Patricia Placencia (401) 405-6387