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Thursday, September 21, 2017

I had a staff meeting in my office a few months ago, and I told everyone to bring in a pen and one piece of paper before they came. After a few minutes of discussions, I then asked them to write down the two words that I was about to say. I gave them a moment to write, and I then asked each of them to hold up their sheets for all of us to see what was written. Across the board, each one of them wrote the words, “Yes” and “No.” Granted, my first word to them was “Yes”, but my next word to them was “Know.” I am not sure why they all wrote “No” as their second word. It was a cute experiment, and I am sure one that would yield the same result everywhere else it is conducted.

I then went on to emphasize how important it is that we continuously try to know as much as we can about each and every one of our clients; We need to know more about their challenges; Know more about their goals and objectives; Know more about the details of their transaction and documentations … By doing so, we can say “Yes” more often. If we aren’t sure of something or if something is possible, I encouraged them to say, “I don’t know, but I will find out”, rather than resorting to a negative response. From that day on, I hung up a sign on my office door with the words “Know Way.” It reminds me and my team that our objective is to do everything possible to find out as much information as we can, so that we can take a scenario farther and better than our competitors would. I am extremely proud that his is truly a distinguishable characteristic that sets us apart.

In the mortgage business it’s easy to say “No”, and very hard to say “I don’t know.” Banks don’t want the liability, the headaches or the onus to figure out anything that is not cookie-cutter. Often the lenders that are liberal with their pre-approvals or mortgage commitments, will more often than not tie them into contingencies and requirements that may or may not be possible or acceptable in the end.

I was recently dealing with a loan that I fought very hard to facilitate, as he came highly recommended from a past client. We had a great phone consultation, but in the end he ended up going to a different bank because they were saving him on the closing costs compared to what I was able to offer. It’s very rare that such a thing happens, but in business you can’t win them all, and I sincerely wished him the best of luck and closed out his query. A few weeks ago I was searching through my inbox, and saw a few emails from our previous conversations with this person, and I decided to reach out. I told him I was just checking in and hoped that all was well – and hoped that he was near closing or post closing on his house. Quite frankly I didn’t expect a response, so I once again wished him the best of luck. Less than five minutes after I clicked “send,” my phone was ringing with him on the other end.

He said he was shocked to see an email from me, but said that the timing could not have been more perfect. He was experiencing so much frustration and complication with his current bank that his deal was in jeopardy. His attorney was able to get a 30-day extension on the closing date, but he admitted to me that he was considering his option to back out, and to get his contract deposit returned. He explained that the bank underwriters were giving him a very hard time about a lot of transfers and money movement between his business and personal accounts. Every time he sent them the documentation they requested, they said, “no” that was not what was needed, or “no” that does not satisfy the requests. I asked him to send me a copy of all of his bank statements. Within five minutes I got everything I needed, with many extras trying to detail all of the transfers and activities. I will admit, it was an overwhelming amount of paperwork. I delved into the details and kept asking questions to know more. In the end, he was completely able to justify to me all of the money allocations. I could understand the other banks concerns, but common-sense told me this was something we should be approving. In the end we did just that, and the loan is set to close next week, well before the 30 day deadline. The moral of the story to me was, you never “know’ what a response will be when you follow up with a lost-lead, and of course, don’t be quick to say “no” if you aren’t sure which “no” is “know.” Special shout out to the Austein Family!

Shmuel Shayowitz (NMLS#19871) is President and Chief Lending Officer at Approved Funding, a privately held local mortgage banker and direct lender. Approved Funding is a mortgage company offering competitive interest rates as well specialty niche programs on all types of Residential and Commercial properties. Shmuel has over 20 years of industry experience including licenses and certifications as certified mortgage underwriter, residential review appraiser, licensed real estate agent, and direct FHA specialized underwriter. He can be reached via email at [email protected].

By Shmuel Shayowitz