Brokers want firewall around designated underwriting

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RMG’s recent move to a more centralized underwriting service may be a sign of the times, say brokers, but they’re generally more concerned with protecting the designated underwriting service they see as crucial to maintaining efficiency.
 
“Having a designated underwriter does help; you can build a relationship,” says Scott McMullan, a broker with The Mortgage Centre. “For me, I’ve always been dealing with a centralized underwriting. We’ve never had anything local.”
 
The Brandon, Manitoba broker has dealt with underwriting pools, and finds the results are as individual as the people staffing them.
 
“With a pool, you get someone different every time, and you will get a different answer every time,” he told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “By building a relationship with one or two underwriters, you can phone them up and lay out the scenario for them, and they can tell you if it will be a go or not without wasting a day and a half on paperwork.”
 
Daryn Young, a mortgage broker with Mortgage Intelligence in Regina, agrees that a designated underwriter makes all the difference in the world.
 
“Typically you’ll get a designated underwriter, and from there you can build a relationship,” says Young. “They are pretty good. Some of the lenders have been cutting back as business as slowed down – heck, even the brokerages have been cutting back – but we haven’t experienced any problems dealing with centralized underwriters.”
 
The move toward centralized underwriting was highlighted earlier in the month, when RMG Mortgages released over half of its office staff by merging Calgary underwriting and servicing with MCAP’s Toronto, Vancouver and Kitchener offices.
 
MCAP had purchased RMG’s predecessor, the residential mortgage division of ResMor, back in 2011.
 
For McMullan, an underwriter’s understanding of the local market is crucial to understanding if the mortgage loan and property is viable.
 
“I deal with underwriters who do understand the Manitoba market; and yes, local knowledge does affect the process,” he says. “If you have a B.C. underwriter telling me my $150,000 rural Manitoba house must be a piece of crap because Vancouver properties are in the millions, that shows how necessary local knowledge needs to be.”

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