How to underwrite a mortgage2018-11-15T22:12:49+00:00

A proven process that puts quality and speed into underwriting

Over years of working in the mortgage business I have been asked the question hundreds of times “How do I learn to become a mortgage underwriter”.  With most professions you could answer that question by explaining a series of required training courses or which degree in higher education to pursue that would be required to start as an underwriter. Now take that last sentence and send it through the shedder as “career path” is not really something our industry has followed.  If you ask ten people how they ended up working as an underwriter you will probably get ten different answers.  Because there are so many ways people “ended up” working as a mortgage underwriter, if you ask the follow up question, “how do you properly underwrite a mortgage loan?” you will get just as many answers.  This explains why a lot of simple things in the mortgage world can end up being difficult.

Resources for underwriters

If you are reading this guide I will bet you know exactly what I mean about how difficult it can be to get some help on how to learn how to successfully underwrite a loan. If you’re a processor or loan officer good luck getting almost any underwriter to explain to you a ‘great’ system to submit your loans and cut down on your conditions. Now if you Google “Mortgage Underwriting Training” you will find schools and courses that cost hundreds of dollars and some are good, some not so good. What I can tell you from experience is one major thing most of these courses are lacking is the “HOW” part of underwriting a loan in its entirety. It is one thing to know pieces of the process it is another thing to fully understand how to take those pieces and properly arrange them from A to Z successfully time after time after time to create the optimal balance between speed, quality, and consistency.

The key is mentorship

I recently obtained my private pilots certificate.  What I can tell you from that experience is just reading the FAR/AIM ( the “allregs” of being a pilot) was not enough. I needed an experienced pilot to guide me from first flight to final check-ride.  A pilot that sat in the cockpit with me on important (and dangerous) points of the training journey. These trained an experienced pilots came in the form of private lessons, video lessons, and group training lessons. They walked me through the “what, why, and how” of all stages of getting my certificate. Without this mentorship and their willingness to sit in the cockpit with me on my first takeoff, my first landing, and first cross country flights I would not be flying today.

This is where our training system is different.  You can get as much or little help as you need, we have created programs that can be personalized based on your need. I have almost 25 years in the industry and I have trained underwriters and processors from their first file to their most complex borrower. This all comes in time, some co-workers it has been over 15 years of being their ‘co-pilot” when the need me.

About me

Michael Whitbeck

I have been in the mortgage business 25 years and have personally underwritten over 10,000 mortgage loans.  To my knowledge out of all those loans less than a dozen loans that have resulted in a repurchase demand due to an error in the underwriting decision process (a missed condition, rule not followed, an item missed in the documents), this puts my error rate at well under .01%. If you find a mortgage underwriter that has never had an error my opinion is there is only three explanations (and none of them work well in a business model).  First they are declining or over conditioning loans to play it way to safe, second they take 2-4 hours for each underwrite they complete, or third they are being less than truthful.

My personal underwriting does not include the teams of underwriters I managed over my career that I was responsible for to insure their success following a system training, practice, quality review, and coaching.  Based on the teams I was responsible for over in the last 15 years that would put an additional 300,000 plus loans that that passed through my management chain.

Bottom line, just like my golf coach who has over 35 years of golf experience,  taken hundreds of thousands of swings over the years, and has taken all that experience and broken down each point in the process all to pass on the knowledge to help his students improve.  I will take all that underwriting experience and learning (the hard way many times) over tens of thousands of loans completed and give you a proven guide to underwriting a file, this is not theory but fact.

Let’s get started