Friday, September 23, 2016

Good Help is Hard to Find

"We have your Underwriting Approval.”

This is a rant about the way an unnamed Mortgage Company communicates with a borrower. The subject is a man ( “Aaron” ) and a married couple ( “Tom” and “Jean” ) who agreed to co-sign for Aaron’s loan.

Time was of the essence … the agreement to co-sign happened only three weeks prior to the scheduled closing. About a week and a half into the process, while Jean and Tom were still waiting for word that their inputs were approved by underwriting, Aaron’s loan officer sent him an email, the bulk of which is reproduced in the left column below.
Loan Officer's email
( name altered )
Aaron called Tom and Jean; he was gushing and grateful, saying he got an email from his loan officer telling him it’s a go. Jean and Tom were excited, too; they had gotten through the process with minimal exposure. Had they lived closer, the three of them would have had a celebratory glass of wine. 

The next day Tom got a
completely contradictory email, “We received your file out of
underwriting and unfortunately they would not accept ( a provided
item ).” They need the same things originally spoken of, the email said

Wha’ … . Huh?” Tom wondered. “Didn’t Aaron just tell us we’re good to go … all approved?” 

He called the team lead; she was most unhelpful. She did promise to send Tom a copy of whatever was sent to Aaron. She forwarded it without comment. 

And no wonder; what kind of comment could she have made? The text clearly says underwriting is approved … doesn’t it? No reasonable reading could conclude differently … could it?

“Watch the video,” you might be thinking. “They prepared a video.

The video bills itself as an update; it includes text saying, “Congratulations,” and “Approved.” The audio says “the underwriting review is complete” and the loan approval has been assured. The audio further suggests some further ‘conditions’ might be required, with text adding such as copies of tax returns, verification of employment and homeowner’s insurance policy. No mention of co-signer approval. The audio promises an email detailing “any conditions needed.” None was sent. 

What seems to be a picture of a letter ( below ) to Aaron followed. ( He did not receive an actual letter such as this. ) Notice the request to take action “no later than ****”; notice the lack of ownership. Though addressed to the actual borrower, this seems like a sample letter; there is nothing actionable in it. Is there? Am I missing something? The audio then says congratulations again, and states we are in the home stretch. 

What Appears to be an Image of a Letter to a Borrower
This video, “prepared just for” Aaron, is completely devoid of any reference to his co-signers lack of approval. Though it introduces the notion of ‘conditions,’ the video reinforces the lie that the text of the email told. 

This is an excellent example of what passes for communication in corporate America and irks me beyond all reason ... the co-signers remain unapproved ( i.e., is rejected ); no congratulations are in order. If the ‘conditions’ referred to in the video refer to co-signers rejected material, burying it in the middle of such profuse congratulations is very unlikely to get them noticed, let alone worked on. If the text in the image of the letter is is a real request, it should look like a letter and not an image of one. Someone should have signed ( the image of ) it. If ‘conditions’ need fulfillment, the ( image of the ) letter should ask them to be obtained by a real date, not “no later than ***.” If this is real, the follow-up “condition worksheet” should have been provided. Yikes!!

Via return email, Tom complained bitterly to the team lead about her failure to comment on the letter when she forwarded it; he suggested it contained misleading to lying statements and expressed disappointment. Her response? Silence. We can only hope it was embarrassed silence.

Good help is hard to find.
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