Loan Zone: Document Checklist Enhances Member Satisfaction

Worried couple reading an important notification in a letter sitting on a couch in the living room at home
Alison Barksdale Photo
AVP/Marketing/Marketing Director
CU Members Mortgage

3 minutes

Complete mortgage documentation list heads off unwelcome surprises.

Providing a complete and accurate list of documentation that borrowers need to provide to complete their mortgage application makes the process easier and enhances member satisfaction, according to a consumer survey.

At a recent CU Members Mortgage National Mortgage Lending Conference, guest speaker Garth Graham, senior partner with STRATMOR Group, Greenwood Village, Colo.., shared polling research recognizing the importance of the document checklist in the home loan process: Providing such a checklist increases borrowers’ satisfaction from 51 percent to 90 percent.

Most mortgage lenders provide some form of document checklist. In the polling research Graham shared, only 3.6 percent of respondents reported not receiving such a list. However, given how much value borrowers ascribe to this checklist, Graham recommends that mortgage lenders ensure that a complete and accurate list of required documents is always provided to loan applicants as part of an overall strategy to improve communications and manage borrower expectations.

An additional finding is that borrowers do not want to be asked for documents that were not included on the original checklist. When unexpected requests are made to supply additional information, consumers’ overall satisfaction with the mortgage process sinks from 94 percent to 84 percent. Thus, the documentation checklist must be thorough and up to date. A complete list not only enhances the member experience but can also serve to manage quality control and make sure underwriters don’t ask for too many or too few conditions.

If your credit union has a documentation checklist in place, review it frequently to ensure that it complies with current regulations, secondary market standards and your internal underwriting requirements. If you haven’t developed a comprehensive, accurate checklist, here are the five guidelines to help you build an effective one.

  1. Clearly communicate with the borrower the required documents and information and the source that should provide these documents. Too many checklists are a catch-all and confuse accountability. Make sure borrowers know exactly what they are responsible for providing and when it is needed.
  2. Train your staff to continuously reinforce what is in your documents. Hire a marketing firm, if necessary, to ensure that your collateral materials effectively convey the information about needed documentation in the same way your staff will do so.
  3. Emphasize to the member that missing document delivery dates will delay the timeline to closing. Remember, requirements for the TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosures, which took effect in 2016, mean that a longer lead time may be necessary.
  4. Offer options for how documents can be delivered, including fax, digital upload and email. Digital is a must for meeting members’ expectations for quick, accessible service in this day and age.
  5. Be prepared to explain why documentation is needed, show empathy for the challenge of producing loan documentation, and check for understanding throughout the process. Treat every conversation as a trade of information: Members give you needed documents and you provide regular status updates.

Alison Barksdale is AVP/marketing for CUES Supplier member CU Members Mortgage, Addison, Texas. 

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