Why Should I Avoid Big Box Mortgage Lenders?

Why Should I Avoid Big Box Mortgage Lenders?

Choosing a home is one of the biggest decisions most people make in their lives. But what about choosing a lender? While there are many types of lenders, big box lenders rarely provide the sort of experience you want when making such a large investment decision. Such big box lenders do a lot of advertising, and do everything they can to focus on their technology. Technology helps them more than it helps their customers. It’s important to work with lenders that make you their top priority.

Related Blog: 5 Reasons to Avoid Traditional Bank Loans When Purchasing a Home

Here are a few reasons why you might avoid big box mortgage lenders:

What is a Big Box Lender?

A big box lender is a lending company that processes a large amount of loans. They likely operate nationally, and their lending "consultants" are often located in large call centers. They handle many types of loans, including loans beyond your standard mortgage loans. Although they can wield a lot of clout in financial circles due to the value of their held loans, that also means the average consumer mortgage loan is barely a blip on their radar compared to their overall holdings.

It's All About Access

When you are working towards obtaining a mortgage loan, there are items you need to provide and questions that you need to ask. With many big box lenders, you must schedule an appointment just to ask a question, because if you try to call your loan "consultant," you'll likely be calling an 800 number and leaving a voicemail, especially after hours. Big box consultants are often held by certain volume metrics. The more loans they have processing at any given time, the better they look. Compare that to a dedicated mortgage lender from a smaller company. With this type of lender, you get their direct line, and probably their personal phone number too. Local lenders treat your mortgage loan as a high priority because volume is not the metric they are measured by, they are measured by the satisfaction of their customers.

Licensing vs. Expertise

When speaking to a big box lender, they will often make a point of stating their "NMLS" license number at every opportunity, almost every time you speak with them. This is to reassure you that you are working with a true professional. However, every mortgage broker has an NMLS number. What you really want is experience and expertise. While you may luck into an experienced veteran at a big box lender, it's far more likely that you'll be working with someone with only a few years or even months in the business. They may tell you they have completed several hundred mortgage loans, but what they won't tell you is that they processed all of those in just the two years they've been in the business. Beyond the lack of attention those borrowers likely experienced, the simple fact is that sheer volume does not equal expertise. You want someone who knows all the little mortgage details of the local municipality you hope to live in, Someone who doesn't need to "review your file" every time you call, and someone that only works mortgage loans. Many big box lenders handle multiple other types of accounts, once again adding to their workload and diluting their mortgage loan expertise.

Technology Isn't Really a Differentiator

Remember those commercials that focus on a big box lender's technology? They sure can be appealing. They also make it sound like the mortgage process is only efficient when coupled with their particular technology. However, as we've already learned, the tech can only do so much. You still need to work with a person, and you’ll likely want a person who is available and focused on your situation. Items like e-signing of certain documents are no longer just in the realm of the big box-ers. As it has done for so many other industries, the Internet has helped level the playing field between the huge companies and the smaller ones. While there are many things to consider when choosing a lender, access to technology isn't really one of them anymore. All lenders can provide an efficient process these days.

Why Lend Smart?




Lend Smart is a true "goldilocks" company. We're not a monolithic corporation who will treat you like a number, but we're also not a company so small that we cannot provide you with a fast and easy experience. We're staffed with experienced and passionate loan officers that have access to the same levels of technology as many big box lenders. Most importantly, we won't hound you about your loan, but we will be there when you have a question. As we like to say, Be Smart, Choose Lend Smart. We love the mortgage business, and we'd love to talk with you.


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