The Shocking Truth Behind Mortgage Call Centers
When Telemarketers Compete, You Lose!
It Could Happen to Anyone
These are actual, recent (2017) online reviews from frustrated consumers that were tricked into thinking that millions of advertising dollars are being spent to connect you with the right person to help guide you through one of the single biggest financial investment decisions of your life.
They make it sound so easy, don’t they? When lenders compete, you win? Download the app, mortgage confidently? There is a dirty little secret behind this advertising curtain that you may not discover until it’s too late.
It’s not your fault.
As consumers, we have a reasonable expectation that the products and services are that are being sold to us are as advertised. Of course, we all know that consumers have been proven wrong over and over again, especially when it comes to mortgages.
There is a bait and switch that happens as soon as you fall for the over-promises that they literally spend millions of dollars to convince you is true.
Unfortunately, most consumers do not find out the truth until the damage has already been done.
How Can They Get Away With This?
The fact that so many people fall through the cracks and do not experience the effortless transaction that is being suggested by these slick advertisements is simply collateral damage for big money advertisers at mortgage company call centers.
As long as some portion of consumers can navigate the process with little to no challenges means that they are not technically “lying” about what is being sold. When confronted by bad experiences and poor reviews, it can easily be discounted as being complaints from people that don’t qualify.
The Consequences of Call Centers
A mortgage call center is a business model that depends on being able to process a massive amount of sales volume. Call centers are filled with entry level customer service people whose job is to do one thing and one thing only….Collect an application fee and run your credit. This is what they call the pre-approval process.
The problem with this model is that there is little to no effort put into understanding your personal finances, your family’s goals, and even potentially heading off any challenges you may have with documenting income or assets for any number of reasons.
If you have been at your job for many years, and are paid w2 with no overtime or bonuses or part time income, and if you have great credit and low debt, then you run a pretty good chance of making it through the assembly line to the next stage of the application process.
However, when you are not squeaky clean enough, you can become another victim of the company’s small print that defines you as a square peg that does not fit into their round hole.
In short, your situation may not be easy enough and the consequences of assuming that a call center cares about you are great.
What Happened to Professional Experience and Expertise?
Here is a excerpt from another online review that perfectly describes what I’m talking about:
There’s more to the above review that names names and cites specific offenses, but I’ll spare you the details. To an experienced mortgage professional, this information would raise further questions.
The person applying for this loan was a Real Estate Agent buying their first home. This is not someone that knows nothing about the home buying process.
Where this experience went sideways is when they assumed that the call center knew something that they didn’t. The story actually gets much, much worse.
This homebuyer made an offer on a home and paid for an appraisal before finding out that they were never approved in the first place.
I’ve been in the mortgage business for almost 20 years now and I know many professionals in this business that have years of experience. One thing that is consistent with professionals is that they take this profession very seriously.
As a mortgage professional, there comes the monumental responsibility of providing advice and guidance around one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. This is not something to be taken lightly, and most professionals take this responsibility very seriously.
What happened to professional experience and expertise? I’ll tell you what happened, there’s not enough money in it to run a multi-billion dollar a year mortgage call center. Consumers lose.
3 Warning Signs That You’re in a Mortgage Call Center
Once you know what to watch out for, avoiding a mortgage call center should be much easier.
Warning Sign #1 – Your phone rings within seconds of submitting an online form.
Responding to your request quickly is important, there’s no question about that. Many professionals now use technology and mobile devices to be notified of your inquiry and are able to get back to you very quickly.
A quick response is not a negative experience, but it can be a sign that you were routed to the next available agent sitting in a cubicle somewhere waiting for the next opportunity to collect an application fee and run your credit.
Warning Sign #2 – Listen for a “connection delay” when you pick up your phone and listen for background noise
With many high volume mortgage call centers, when you submit your online form it goes into a call routing system that automatically dials your phone number an connects you with the next available agent.
You are not actually connected with a call center agent until you pick up the phone call.
If you don’t have time to hang up during the moment of silence, once you’re connected, listen for the tell tale sign that the person you’re speaking with is sitting in a room full of other people reading the same script that they are now pitching to you.
We’ve all taken telemarketer calls by accident. It’s not that difficult to identify when the person on the other end of the phone is there to help you, or help themselves reach their call quota for the day.
Warning Sign #3 – Easy Yes or Application Fee.
If the Yeses come too quickly and too easily, and you’re constantly being pushed to have your credit run or pay an application fee, you’re being processed as another number in the call center’s goal of meeting their quota for the day. RUN.
I know this comes off as being some kind of fire and brimstone condemnation of mortgage call centers, but it’s not. My goal here is to give you enough to think about to not let your guard down.
Buying a home is a very emotional decision, and any sign of hope compels you to believe that the person you’re speaking to actually understands the gravity of the how this decision will affect your life.
I can tell you from years of personal and professional experience that qualifying for a mortgage can be very easy, but it usually takes a little time to discover that there will not be any surprises along the way.
Where mortgage call centers go wrong is that they treat future surprises as a calculated risk and put the full responsibility of this risk on your shoulders. You should have known that you were going to have a problem.
That’s not how a professional treats people. An ethical mortgage loan officer is going to take the time to understand you, understand your financial position, and offer advice based on how to move forward based on their professional experience.
Only after fully understanding you and your goals will a true mortgage professional be able, and willing, to offer advice on how to proceed.
Protect yourself. Ask questions. Require answers and explanations. Do not accept excuses or avoidance.
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