On Rain City Guide, there are often debates that will arise about measuring one’s ethics (usually referring to real estate agents or loan originators). So how do you determine whether or not someone is indeed ethical? You can have a Code of Ethics plastered all over your web site and at your office…but it really doesn’t mean squat unless you do what you say.
As a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist, I am to adhere to their Code of Ethics or I will lose my CMPS designation. This includes 11 Statements of Commitment and 8 Duties to the Client Codes of Conduct. There are 10 other Codes of Conduct that apply toward fellow CMPS members and the CMPS Institute. It’s pretty elaborate.
The company I am employed by, Mortgage Master Service Corporation, has their philosophy and goals on our website. And I was a Campfire Girl while in elementary school. (Our troop was the Blue Bird Blue Stars).
Jillayne Schlicke recently did a post on Vacation Mortgage about a local mortgage company who has "ethics in their name" and touts ethics on their web page. However, if you contact them about their "vacation mortgage" which is heavily advertised on the radio, instead of providing information about the mortgage and answering general program questions (I emailed on several occasions inquiring about their vacation mortgage), they want to run your credit and obtain all of your information information to make sure you’re considering the proper mortgage. Hmmm…dangling a vacation from your mortgage payment, then refusing to explain the program so they can offer you a different program…sounds like bait and switch to me. Hardly ethical in spite of all their efforts to promote being an ethical company.
This is why I will always return to relying on referrals from three different sources of individuals whom you respect to select your Mortgage Professional. Such as a friend, co-worker, neighbor, Certified Financial Planner, CPA or Real Estate Agent. Preferably, one who has recently gone through a purchase or refinance transaction themselves. Your referrals have all ready been tested by those you trust.
Unfortunately, you’re not able to submit a Loan Originator to a polygraph test to determine if they’re straight shooters with your best intentions at heart. And, you cannot follow them around 24-7 (legally) to see what types of decisions they make throughout the course of a day. And although the new legislation to have loan originators who work for mortgage brokers licensed (banks such as Washington Mutual, Countrywide and Wells Fargo; and credit unions are excluded from this law) is a start, it’s still no guarantee of the the person’s moral fortitude. At least unsavory LOs who work for brokers will have a license to lose (or, at least they will not be originating loans at a mortgage brokerage).
One of my favorite examples of a "Code of Ethics" is from Les Schwab Tire Company. They promote that they treat clients just like they would their own mother. I browsed through their web site and could not find a posted Code of Ethics…but I guess this is, perhaps my point. They do what they say, it’s not all talk or print. Simple. Funny, I think some of the best things are!