Mortgage Master Service Corporation, my employer for the past nine years, is a Correspondent Lender–which is kind of like a blend of a bank and a broker. I think it's the best of both worlds because like a broker, we have the ability to select which bank/lender we're going to work with and like a bank, we fund the mortgage. We also process, underwrite and prepare loan documents at our location in South King County (this may be unlike a bank who'd processing center can be located in another State).
I've recently been provided a few examples of why it's advantageous to be a Correspondent Lender. Ardell wrote a post at Rain City Guide about home buyers (or borrowers) being informed of when loan docs are "ordered", "sent" and "in". A mortgage broker has to "order" loan documents from the wholesale lender/bank. A form is submitted on paper or on-line requesting the loan documents be drafted. The wholesale lender/bank where the loan is being brokered to will notify the mortgage broker once loan documents have been "sent" to the escrow company. The escrow company will then send a confirmation to the mortgage broker that they have received loan documents–docs are "in".
At our office, once conditions are met and we have final loan approval from our in-house underwriters, my processor prepares loan documents. They are reviewed and then delivered electronically to the escrow company. I receive notification from my processor that loan docs have been delivered to escrow and escrow confirms. Our loan doc steps are "sent" and "in".
This creates a much smoother transaction since we remain in control of these vital steps. Especially if there are any modifications or corrections that need to be made to the loan documents. Instead of having to order a correction from the wholesale lender, our company is able to quickly react to any required changes.
The reason why I'm thanking my lucky stars I work for a correspondent lender and not a bank is because the bank is generally limited to their products and guidelines. (A bank loan officer will tell you that they can broker or use outside lenders–just ask them how often they do–they're often compensated at a lower split if they send a mortgage outside of the bank). Recently Wells Fargo decided they are going to start requiring appraisals on VA Streamline refinances. (Hopefully other banks don't follow). One of the benefits of a VA (or FHA) Streamline refinance is that an appraisal may not be required. If I was a mortgage originator employed at this bank, then I would be stuck with their underwriting overlays (guidelines in addition to what VA is requiring); my clients who are Veterans would be required to prove their homes values and may not receive the benefit of reducing their mortgage rate.
As a correspondent lender (or mortgage broker), I know that odds are, if I have a VA Streamline refi (aka IRRL: Interest Rate Reduction Loan) I'm going to use another source for my client where an appraisal is not required.
During these times, many banks/wholesale lenders have their own underwriting overlays in addition to what is being required by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD or VA. Correspondent lenders and mortgage brokers have the ability to review wholesale lending guidelines to help direct their clients to a product best suited for their needs.
It's nice to have options and control–it's nice to be a correspondent lender.