My mortgage is in “processing.” What does a mortgage loan processor do?

April 20, 2018 - 4 min read

In this article:

The mortgage loan processor is the link between you, your loan officer and your underwriter. And he or she is arguably the most important member of the team.

  1. Many processors take your application so you don’t have to fill out forms
  2. Processors pull all the pieces together - they may order open escrow, appraisals and inspections, pull credit reports, verify your income and document your assets
  3. Processors submit your application package and follow up on requests from the underwriter

Of course, every lender has its own process and its own rules for processors.

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Mortgage loan processor roles

The National Association of Mortgage Processors says, “The primary function of the Loan Processor is to ensure the timely and accurate packaging of all loans originated by loan officers.” So it’s mostly an administrative role.

How do I know that I’ll be approved for a mortgage?

Mortgage loan processors typically:

  • Collect and collate all the information needed to approve a loan and make informed decisions concerning an application
  • Input that information into the lender’s IT systems
  • Verify information through documents you supply
  • Make third-party checks with credit bureaus, employers, accountants and so on
  • Order an appraisal of the home
  • Obtain title insurance and flood insurance (if needed)
  • Ensure the compliance of your case with regulatory requirements and internal policies
  • Order the final loan documents
  • Ensure the loan stays on track to close on time
  • Schedule appointment for closing

You can usually expect a mortgage loan processor to be involved throughout the application process: from pre-approval to closing.

Working with your loan processor

Some lenders see loan processing as an entirely “back-office” function. You may never even meet your processor and your only contact may be your loan officer.

However, other lenders encourage direct contact between processors and applicants. So what should you expect if you get a call or email from yours?

Related: What happens at your mortgage document signing appointment?

What you should hope for is someone who’s an expert administrator with a focus on moving your mortgage application through the system in a timely way. In this sense, your processor’s goals overlap perfectly with yours.

Seeing it from your processor’s point of view

However, you risk coming into conflict over the minutiae of your case. You can’t understand why she’s so insistent on receiving January’s bank statement and last month’s pay stub (you know they’re somewhere) so urgently. And she can’t understand why you don’t just get on and send them.

The fact is, your processor is responsible for ensuring your application complies with a whole raft of external regulations and internal policies. And it’s highly unlikely she personally will have the discretion to overlook any compliance requirements.

Advantages of a good relationship

Having said that, a processor often has some workarounds. He might suggest an alternative that might get you out of a hole. For instance, it can be difficult proving that you’re receiving alimony if you don’t deposit it separately or keep copies of the checks. And who wants to have to ask their ex for canceled checks?

A processor may find a way around this, ordering copies of the actual deposits from your bank. So you need him on your side. The last thing you want is to be deliberately unhelpful or gratuitously rude.

In fact, building a good working relationship with her can help you. You want her to see you as a person rather than a case number each time she picks up your file. Even the most objective professionals work harder for those they like.

Self-help for mortgage applicants

Of course, the easiest way to get your mortgage loan processor to like you is to cause him as few headaches as possible. You can do that by supplying all the documents he needs upfront and anticipating any queries that might arise from them.

How to rush your mortgage to the closing table

No matter what sort of mortgage you’re applying for, your lender will want to satisfy itself over six areas of your life. It will need documents to support claims you make about your:

  1. Identity — Photo ID, social security number, past residential addresses
  2. Employment history and income stability
  3. Credit and debt management ability
  4. Expenses, payments and account balances
  5. Assets, including cash, retirement and investment accounts
  6. The source of funds for your down payment, if purchasing

Be prepared

Your lender will get your credit reports and scores itself. But you’ll be expected to supply it with the paperwork it needs to verify the other information.

You can do yourself a big favor by pulling together all the documents you’re going to need before you make your application for either a mortgage or pre-approval. It’s one less thing to worry about later when you’ll be under pressure. And it will give you a chance to get copies of anything that’s been lost in your filing system.

The documentation required for today’s best mortgage rates

Be patient

The extent to which lenders will crawl over your personal finances can feel intrusive. And their tick-box systems can feel overly rigid and bureaucratic. But remember:

  1. You’re asking to borrow a huge amount of money so it’s only reasonable they’ll want to know all about you
  2. They may not be asking for themselves. They often have to comply with third-party rules from regulators or loan guarantors, such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the VA, the FHA and so on
  3. Their main objective is to make sure you can comfortably afford payments on your new mortgage and won’t get into financial trouble later

Your best way to navigate through this stressful time is with Zen-like calm. Taking out your irritation, resentment or frustration on your mortgage loan processor is unlikely to help.

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Peter Warden
Authored By: Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Peter Warden has been writing for a decade about mortgages, personal finance, credit cards, and insurance. His work has appeared across a wide range of media. He lives in a small town with his partner of 25 years.