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The Mortgage Consultant’s Naughty and Nice List December 21, 2006

Posted by Jay Medina in Reflections.

As it is the holidays, things start to slow down, as families and individuals begin their preparations for feasts, gifts, and get-togethers.  What better time than to have my inaugural Naughty and Nice list from a Mortgage Consultant’s point of view?

The Naughty and Nice list gives the highlights and lowlights of the year, so that you can judge for yourself if you wish to associate with various companies or service providers.  Don’t worry, I won’t be naming individuals on the Naughty list, but I may wish to highlight individual efforts that deserve to be on the Nice list.

Are you ready?  Here we go:

The Nice List

My wife and my children – They are so loving and so supportive, I cannot say enough good things about my family.  We are a family of huggers, and we’re always hugging and laughing, and I just love my family. Most of all, they support me in what I do as a Mortgage Consultant, and they love having me around.

Lenda Henry, Laurie Gawin, Oscar Parra, Sheyla Hutchins, Anne Evans, Maria Duluc, Macaria Gonzalez, Chris Holzhausen, Rose Jenkins, Don Shirey, Marcus Lee, Karen Whipple – Each person named here has placed their faith in trust in me, either for their personal loans, or by referring me to others they care about. That is a very nice thing to do, if I say so myself.

My parents and my in-laws – They show me and my family love in more ways than I can count.  My parents and my in-laws are very proud and very good granparents, who love to spoil my children.  My mom and dad believe in me, and my in-laws are convinced I have enough talent and drive to change the world for the better.  That kind of faith in me is humbling, and I couldn’t ask for a better set of in-laws or parents.

My brother, Chris and my sister-in-law, Yordana and Papi and Migue – I was not always the best brother or brother-in-law.  In fact before I left for the war, I was downright intolerable.  After coming home from the war, and experiencing the things I did, I changed.  I think my brother and his family saw they could love me and my family again. They have done so much for me and my family, I cannot count the ways.  Their faith and support in us helped us do so much in the past couple of years.  I am glad to have a brother like Chris.

The Cockrell Family, The Misioweic Family, Mike Lopez, Monica Blanchard, The Hong Family (yes, Howie, you will always be my brother), The Ignacio family (we go way back), The Padua family, Ramon Rodriguez, Uncle Johnny, Uncle Joe, Steve Lira – These are friends (and actual relatives) that I consider to be family.  Even though we may not always get along, these are folks that I can always count on to have my back when the chips are down.  It is a small list, but I have never been one to have a whole bunch of friends.  I choose very carefully and very wisely whom I call a friend. 

Chris Sullivan and Miguel Goodpasture – These are good friends I have known since 6th grade.  That’s funny, because when I was young, my family moved around a lot, and I never thought I’d be able to have the kind of friends that you know since grade-school.  We’ve lost touch over the years, and we’d reconnect, and so recently, I’ve been able to reconnect with these fine gentlemen.  Chris is an officer in the Air Force, an Academy grad.  And Miguel is a Marine Officer who got his degree then went to Officer Candidate School.  They are both serving overseas at the moment, and are in harm’s way.  Please say a prayer for them as they are away from loved ones at this time.  Growing up, we’ve had sleep-overs, video game marathons, Dungeons and Dragons parties (dang, we’re old), and we played High School football together.  After graduation, I joined the Army, Chris went to the AF Academy, and Miguel went to Berkely; so we went our separate ways, only to reconnect again after many years.  I’m very proud of them, and I am honored they consider me still a friend.

Fremont Investment and Loan – We started off on a bad foot, where I wasn’t able to get my calls answered, and it was making me look bad with a client.  After speaking with an operations manager and explaining my difficulties, he made good on his promise to increase the responsiveness and communication.  The result was that they expedited my client’s loan process, and we were able to close the loan quickly thereafter.  For that, I believe that Fremont had a true desire to be of service to others, and by correcting their mistakes, their sincerity came through.

Mark Hanley and Eric Engberg – These are two fine individuals who have gone above and beyond in their industry.  They are Account Executives with wholesale lenders (banks who don’t deal directly with customers), and they are the finest examples of ethical and honest salespeople I have had the pleasure of working with.  They are service oriented, and will do everything possible to help the Mortgage Consultant who uses their products, and the client who wishes to buy a home via the Mortgage Consultant.  The result, their efforts make everyone look good!

The Naughty List

IndyMac Bank – If you ever have a chance to do business with them, run, don’t walk to a reputable lender.  As a Mortgage Consultant, I match my clients with different banks to assist them in obtaining home loans.  Using IndyMac for a client of mine was a huge mistake and one I’ll never make again.  After approving my client’s loan, and getting everyone excited about a favorable outcome, they pulled back the approval and changed the terms of the deal.  The reason: because under Texas law, they couldn’t collect certain fees for granting the loan, so they decided to punish my client as a result.  Any bank that is ok with pulling back an approval after it’s been made, and that is ok with making me look bad to my client, aint ok with me.  Beware of these folks.  Feedback from others indicates that they do this regularly, to the point where some employees have left because they could not stand working for a company that lies on a regular basis. For that, IndyMac gets a lump of coal in their stocking this year.

CitiFinancial – This entry has nothing to do with mortgages, but this institution gets a lump of coal in their stocking for being business un-friendly toward the U.S. Military.  When making decisions on granting unsecured loans to military personnel, they do not look favorably on recently separated service members.  Meaning, if someone who recently got out of the service, or was deployed as a Reservist and recently released from Active Duty to resume their normal lives, CitiFinancial will not grant a loan to these individuals.  The reason is, they will only grant a favorable lending decision based on two years’ tax returns.  If you are not in the same line of work for the past two years, they will not even allow you to complete you loan application. They will stop you right there, and deny you a loan.  Personally, I consider this to be discriminatory; punishing those who have sacrificed and served this country in time of war.  However, it happens to not be illegal.  My take is that just because something isn’t illegal, doesn’t make it right.  Therefore, CitiFinancial gets TWO lumps of coal in their stocking for being discriminatory in how it treats our recently returned veterans of war.

Sebring Capital Partners – Although I’m not looking to rub salt in any wounds, Sebring does deserve mention in this list. As it is tragic that they recently closed their doors, and that people have lost their jobs, I have to say it comes as no surprise.  In other words, when you have a company that lies to it’s customers by saying they’ll approve a loan, only to delay the answer to the approval for days or weeks, only to deny the loan in the end, is bad business. To make a habit of it shows poor service.  Poor service does not deserve reward, and poor service in my opinion, gets what it deserves.  The power of the people is strong, and the people have said they will not put up with poor service, forcing Sebring out of business.  No lump of coal, as it is sad that perhaps some folks who did care about good service may have been working for Sebring, but Sebring should be an example of what happens when you forget who pays your bills.  Your clients.

Charter Funding, Retail Division of First Magnus Financial – Charter Funding in Austin, Texas, has to be one of the most poorly run organizations I have seen, ever.  When I got back from the war, I worked for Charter Funding, and had to fire them as my employer in July of this year.  Yes, I fired them.  During a management shake-up in July, the new management at Charter Funding made some poor decisions in how it treats its employees and customers.  While I was a mortgage consultant for Charter Funding, I had been their top producing mortgage consultant for 2005, promoted to team leader, and was offered a Sales Manager position.  While I was on vacation, they fired the regional VP, rescinded my promotion, and gave away all my business to other mortgage consultants; all without notifying me of any of this.  When I had heard of the firing of the regional VP, I called my new boss and asked him about the status of my promotion and my business.  He replied he would get back to me, and never did.  When I got back from vacation only to find everything I had worked for was pillaged, I had no choice but to resign and tell them that their behavior was unacceptable. Since then, they have lost many clients who were unhappy with the service they’ve received, their business has fallen to nearly half of what it once was, and the work environment has degraded to that of back-stabbing and outmaneuvering one another for title or position. It’s sad what has become of that once great place to work.  However, if the boys and girls at Charter don’t watch out, the ghost of Sebring Capital Partners could visit them during their Christmas slumber… and yes, Charter Funding gets a lump of coal in their stocking for mis-treating their customers and turning the lives of their employees upside down for no good reason, and for mismanaging every aspect of their business.

Perhaps there’s hope that these companies that are on the Naughty List can change their ways, and do good for others, instead of trying to do harm.  Maybe next year, they can be on the Nice List.  Because Santa knows who’s been naughty or nice, so you better be good, for Goodness Sake!

Let’s all be good boys and girls… Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!    



1. Jay Medina - January 10, 2007

As a follow up to this story, a Regional President with IndyMac Bank called me last week, on 2 January, 2007. She had heard or read that IndyMac was on the naughty list and wanted to see what could be done to improve the situation.

I completely applaud her for making an effort to reach out to someone who was very disappointed with their performance and service thus far.

As we discussed the situation, regarding two clients who had hopes of getting a loan, only to be left hanging by the ever-slow IndyMac, we seemed to be on the same page.

The Regional President asked for Loan Numbers on the deals, to which I told her I would try to obtain.

In the end, as I was able to give her one loan number, and the second loan number became moot as the seller cancelled the contract on my buyer, because IndyMac took way too long (two weeks) to provide some very important information that we were all waiting on.

Once IndyMac called with the information (not to mention our pleading with them for the information well before that), the seller already cancelled the purchase contract with my client and sold the home to someone else. By that time, any time spent on my getting a loan number would be a wasted effort. The damage is done.

On the second loan she and I discussed, I did give her a loan number, and while I still do not have any more information on that loan, my client has chosen to use another lender. Thankfully, I am still her consultant. That is because I explained what is going on, truthfully and completely. Trust is a big deal, and I take it seriously with my business.

So, IndyMac is 0-2. I have to give credit to their Regional President who seemed concerned about the negative press her company’s efforts or lack thereof were producing.

An excerpt from my e-mail to her reads: “I appreciate your efforts to get more background information on these loans, however, it seems that as we take additional time to do the things that really should have been done in the first place (deliver answers and/or approvals), then we lose clients to other lenders…

Understanding that no one or no organization is perfect, I hope you are able to help at least improve whatever is causing IndyMac to fall down when it comes to timely delivery of anything.

In the meantime, I’ll have no choice but to take my business and my clients elsewhere. I just can’t afford to lose the amount of money, credibility and business as I have recently lost with IndyMac.”

In the end, it’s the result that matters, and in this case, a result without a genuine effort from her staff below her.

There seems to be a disconnect between the executives who wish to make a difference and the lowest paid hourly employee who probably hates their job and doesn’t wish to go beyond the minimum for anything or anyone. The sad part of it is that from where I stand, IndyMac hasn’t even done the minimum.

Well, I wanted to be fair and highlight the effort of the IndyMac regional president. Now, if only her staff cared as much.

Thank you for reading.

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