When it comes to choosing the right lender for your mortgage, it helps to think of yourself as an investigative journalist and use The Five Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why (and How) — to get the scoop.
Who is the lender you’re considering? Is it an independent mortgage brokerage or does it offer the strength and stability of being part of an FDIC-insured bank? Does the lender include an internal team of capable and experienced loan professionals, processors and other lending experts, or is it a brokerage with only a few people?
[Shameless plug: First Internet Bank is a full-service, online bank. We are FDIC-insured and an Equal Housing Lender. Our parent company is First Internet Bancorp, traded on Nasdaq under the symbol INBK. We have an extensive team of experienced Loan Officers, supported by an even bigger operational team. Together, we work to help you find the right mortgage for your needs and to get you to the closing table on time.]
Does the lender offer a wide variety of loan products? Are the rates and terms competitive? What do their customers say about their products, service and people?
[Ahem. We offer a wide variety of loans with some of the best rates and terms you’ll find anywhere for conventional fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages, FHA and VA loans with low down-payment options, HARP and HARP II refinancing for qualified homeowners, and jumbo loans. More importantly, we offer exceptional service! We put your needs first. We take our reputation very seriously, and we’ve earned the trust of hundreds of homeowners across the country by being accurate and accountable. Don’t just take our word for it…read the reviews on Zillow, Bankrate and other ratings sites to see what our customers have to say about us!]
When did the lender open its doors? How long has the lender been in business? When’s the last time it won an award or did something new or innovative?
[Nudge, nudge. As an Internet bank, we’ve never actually opened our doors — but we were born as an online bank and started offering banking and lending services way back in 1999. We were the first state-chartered bank to operate solely online. Our innovative business model and web-based technologies have won us many awards and accolades over the years.]
Does the lender have expertise only in a limited local market, in just a few states or is it licensed to lend nationwide? Does it matter to you whether you can go to a local brick and mortar office to meet with someone in person?
[You know the drill by now… We offer banking services and loans in all 50 states. Our online-only business model started from the goal of making banking convenient for all of our customers. Since we don’t have a costly branch network to support, we pass those savings on to our customers!]
Why is the lender in business (besides to sell loans and make money)? Many lenders have come and gone over the years (especially the last few years), but some are in it for the long run. Some have a focus on helping people — both the people who work for them and the people they work for. Some are forward-looking and take steps to grow, including things like adopting and developing new technologies to make lending more streamlined, efficient and simple for customers, providing ongoing training for their staff, broadening their markets and services and more.
[Bet you didn’t see this coming! We’ve come a long way since 1999, and we’re still moving forward. We continue to develop innovative processes and technologies that make online lending faster, easier and more efficient for our customers. And we’re always building our customer-focused team and expanding our product offerings across the board.]
How accessible is the lender’s team? How do they communicate with their customers? How does the lender treat its customers? How long will it take to process your loan, and does the lender have a track record for on-time closings? How will you feel about your experience with the lender after your loan closes?
[Enough about us. We want to help YOU!]
Give us a call today at 1-866-742-5158. Our experienced Loan Officers are always available to help answer any questions you may have, and work with you to find the best financing option for your situation. You can quote us on that!