Deeper Thoughts
Now, More Than Ever, The Little Things Mean a Lot

Ours is an industry built upon details. Just think about how much needs to be done for a homebuyer to get from the idea of buying a home to receiving the keys. Think of the number of people, and different kinds of technology, it takes to finalize that proverbial punch list. Think of all the little tasks or minor interactions that, if not carefully attended to, can bring about a delay or error. Untended, those delays or errors can lead to much bigger issues like aborted closings or things like buyback demands down the road. And even though I’ve written or spoken dozens of times about how unnecessarily convoluted the process is, the fact is that, in our industry, if you’re not detail-oriented, you’re probably not winning a lot of business. Moreover, you’re probably not maximizing your profits. The little things, as they say, really do mean a lot.

Curative as a Line Item

We at LodeStar have built our success on doing one thing well—mastering closing fee data and helping LOs and brokers access that information instantaneously. We put a lot of effort into keeping that data current–which means monitoring thousands of updates, laws and regulations across thousands of sources nationwide. We take that duty–as minor a detail as some might consider, say, a recording fee in Cobb County–very seriously. Our success depends on it. And more than a few lenders have come to learn that inaccuracy in fee estimates can make a TRID curative fee a major, and unwelcome, line item on the “L” side of their P&Ls. 

Those few lines on the LE can add up to thousands of dollars lost–wasted, in fact–because someone didn’t take the time or effort to deliver the proper, updated data…or a provider to do that for them.

We recently disclosed that lenders and brokers using LodeStar experienced one cure every 22,000 quotes in 2022. At a time when margin compression remains an issue, and one that’s highlighted with declining origination volume, little things like accurate closing fees can really add up.

In a down market…service matters

This principle is also true in the qualitative sense. I’ve also written before that poor customer service, or, worse, systemically poor customer service, brings a very real, and very negative, ROI that’s often neglected by the bean counters of those organizations.  All too often, but especially in leaner times, the “easy” cost cutting comes at the hands of client service-related resources. Those deficiencies and transgressions also become stark in times of reduced volume…and they’re remembered when the time comes to reconsider vendors. Even little things like how professionally a representative behaves on the phone or consistency in invoicing or communication eventually add up. Returning a phone call in a timely manner, or even returning it at all, really does have an impact on your business relationships.

We’re all competing for our share of the market right now. But those who are making it through the downturn aren’t just putting all of their resources into sales and marketing. It’s doing what brought you success and doubling down on the “little things,” even when times are tough, that amount to success in the end.

We at LodeStar are grateful to all of our clients, friends and colleagues who take the time to view Deeper Thoughts. Please consider having a look as well at some of our other great content, including our podcast, “LodeStar’s Lending Leaders,” and A Tale of Two Mortgages: an original webcomic for the mortgage industry, presented by LodeStar.”

As always, your feedback is welcomed and appreciated!