Written By: Bonnie Wilt-Hild

It wasn’t long ago, or at least it doesn’t seem so, that people employed in the mortgage industry were considered mortgage bankers or mortgage professionals who possessed a certain skill set where banking and finance were concerned that labeled these individuals as professionals. During these times, mortgage bankers or professionals wore suits and ties to work, for the ladies it was skirt suits, usually blue, black or gray and of course the skirt was never above the knees. Generally if meeting with a client, regardless of your occupation in the industry, you put your jacket on, it was just professional. These days however gave way to a more casual environment where lending was concerned so much more so that in some shops it was completely casual with jeans and even short pants and flip flops being acceptable attire when meeting with clients.

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Around the same time, interest rates dropped significantly and everyone who made less than $50,000 per annum changed careers and became loan officers, not mortgage professionals, loan officers. I can remember underwriting wholesale during these times and discussing a case with a loan officer or two, who informed that they were unaware of certain requirements because six months before they were teaching math to second graders and that they changed professions because they could make so much origination mortgage loans. Same goes for the car salesmen and of course an occasional plumber or two. These guys and girls were now driving a Lexus, owned a boat and were making money hand over fist closing mortgages they knew absolutely nothing about. Hardly bankers but they could sell, even if they had no idea what they were selling. Technology tools made it easier still, streamlining what might be construed as a loan approval, the ever telling AUS approval which turned math teachers come branch mangers into underwriters, needing nothing more than the AUS checklist to complete the task, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc comes immediately to mind.

In the years that followed, we have seen people enter and leave the industry, watched it all implode in 2007 and now wait patiently for the recovery. Over the past five years we have watched as the old concepts of mortgage lending became new again and the radical new concepts of the late 90’s and early 2000’s die away. One thing however, that has not changed drastically is the concept of professionalism. Each day I still encounter that guy or girl who can sell but has no idea what they are selling or do they care. They don’t get the changed environment where lending is concerned nor do they care to because after all, they close more than everyone else and for that reason alone feel as if they should greater privilege. They talk to other staff as if they are trash, run screaming to every manager if they can’t get loans closed in 10 days, even if they didn’t collect anything when they took the application and of course expect that their cases be bumped in front of every other originator working for the institution. Sadly, these guys and girls have no idea that everyone talks about them behind their backs usually about their lack of professionalism and of course the never ending, “If you change your name, maybe it will get underwritten faster”. As an underwriter, I make it a point to let these individuals know exactly what I think of that lack of professionalism, generally saying something like, “Stop with the tantrum or I will put you on time out!” That’s correct if you are going to act like a spoiled child, I will treat you like one. Oh and when management bumps one of their files in front of all of the other originators who have been waiting patiently and professionally, I will generally tell them that so in so’s file was bumped to the front of the drawer, just another nice way to see that they eat lunch by themselves. I know it sounds wrong but there is just no room for Prima Dona’s in this business anymore.

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As the new year approaches and we begin to make resolutions as we all do, I hope that some of the guys and girls in this industry who believe they are most exalted, decide to resolve to become more professional, you know take off the jeans and sneakers, put on some slacks or maybe a skirt and most of all act like a grown up and mortgage professional. For those of you who already do, have a happy and productive new year.

About The Author

Bonnie Wilt-Hild - As an NAMP® staff writer, Bonnie currently serves as a senior instructor for FHA Online University ( as well maintains a full-time mortgage underwriting position as the Senior FHA DE Underwriter for a major lending institution. With over 25+ years of senior-level FHA/VA Government underwriting experience, Bonnie is considered the "Queen of FHA Loans". If you're interested in becoming a writer for NAMP®, please email us at:

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