Underwriting Remotely: What are the Pros and Cons?

Written By: Frankie Lacy, Op-Ed Writer

Employing remote underwriters is a cost effective measure for many mortgage lenders that is also beneficial for the underwriter. Many correspondent lenders have slowly expanded their licensed territory to include multiple states in various time zones. Employing remote underwriters in these states creates a seamless interface with underwriting regardless of branch location.

Underwriters that work remote do not endure the daily grind of a commute. In addition, they are generally able to work with fewer interruptions. They have more control over their work environment including noise, lighting, and the general décor. Remote underwriters are usually more productive and as a result, some have an improved quality of life.

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For those of you currently looking for underwriting work, remote positions may be on your short list of job “must-haves”. However, if you have never experienced the remote environment, you may be wondering how it differs from working on site. There are several differences that underwriters should carefully consider when applying for remote positions.

First, I would not recommend remote underwriting for anyone who has less than five years’ experience. In the remote environment you are isolated from managers, underwriters, and other team members. When you begin your career as an underwriter, interpersonal relationships with these team members is invaluable. Having the opportunity to bounce ideas off of other underwriters, deal with problem loans with management, and discuss loans with processing and closing is a must for your optimal growth. In the remote environment, much of the communication is via email and can seem abrupt or condensed. This leaves room for misinterpretation of instructions that could cause costly errors down the line.

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Underwriters that are seeking remote positions should be aware of the heightened production expectations. Employers are aware that working in an office comes with noise, interruptions, and interactions that, in effect, shorten your work day. Remote underwriters in contrast often have a lengthier work day because many choose to log in early and there are fewer interruptions. As a result, employers may require 50 – 100% more production per day than they ask of on-site underwriters.

This standard demands that remote underwriters be highly disciplined. We must avoid creating distractions for ourselves throughout the workday (even when the laundry is calling!). It is important to establish boundaries in your space and time that are dedicated 100% to work. Breaks should ebe scheduled and should closely mirror what you would take if working on-site.

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All in all, remote underwriting can be very rewarding. Each individual must decide if the isolation, heightened production standards, and limited access to in-the-moment underwriting assistance balances the benefits of working remote. Some underwriters work partially remote opting to come into the office one or two days per week. Ultimately the goal is to make an informed choice based on your personality and underwriting style.

About The Author

Frankie Lacy - As an op-ed writer, Ms. Frankie Lacy is a 15+ year mortgage industry veteran with extensive conventional mortgage underwriting experience. Topics of Frankie's expertise include: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, USDA Rural Housing, underwriting to investor overlays, self-employed borrowers, personal and business tax return analysis, rental income, condos/co-ops/PUDs, and more. Frankie is a Davenport University graduate with a degree in Business Administration.

Opinion-Editorial (Op-Ed) Disclaimer For NAMU® Library Articles: The views and opinions expressed in the NAMU® Library articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official NAMU® policy or position. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world application as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of NAMU®. Nothing contained in this articles should be considered legal advice.