Local vs. Big Box Lenders

Ben Chenault
Sep 23 · 4 min read

What’s the difference between a local lender and a big box lender? A lot, actually.

Local lenders have local knowledge.

Local lenders understand the local rules and customs — how things are done — in that market. That’s important to ensure a smooth closing. The local lender also knows what loan programs are available for that specific area, which will make things much easier for you.

Local lenders have a reputation to keep.

You want to deal with a lender that you are likely to see out at your local restaurants, and you want to be friends with that person. When you’re dealing with somebody local, they do care about their reputation — or they should.

Local lenders are easier to get a hold of.

If a problem arises, you can go sit down and talk to somebody. You’re never going to be alone, and you’re never going to get stuck on a 1–800-number call with somebody halfway across the country. It’s important to be able to sit face-to-face with your lender when you need to.

Local lenders know local vendors.

You want your lender to know all the other players involved in your transaction. That’s everybody from realtors to appraisers to closing attorneys, title companies, and home inspectors. Your local lender will know all of them personally. They work as a team to help you through your transaction, and they try to make it as fun as possible.

If one of the players isn’t communicating properly, or playing well with all the others, it can create an issue for you. But your local lender can help sort that out.

Big box lenders can’t keep up.

Most big box lenders don’t have local knowledge. It would be nearly impossible for them to keep track of all the different loan programs across the country.

Big box vendors have a one-size-fits all approach.

The person helping you with your loan from a big-box lender could likely be some kid on a headset who’s probably never been in a local market. She’s probably never met face-to-face with anybody, and hasn’t done very many loans. If problems come up, she won’t know how to handle them. With trickier loans or bond situations, she will still look at the round hole and try to put a square peg in it.

Big box vendors won’t see you through the hiccups.

If a problem arises or if a complicated loan comes up, the person from the big box company is not likely to be able to figure out how to succeed. He may not be educated in structuring loans. He may be an application taker rather than a true loan originator who knows how to structure loans and knows the underwriting guidelines. If your loan doesn’t fit the assembly line approach, or that one specific loan program, it just falls out. And the client doesn’t find out about it till it’s through underwriting!

You can see why for many reason it’s wise to go with a local, reputable lender when you want to buy a house or refinance your home. It’s too big of a transaction to risk on a big-box lender. You need that specialized knowledge, immediate, personal access, and willingness to see you through the process from beginning to end.

If you have questions about lenders, the loan process, or anything else to do with home financing, hit us up. You can call 205–986–4220, connect with us on social media, or ping our website. We are happy to help you in any way we can.

— Ben Chenault,
Certified Mortgage Planner
NMLS# 130305
MortgageBanc / Fairway NMLS# 2289

Copyright©2019 Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation doing business as MortgageBanc. NMLS#2289.4750 S. Biltmore Lane, Madison, WI 53718, 1–866–912–4800. All rights reserved. This is not an offer to enter into an agreement. Not all customers will qualify. Information, rates and programs are subject to change without notice. All products are subject to credit and property approval. Other restrictions and limitations may apply. Equal Housing Lender. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, License No 41DBO-78367. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Finance Lenders Law, NMLS #2289. Loans made or arranged pursuant to a California Residential Mortgage Lending Act License. Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee #21158. Licensed Nevada Mortgage Lender.

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