It’s just a little-white-lie, right? wrong.

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Call it a “little-white-lie”, call it an “omission-of-facts”, leaving out the details, call it a “gray area”, call it a “it depends on how you define __ (blank).”  No matter how you try to justify it, the truth of the matter is this — if it’s not true, it’s a lie.

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In my nine-year career in the mortgage business, I have come across a small-handful of people trying to “stretch-the-truth” (over-stating their income, trying to hide child-support payments, trying to purchase an investment property and call it a 2nd home, etc.) — thankfully, through the loan process of verifying employment, of reviewing bank statements or going through paycheck-stubs, etc. these “petty” liars are usually easy to spot.  The most brazen (and I suspect fraudulent) would-be-borrowers usually hang-up mid-conversation, disappear after too many questions from (me) a seasoned mortgage professional, realizing they might have better luck elsewhere.

The instance that happens (I think) much too often is the little-white-lie.  These come in all forms and fashions — none more laughable than what occurred at the closing of my own house last year.

As you might expect, Hillside Lending did the loan for my new house, and (as you should expect) everything was on schedule for the closing.  The closing package was delivered to the closing attorney the morning before the closing, numbers were in order and the funds for the loan were wired to the closing attorney.  I arrived at the closing attorney’s office a few minutes before our scheduled appointment time and was enjoying some down-time in the nicely decorated waiting room — I was content and relaxed.  I read an article or two in “Newsweek” magazine, checked some emails on my Blackberry and ate some of the ever-present closing-attorney chocolate (a staple at all metro-Atlanta closings).

The closing attorney walked out to greet me about 15 minutes past our scheduled appointment (no big deal), asked me if I wanted anything to drink and apologized for the short-delay in getting started.  “Not a problem,” I remarked . . . being in the business I knew that things sometimes get backed-up at attorney’s offices, no worries.  And then as we sat down at the big conference room table, it happened . . .

“Yes . . . ,” she said, “sorry again for the late start . . . we got the closing package a little late from the lender, so we were running a little bit behind.”

I probably should have played-it-cool and asked a few follow-up questions to watch her dig deeper as she stumbled through excuses, but, unfortunately, I don’t hide my emotions that well and I don’t have a poker-face to speak-of.  Later in the day I would think of all kinds of great things to say . . . but all that would come out at the time was, “Wha? Um. (sigh) Really?? . . . That’s weird, because I AM the lender . . . and I sent the closing package over yesterday morning.”  I think her response was, “Wha? Um. Oh. At least that is what I was told.”

The remainder of the closing moved smoothly forward as expected, but what had been an insignificant fifteen minute delay had turned in to a blood-pressure-raising ordeal (one, that apparently I am not completely over – ha!).

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3 Responses to “It’s just a little-white-lie, right? wrong.”

  1. Joshua Says:

    Funny – I get the “we got the closing package a little late from the lender, so we were running a little bit behind” excuse 3 out of 5 closings. Sometimes the “little bit behind” translates to 3 to 4 hours…one things for certain “white-lies” have the potential parasitic affects on small business…eating them from the inside out.

  2. The bottom-dwellers of the mortgage business. « The Mortgage Blog Says:

    […] Well, even though mortgage brokers do get blamed for a lot of things, the business of selling your personal information is to be credited to the credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. […]

  3. Michelle Robinson Says:

    I know everyone always wants to point a finger at someone else when closing gets delayed. Unfortunately, late closing package excuses are not always excuses. I’ve headed up a closing department for a title company for four years now. In about 4 out of 6 closings, the package arrives only a few hours before closing. This is fine if it is the only closing of the day. But, when you have one scheduled for 10, 11, 12, 12:30 and 1, this becomes a problem. Its is not always the lenders fault that it arrives late, sometimes there are brokers involved and the eventual lender is delayed in getting the package out. But please, don’t always blame the title company. Its not always a “white lie.”

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