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Steve Smith
SVP of Mortgage Lending

Who is your typical customer and what questions do they typically have? Every loan and every borrower are different in today's lending environment. As a result I personally handle all aspects of choosing the right loan program to fit the needs of the borrower. This includes but is not limited to purchase loans, no-cost refinances, Jumbo fixed and ARM products, HARP, FHA, VA 100% financing, non-warrantable and first-in condos, and home equity lines.

How has the mortgage industry changed since you started, and what would you expect in the future? In the last 4 years we have seen countless changes in loan products, and underwriting policies. The amount of change was difficult for many loan officers and originators to understand and keep up with. This resulted in "painful" loan processing and turned off many borrowers and buyers. It also created many rumors about lending that are incorrect. The FACT is the largest changes are over, and the process can be PAINLESS if you use the right lender. At Proper Rate we are lending at a record pace for the company, and keeping our borrowers satisfied. I was the recipient of the Chicago Magazine Five Star Mortgage Professional award for superior service as a result of the level of customer satisfaction reported by random survey.

What can borrowers do to ensure a smooth mortgage underwriting process? The #1 rule to making the lending process smooth for a borrower is organization. The more organized the borrower can be with initial loan documents, and subsequent conditional documents, the easier the underwriting process becomes. Nothing should be a surprise request from an underwriter these days, so we do our best to request ALL the required loan documents up front. This can be a long list depending on the borrower, but the initial collection of required documentation can also be the difference between a loan closing in 2 weeks, or in 2 months.

Summary of where you grew up: family, affiliations, college, high school, etc. I was born in Grand Rapids, MI and grew up for a short time in Rochester Hills, MI a suburb of Detroit. Most of my childhood was spent in St. Charles IL where my mother was in real estate for 25 years. I attended DePaul University and graduated from Northern Illinois University. I am always available on my cell phone. Call me!!! Tell us something that makes you unique or something wacky, yet interesting about you? Most people don't know that I am a musician in town and can be seen playing trumpet, guitar, and singing with Tributosaurus. That is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to outside interests, which also include golf, musky fishing, water-skiing, and of course COOKING! I live close to our corporate office, and one of my favorite summer traditions is to grill out on Friday's for lunch with my outstanding processing team.

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