Artificial intelligence, or AI, has been around in the mortgage industry for quite some time.

When Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae mandated loans through their automated underwriting systems in the late 1990s, I initially feared it would take away the art of preparing a loan record. I was concerned that good loans would be rejected due to lack of human intelligence, or HI, on the underwriter’s part, because a computer cannot read a legitimate explanation letter regarding a job gap or problem derogatory credit isolated due to circumstances beyond the control of the borrower. .

Turns out I was wrong because before automated underwriting a human had to make the credit decision and sometimes the human underwriter was in a bad mood. I had to hope the underwriter hadn’t had a huge argument with her husband that morning. I had to hope that she would see the risk of applying for a loan as I saw it. I had to hope his boss hadn’t lately scolded him for being too liberal on his loan approvals.

I’ve always had a great relationship with my underwriters, but back then I often had to appeal denials in person and go back to the underwriter to approve the loan with additional documents, appeal letters, letters of explanation of the borrower, flower arrangements, boxes of See’s Candies and pizza nights for the underwriting manager and staff. Human intelligence is what makes the quality of a loan officer.

The key to getting an accurate and fast automated approval is to do a great loan application and understand the system. A good loan officer can talk with the borrower and go over short and long term goals with them to structure the loan to meet those goals.

In the last year alone, I’ve seen my team help dozens of people improve their FICO scores with coaching and advice on how to go from 699 to 720, which makes a big difference to the rate. loan. A good loan officer doesn’t tell anyone, sorry you got rejected. A good loan officer helps the buyer or borrower with a roadmap to approval and success.

If the customer is motivated, a great loan officer will work with the buyer, no matter how long it takes – and sometimes it takes a year or two to restore credit or get that promotion from apprentice to journeyman to qualify. for the loan.

Creativity and compassion are human qualities.

Jim Porter, NMLS #276412, is the Branch Manager of Solano Mortgage, NMLS #1515497, a division of American Pacific Mortgage Corporation, NMLS #1850, licensed in California by the Department of Financial Protection and innovation within the framework of the CRMLA / Equal Housing Opportunity. Jim can be reached at 707-449-4777.