Not long ago, the lending business was very slow, due to the lower number of purchase contracts that were being processed. As a result, they reduced their loan processing staff and hours of operation to save costs. Now that the interest rates are dropping due to various forms of government intervention, the number of loan applications has taken a sharp upturn. The lenders are now overloaded with primarily re-finance applications and turnaround time on loans has been slowed.
I’m facing that with a client right now. We agreed on a contract on a home purchase early in December when things weren’t as harried, and proposed a closing by the end of the month. This was a little aggressive, but the buyer’s mortgage broker felt it could be done. Now that we’re at that point in the month, we’ve already slipped the closing date twice and now have it scheduled for the middle of next week. The lender, which shall remain nameless, is keeping us all in the dark as to the actual date they’ll have the loan package ready, so we set what their rep feels is a conservative target.
As the closing attorney’s paralegal said to me after our fourth phone call trying to nail down a closing date, “You’d think they’d put top priority on the loans that have been approved ahead of processing loan applications!” I agree, but lenders didn’t get themselves into such a pickle because they were making smart decisions on how to run their companies.
The good news for us in NC is that from what I hear, the majority of NC re-fi applications are being approved as opposed to many being turned down in some other areas because the home owners have no equity in their homes or for not meeting other loan criteria. That will add to the stability of the NC housing market.