This week’s fundamental was written by Jason Santiago, a credit analyst at Eastern Funding. Jason has been with us for over 3 years and has helped move many of our loans through the underwriting process.
Fundamental 5: Be a Detective. There’s always more to the story than meets the eye. Be curious. Ask questions and understand the larger picture. When we know the full story, we can work faster and develop better solutions.
Each day we walk through the door, we’re all detectives. In some capacity or another, we’re looking into things. A loan officer may ask if docs went out for a deal. A credit analyst may be calling a customer to conduct an interview. Someone in collections checks to see if a customer made a payment. It’s this curiosity that drives our business.
Being a credit analyst, as soon as I get a loan assigned to me I become a detective. You start looking to see if you have everything you need to pull their credit. Is the credit good? If not, why? There are times that I have asked questions that may prompt more questions. By doing this, you get the full story. I can say since I’ve been here, no two situations have been alike. During my time at Eastern, by being curious, I’ve learned a lot. By asking questions internally to fellow coworkers – as well as externally – I am prepared to make the right decision.
All of the different scenarios I’ve encountered over the past three years and 10 months have been tremendously useful to me. Through interaction with my coworkers as well as our customers, vendors and brokers, I have tried to take something away from each experience. These experiences have helped me in one way or another. With the knowledge gained by being a detective, I am in better position the next time I am faced with a certain situation. From there, I can create a full picture of what’s really going on and develop better solutions for the task at hand, regardless of what that is.
A prime example of being a detective is a loan I worked on a couple of years ago. It was a real estate transaction, and one of the first real estate loans that had ever been assigned to me. I was working with Michael on the loan request. He had already spoken with the customer and had a lot of information about the transaction. While we were having a conversation, there were aspects of the loan request that didn’t add up for him. I picked up on those queries. He got me thinking. When it came time to move the transaction forward, I had to rerun Nexis searches because so much time had passed. While remembering Michael’s concerns on the transaction, I dug deeper than I normally would. His curiosity piqued my curiosity. Sure enough, I found something. Under the criminal records in Nexis, there were charges of forgery/counterfeit signatures. With this information, I spoke with Michael and we came up with a plan. By further investigating and asking questions, we ended up not making the loan. We later found out that the subordinations we had sent out were forged! By getting all parties involved (in this case the loan officer and docs), we were geared to ask the right questions to get the correct answers so we could make the right decision.
With the tools that have been put in place (Vision, JH and Synergy) we are all prepared to be better detectives. Whether it’s checking to see if we received tax returns for an existing customer or checking notes in Vision for an explanation as to why we have not yet received them, we’re doing the work of a detective. Through this, along with being curious, we look to gain as much knowledge as possible to make timely, sound business decisions.
Regardless of your position in the company, be curious! It’s the tool that helps us avoid pitfalls, make timely decisions and deliver exceptional customer service to both our internal and external customers.
Have a great week everyone!