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The Mortgage Approval Process

By Marleen Cenate

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

In 1956, fifty-seven GE employees came together in Ludlow, Vermont to form Heritage Family Credit Union with a total of $800 in deposits for the first month. Today, Heritage Family Credit Union has 35,000 members and $330 million in assets.

Heritage Family Credit Union is a member-owned not-for-profit cooperation formed for the purpose of promoting thrift. HFCU is constantly looking for new and better ways to provide our members with the most current, convenient and beneficial services.

Being a full-service credit union, Heritage Family Credit Union offers a wide variety of financial products and services including mortgages, business services and construction loans to meet all of our members purchasing, refinancing and home remodeling needs.

In addition to the Credit Union's nine branches throughout Vermont, located in Rutland, Fair Haven, Brandon, Bennington, Ludlow and Londonderry, as well as one branch in Hooksett, New Hampshire, the credit union also owns and operates 16 automated teller machines in the communities it serves, and offers access to countless other machines throughout the United States with its expansive ATM CO-OP network. As a federally-chartered community credit union, people are eligible to join Heritage Family Credit Union if they live, work, worship, do business, or go to school in any of the following communities: Rutland, Addison, Bennington, Windsor or Windham counties in Vermont, or the community of Hooksett, New Hampshire. As a member of the credit union, each of their family members related by blood, marriage or adoption (i.e., sister, spouse, grandmother, great aunt, stepchild, etc.) is entitled to join the credit union and take advantage of the credit union services.

What are some important questions to ask your mortgage broker before applying?

  • How long does the mortgage process take?
  • How much money will it cost?What rates and terms do you offer?
  • Once I get the mortgage will you continue to service it for the life of the loan?
  • Do you require an escrow to pay the taxes and/or insurance?

If you could, please walk our readers through the general mortgage approval process:

  • Apply On Line through our website
  • A Lender is assigned and contact is made to discuss the application and what is needed.
  • Set up an appointment to meet and determine best ways to communicate (phone or email)
  • Once documentation is received and verified a member will be contacted with decision
  • At that point the appraisal will be ordered and it will be sent to underwriting for final approval and appraisal review
  • Underwriting will issue approval (with conditions) or denial.
  • Lender contacts member with verbal decision and will issue written commitment letter
  • Member must sign the commitment letter and return to lender
  • Closing will be set up with member, lender, and closing agent
  • If the person is not a member of HFCU they will need to become a member prior to the closing date.
  • Closing will take place at a HFCU location (members choice)

How can clients prepare for this process

The best way to prepare is to set up an appointment to meet with a lender. The lender will set up a plan so they can save money if needed,

Get their credit in good shape, educate them on the entire process so they are comfortable and understand what takes place and why.

What are some common issues you face when it comes to approving a mortgage?

  • Property values have lowered
  • New mortgage regulations have tightened things up
  • Debt to income ratios are too high (new regulations require 43% dti or lower)
  • credit scores to low and in need of repair. We offer credit and budget counseling to help our members get on track and stay there.
  • Money not saved for down payment or closing costs of First Time Homebuyers

How long does the approval process typically take?

Purchases usually take 4 weeks as long as we get all documentation needed and the appraisers are not booked solid.

Refinances usually take 6-8 weeks

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you?

We prefer people to visit our website and apply. The application site is very user friendly and helpful with questions they may have.

We also have a designated team to answer the phone and provide assistance. It is toll free: 1-888-252-8932.

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