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Getting a Mortgage from a Banker, Broker, or Direct Lender? All are "Lenders" with "Loan Officers"
So who is BEST? All will give you a home mortgage loan.

When you're looking to get a mortgage loan, you will of course deal with a Loan officer, but where they work, and their background can make a huge difference. People often confuse the different lender types, because they will all glean the same results: a new home, or a lower rate on your refinance. However, it is important to understand the difference between the three types of lenders so you know what to expect from them during the mortgage application process. Mortgage application in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota


[OK]: Bank loan officer is a representative of one lending institution, the bank, who works to sell and process mortgages and other loans originated by their employer. They usually are limited in what they can offer to only their own products, severely limiting your loan rate, cost, and product options.  These loan officers represent the borrower to just their lending institution and may guide him or her through the selection, processing and closing of mortgage loan. Most bank Loan Officers tend to be more of just an application clerk, versus a professional Loan officers.  They can be paid a commission, salary, or both for their services. There are no deals at banks... ever. Sometimes, because of disclosure laws, it may appear that way. You see, non-bank lenders and brokers are held to a significantly higher standard than the banks by both Federal and State laws.


TIP: Bank Loan Officers are NOT required to have any state or federally mandated education or testing. Learn more


[Better]:Mortgage Broker is an individual or firm that is the middle man between you and the actual lending institution, which can be a bank, trust company, credit union, mortgage corporation, or finance company. They will originate your loan; collect your information, then submit your application to one or more lenders, and work with the chosen lender until the loan closes. Brokers have no money of their own, do not make loan decisions, and have no underwriters. Mortgage brokers CAN NOT issue loan commitment letters (only the actual lender can - although most brokers do anyway).  Brokers can receive their fee from the borrower, be paid from the real lender if the loan closes, or both. Loan officers at brokerages are required to be licensed.


[Best]:Direct Lender / Mortgage Company or Correspondent Lender is an individual or firm that originates, processes, underwrites, issues loan commitments, closes, and funds their own loans with their own moneyMost have in-house underwriters, and have direct access to loan products from all the big national players. If a mortgage loan programs exists, they can usually offer it. Direct Lenders typically bundle and sell your loan after closing to giant Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac servicing companies. Most correspondent lenders are also able to broker loans if needed, giving you the best of both worlds. (This is who we are)


Loan officers with a direct lender will analyze your financial situation to determine which loan is the best fit for your financing needs. Direct lenders can be paid a fee for their services from the borrower, the lender whom they sell your loan, or both. Loan Officers at these type of companies are required to be licensed, and are typically the best and the brightest Loan Officers in the mortgage lending field. Mortgage application in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota

What is Correspondent DIRECT Lending? We are a direct lender! We fund our own loans!

It is much easier to become a mortgage broker, while it is much harder to be a actual lender. There are two primary criteria few brokers can meet. The first is a seven-figure plus net worth requirement. The second is an initial audit process that scrutinizes past transactions. You're ineligible if predatory lending practices are found, or questionable transactions are uncovered.


Our correspondent direct lender status is hard earned and we believe it affords our loyal following of customers many benefits. Mortgage application in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota

What is a correspondent direct lender, and why is it so important to us?
Simply put, you want only the cream of the crop, no matter what you are doing. A correspondent direct lender is just that. The term says their mortgage company originates, processes, underwrites, issues loan commitments, closes, and funds their own loans.

What is the difference from a plain mortgage broker?
Mortgage brokers can NOT issue a loan commitment, or a real Pre-Approval letter. If you are working with a broker, and they have given you a pre-approval letter, it is a worthless piece of paper, and in violation of law unless a real lender they submitted your loan to has actually approved you.
They originate, and process your loan (help you get the paperwork together and verifies the information for the real lender), but they do not underwrite, close, or use their own money. The borrower often doesn't deal with the real lender, or even know who the real lender is until closing. The process works, with one exception - you may not get the best deal. The higher rate you pay, the more the broker earns. You might also be very surprised to find out that many so called "top lenders" are really just small brokers with 10 employees or less! Is this who you want to deal with?

Why are there so few correspondent direct lenders?
Mainly because it is easy to become a mortgage broker, while it is hard to be a direct lender. There are two primary criteria few brokers can meet. The first is a seven-figure net worth requirement. The second is an initial audit process that scrutinizes past transactions. You're ineligible if predatory lending practices are found, or questionable transactions are uncovered. Our correspondent direct lender status is hard earned and we believe it affords our loyal following of customers many benefits. Unfortunately, it is extremely easy to become a simple mortgage broker.

What are some of the other benefits?
First, our clients prefer the process to be completely self contained, providing them with superior privacy, security, and pricing.

  1. Correspondents typically get better pricing from funding sources, with fewer loan program restrictions.

  2. Many of the highest producing real estate agents refer their clients to correspondent lenders only. It makes their buyer's offers more credible to sellers, and provides all parties involved in the transaction more confidence that those lenders will get the loans closed on time, every time, or they wouldn't have been approved as correspondents in the first place.

  3. The vast majority of conforming fixed mortgages are sold by correspondent lenders to large servicers. Because of the high credit quality of these entities, the original mortgage loans can be offered at lower rates.

Banking Institutions, Credit Unions, Brokers, and many traditional mortgage companies are limited by the number of mortgage programs they can offer. These lenders typically represent one, or just a small handful of investors.

Correspondent direct lending allows you to find the right mortgage program for your needs from hundreds of financing options. Our expertise in understanding home-lending options ensures that the qualifying and approval process goes quickly and smoothly. APPLY NOW

BIG Bank Loan Officers versus SAFE ACT Licensed Loan Officers? You Make the Choice!

Washington has been busy protecting consumers from bad lenders right? Well, not really. While they have done a few things right, they have also done a lot wrong. One of the biggest mistakes has come in Loan Officer licensing requirements. Sadly, the general perception by the public as to who is the better lender choice is completely wrong. Most people feel the brokers and the non-bank mortgage lenders have created all the problems. This is mostly because of what the politicians and their big banker friends like to say, not something based on actual facts.

Consider the fact that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and banks make the rules, and the banks review, underwrite, and fund the loans for brokers. So who is fooling who? Fat cat banking industry lobbyist are spending your tax dollar with their bail-out money to portrays themselves as innocent victims, and have done a wonderful job getting that incorrect message sent to Washington.

Effective January 1, 2011 all Mortgage Bankers and Mortgage Brokers across the county were required to meet new strict standard, and to be licensed according to the S.A.F.E. Act., that is UNLESS they work at one of the big banks!

An exemption in the consumer protection laws allows Loan Officers at the big Interstate Chartered Banks to NOT have to follow the same rules! Who are these banks? All the big names (Wells Fargo, US Bank, Chase, Bank of America, etc.), plus plenty of smaller ones.

Now I am not trying to make this into a David versus Goliath story, but I am trying to emphasize the huge differences and implications this change will have on the consumer. As the new requirements have been rolling out across the country, many of the current Loan Officers who have been unable to meet the new requirements, and especially those who have failed the new tests, have simply gone to the large banks to work.

Calling "1-800-Big-Bank" to get a loan???  YIKES

Here is a chart to show the differences:

  SAFE ACT Loan Officers
Bank Loan Officers (RMLO's)
Have Personal License Yes No
Registered in NMLS Yes Yes
FBI Background Yes No
Fingerprinted Yes Yes
Surety Bonded Yes No
Pre-Employment education Yes No
8 hours continuing education each year Yes No
Personal Credit checked Yes No
Pass Tough State Test Yes No
Pass Tough Federal Test Yes No
Complaint mechanism's Yes No
Licensing  fees and renewals Yes No
Loan Officer Designation MLO RMLO
NMLS = Nationwide Mortgage Lender System and Registry
MLO = Mortgage Loan Officer (Licensed and Trained)
RMLO = Registered Mortgage Loan Officer (simply registered)

I think the choice is clear.  Who would YOU rather be working with on the largest financial transaction of your life? A fully trained, licensed, fingerprinted, and background checked Loan Officer - or the unlicensed, untrained Loan Officer at the bank?

The funny part is the cost for the service based on rates and fees are usually about the same, if not slightly cheaper in both rate and costs. Plus non-bank lenders usually close the loans faster, and have more knowledgeable and experienced Loan Officers.

The best S.A.F.E. ACT Loan Officer (non-Bank) analogy I can use is having a choice of working with an experienced CPA to do your taxes vs. you using Turbo Tax to do it yourself, but paying the same price.

Finally, THIS IS A CLEAR REASON why people should follow my #1 mortgage shopping rule: GOOGLE THE NAME OF YOUR LOAN OFFICER before allowing them to handle the largest financial transaction of your life!

CHECK YOUR LOAN OFFICER OUT on the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry

All Loan Officers must have and display an NMLS number. The display of the NMLS number may make many people believe the Loan Officer is licensed. Sadly, this isn't true, and working with an unlicensed, untrained Loan Officer can cause you many headaches and hassles.

Simply put, Loan Officers at Banks, most Credit Unions, or Mortgage Companies owned by a bank are NOT REQUIRED to be licensed, take classes, take continuing education, or pass any state or federally mandated tests to be a Loan Officer!

It is hard to determine if the Loan Officer is simply registered, versus licensed. When looking up a loan officer, you have to go to the bottom of their NMLS identification page and look under State Licenses/Registrations or Federal Registration heading.

  • A LICENSED Loan Officer will say "State Licenses/Registrations" and will have one or more STATES listed with all their state licensing information listed.

  • An UNLICENSED, but simply REGISTERED Loan Officer will say "Federal Registration" and the something like "Federal Mortgage Loan Originator".

Call us now to find out the advantage correspondent DIRECT lending can mean for you on your home loan for properties in Minneapolis, St Paul, Duluth, Rochester, Madison, Milwaukee, all of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota!

  Equal Housing Lender

Policies, Procedures, Disclaimers

33 Wentworth Ave E - Suite 290
St Paul, MN 55118

(651) 552-3681  

Member in Good Standings, National Association of Mortgage Brokers Read our weekly Mortgage Market review Minneapolis / Saint Paul Business Journal has recognized Mortgages Unlimited as one of the top 25 locally owned mortgage lenders in Minnesota. Who are you thinking of doing business with? Top Mortgage Lenders in Minneapolis St Paul MN Member in Good Standings, Minnesota Mortgage Association

My services available only for properties located in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota. PLEASE DO NOT KEEP US A SECRET from your FRIENDS. Licensed as Mortgages Unlimited, Inc. Nationwide Mortgage License # 225504. Joe Metzler NMLS Originator Lic # 274132. As a Lenders One partner, we are part of the 3rd Largest Retail Mortgage Originators in the country. We are consistently ranked as one of the top mortgage lenders in Minnesota by Minneapolis St Paul Business Journal. Any use or duplication of any materials is  strictly prohibited.  All images, text, and materials Copyright 1998 - 2019 Joe Metzler. This is the private web site of Joe Metzler, NMLS #274132. All Rights Reserved.

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