Debunking "Banks Give Better Deals Than Brokers"

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Banker loans are better deals - for the bank.

Ken Harney has an article Study Shows Loan Brokers' Better Side

But now a new, independent academic study has concluded the opposite: According to a team of researchers headed by Georgetown University's Gregory Elliehausen, home mortgage applicants with less-than-perfect credit pay lower financing costs when they obtain their mortgages through brokers rather than from loan officers directly employed by lenders. The same pattern holds true for African American, Hispanic and low-income borrowers.

The study was limited to subprime borrowers, but the results are not surprising:

Overall, broker loans cost 1.13 points less for first mortgages, 1.98 less for second mortgages

For borrowers in predominantly black areas, the difference was 1 point and 1.9 points, respectively.

For borrowers in predominantly hispanic areas, the difference was 2 points and 2.4 points. The explanation as to why this gap is larger is probably as simple as the fact that many of these folks limit themselves to dealing with Spanish speakers.

Skolnik added, though, that the data overall could reflect that "brokers in general operate in a much lower-cost structure" compared with banks and retail mortgage companies that carry heavy overhead and employee costs. Moreover, he said, "brokers are far more agile and nimble than retail" lenders, when pushed to compete on pricing and terms.

That and any given lender may have anywhere from a dozen loan programs to fifty, all intended to hit specific niches and priced for given underwriting assumptions. A 3/1 is different from a 7/1 is different from a 30 year fixed, stated income is different from full doc is different from NINA. That's nine programs right there, and this is A paper stuff. Subprime is even more varied. It doesn't matter if you barely meet guidelines or soar through them. If you find a program with tougher underwriting guidelines that you still qualify for, than that lender will give you a better rate on the loan, because they will have fewer of them go sour, and therefore get a better rate on the secondary market. You can go around to all the lenders yourself - or you can go to a broker.

Furthermore, even if you're one of those so slick that you fit into the top loan category of the toughest lender, brokers can typically get you a better price. Why? Two reasons. First, the lenders don't have to pay broker's overhead, making it more cost effective for the lender to do the same business through the broker. Second, and more importantly, when you walk into a lender's office, they regard you as a "captive" client. Brokers know better. Brokers are not captive to anyone, and they know that you're not captive to them. A good broker's loan officer will price with at least a dozen lenders. I had shopped fifty or more for tough loans, even before automatic pricing engines. Furthermore, there's an efficiency factor at work. After a while, a good loan officer learns which lenders are likely to have good rates for a given type of client. Which do you, as a client, think is likely to be the best use of your time and resources? Going to all those lenders yourself, or going to a few brokers?

This article of mine is also highly relevant to this article's subject matter.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on June 14, 2014 8:00 AM.

Mortgages: General Concerns and Manufactured Housing was the previous entry in this blog.

Racial Gap In Home Loans is the next entry in this blog.

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