Magazine article American Banker

Closing Fast: Castle & Cooke's Three-Day Pledge

Magazine article American Banker

Closing Fast: Castle & Cooke's Three-Day Pledge

Article excerpt

Byline: Kate Berry

As refinancing requests gum up the works at many home lenders, Castle & Cooke Mortgage LLC is promising borrowers that it can close most loans within three days of receiving an application.

Matthew Pineda, the Salt Lake City company's president, said a completely paperless system and accommodation by its warehouse lenders, appraisers, and title companies have allowed Castle & Cooke to accomplish this feat.

Observers said big lenders, including Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of America Corp.'s Countrywide Financial Corp., take 45 to 60 days to close a loan.

Many lenders have antiquated loan origination systems and have cut back on production staff in recent years. That has made handling a recent spike in applications difficult as historically low interest rates entice borrowers to refinance.

Mr. Pineda, who calls himself "a total psycho-obsessive freak for service," said it takes his company's two underwriters just 30 minutes to vet an application. (It has a total of 168 employees.) Each underwriter uses two computer screens and a mouse to navigate through digitally scanned documents, which typically run 150 pages per loan.

"If you're thumbing through a paper loan file, you spend a lot of time rummaging through the documents," Mr. Pineda said. "But we can click on the document and the section you want pops right up in front of you and takes away the desk work of moving through a file, so they move very fast through underwriting."

Not all loans can close so quickly, however. Castle & Cooke's three-day guarantee is conditional on credit approval; the receipt of W-2 forms and pay stubs as well as an appraisal; a clear preliminary title; and proper insurance coverage, Mr. Pineda said. "I'm totally subject to appraisers and title companies, and I hope that they'll staff up so we can continue at the pace we're on. …

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