For years, national lenders have been moving towards centralizing the review and underwriting function. This has also brought in appraisal management companies, whose sales pitch is primarily convenience and cost savings. I have always maintained that these centralized operations cause the lender to lose touch with their local markets. Every market has certain housing characteristics and quirks.
Angelo R. Mozilo, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Countrywide Financial Corporation who was interviewed on 06/03/2005 by the NYSE made specific references to the practice of centralized underwriting.
Our competitors have decided that the most efficient way to operate is to centralize. So if you buy a co-op in Manhattan that loan may be processed in Des Moines, Iowa. If you deal with Countrywide that loan is processed pretty close to where your co-op is in Manhattan. We believe that our operation should be local even though we have national power and national strength. All of our operations, they’re very localized. Because each of the communities in The United States, whether it be Manhattan, New York or Manhattan, Kansas are very, very different in their needs. And house values are very different. Cultures are very different. And we want to make sure that our operations matches the needs of the community.