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From the Publisher's Page


Financial Literacy Month


This issue falls in Financial Literacy Month. It's a funny thing that, given the complexities of modern finance, something so important is so often neglected in our schools. After all, it goes far beyond just learning to balance a checkbook. The ABA Foundation's Teach Children to Save program aims to correct that, but there is still more that could, and should be done. In this issue, we talk about the experience banks are offering their customers, which is important, but what are you, as bankers, doing to prepare the next generation? That is a question only you can answer, but I will tell you one thing: times are changing, the way people look at money and banking is changing, and if you want to remain relevant, you need to address those changes.


With those changes in your customers, you will also see changes in your workforce. How are you attracting Millenials to your business? After all, that group is becoming a dominant force in today's workforce and they don't play by the same rules as the baby boomers, Gen Xers, and so on. We'll be talking about that, looking at how cumbersome regulations are affecting your business, but on the fun side, we're also going to take a look back at the recent 2017 MBA BEST Conference.

There's a lot going on in this issue, and a lot to think about.


Best Wishes to All,


Greg O’Neil

Publisher, Great Lakes Banker


The May 2017 Issue:

Coming Soon to a

Mailbox Near You!!!

On the Cover of Great Lakes Banker

Funding Loans with Top Flite Funding


Helping depository institutions offer a complete line of mortgage products, retain their customers, increase profits and remain competitive with larger banks without the traditional risks or associated costs.


Michigan-based Mortgage Banker Top Flite Financial (TFF) was started in an eighty square foot home office in 2002 by Tim and Tracie Baise. Since its inception, Top Flite has grown to more than 50 retail office locations nationwide, with roughly 340 employees in 34 states. The same husband and wife team who launched the company are still the first employees in the door everyday, serving as President/CEO, and COO, respectively. Their steadfast commitment to upholding the highest compliance standards, and unwillingness to settle for anything less, has been the driving force behind the company’s growth and continued success, which remained strong even through the worst economic times the mortgage and real estate world has ever faced.


“TFF was exclusively a mortgage broker during its first five full years in business,” said Tim Baise, President and CEO. “It wasn’t until mid-2008, after the mortgage meltdown, that we strapped on our mortgage banking boots and began underwriting and closing loans in our own name. I could see where the industry was headed, leading to this very calculated and perfectly-timed decision. We didn’t play in the dirty sandbox so we were able to focus on moving forward, rather than spending time and effort recovering from the past.”


In 2008, Top Flite Financial obtained its Title II Non-Supervised fully delegated HUD approval, unrestricted warehouse lines, and many fully-delegated correspondent approvals. In August 2009, TFF obtained its National USDA approval, and in early 2010 TFF hired its first SAR underwriter and obtained its VA Automatic approval.

“Today,” said Baise, “our corporate staff consists of 51 incredibly awesome, friendly, and extremely knowledgeable mortgage banking professionals who are perfectly placed to give banks and mortgage clients the best possible loan level experience.”


Focus on Compliance and Quality

“Howard Lax, Esq., of Bodman PLC, is one of the preeminent mortgage attorneys in America and has been TFF's legal counsel since the beginning,” said Baise. “As a result, Top Flite Financial, Inc. has maintained a firm commitment to compliance and quality control above all else, which is why TFF routinely incurs additional costs to ensure that the loans delivered are of the highest quality.”

According to Baise, every file received immediately goes to the Quality Control Department for an initial screening before being passed to the Underwriting Department. During the Initial Compliance screening, each new file is put through a 57-point review that includes, but is not limited to, Initial Disclosure compliance, pulling a MERS report for potential undisclosed properties, running Intherthinx FraudGUARD/PredProtect and Mavent report(s), along with ordering a 4506T on all borrowers. Before the file is submitted to the Closing Department, it must pass a second and completely separate 31-point Final Compliance screening performed by completely different staff members than the Initial Compliance personnel. During the Final Compliance screening, each file will include final Intherthinx FraudGUARD/PredProtect and Mavent report(s), MERS, Credit Report Soft Pull, and a final verbal VOE. Once the loan has funded, it is immediately sent to their Post–Closing Compliance Department for a thorough audit. TFF also supplies at minimum 10% of all closed and denied loans to a third party Compliance Company for additional post-closing reviews. These preventive measures have allowed TFF to maintaining a default ratio that is less than 1%, and is a primary factor in TFF’s continued success.


By not offering all loan types, banks hurt themselves in two main ways. First, telling a customer “No” sends mixed signals. Customers in general will almost always think twice about any relationship after being refused. Second, that customer will most certainly continue shopping to find a company that will help them. In 99% of these cases, that company will end up being a larger bank or credit union that has the resources. The customer is lost, ultimately getting their loan elsewhere.  That is where the problem starts, and it quickly grows from there. These larger banks begin building their relationship with the customer with a loan. Then they solicit the customer to open a bank account for automatic payments. In fact, many will even incentivize the customer by giving them a better rate to do so. Then comes the credit card offers, insurance, CD’s, auto loans, bi-weekly payment plans, and more, which results in growth for the larger bank and the loss of the home town customers of the smaller banks. This is a sad reality and one that they feel needs to be stopped.


Story continues here.

Great Lakes Banker is published by Michigan Banker LLC © 2016