Loan processing made easy
By Lisa Scontras
It’s intimidating. Credit checks, appraisals, closing costs, qualification ratios and strict underwriting guidelines, not to mention the mountains of paperwork. If the difficult loan process has you in a holding pattern or procrastinating when it comes to refinancing for a lower mortgage interest rate or buying your first home, you’re not alone.
Let’s face it: The loan process can be downright scary. New regulations and tighter underwriting sometimes makes it more cumbersome for borrowers to apply. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Having a personal banker from First Hawaiian Bank on your side can make all the difference in the world.
Putt and Susan Richards have purchased four homes and refinanced four times in the last 24 years. Their goal recently was to refinance their first mortgage, which would enable them to lower their interest rate and pull out some cash from their home. They contacted George R. Pascual, assistant vice president and personal banking officer at First Hawaiian Bank, and were so impressed at all he did to help streamline the process.
“The process was a bit more cumbersome than we have previously experienced due to the (economic) collapse sever al years back,” says Putt Richards. “The amount of paperwork increased substantially. But George was very good at explaining all the changes. He handled everything superbly. He was able to explain what was happening, how long it would take. He was great.
“We live on the North Shore so sometimes it was inconvenient for us to come downtown,” he adds. “George was great at messengering documents out to us and even met us in Waihiawa for the closing.”
Customers like the Richards appreciate the outstanding service they get from their personal banker at First Hawaiian Bank. Taking care of its customers needs is what gives First Hawaiian Bank the edge. Each customer is assigned a relationship banker and loan servicing is done here locally.
“We take care of our customers. We have always tried to do what we thought was best for our customers,” says Joy McLaughlin, senior vice president and manager of the residential real estate department at First Hawaiian Bank. “We are not driven by the latest craze in lending.”
Two years ago, Bret Bartee and his wife found a piece of land on the North Shore, where they wanted to build their dream home. With the help of Grace Cobb, assistant vice president and personal banking officer at First Hawaiian Bank’s Kalihi branch, Bartee was able to apply for a construction loan that would ultimately convert to a 30-year fixed rate loan when their dream home construction was complete.
“Grace guided us through the entire process,” says Bartee. “Without her expertise and knowledge, I do not think we would have been able to overcome some of the challenges we incurred. I cannot empha-size how invaluable it is to have a local bank and establishing a local team to guide you through building a home.
“I have worked with several banks and loan officers over the years and I cannot say enough good things about the service that Grace provided,” added Bartee, who along with his wife moved into their new home last month. “She went the extra mile where others would have not. At the end of the day, we could not be happier with our new house and our newfound friends at First Hawaiian Bank.”
Another client, C.K. Lam, is a small-business owner, who remembers how Cobb’s customer service won him over.
“When I need information, I need it now from whoever can answer my calls,” says Lam. “Grace and her staff are always there to answer my questions, and (she) even goes above and beyond to solve my problems. Her responsiveness impresses me.”
When Lam and his wife wanted to purchase a home in October 2011, selecting First Hawaiian Bank was a natural choice.
“The loan process was trouble free,” Lam recalls. “Our daily lives are hectic, but she did everything for us.
“They were never forceful or gave me any pressure,” he says. “It felt just like meeting another friend. As a Japanese proverb says, ‘A road is never long with a friend by your side.'”
Leonard Fernandes, assistant vice president and manager of the Residential Credit Center at First Hawaiian Bank, says customers appreciate that their focus is all about making a difference in people’s lives, taking care of their needs, making the process easier.
“If you are interested in home ownership, then move forward in the process — don’t be intimidated by the home buying process,” he says. “A First Hawaiian Bank personal banker will be glad to help you get prequalified and find out how much you can afford, then pre-qualify you for a loan amount that you are comfortable with.
“In fact, when I am working with someone on their mortgage payment, I always ask them how much of a mortgage they feel comfortable with? We review their expenses, current and future, and take a realistic look at their income. If they are currently renting, what are they paying in rent every month? It is a major commitment and they have to be thinking long term.”
Applying for a mortgage doesn’t have to be an intimidating experience. Check out the personal service from the dedicated personal bankers First Hawaiian Bank assigns to each mortgage loan processed. You just might find a new friend.