Mortgage File Audit Procedures
Mortgage auditors must review loan applications, property appraisals and title documents.
If your company issues home mortgages, you may occasionally need to hire an auditor to review your files. Mortgage file audits serve as quality control for internal purposes or external validation for publicly traded companies that must report to a regulatory agency. A mortgage audit looks at your application, review and funding procedures to make sure all applicable laws are followed, all data are accurate and the credit risk was acceptable. These audits are typically done annually, but some lending companies or regulatory agencies may prefer quarterly reviews.
The auditor will start by reviewing your approval criteria for new mortgages to ensure that none of your practices are discriminatory and the risk level is appropriate. He will typically make a list of the minimum requirements for credit, income, appraisal value, debt-to-income ratio and any other key metrics your company uses for evaluation. This will be used as a reference for reviewing individual loan applications later in the audit.
The audit must also include a review of the credit reports used to approve mortgages. You should have credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Verify that the correct names and Social Security numbers are listed and that no other aliases or suffixes are causing confusion with another person’s credit report. All forms of credit should have been included in the debt-to-income ratio calculations. The auditor will also compare the borrower’s credit score with your company’s minimum requirements for approval.
It is easiest to verify the income of traditional workers who receive W-2 forms at the end of the year. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals make the task more difficult for lenders and auditors. For these borrowers, the auditor will need to look at bank statements, tax returns, dividends and interest and retirement plan distributions to determine their total income. He will compare the income from your documentation to the income used during the approval process.
A portion of the mortgage audit should also be dedicated to analyzing the appraisal, mortgage insurance and title search on the property that’s used as collateral for the loan. The appraised value must be sufficient to cover the entire balance of the loan unless additional property is pledged as collateral. The mortgage file should include copies of comparable sales and a description of the valuation method the appraiser used to prepare his report, along with a confirmation of the size of the property and any buildings located on the site. The auditor will also request a copy of the title report and mortgage insurance policy for the property in question. The title report should not show any outstanding claims, liens or other defects.
All relevant documentation must be kept in the mortgage file, such as the sales contract, trust deed, escrow instructions, loan documents and closing statement. The closing statement should include a breakdown of the closing costs and seller’s contribution to these costs. Look for unusual items in the contract, such as personal property added as collateral. Make sure the contract still fits within the approval guidelines.
When the auditor is finished, he will prepare a report detailing the results of the review. The report will identify areas of weakness in the company’s approval and lending procedures. The auditor will recommend possible corrections for any issues he discovers during the audit. A follow-up audit may be scheduled to make sure the company has implemented all of the recommended solutions.
About the Author
Denise Sullivan has been writing professionally for more than five years after a long career in business. She has been published on Yahoo! Voices and other publications. Her areas of expertise are business, law, gaming, home renovations, gardening, sports and exercise.