An All-Too-Common Story

I want to share this story with you: It had been three years since Clara Chauteco and her husband’s bankruptcy when they finally decided to buy a home again in the rural-area of Campo, California in San Diego county. Excitedly, the couple diligently searched for a mortgage lender and filled out a few online forms. The only response they received was from the Bank of England. That’s when, Clara says, the frustration began.

“It was nothing but a run-around for three months before our home loan was cancelled at the last minute,” says Clara. “That’s when the seller told us about his lender, who was awesome, and asked if he could put us in touch. He sent us over to Herman Harring at imortgage in San Diego. Harring said he had no idea why the bank lender had been so much trouble because our credit was perfect and everything was fine.”

In sharp contrast, Harring and imortgage closed the Chauteco’s USDA-backed mortgage in three short weeks allowing them to save the deal and purchase the home they wanted.

The inability of big banks to accommodate borrowers like the Chauteco’s is not uncommon.

“Approximately twenty percent of the loans we close every month are referred by banks that won’t close the loan for one reason or another,” says Michael Stowers, branch manager of the San Diego imortgage office where Harring works. “We have more than 200 programs to choose from, allowing us to fit each homebuyer’s unique financial situation.”

Another San Diego county homebuyer, Sam Abbas, had a similar frustrating experience.

“My wife and I were interested in buying a new home and noticed that all the new homes being built by a local home buyer were almost sold out.  So we jumped on the last corner lot. Although we are both college professors, we hadn’t done our homework on the mortgage process,” explains Abbas. “We had just bought a minivan, so it was a huge credit inquiry and new debt.

We worked with the bank that held our checking accounts, and brought a pre-approval letter to the new homebuilder. They insisted we talk to their preferred mortgage lender first. That’s when the nightmare began – the amount of paperwork, notification and time spent on this. It dragged on for a month, and then the lender denied us because of our faculty status and tax deductions. Then we worked with another mortgage company who also denied us for similar reasons.”

Finally, the homebuilder referred Abbas to non-bank lender imortgage, where Harring closed the loan within three weeks. “It was such a nerve-wracking experience but a delightful outcome,” says Abbas.

Stowers speculates that customized loan programs and personal service are key reasons why imortgage is now the second largest mortgage lender in California, out-pacing Bank of America and second only to Wells Fargo.

“We’ve seen all kinds of unfortunate scenarios including clients stuck in motels because the loan to buy their home fell through,” says Stowers. “We are passionate about helping our clients avoid the unnecessary pain and suffering we see so often from banks and credit unions. All we do are mortgage loans, so we’re really good at saving people money and time, and solving problems others can’t.”

About The Author


Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at