We are a Banker NOT a Broker – So, What’s the Difference?

Couple signing loan at Residential Mortgage Network

Residential Mortgage Network is a mortgage banker, not a broker. There are very distinct “operational” differences which impact the time it takes to obtain a loan approval, making it an important consideration to our customers and business partners.

Bankers vs. Brokers

A mortgage banking company “makes the loan decision” and is burdened with the risk. A mortgage broker assigns the loan decision to a mortgage banker. We appreciate opportunities to explain the difference, because we feel it helps people understand the edge it gives us in the industry. We are proud to be a banker, which allows us to provide such great products, interest rates and an efficient process in this market.

A mortgage banker closes a loan in its own name. The mortgage banker may retain the loan to service (collect the mortgage payments), or may subsequently sell the loan on the secondary market. Even local banks sell loans on the secondary market if it is a fixed rate. At RMN, we choose the home loan programs and interest rates based on the lenders we sell to – it makes us very competitive because we have several options of where to sell a loan, not just one or two. We maintain the control of loan approvals, underwriting and loan closings. 

The Benefits of a Mortgage Bank

The biggest benefit to working with a mortgage bank – especially a local lender like RMN – is that we are able to offer local programs and grants that mortgage brokers and online lenders cannot access. Another major benefit of working with Residential Mortgage Network specifically is our in-house underwriting and loan process. Our entire staff is under one roof – from pre-approval to loan application to processing to underwriting to closing.

If a lender is acting as a broker or is a larger institution, they typically send their loans out of the office for underwriting. The process does work, but often with delays in the loan approval process, which has nothing to do with the program a borrower has chosen, but everything to do with the lender’s process. At RMN, we aren’t waiting on an underwriter in another office location, another city or another state. It’s all right here. We see each other every day and communicate about what takes priority. This enables us to typically handle rush requests with ease.

Online vs. Local Lenders

While we are comparing mortgage companies, it is important to also discuss the differences between online and local lenders. Like mentioned above, working with a local lender gives buyers access to local benefits. We also know the local market, the Realtors, attorneys, appraisers, etc. and have built relationships with the major players in the local industry. Because of this, we are able to communicate better and get things done for our buyers. Online lenders do not know anything about the Iowa market. They do not have a brick and mortar in Iowa nor do they understand the market. Some of the largest online lenders in the industry have headquarters in New York City or Detroit.

Additionally, it is often harder to reach a loan officer or representative when working with these large corporations. Even if you can manage to reach an actual human, it is only after you’ve gone through an extensive phone menu that will hopefully connect you to the right person. At RMN, we will always answer your call right away and get you to the right person. If that person is not available, our staff is trained to find the answer to your question if possible so you don’t have to wait. Even if we need to call you back after we have clarified something, we most often can call you on the same day. Our office is staffed with real people, in person, every single day.

Loan Programs

Some brokers may tell you that certain loan programs take longer than others simply because they are not comfortable with the program or don’t understand it. Working with a local mortgage bank like RMN, we can close a VA or USDA Rural Development loan in 4 weeks just like we can for a Conventional or FHA loan. It doesn’t matter to us financially or procedurally which loan program you choose. We truly have your best interest at heart.

We don’t have any reason to guide you towards one program over another, except that we really believe it’s the best option for you. Unlike most lenders, we have the required authority to underwrite and approve all loan types on our own:

  • Conventional
  • VA
  • Rural Development (USDA)
  • FHA
  • First Time Home Buyer options
  • VA and IFA grants 


We’ve heard horror stories from customers who attempted to work with their current servicing company or an online broker and they were put on the back burner or hadn’t heard from the company in over a month, not to mention their higher rate and fees! At RMN, we treat every refinance the same as a purchase loan. You do not have to work with your current servicing company to refinance, it is possible to work with RMN again!

With our expertise and knowledge, we have streamlined the refinance process as well. Many loan programs such as FHA and RD have refinance options that don’t even require an appraisal! This makes the process easy, fast and inexpensive with very little documentation required. Do you have a VA loan? This program has one of the simplest options to refinance! It’s called a Streamlined Refinance – no income or asset verification is required – no appraisal is required – you simply pay basic closing costs (added to your loan) and you drop your interest rate and your payment! 

Get Started Today!

We have listened to the feedback our Realtor friends have given us over the years. We know how important financing and closing dates are to you and we are able to accommodate those dates because we retain control and underwrite these files ourselves. Don’t wait to switch from an inexperienced RD/VA/FHA lender. Let us get it done efficiently from the beginning. We are truly passionate about these programs and our customers and we will prove it to you during the process. If you are consistently closing loans with other lenders/brokers and struggling to meet your approval time lines, let us help you! We can do it!