The mortgage underwriting process is the final, extensive review phase of a home loan application before a lender approves and funds a mortgage. The homeowner typically has little to no direct contact with underwriters as their reviews are performed behind the scenes.
The job of mortgage underwriters is to conduct a thorough review of one's application details, including existing debts, assets and income. They verify stated income and obtain copies of bank and loan accounts. It is the underwriter who ultimately decides whether an applicant's information is accurate and whether he meets the lending criteria established by the bank.
The underwriter gets a completed loan application file from the mortgage broker or consultant. This is the person who the typical applicant meets with to get pre-approval before making an offer on a home. The consultant's job is to screen an application and credit rating to determine whether a person can get a loan, and at what amount. If the consultant does a good job and the applicant is honest, the underwriting process is often a formality. Banks don't want to waste two to three weeks reviewing an application that has little chance of getting approved. The underwriter just wants to protect against a bad financial investment.