In a commoditized industry where mortgage lenders compete on rate and pricing, Manasquan Bank’s Senior Vice President & Director of Residential Lending, Robert Hart adds two more criteria into the decision making process: quick lending decisions and service excellence. “We do what we can, when we can to expedite the process,” he says, noting that Manasquan Bank is already highly competitive on loan costs.
“We understand applying for a mortgage is an emotional process and time is of the essence. Our entire team is committed to efficiently processing loan requests,” says Hart.
In October 2015, a new set of disclosure regulations took effect, nicknamed TRID (TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule). The new rule requires easier-to-use mortgage disclosure forms that clearly lay out the terms of a mortgage for a homebuyer. While that’s great news for the homebuyer, the new regulations make it more laborious and costly for mortgage lenders.
Hart notes that many larger institutions are curtailing their mortgage lending because of the costs. Manasquan Bank has added staff to support the new compliance regulations without burdening customers with additional charges.
Manasquan Bank is able to issue mortgage commitments within 20 days (industry standard is 30 days). “We pride ourselves on giving quick and accurate answers,” says Hart.
Hart also explains that his team provides many loans that regional and national banks can’t do because of tighter profit margins and loan complexities. “Labor intensive loans like construction loans, are very difficult to get from national banks, regional banks and even some smaller institutions because they’re not profitable enough for them. We consider not only the loan itself but also the opportunity to build a more extensive, lasting banking relationship.”
The Monmouth and Ocean County market is unique in that many homeowners require building lot and construction loans because of the damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Manasquan Bank has remained committed to the rebuild. Right after the storm, Hart and his team were in the affected areas visually inspecting homes, so that they could quickly issue insurance checks to their customers. “Sandy was a good test of our service capabilities. While we hope to never experience a storm like that again, it helped us to fine tune and streamline our processes,” says Hart.
Hart serves as the Vice President for the Coastal Habitat for Humanity’s Board of Directors. In 2016, he says that Manasquan Bank will assume the servicing of their loans at no cost to the non-profit. The new TRID disclosure regulation has made it more costly and complex for Coastal Habitat for Humanity to process their own loans as they’ve done in the past.
Robert Hart has over 34 years of experience in the banking industry, working for lenders such as City Federal Savings, OceanFirst Bank, Central Jersey Bank, and Sovereign Bank. He’s been at home at Manasquan Bank now for 5 years. The residential lending group has an average of 22 years of experience per person. That makes for a well-seasoned team that knows how to adapt to various challenges. That being said, their greatest accomplishments are seeing the positive impact they make in the community and making sure the people they serve are happy and satisfied.