STAMFORD, Conn. – After a lengthy career with escalating responsibility that took Darlene Lee into board rooms and away from mortgage origination, the New Canaan woman has returned to her roots of helping people get mortgages in her new role as a senior mortgage loan officer with the Washington Trust Co. in Stamford.
“I really do enjoy this aspect of the mortgage business,’’ Lee said. “There’s marketing, sales, meeting with customers and keeping up-to-date on the finance world. It’s relationship driven, both internally and externally.”
Lee joined Washington Trust in December. The bank is the largest independent bank in Rhode Island, and one of the premier financial institutions in the region. It is the oldest community bank in the nation and one of the oldest public companies listed on the stock market.
Washington Trust has three other locations in Connecticut. The Stamford office is dedicated exclusively to lending, and Lee jumped at the chance to return to her passion. Besides fixed and adjustable rate mortgages, Lee can also offer loans for foreign nationals, non-warrantable condominiums, trusts and asset depletion, and construction loans. One of Washington Trust’s primary advantages is its quick closings.
“We can start the process at the beginning of the month and be finished by the end of it,’’ Lee said. Washington Trust also makes its decisions locally.
“Washington Trust truly is portfolio lenders,’’ she said. “They have old time lending ethics, and can provide some great opportunities for homeowners.”
In her first few months with Washington Trust, Lee has found the bank responsive to the needs of borrowers. “They turn loans around quickly,’’ she said. “They won’t put people in an automated system. I writeup a loan request and give it to the credit officers for review and a decision, in most cases the same day. That’s the kind of fast acting analysis you can’t put into an automated system. They’re all about customer service.”
Lee said Washington Trust saw synergy between Fairfield County and its base in Westerly, R.I., right over the Connecticut border near Stonington. Now, Lee is challenged with finding borrowers who have not yet taken advantage of the historically low interest rates and find solutions for them or those who want to purchase or construct a new home.
“I like the challenge of having the conversation with customers and finding out their needs,’’ she said. “There are a lot of people out there who feel they don’t have a problem, but with the new lending guidelines and regulations a lot of borrowers do not meet these new requirements. There are self-employed borrowers, people who have recently changed jobs and so on. They don’t fit into a square box. You have to listen to customers and think outside the box. We’re a different kind of lender; we listen and go outside that box. It’s my job to show you how we can help.”
Lee can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 203-970-7176.