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U.S. Underwriter Works From Israel

Approved Funding underwriter moves overseas

November 23, 2004


Talk about accommodating an employee.

New Jersey-based Approved Funding mortgage company has allowed its senior underwriter to work from home -- in Israel.

Senior Underwriter Daniel Altmark, a Staten Island native, recently moved his family to Israel.

"It's been a dream of ours to live in Israel," Altmark said in an email to MortgageDaily.com.

For Altmark to retain his position with Approved, the company had the computer networking system setup so he could underwrite loans with remote access from his home office.

"In many respects, it's like I'm working next door to the bank," Altmark explained in his email. "I have a local New Jersey phone number that works through my broadband connection, a local e-fax number that emails me the faxes and I connect remotely to the network. Instead of handing or shipping files to me, they scan it and email it."

Altmark began his employment with Approved Funding over two years ago as a loan officer but was quickly seen as more of a loan analyst than an originator. And despite public knowledge Altmark's future included plans to make Aliyah, the company trained him to be their first in-house underwriter.

"Daniel has the ability to quickly grasp a loan and analyze what it needs," said Approved Funding executive Shmuel Shayowitz. "He can cut to the chase, which is the true underwriting necessity. And we deemed that irreplaceable -- the ability to cut to the chase."

Shayowitz stated that the transition was a smooth one, and with today's technology Altmark has been able to increase productivity without the interoffice distractions. "It's turned into a win-win," Shayowitz said. "He's able to focus and underwrite more loans. And he can print out the underwriting commitments right at the branch (office).

Altmark agreed that the move has been a smooth one, but the time change has been a bit rough. "Working at home has been tough, especially since I work "American hours," which are seven hours behind in Israel," he explained. "I'm at home working from around 3:30 p.m. until after midnight on many days. My lunch break has turned into my dinner break."

"Probably the hardest part is telling my kids that I have to go to the office to work," he added. "And they know I am right there -- but they can't come in."

Approved was established in 1987 and began online lending with its mortgage Web site in 2000. The East Coast lender said it uses automated underwriting technology on almost 90% of the loans submitted for approval.

Shayowitz said the company's primary niche is Alt-A.

Paula Parisot is a freelance writer for MortgageDaily.com. In addition to 4 years' journalism experience at other news publications, Paula has worked in the mortgage industry. Email Paula at: [email protected]

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