I recently referred a client to a loan officer, and before he would call the guy he said, "Is this guy with a reputable company that is with and not some fly by night place?"

My response: "Reputable?  You mean like Countrywide?  Lehman Brothers?  Or maybe AIG?" 

We both had a laugh and of course he realized that no matter how big or reputable a company may seem to be, there is no way to know if the company will be around very long.  But one thing I have noticed is that the good loan officers who have done a good job for the last 10 years are still around. They may have gone from one big bank to another, to a small broker, to a consolidated lender - but they are still there.  The bad ones are now waiting tables. 

I know one lender who went from Finance Factors to First Horizon home loans to Met life bank to American Savings Bank.  And she is still doing a great job and hasn't dropped the ball once.  Another loan officer I use has gone from Countrywide to Bank of Hawaii to Wells to Honolulu Home loans.  And he is still the same reliable guy. 

The lesson here - you can usually trust your loan officer even if his or her company fails.  It's not the company you're most concerned about, it's the actual loan officer.  the LO is the one who mostly determines your fate.  The rate, points, terms, etc., are mostly determined by what the LO can do with your information. You can almost always trust a good loan officer no matter where he goes. 

The opposite is also true - if you get a bad loan officer (there are many!) then it doesn't matter how good the company is and how long they are around.  A shark is a shark in any waters.

Lesson for my clients - don't just call some huge company or credit union and expect to get a good deal.  Find a good loan officer and stick with them.