Wow, what should we conclude here? It is either that employees are clueless, nobody wants to commit and/or the system is completely dysfunctional! Call me naive/optimistic but my inquiry with one bank had a mortgage agent (with almost 40 years there) specifically indicate the kind of discretion is available and another one at another bank with almost similar experience answering all my questions with "I'll need to ask the director". I agree with valuemortgage (A.O.) Post 36589, I've found in my dealings over the last few years depends almost entirely on the branch. Employees are either committed/career folks or "young professionals"(being polite). Finding the right branch gets frustrating but patience can be rewarded. One "adviser" even indicated that having given somebody else the green light to make a credit check for a mortgage greatly diminished the odds of getting a good offer from them (insert shock emoji).
My takeaway: Shop around. Don't hesitate to ask a mortgage broker and/or call a few places. Losing a few points on your credit score is well worth a saving thousands of dollars over the next decade. Do the same with insurance and cars!