*Special Servicers Prove Their Worth*
**By Tony Garritano**
***As we look at special Servicers like Wingspan Portfolio Advisors and others, they are serving an important role. In particular, Wingspan believes that its pattern of growth and leadership tells the story of special servicing’s rapid evolution within the mortgage industry. With primary servicers required to manage many areas for which they were never designed or equipped, component and special servicers like Wingspan were asked to step up and help out. According to Wingspan’s senior management, special servicers did just that, carving out an important role for their industry sector in the process. Wingspan points to several milestones and events during 2012 that underscore their point.
“When Wingspan was founded in 2008, we had a good idea of the range of services we would be asked to provide, so we built flexible infrastructure and systems to allow rapid growth,” says Steven Horne, Wingspan CEO and president. “This ability to continually adapt to our clients’ needs and provide a wide range of strategic services to assist in every aspect of loan servicing has allowed us to substantially expand our footprint.”
Horne believes the growth pattern at Wingspan tracks the servicing industry’s need for component pieces of the overall special servicing puzzle, as well as the industry’s ability to provide highly expert people who are accustomed to improving outcomes in worst case scenarios.
“As the need for compliance and oversight grew, we were able to take on a number of the tasks required of impacted servicers in a short period of time,” Horne explains. “We hired, trained and deployed hundreds of people focused on specific problems and equipped them with the technology needed to be effective immediately. This capability was well-timed for many of our clients.”
Chief Operating Officer Ed Delgado joined Wingspan earlier this year from the Five Star Institute, which he led as CEO, following lengthy careers at Wells Fargo and Freddie Mac.
“The importance of special or component servicing continues to grow,” Delgado says. “Current market conditions and circumstance have given rise to the need for strategic servicing partners that operate in a high touch dynamic environment.”
“As recently as 2010, we had to explain what special servicers did,” observes Horne. “That simply isn’t the case any longer. We’ve become trusted partners for the primary servicers now, and this will be the case for the foreseeable future.”
Delgado also notes the special servicer’s role in bringing innovation and technology to the mortgage servicing space.
“Special servicers, like Wingspan, played an important role in promoting short sales as a viable alternative to foreclosure. The increased popularity of this solution demonstrates a possible stabilization of the market, and a balanced approach to loss prevention,” says Delgado. “Here again, special servicing promotes rapid scalability and task diversification, and Wingspan is developing technology to manage information and analysis in an effort to isolate and address emerging risk. It is critical to provide value for clients and consumers alike – and at the foundation this has become the new business model for special servicers.”
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.