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Conquering Servicing Growth Pains

*Conquering Servicing Growth Pains*
**By Tony Garritano**

***I enjoy bringing you stories about how technology is making a clear difference. In this case specialty servicer Wingspan Poretfolio Advisors has been growing and growing. I know you’re thinking this is a problem I’d like to hae. But when you grow so much you do have to deal with new issues. Very simply put, as the default management business across the country experienced rapid growth, Wingspan Portfolio Advisors started to see a significant increase in the number of its clients that needed assistance managing their portfolios. Whether it was contacting borrowers or managing loss mitigation efforts or defaults, Wingspan needed the technology to assist in all of these processes. By using proven analytics accompanied by a personal touch, Wingspan was able to harness technology to develop an effective servicing strategy. Here’s how Wingspan overcame the pains associated with heavy growth:

****With its business rapidly expanding, Wingspan wanted to continue to provide its customers and consumers with the stellar service that they had become accustomed to receiving. That meant reevaluating its internal processes. Management determined the company needed a more efficient, automated way of conducting borrower outreach in its component services business. After considering four vendors, Wingspan decided that partnering with IndiSoft as its technology provider would help them reach their business goals. Not only did IndiSoft work with a mutual client, a leading mortgage insurance provider, it had the advanced technology and experienced team to assist Wingspan in achieving its customer contact goals. Furthermore, Wingspan had additional confidence in the technology’s capabilities since it knew that HOPE LoanPort uses the RxOffice platform, which connects 14 mortgage servicers managing more than 85 percent of the residential mortgages in the U.S. with 750 housing agencies and more than 3,800 counselors to assist distressed borrowers.

****As a result, IndiSoft customized its RxOffice Outsourcer module to meet Wingspan’s workflow needs by creating enhanced communications and increasing the level of transparency throughout their process. Extremely impressed with the product, Wingspan selected another IndiSoft module, RxOffice Short Sale Services, to improve the efforts of its Wingspan Real Estate Network (WREN). The RxOffice module aids WREN by managing and accelerating the short sale process, serving as a liaison among its national network of real estate agents and brokers. The module allows real estate professionals to see the status of each file loaded in the system. RxOffice Short Sale ensures that borrowers, brokers and title companies consistently remain up-to-date on the status of the process. While Wingspan is not the servicer of record on the loans, this technology allows the company to offer this component service as a value-add to its clients. With the growing requirements of programs, such as the HAFA and HAMP, RxOffice gives Wingspan the ability to act as a control tower for all participants, which results in a smoother process and more positive outcomes.

****Since Wingspan started working with IndiSoft in 2010, the company has significantly improved the efficiency of its short sale process and created much needed transparency between all parties involved in the loss mitigation and default process. By working closely with the IndiSoft team, Wingspan was also able to customize the technology to fit its default management processes. Because RxOffice is intuitive, Wingspan easily trained users and now experiences minimal errors.

****Wingspan has run approximately 30,000 to 35,000 assets through the RxOffice platform thus far and has gained considerable time and cost savings as indicated in the amount of time needed to gather information from homeowners from 45 to 60 minutes down to just 10 to 15 minutes.

****Wingspan also reduced the number of days for it short sales process, which it attributes to the use of RxOffice Short Sales Service; the decisioning process is down to 40 to 50 days, which is much quicker than the industry norm. Wingspan has reduced turn times on approvals by at least one-third from normal industry standards by using technology and rule-based systems. The company uses technology to obtain all documents and decisionable files with improved legibility, due to interactive packages. Additionally, deploying borrower portals and allowing different intake strategies through technology allows Wingspan to increase efficiency and compliance.

****In addition, because of Wingspan’s effective use of technology and its proven processes, 80 percent of the loans Wingspan has modified are still performing.

Preserving Home Ownership

*Partnership Looks To Preserve Home Ownership*
**Hope LoanPort Makes News**

***Hope LoanPort (HLP), the national, non-profit, Web-based mortgage solution tool used for streamlining loss mitigation applications, has partnered with GMAC Mortgage to launch Homeowner Connect (homeownerconnect.org). As a consumer direct Web portal, Homeowner Connect will standardize the entire communication life-cycle of loss mitigation activities between mortgage servicers and borrowers. Homeowners, who may be struggling with their mortgage, will have the ability to connect with valuable free resources, such as information on options via government and industry programs – all in one place and from any computer with internet access.

****GMAC Mortgage sponsored this effort and will proactively notify its borrowers at-risk of foreclosure about the availability of this option. Additionally, GMAC Mortgage customers will be able to securely apply for foreclosure alternatives, through Homeowner Connect, directly online. They will have the ability to submit their application, track their status, and upload all required documents.

****HLP will also partner with MortgageKeeper Referral Services, a Web-based database application containing over 6,000 non-profit and government agencies in 20 different service categories. MortgageKeeper’s application will help homeowners using HLP to access local solutions for their unique situations—potentially enhancing their qualification for a foreclosure alternative.

****“GMAC Mortgage has been a pioneer in the industry and a great partner since the creation of Hope LoanPort. A great deal of insight was provided by GMAC’s team in the creation of this free, user-friendly utility. We expect Homeowner Connect to be a real game changer in the industry as a powerful tool in assisting homeowners facing foreclosure,” said Cam Melchiorre, President and CEO of Hope LoanPort.

****“GMAC Mortgage is committed to preserving home ownership whenever possible,” said Dana Dillard, Senior Vice President, GMAC Mortgage. “In that spirit, we’re proud to support this initiative with Hope LoanPort to provide useful tools and education to borrowers.”

****Homeowner Connect was created in response to the National Mortgage Settlement, which called for a consumer-centric web portal. Additionally, Homeowner Connect aligns with requirements found in the OCC Consent Orders, the joint-GSE Servicing Alignment Initiative, as well as many new state policies symbolized by the recent passage of the California Borrowers’ Bill of Rights. With this broad based industry appeal, HLP is actively working with other mortgage servicers to participate in Homeowner Connect after the initial roll out to GMAC customers. Participation is open to both servicers already using the HLP Housing Counselor Portal, and new participants with HLP.

****The Web design and development for Homeowner Connect is through IndiSoft, the developer of RxOffice, a technology development company for default servicing in the financial services industry.

Understanding The News: Success Stories Still Exist

*Success Stories Still Exist*
**Vendor Serves A Unique Need**

***We are all used to bad news, but some providers have good news to share, as well. For example, Orion Financial Group, a provider of mortgage assignment, lien release and document retrieval services, announces a 29.4 percent year-over-year increase in the number of transactions performed for lenders, servicers and investors. Orion attributes the growth to its ability to quickly and accurately provide document services, as well as to greater demand for those services by mortgage servicers, credit unions, and lenders as delinquency and foreclosure levels remain elevated.

****“The business of properly creating, recording and tracking mortgage documents has become increasingly important as the mortgage market continues to experience delinquencies and foreclosures well above historical ranges,” said Mike Wileman, president and chief executive officer of Orion. Problems with documentation often become apparent when a loan goes through a modification or foreclosure process, Wileman explained. “That’s when insufficient or improperly prepared documents, such as missing loan assignments, and unrecorded mortgages and title policies, typically become evident,” he said.

****Finding and correcting missing or inaccurate documentation can stall foreclosures, and delay or prohibit lenders from selling off loans to a third party. Investors also need to be vigilant with regard to documentation issues when they make loan purchases, Wileman said. “Missing mortgage documentation, such as proof of clear title to the property, can make it very difficult for loan investors to buy and sell mortgages,” he said.

****With mortgage delinquency rates and foreclosure levels expected to remain relatively high, Wileman anticipates that Orion will see continued growth in transactions for the foreseeable future.

****“The industry now realizes that accurate documentation needs to be a priority. Too often in the past, it was an afterthought. We are now repairing those items that were neglected previously, and going forward, we are proactively addressing potential issues with documents, as opposed to reacting after problems arise,” Wileman said.

****Orion distinguishes itself from other document services providers with its technology used to perform vital services such as tracking title chains, and securing lien releases and title assignments. Through its proprietary technology management system, DocPro, Orion creates documents at a rate 50 to 75 percent faster than the industry average, empowering its clients to handle significant document recording volume.

****“Orion has a proven capability to provide very necessary services in today’s market, such as cleaning up chain of titles and preparing and recording documents,” Wileman said. “Lenders and investors recognize that they must address issues associated with documentation sooner rather than later to protect their investments and to create an improved return on investment (ROI),” Wileman said.

****By ensuring that lender and investor documents are in order, Orion also helps its clients meet compliance requirements and avoid costly litigation, he added.

Understanding The News: Who Says That Technology Doesn’t Pay Off?

*Who Says That Technology Doesn’t Pay Off?*
**Website Gets Major Kudos**

***Arguably the biggest problem that the mortgage industry faces is the foreclosure crisis. There has to be a better, faster, easier way to workout troubled loans and foreclose on loans that can’t be worked out. That’s where technology can play a role and it has. The National Mortgage Settlement (Settlement) announced last week and filed in federal district court by the Department of Justice, the 49 state attorneys general, and the five largest mortgage servicers, mentions Hope LoanPort (HLP) as a model for a neutral, national Web-based portal to facilitate compliance with the Settlement. HLP is a non-profit 501(c)(3) based in Washington, D.C. Here’s the scoop on why this matters:

****The landmark Settlement requires, among other new servicing standards, that the five mortgage servicers develop a portal that allows homeowners to submit and check the status of their foreclosure-alternative applications. The Settlement also mandates that other stakeholders, specifically, housing counselors who are working with homeowners, shall have access to a similar portal to be used to submit applications and to communicate with mortgage servicers. HLP was mentioned as a model portal in each of the separate consent orders filed in district court.

****Since its creation in 2009, HLP has been the prototype for a collaborative, multi-party, Web-based transactional platform focused on foreclosure prevention. Its mission is to provide transparent, efficient and traceable access to foreclosure-alternative options while ensuring homeowner information is securely and confidentially shared among key stakeholders such as housing counselors, mortgage servicers and homeowners. This efficiency helps everyone make informed, meaningful, and timely decisions that ultimately better serve homeowners at risk of, or in, financial distress.

****HLP has successfully worked with the housing counseling community and the mortgage servicing industry to agree upon a standard set of data and document requirements that allow consumers to apply for foreclosure alternatives. HLP has relationships with 14 mortgage servicers, including the five mortgage servicers who agreed to the Settlement. These servicers manage over 80% of the mortgages serviced in the United States. HLP is also working with over 700 HUD-Approved/National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) certified Housing Counseling Agencies with over 3,800 individual housing counselors in 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

****Camillo Melchiorre, President and CEO of HLP stated, “Hope LoanPort is proud to be mentioned in the National Mortgage Settlement and looks forward to working with the mortgage servicing industry, as well as the regulatory and housing counseling communities to better address the needs of homeowners.”

****You see, technology can make a big difference.