The second day of 2020 Five Star Virtual Conference began by highlighting the current state of the mortgage servicing landscape and what the coming months might offer.
Ann Thorn, executive vice president and chief operations and maintenance officer at Caliber Home Loans, observed that the stress of the pandemic has created a new sense of unity as lenders and borrowers “have come together much more than previously “. And while the current crisis has only been underway for a few months, Thorn admitted “for repairers who have been on the front line, it felt like a long time – and the first few months were very difficult to try to explain to our customers what will happen.
Wes Isley, senior managing director of Carrington Holding Co., noted that repairers have managed to maintain high levels of quality customer service while enduring their own operational challenges.
“During this crisis and its spikes in call volumes, we have moved from centralized call centers – which we would never have thought of – to working from home,” he said. “And we did this in a week and a half – the industry as a whole. You haven’t heard stories about major issues.
Robert Caruso, CEO of ServiceMac LLC, praised the vendor community for supporting repairers during this unprecedented time.
“They were looking at things and trying to monitor them,” he observed. “The technological improvements that had to be made to help respond to COVID components were done quickly and efficiently by suppliers. I was glad we did it so quickly and were ready for it.
Scott Arnold, SVP at Wells Fargo, recalled that services spent much of the early weeks of the pandemic trying to absorb changing rules and mandates, adding that “keeping pace was a challenge.”
John Dunnery, vice president of Bayview Loan Servicing, observed that this goes against the basic principles of mortgage servicing.
“For most repairers, change is not a good thing,” Dunnery said. “We want changes locked in. We don’t want the changes to drag on while we try to implement and comply with the rules and regulations that come out.
Still, Dunnery praised how “repairers have been able to be nimble and have been able to meet most of the regulations and rules that come out of it.” At this point, Dunnery noted that most managers try to maintain contact with borrowers.
“We build into our service systems an array of ways to track these customers,” he continued. “First of all, are they impacted by the COVID pandemic? If so, do we ensure this is noted in the maintenance system? Are they experiencing financial difficulties? Do they need this patience and for how long?
The second day of the conference also included contributions from officials from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Ginnie Mae, Freddie Mac and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regarding policies, programs and procedures within their respective offices. Brian Montgomery, assistant secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), made a special appearance before the conference to detail the work of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) during the ongoing pandemic.
“In the current pandemic, the FHA has been able to build its reserves to arguably the highest amount ever recorded in the last actuarial review, nearly $109 billion of what we call MMI capital. And even in our latest report to Congress, we still show that reservations have grown. I know people were talking to us about reducing premiums and all that. And it’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. But it’s good that we didn’t.
Montgomery added that the FHA and Ginnie Mae have the capital “it will take to weather the storm,” noting that the agency is also working to focus on non-pandemic crises, including recent hurricane responses, as well. than the regular daily. transactions that have never been put on hold during this period.
“In different ways, the FHA and HUD need to be there for Americans, certainly during the good times, but even in the tougher times,” he said.
You can see all of our five-star virtual conference coverage by click here.