A variety of technology tools can assist mortgage servicers in implementing an effective single point of contact program, according to a panel of industry professionals at the Mortgage Bankers Association's National Servicing Conference in Dallas Thursday.
SPOC is a widespread requirement, seen in the settlement between large servicers and state attorneys general, as well as in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's new servicing standards, said Joseph Dombrowski, director of product management in the lending solutions division of Fiserv.
One method that some servicers are using is creating affinity teams of SPOC agents, based on a common connection among groups of borrowers, like speaking a foreign language, or being in the military, Dombrowski said. Still, many servicers are rethinking their SPOC operation and making adjustments after only recently implementing the capability.
"Smaller shops and specialty servicers are more nimble...the challenge is with larger organizations where you can't track and find issues," said David Dill, managing director of Newbold Advisors.
Another challenge is that a servicer may have as many as 18 different loan modification programs, said Dennis Stowe, CEO of Residential Credit Solutions. Stowe said his company, a specialty servicer, has implemented the type of workflow technology typically used in the origination side of the mortgage industry to better manage tasks.
"We adopted automated underwriting technology for our loss mitigation staff so they can educate the borrower and gather information for whatever programs they're eligible for," he said.
Servicing systems of record have been upgraded with additional features to help manage SPOC requirements. "We have to have those early identification tools so that we can get ahead of issues," Dill said, adding that another useful tool is business intelligence software to serve as an overlay to perform analytics reviews across servicers' disparate systems.
And technologies that haven't typically been used in mortgage servicing are drawing the interest of some organizations, said Roderick Wilkins, director of consulting at iGate Technologies.
"One part of new technology that we find useful is Internet chat, particularly if you can turn that into a phone call," he said.
With the online chat technology, an agent can have a trackable conversation in real time over the Web, with the goal of better connecting with borrowers and obtaining information need to manage loss mitigation efforts. Ultimately, this will lead to better outcomes in servicers' loss mitigation efforts and help more borrowers, a central focus of regulators, Wilkins said.
"The regulatory regime we're in will look at results more than the process," he said. "It's not just checking a box."