Servicing Continues to Expand and Diversify

Demand for mortgage servicing is rapidly expanding across the board starting with expertise, new partnerships and even self-serve specialty servicing options.

"As consumer habits shift,” says Fiserv COO of lending solutions, Thomas Gorman, to improve customer satisfaction the industry needs to maximize efficiency using expertise and other resources to provide practical tools that deliver information fast and offer data transparency. This growing need” to provide the options that will keep those borrowers happy” is vital for lenders and servicers.

LenderLive Network Inc. of Denver, whose services include loan originations, settlement services, document preparation and loan servicing—is one of a growing number of firms that are expanding their subservicing and specialty servicing divisions.  

Going forward LenderLive said the firm will offer traditional subservicing of performing assets, end-to-end specialty servicing to help optimize the resolution of distressed assets and component servicing for loan modifications, short sales and REO asset management.

To manage the expanded loan servicing division and in line with a growing market demand for servicing expertise, says LenderLive CEO Rick Seehausen, LenderLive appointed as chief strategy officer and executive vice president of loan servicing David Vida whose mortgage industry experience expands to over 20 years. LenderLive data show that in 2010 the company was involved in 25% of all HAMP loans in the country. Seehausen says Vida’s priority is to use his extensive servicing expertise to help the company align all of its services “into a cohesive service offering.”

And more often than not up to date technology is the best cohesive service for many savvy borrowers.

According to Brookfield, Wis. Based financial services technology provider Fiserv, Inc. both borrowers and their lender-servicers are generating demand for automated solutions that include web-based and mobile self-service loan servicing tools.

Fiserv designed its LoanServ: LoanLink module to enable banks to offer borrowers two self-service options: Real time access and update of their loan information either online or through an Apple iPhone or iPad application.

In addition to convenience, the module will help build customers’ trust and improve lender-borrower communication.

BancorpSouth, Inc., Tupelo, Miss., with approximately $13.6 billion in assets, market tested the LoanLink online channel starting in September 2010.

BancorpSouth president Bill Edwards says it helped lower overall loan servicing costs and enhance customer experience. Benefits include customization. The module enables users to address specific borrower needs such as account cross-referencing, loan payments, payoff requests, payment histories, or information about loan modifications, short sales and alternate options.

Fiserv said LoanLink was introduced to fill out a gap since the use of smart phones will steadily increase going forward. A study conducted by Fiserv in 2010 showed the number of mobile phone users who conducted one or more banking services using their mobile phone increased from 23% in 2008 to 30% in 2010 and will only go up.

The study also found that 43% of all consumers were interested in conducting a financial transaction on their mobile phone, especially younger borrowers with 60% of Gen Y consumers leading that demand.

Some servicers are multiplying their business growth efforts for 2011 by aligning with expanding government networks as servicing partners.

For example, the Foundation Financial Group of Jacksonville, Fla. was recently approved as a Freddie Mac loan-servicing partner.

Leading to that approval, executives said FFG built up its resources to meet the GSE’s technology, staffing and training requirements.

The group’s CEO Mark W. Boyer described the new partnership as “a great step” towards FFG’s plan to considerably expand this year.

The Freddie Mac servicing license is part of the firm’s effort to further diversify services, which so far includes property insurance, wealth management, retirement planning, and tax services. Another goal for 2011 is to expand its geographic footprint by adding new regional centers in addition to its six centers in Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C. Jacksonville, Fla., Raleigh, N.C., Rochester, N.Y. and Savannah, Ga.

FFG offers mortgage refinancing and first-time buyer lending through traditional financing as well as Federal Housing Administration and other government-backed home loan programs. The partnership with Freddie Mac enables FFG to provide additional housing opportunities for borrowers who would normally be turned down by conventional mortgage providers.