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A Next-Big-Thing Potential Tool

Servicers challenged by lack of borrower engagement in the loan modification process can benefit from automated programs like eTurboMod — which purposely reminds everyone of the now super popular TurboTax software and aims to reach equal success in the mortgage space.Launched by We Save Homes Inc., Laguna Niguel, Calif., the new tool appears to at least have the potential to become just that.It walks users through the entire loan modification process “virtually eliminating the need to pay a third-party expert thousands of dollars,” the company said, allowing software users to do it themselves the same way they file their own taxes through automated tax programs, “easily, inexpensively and electronically.”Servicers are constantly challenged to perform better with loan modifications.Among others, while talking about procedural and legal shortages in loan modifications during a conference call, National Consumer Law Center staff attorney Geoff Walsh stressed how “serivcers have all the discretion when it comes to a loan modification — which makes borrowers powerless — if they continue this way.” Plus, there are many unreasonable procedural barriers, he said.eTurboMod gives more power to the borrower. We Save Homes president Ryan Boyajian says tools like the eTurboMod software will revolutionize the mortgage servicing industry.Mortgage lenders and servicers are paid upwards of $3,500 by the government for being pro-active and offering loan modifications to homeowners, he said, so while lenders/servicers pay the company a fee to for accessing the product, homeowners do not.One of the main challenges faced by the mortgage industry is that of getting the consumer to engage in the process and have open lender-borrower communication, he said. “More importantly the homeowners are not educated as to how to build, complete and deliver a complete loan modification package. Our software answers that exact and immediate need.”Servicers also are constantly looking for new service options that complement the capacity of their toolset. The eTurboMod software is built as an overlay or “plug and play” banks can integrate with their existing legacy software systems. “If they choose to do so, they can implement our software behind their fire-wall for SAS 70 purposes,” he said. The average turn time for a mid- to lower-level technology savvy homeowner to complete their modification package — assuming they have all the financial documents on hand — is 38.5 minutes.On a business-to-customer level, the executive said, it has partnered with Lending Tree, which is offering the eTurboMod software solution to clients who were declined a new refinance, or upwards of 15,000 interested parties per day.Customer marketing efforts include an initial eTurboMod campaign that consists of a combination of e-mails and phone calls to homeowners who were recently unsuccessful in refinancing their homes. The ultimate goal, the company said, is to help educate borrowers and provide them with alternative solutions. eTurboMod consists of a menu-driven tool homeowners can use to submit electronically all the documentation required by lenders and servicers to refinance their mortgage, change the terms of the existing loan through a modification, or to do a short sale.The software has the power to save millions of struggling homeowners thousands of dollars in professional fees while they inquire about their mortgage options, Mr. Boyajian said, so he sees new partnerships forging in the coming months. Currently We Save Homes is in the process of partnering with other financial service providers such as online lending exchange venues.eTurboMod somehow plays on the psychological power of TurboTax, the tax filing tool used by millions of U.S. taxpayers, but according to Mr. Boyajian it has the potential to be viewed as a “game changer” by banks and loan servicers.As of now however, only a small number of servicers offers the product directly to borrowers for no cost. The company said it is currently contacting third-party loan modification service providers such as attorney firms but to date has not had any direct communication with the likes of HOPE NOW, for example.“Apart of the marketing plan and outreach efforts, right now we are working directly with our FDIC connections to continue to facilitate high level meetings and introductions with the banks they have taken over,” the executive said. “This tool offers 100% disposition for the lenders and servicers and because of the oversight and transparency it allows high-level visibility to all interested parties including the federal government.”Mr. Boyajian is a believer of the real estate market cycles. Once it cleans out the major push for loss mitigation and reverts back to loan origination, he said, eTurboMod may replace loan officers and processors and essentially allow homebuyers to complete their financial package and interface directly with a bank’s underwriting department minimizing lender hard costs.