Focus on Process Efficiency
Hope Now is responding to pressure to modify more loans with system improvements and efficient processing in 2010.
It started off with the launch of its pilot-tested Web portal. Hope Now alliance executive director, Faith Schwartz says only 33% of homeowners with a trial mod file complete documentation packages. To help address this challenge, the alliance developed the Hope LoanPort Web portal in 2009 before officially launching it at the Mortgage Bankers Association's National Mortgage Servicing Conference in San Diego. It is designed to help housing counselors collect completed document packages, send them directly to servicers and track the application status for borrowers.
Initially the Hope LoanPort was operated in partnership with six housing counselor agencies, six nationwide servicers and a mortgage insurer in Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Ventura, Calif., Kansas City, West Palm Beach, Fla., Washington and Atlanta. By the time it was launched in February, over 50 offices from the Consumer Credit Counseling Services in Atlanta and Dallas, along with 32 affiliates of Home Free USA, and NeighborWorks affiliates had signed up. As of now, the portal has a presence in 25 states and over 100 cities nationwide. Complete document submissions are key because they help speed up the loan modification process. According to Sanjeev Dahiwadkar, founder and CEO of technology provider IndiSoft, feedback from users shows the portal "eases the traffic jams that in the past tied up the system, most specifically getting documents in a piecemeal way or not at all."
Data collection and management is another issue under review in 2010. After two years of collecting loan workout information the alliance finds it is important to revise data more in tune with HAMP reporting. Currently the alliance reports only when mods become permanent.
Another goal is to focus on activities that fall outside of HAMP and review of solutions, including education. Ms. Schwartz said that despite the success of the past few years, education remains an important part of Hope Now efforts to fight mortgage scammers.
The alliance said it plans to work with the government to identify copycat organizations that confuse borrowers.