Equifax Vouches for Total Solution, ID Tools

Putting together all the pieces of a total-360 mortgage data verification tool is like the race to the moon where everyone wants to win, including Equifax, says the firm’s senior vice president of mortgage services Michael Kuentz.

One of those missing pieces, according to Equifax, is a more standardized and regulated identity verification process.

So it is no surprise the No. 1 topic of interest at the MBA annual for Kuentz is how legislation, such as the Dodd-Frank Act, may affect demand for borrower income and identity data verification, which already has become an industry standard. For example, Dodd-Frank contains certain recommendations for third-party income and employment data verification.

In 2009 Equifax did the acquisition of Rapid Reporting.Since, he said, the firm is using its “very strong lobby in Washington” to discuss these issues with the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration and members of Congress to serve as a voice for the industry and help bring about mandated policies on identity checks and especially access to Social Security numbers it will help everyone.

Working with these government agencies, he says, progress is being made as the industry continues to show through data and facts why such regulation is necessary.

“One thing we’ve been able to track going back several years now is to show that the [identity] no-match ratio is out in the marketplace.”Equifax data show that on average 5.8% of the borrowers whose personal information is screened by its Identity Check tool are not who they say they are, he said.

If you look at these borrowers’ data “it is compelling to see that by truly verifying the SSN doesn’t take long to show the customer’s return on the investment.”

Equifax and others in the industry will continue to introduce meaningful statistics that are based on customer feedback and strong supportive data to back up the effort that will lead to such legislation, he said, “will ultimately help drive towards a mandate.”

It still is a work in progress. “Customers have to be able to see why there’s advocacy” in a Social Security number and identity verification tool, he argued, it will help convince the legislator that the mortgage market needs this type of product.

A glance at the life of a mortgage loan, Kuentz argues, shows that identity verification is constantly involved in every transaction and is closely connected with return on investment. If ID fraud is stopped upfront, in real time at a very low cost, the benefits are multifold and long term.

Competition is fierce. And ROI remains the central criteria in the development of any total-360 solution product.

“Who can win it? It’s like the race to the moon. In the end it matters who did it first.” Kuentz has been looking forward to the MBA annual for the same good old reason most executives favor the event: information exchanges and the opportunity to introduce new initiatives.

His current favorite topic to discuss with some of the customers in attendance is the recent acquisition of DataVision Resources and the technology it brings to the marketplace, which will bring Equifax one step closer to its goal “to create a total, 360 solution.”