Walking a Fine Line

Servicing technology has both progressed significantly and become obsolete, at least in the view of Dave Vida, a mortgage industry veteran of more than 20 years who, like most of his peers, is eyeing what to do next.

“Honestly, a lot of the technology that is in the servicing business is pretty antiquated, so there's a catch-up moment now,” says the LenderLive Network executive.

The primary focus is on specialized tools that tend to have a short-term impact. Examples include the likes of a short sale, loan modification, property auction, or other narrow purpose technology options, he says, that “just solve the problem today.”

This tendency represents one of the servicing technology streams. Yet another is a strive to catch up with the most recent, up-and-coming tools when existing technology and software systems are old. Many servicer systems already were out of date when the housing crisis started. So servicers who are still standing now worry about how servicing will look like in the future.

Vida expects 2012 and onward will be “very customer focused” as servicers try to match borrowers with the right contact person, at the right time, use technology that helps to push more information to the homeowner and make available more self-serving technology. This approach is even more crucial for small- to medium-size servicers like LenderLive, Denver. Given the size of its servicing operations, he says, the end-to-end mortgage service provider company is focusing more on what needs to be done in the future than how to solve a problem today.

It is one of the reasons why Vida is looking forward to 2012 and the MBA's National Mortgage Servicing Conference where he expects to hear about both.

Vida is one of the executives responsible for the future of his company's servicing operations. He was appointed chief strategy officer and executive vice president of loan servicing for LenderLive early in 2011. Coincidentally the announcement was made at the MBA's National Mortgage Servicing Conference when the company also announced plans to expand into private-labeled subservicing and specialty servicing only two years after moving its focus onto component servicing solutions and the fulfillment of short sales and loan modifications, including a large volume of HAMP loans. Real estate owned asset management was added to the services list.

As a business owner of a mortgage technology specialized company, he says, his perspective embraces both the management and the technical side of the business.

In the multitude of issues concerning executives in the servicing space just the regulatory changes and the fee structure probably top his list. “They're on everybody's mind right now.”

Also pressing is uncertainty about the best ways to do business in the future, how the servicing legacy issue gets resolved and what types of technology should prevail. Answers to these questions concern insiders like Vida who are contemplating where to channel their company resources in the post-modification era.

Technology helped improve mortgage servicing, he says, but legacy issues remain. “How are we going to service people in the long run? How do we deal with the new, post-mod borrowers?”