Countrywide, New Vista Look for Qualified Buyers

In an attempt to and help minimize the impact of foreclosures on neighborhoods by reaching out to consumers interested in residing in these communities, Countrywide Financial Corp. has teamed up with San Diego-based national REO management and marketing company New Vista Asset Management.

In this new relationship, New Vista's network of real estate professionals who have roots in minority communities are assigned the responsibility and will work to ensure that prepared homebuyers, often first-time and minority homebuyers working with New Vista professionals, have the opportunity to purchase REO properties.

Additionally, New Vista and Countrywide will be hosting several community seminars for first-time buyers to educate them about purchasing REO units and obtaining the best financing possible for their situation.

These seminars, beginning in Los Angeles and Dallas, will be held in collaboration with community-based organizations and focused on providing consumers the information they need to purchase REO properties.

"Countrywide and New Vista Asset Management share the common mission of helping to make sure that homeownership is achievable and sustainable and that neighborhoods are stabilized during this difficult time in the housing market," said Steve Bailey, senior managing director of loan administration for Countrywide.

"Countrywide and New Vista Asset Management began the relationship in mid-October 2007, and we are currently partnering in local markets, including San Diego, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Atlanta," he added.

New Vista's overall strategy is to leverage its broad connections with real estate brokers who work in minority communities, nonprofit housing counselors and mortgage industry professionals to create a source of housing that will be accessible to first-time homebuyers in the underserved community. The company is working with leading lenders, like Countrywide, to create a more responsible way to sell these REO units, making them attractive to homebuyers rather than investors.

"By marketing and selling REO units directly to first-time and minority homebuyers, New Vista and Countrywide are advancing our mutual commitment to increase affordable housing opportunities and act as responsible contributors to the local housing market," said New Vista's chairman Gary Acosta in a statement.

Timothy Sandos, president and CEO of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals applauded Countrywide and New Vista's efforts to make homeownership a possibility in underserved communities.

"By creating a program to ensure that first-time and minority homebuyers have access to affordable REO properties, New Vista and Countrywide are helping protect neighborhoods from community deterioration and loss of minority homeownership," said Mr. Sandos.

Minneapolis-based Wolters Kluwer Financial Services, a provider of compliance and workflow tools, is expanding its services to support loan modification and workouts for the mortgage industry. Earlier in 2008 the company started working with LoanResolve.com to help lenders and distressed borrowers avoid foreclosure. Under the partnership, Wolters Kluwer will provide regulatory compliance support to LoanResolve, which guides borrowers to potential workout solutions online. In the case of a loan modification, LoanResolve can produce documents to meet lender requirements through Desert Document Services, a Wolters Kluwer platform.

Wolters Kluwer offers servicers a set of standard but customizable loan modification documents and packages that are compliant with investor requirements.

Jason Marx, vice president and general manager at Wolters Kluwer Financial Services, said the company is getting more deeply involved in the loan modification process because of demand in the marketplace.

"Clearly, with what is going on in the marketplace today, there is a need for servicers to deal with the capacity issues they have," he told Managing REO.

Wolters Kluwer can help servicers speed up the process by delivering documents immediately, with the capacity for borrowers to use electronic notification and signatures to express consent. And Wolters Kluwer already has deep penetration within the mortgage company. The company's customer base includes 70% of the top mortgage originators and 80% of banks in the U.S. use some Wolters Kluwer product.

Mr. Marx describes Wolters Kluwer's loan modification support as a turnkey solution that supports multiple investor requirements. That helps lenders who have queued up customers who may need loan workout solutions but haven't been able to ramp up their loss mitigation departments fast enough.

"One of the pain points that servicers have today is their ability to get through the volume," Mr. Mark said. Russell Reserva, senior product manager for mortgage solutions at Wolters Kluwer, said it's "a pretty arduous process" for lenders to ramp up for the growing volume of loan modifications, which require contact with the borrower, negotiations, an agreement, implementation and execution.

Segments include borrowers who can refinance, those that qualify for "fast track" modifications, those that require additional due diligence, and those that require some other loss mitigation solution than a workout or modification.

Especially with borrowers who require extra due diligence for a loan modification, servicers are well advised to focus on compliance, Mr. Reserva said. (c) 2008 Mortgage Servicing News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.mortgageservicingnews.com/ http://www.sourcemedia.com/