Stealing the Show

This year and last have been the year of the servicer in the mortgage business. And servicing will be an even bigger part of the industry's biggest convention this year.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's annual convention, to be held in San Diego Oct. 11-14, will feature a separate servicing and real estate-owned track, which will include four breakout sessions. And issues raised in two general sessions will be directly relevant to servicers.

In addition to this, the conference's exhibit hall will have dozens of lenders and vendors concerned with the servicing/loss mit/REO sector.

The first servicing breakout will discuss the administration's Making Home Affordable loan modification plan. This ambitious effort to reduce foreclosures has had a slow start but appears to be gaining traction. The session will focus on "the effectiveness of the program, early challenges and bottlenecks, and new cooperative efforts."

The second session also considers loan mods, probably the hottest topic in the industry this year. It will deal with data on underwater borrowers and give tutorials in how to make a loan mod program work. Should it be through a term reduction, rate reduction, or term extension, or through a combo of all three? The industry has debated these options but may be limited in their discretion to mix and match them if they use the government program.

The next breakout considers legal trends in foreclosures and REO. What recent case law indicates, how to avoid litigation, how to decide when to foreclose are some of the topics on point here.

The final session is best practices for managing loan mod logistics. What data need to be collected, how to manage doc retention and the mechanics of loan mod trials will be discussed.

MBA's third general session will be a kind of town hall meeting for servicers and lenders to discuss current issues.

Servicers will be returning to San Diego in February of next year for MBA's annual servicing conference. Undoubtedly they will take up the discussions they have had at the annual meeting right where they left them off.

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