Transamerica Guarantees Quick Tax Line Boarding

Transamerica Real Estate Tax Service has created a new product that provides tax-line information to mortgage lenders before or within days of boarding a loan on the servicing system of record.

The new product, PowerLines Plus, capitalizes on Transamerica's extensive electronic database of tax information to deliver guaranteed tax lines to mortgage lenders. Tax lines include information on each property, including taxer and parcel data, tax amount and the next due date.

Transamerica officials say the new product improves upon standard industry practice, which is to load tax data onto a servicer's system 30 to 60 days after the loan becomes active.

With PowerLines, by contrast, Transamerica issues a guarantee that accurate tax information will be delivered to the mortgage lender's servicing system within days of loan boarding.

Transamerica says that other vendors provide tax data at this time, but they do not guarantee its accuracy until later in the process, which can expose lenders to tax penalties and borrower complaints.

James Schoedinger, president of Transamerica Real Estate Information Services, says that the new product is another step in the company's Six Sigma effort to reduce the cost of tax delinquencies and increase borrower satisfaction.

As a result of the company's electronic database of tax information affecting 137 million properties, Mr. Schoedinger said that when an application for tax lines is filed, Transamerica probably already has that information on its system.

With rapid portfolio churning, he said lenders intent on improving customer retention are tired of seeing their customers refinance out of their portfolio. Getting accurate tax information boarded as soon as possible is one way to cut down on customer complaints, he said.

"Borrower satisfaction has gone from an objective to being a key strategic priority," he said.

Lenders want to make sure they have accurate tax information and due dates so that escrow administration can be performed correctly from the start.

With the guarantee, Transamerica eliminates that risk at the time of loan boarding rather than 30 or more days later, he said.

Transamerica claims to have the largest tax database in the country as well as the largest network of field representatives.

Transamerica Tax has more than 1,200 employees in 15 offices nationwide. Headquartered in Dallas, Transamerica Real Estate Tax Service is a member of Transamerica Finance Corp.'s family of businesses.

Tax information is not the only area where Transamerica is using technology to make its servicers "faster with fewer hassles."

Tom Della Torre, president and CEO of Transamerica Flood Hazard Certification, told MSN that 97% of the company's flood business is done via automated interfaces with customers, either via the Internet or electronic data interchange channels. The company's eFlood product allows lenders to obtain information about flood insurance requirements quickly for most properties.

"We are now approaching 90% instantaneous answers," Mr. Della Torre said.

Tranasmerica has created its own digital flood determination maps to supplement those provided by the government. Refinancing has highlighted "discrepancies" in flood determinations, he said. Sometimes, one search will indicate flood insurance is required while another says it is not. Transamerica can resolve these discrepancies in an hour or less 90% of the time, he said.

Transamerica Flood is based in Hasbrouck, N.J.

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