The game is changing. And with the Department of Housing and Urban Development pursuing changes to RESPA that will facilitate bundled services, the game may change even more quickly. While most vendors are bundling different settlement services at the point of loan origination, the trend affects the way servicers operate as well.
As more and more mortgage servicers operate nationally, they are looking for vendors that can provide them with multiple services all across the country. Increasingly, to play with the mega-servicers, vendors are finding that they have to have some breadth and width to their game plan as well.
That has fueled some consolidation among industry players. While niche service providers remain a vital part of the market, many vendors have chosen to grow larger, covering more territory with more products. In some cases, that means they are forming partnerships and joint ventures with other service providers.
In other cases, the growth is fueled by mergers and acquisitions. Just look at Fidelity National Financial's acquisition of the Alltel servicing automation business. In a quest to provide cradle-to-grave services for the mortgage lending industry, Fidelity and others have moved well beyond just the title insurance business to provide a range of products, services and technology solutions to the industry.
And Fidelity is hardly alone. Other big players are getting bigger and stronger as well. It's sort of like looking at professional football players these days. What was "big" 20 years ago isn't enough to make the cut today. The market wants players that are bigger, stronger and faster than before.
With the help of some innovative strategic thinking and cutting-edge technology, vendors to the mortgage servicing industry are beefing up their performance capabilities as well.
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