The Urban Institute's Housing Finance Policy Center has created a new initiative aimed at addressing skyrocketing mortgage servicing costs.
The initiative, called the Mortgage Servicing Collaborative, will bring together stakeholders including lenders, servicers, consumer groups and policymakers to develop possible solutions to this issue. The collaborative plans to launch this spring and will be in place for up to two years.
Alanna McCargo, who is currently a co-director of the Urban Institute's Housing Finance Policy Center, will serve as the collaborative's executive director.
Among the collaborative's goals will be to determine the specific costs of servicing different loans and how those costs influence consumer access to credit. Between 2008 and 2015 the cost to service a performing loan tripled to $181 from $59, while the cost to service a nonperforming loan jumped five times higher to $2,386 from $484, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
But as costs have soared, servicer compensation has remained flat, which has resulted "in a market that undercompensates servicers for managing nonperforming loans and overcompensates them for handling performing loans," the Urban Institute said.
Meanwhile, the number of loans made to low- and moderate-income borrowers slipped 35%, and the number of loans made to African-American and Hispanic borrowers dropped 64%, the Urban Institute reported.
"To avoid the enormous cost of servicing nonperforming loans, many lenders are restricting mortgage lending to a narrow band of consumers that can meet stringent income, asset and other eligibility requirements," the Urban Institute wrote.
The changes have taken place at the same time as the landscape of market participants has shifted toward nonbanks. Between 2013 and 2016, the share of nonbanks servicing Federal Housing Administration loans rose from 35% to 70%.
Beyond identifying why costs are rising, the collaborative will also debate and analyze pricing strategies that incorporate alternative compensation models and methods to lower costs and to mitigate risk better. Ultimately, the collaborative plans to distribute its findings and produce industrywide policy recommendations.