Q&A with Art Castner, President – National General Lender Services
As an insurance tracking provider with 42 years’ experience, National General Lender Services (NatGen) has certainly seen a lot of changes in how mortgage servicers approach insurance servicing. What do you see as one of the more significant changes, and how has NatGen evolved in response?
While customer service has consistently been a focus for mortgage servicers, it has become increasingly critical in recent years. Customers have a variety of choice in the marketplace, and mortgage originators and servicers must work hard to earn and retain their business. Customers also have a much stronger voice in sharing their assessment of how well they are being serviced. With social media platforms and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) complaints database, an individual customer’s feedback can reach a huge number of people. That’s why outstanding customer service, quality execution and compliant solutions must be, and are, at the heart of our products and service.
The NatGen team is a true extension of our mortgage servicer clients. We answer calls from their customers, update insurance records on their loan servicing systems and send out notices on their behalf. The way we do our job is a direct reflection of our clients to their customers, so it’s imperative that we deliver top quality results – day in and day out. We live out our motto, “Going Above and Beyond to Protect YouTM” by going above and beyond what is spelled out in a contract to consistently deliver solutions that protect the servicer’s brand and secure the relationships with their customers.
Can you expand a bit on how NatGen delivers on these three linchpins of customer service excellence, quality execution and compliant solutions?
We start by ensuring that our company culture, products and services are built around compliance. This is the surest way to mitigate risk to our clients, and it’s truly a part of our corporate DNA. We take an active and leading role in insurance, mortgage and trade associations, along with the activities of the GSEs and state and federal regulatory bodies. This allows us to give a powerful voice to our clients in addressing areas of concern within the industry and helping shape its future. We also employ a disciplined methodology and process to monitor developing and newly-implemented regulations and then quickly and efficiently operationalize required changes.
To ensure our clients are in compliance with the CFPB requirements, we maintain a robust Compliance Management System (CMS). Our system includes a database for the logging and tracking of all written or verbal complaints, robust reporting, root cause analysis and executive oversight for continuous improvement. In addition, our Escalated Complaints Department provides special handling of regulatory complaints, complaints received from the Better Business Bureau, Attorneys General and other high profile entities. While complaints will happen, we work to minimize them and ensure that each one receives its due attention.
Successful regulator examinations are crucial for our clients. NatGen helps ensure successful exams by employing innovative quality solutions within our technology and in our processes so that errors are minimized and recurrences are eliminated. We employ an independent, centralized quality team to ensure objectivity. Testing is tied to key risks related to client objectives, regulatory/compliance matters and the customer experience. This team’s routine and consistent checks with employee-level sampling and end-to-end process reviews allow us to quickly make corrections and integrate improvements into our processes. Our processes are built to safeguard our clients’ funds as evidenced by never having a Reg. AB finding and having a refund timeliness record that is unmatched in the industry. I’m very proud of these accomplishments.
Customer Service Excellence
It’s one thing for a provider to claim they achieve excellence, it’s another when they are independently benchmarked and certified. This is a critical evaluation tool to validate a provider and one that should be taken seriously. NatGen understood this years ago. We were the first in our industry and the only provider to achieve 11 consecutive years of certification with the “Call Center of Excellence” Award from BenchmarkPortal. This certification requires call centers to be evaluated on 21 metrics regarding their ability to exceed rigorous statistical standards in comparison to their industry peers. It is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the service and support industry, as it analyzes call centers against the world’s largest database of call center metrics. Further, the award is only earned by call centers ranked in the top 10% of over 20,000 evaluated nationwide. We haven’t stopped there.
Our achievement of operational excellence and best practices is validated by our ISO 9001 certification, which we’ve earned annually since 2008. ISO 9001 specifies standards for a quality management system that demonstrates the consistent ability to provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. ISO 9001 helps ensure an optimal process is followed, which translates into an optimal experience that proactively reduces issues and complaints. An ISO 9001 quality management system builds a culture where a consistent focus on quality and process improvements is commonplace among the staff.
Wrapping around all this, our insurance tracking solution, TrackGuardSM, allows delivery of comprehensive insurance tracking capabilities that seamlessly integrate with any mortgage servicer’s loan-servicing system. Our high rates of automation and automated data exchange with insurance carriers allows us to deliver outstanding quality at a competitive price. Importantly, our processes and teams are fully integrated so that customer service, operations, training, compliance and quality assurance are all in sync to deliver compliant and proactive solutions.
The ability to protect our clients’ brand – keeping them out of the headlines and off of regulators’ non-compliant lists – underpins the ingrained daily approach to our efforts. The certifications we hold prove that we are effective at this and deliver the constant, quality service our clients require.
How do you assure your clients of the quality of the work you perform on their behalf?
A partnership requires transparency and openness. NatGen maintains a transparent business relationship with our clients that includes a great deal of reporting and a multi-layered review of our work product.
We act as a partner with our clients, not just a vendor. We have an incredibly dedicated team who considers the best interests of our clients and their customers as they approach the service relationship each day. We work hand in hand with our clients to understand their business needs and deliver innovative solutions to meet them. I consider our consultative approach to insurance servicing, along with the expertise and dedication of our team, to be a significant differentiator in what we offer servicers.
Our consistent, quality performance, guaranteed by strict service-level agreements and guarantees, further allows our clients to be assured of the service we’re delivering to their customers.
Any final words to our readers?
More than a catch phrase, our motto of “Going Above and Beyond to Protect You” is the approach we take every day and the commitment we live by. I see this borne out on a daily basis in the way our team members approach their job – with a passion to do the right thing and a belief that what they do matters to our clients and customers. This fierce determination to servicing our clients well, combined with leading technology, comprehensive insurance product offerings and innovative solution design, allows NatGen to make a real difference for servicers who want a better insurance tracking and lender-placed insurance experience.