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Making Most of Distressed Assets

Plans proposed as default service providers tout offerings

Feb. 24, 2010

By SAM GARCIA


At the annual shin dig being held by mortgage servicers, default service providers have been busy touting an array of alliances, product enhancements and new services. The trade group hosting the show unveiled a forebearance plan to reduce payments for unemployed borrowers, while another group unveiled a plan to rent out government foreclosures.

The Mortgage Bankers Association announced at its National Mortgage Servicing Conference & Expo today a voluntary plan to cut the mortgage payments of unemployed borrowers. The payments would be reduced for up to nine months based on household income, and the forebearance would factor in that a new job would be at just 75 percent of the borrower's prior salary.

"Recent statistics show that the average unemployed U.S. worker stays unemployed for between six and seven months," MBA President and Chief Executive Officer John A. Courson said in the statement. "This program is designed to buy those borrowers time to find a new job, after which they could hopefully qualify for a loan modification."

MBA, which is holding the conference in San Diego from Tuesday through Friday, suggested that some participating servicers would need to access special loans through the U.S. Department of the Treasury in order to continue advancing funds to investors during the forebearance period.

In a report today from the Center for American Progress, the nonpartisan group called for the government to convert government REOs into energy efficient rental properties. In addition to cutting losses at the Federal Housing Administration, the move would generate construction employment and reduce the supply of foreclosed properties for sale.

Special servicer Wingspan Portfolio Advisors LLC said yesterday that it won a preferred partner designation from the National Association of Federal Credit Unions Services Corp. Wingspan CEO Steven Horne noted in the announcement that credit union borrowers are different from traditional borrowers in that they are also owners of the institution that is collecting payments.

Altisource Solutions Inc. said today its services have been expanded to include REO asset management operations. The expanded business includes property valuation, property preservation and property management as well as marketing, asset disposition and closing. Users of the new service will have access to GoHomeing.com, the company's online platform for property listings.

A partnership announced yesterday between Keystone Asset Management Inc. and RealtyTrac Inc. promises to improve market exposure for Keystone's foreclosed property listings. Keystone said it has been helping lenders and servicers with a range of default services since 1995.

IndiSoft LLC announced from the convention that Radian Guaranty implemented its RxOffice Reporting portal to improve the mortgage insurer's communications with its outsourced loss-mitigation providers. In addition, Radian reportedly implemented IndiSoft's RxOffice Case Management to manage various internal loss-mitigation functions.

SunTrust Mortgage replaced predictive dialer technology with an intelligent automated communications solution from Varolii Corp., a news release today said. The service reportedly frees up SunTrust staff by proactively contacting borrowers before they telephone the company's contact center, enabling "many customers to self-serve."

SunTrust implemented an automated welcome call from Varolii in 2008 to reduce first payment defaults and establish trust with its borrowers -- making them less likely to avoid future communications, the statement said.


Sam Garcia worked in mortgage lending for twenty years prior to becoming publisher of MortgageDaily.com in 2000.

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