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Default Service Providers Step Up Offerings

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While many providers of services for distressed mortgages focus on unloading and managing real-estate-owned properties, an emerging group is helping servicers comply with quickly escalating regulations. Technology is becoming a growing tool in the sector.

Earlier this month, Gateway Mortgage Group said it developed an in-house sub-servicing unit to provide specialty and default servicing for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Kevin Osuna was recruited to direct the new operation.

The privately held mortgage banker said that more stringent government lending requirements and increased regulatory oversight have left small servicers struggling with traditional sub-servicers. Among issues being battled are Ginnie Mae’s high delinquency ratios, high FHA curtailments, low loss-mitigation workout ratios and challenges with conveying properties to FHA.

So the Tulsa, Okla.-based firm, which first began servicing in 2008, promises to provide high-touch expertise and reduce risk for servicers.

Another special servicer, Carrollton, Texas-based Wingspan Portfolio Advisors, announced in October plans to launch Wingspan Information Technology LLC. The service, targeted at mid-market servicers and portfolio lenders, will reportedly help in complying with new regulations by organizing the information in a single system. Client implementation is expected to begin during the first quarter.

Wingspan is also working with Dedo Interactive Inc. to provide a GPS-enabled smartphone application that will prevent or minimize many types of fraud from third parties. That offering reportedly authenticates field services providers at property sites, instantly receives their updates and reports and adds transparency to all kinds of property management activities. It also handles location-verified photos from mobile devices to verify yard maintenance.

RiskFinder Distress was announced last week by DataQuick. The offering provides investors, lenders and servicers with the ability to search and analyze the risk levels of distressed properties nationwide. It enables users to track and analyze key distress events throughout the life cycle of the loan.

“This provides investors and lenders the information needed to evaluate risk, determine the impact of distress sales on loss severity estimates, drive loss mitigation strategies and identify markets that are starting to recover,” DataQuick said.

A collection documentation task force has been assembled by Ballard Spahr LLP, according to a statement Monday. The unit, chaired by Ballard Spahr Partner Christopher J. Willis, will assist clients with rapidly increasing documentation-related scrutiny of, among other things, the foreclosure process.

Willis noted in the announcement that there is growing interest in this issue by governmental agencies and consumer advocacy groups.

VeroINSIGHT has been launched as a comprehensive property condition report directly addressing regulatory guidance surrounding collateral evaluations, a press release said. The service captures aspects of a property’s current condition and its general marketability and purports to help users stand up to an audit against the Interagency Appraisal & Evaluation Guidelines.

“VeroINSIGHT is designed to help lenders, insurers, and other stakeholders make specific valuation decisions by providing verification of property condition through external and/or internal inspections, input on neighborhood marketability and with current photographs of the subject property,” according to the announcement. “The report is completed by a field service inspector and fills a gap between over-purchasing property evaluation service when full appraisals or broker price opinions may not be necessary and not having enough data for regulators in the event of an audit.”

A host of loan modification fulfillment services was added to National Creditors Connection Inc.’s field services offering. The expansion was made in response to “sharply higher” demand and supported by the tripling of the Lake Forest, Calif.-based firm’s loss-mitigation staff and doubling of the size off its field-representative network.

“Our process is completely customizable to meet servicer needs,” National Creditors Director of Loss Mitigation Lance Perry said in the statement. “From the time they give us the file of the delinquent borrower, we can work the file from end to end by offering mail services, document imaging, inbound/outbound call campaigns, appointment setting, document retrieval, signature services, quality control, and finally delivering a completed modification package to the servicer.”

Sperlonga Data & Analytics says that it helps mortgage servicers determine if a home owners association it attached to a foreclosed property. It also assists HOAs with submitting claims for payments. By avoiding the compromise of first-lien positions, servicers in some states can avoid making REO sales more difficult.

Equator recently boasted about initiating more than a million short sales since launching in November 2009. The Los Angeles-based service provider claims that four of the top five financial institutions currently use its platform, and its REO, Short Sale and Loss Mitigation platforms have processed more than $195 billion in transactions.

HomeStandings was recently launched on RE/MAX’s members-only extranet website, CoreLogic said in a news release. The report can help agents quickly identify potentially profitable foreclosed properties that are eligible for resale based on a grade generated for each property.

CoreLogic said its analysis of more than 115,000 REO sales that were resold within six months revealed that properties with high ratings from HomeStandings had a resale profit averaging $81,000 higher than those with poor ratings.

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