As the CARES Act has been welcome relief to borrowers, many servicers are finding their own relief in strategic partnerships.
Since passage of the CARES Act in late March, the onrush of forbearance requests from borrowers due to pandemic-related circumstances has created a volume surge for servicers. They’ve had to act quickly right out of the gate, preparing their call centers to knowledgeably guide customers through the process. Then in April and May, a supplemental set of guidelines were added to the mix, as Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) announced multiple new programs to address the emerging default climate, and updates and extensions are being announced regularly as information develops.
“Lenders and servicers want to help their customers get through the forbearance process as smoothly as possible, and they’ve had a lot thrown at them, particularly in the loan modification area. We asked them how we could help, and now we’re filling in the gaps where they need support,” says Steve Crocker, Senior Vice President of Pre-Foreclosure Default Services at ServiceLink. “Products and services that are particularly helpful to them are available for title, document generation and recordation needs. A mobile network of notaries can also make closings virtually effortless.”
Crocker outlines five areas where a strong loss mitigation partner can help a servicer manage high volumes while maintaining quality and efficiency:
Critical in the loss mitigation space, the property report provides validation that the borrower doesn’t have any liens or judgments on the property and that the legal description on the mortgage are free of any impediments.
“This forensic report provides reassurance that everything is in good standing with the property and the borrower, such as property tax status, and open voluntary and involuntary liens. If it’s not, we note any issues during our search that might cause a problem for the servicer at some point down the road. We flag the finding and apply a grading scale that lets them know immediately that attention is needed. This enables servicers to get a head start on resolving issues before they get too far along in the loan mod process,” Crocker explains.
Once the loan modification has been approved, documents—affidavits, cover letters, riders and other customized documents—must meet all state and investor guidelines. Technology plays a significant role in offering a streamlined and secure solution considerably improving the document generation process while ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations.
ServiceLink, for example, offers a portal in its EXOS Close platform that enables servicers to generate large numbers of modification documents within an hour. “Our system is built for speed and scale: it allows clients to deposit large numbers of orders throughout the day so they can get high volumes of modification documents completed,” says Crocker. “They can choose whether they would like us to send their documents to their borrower electronically so that they can start the notary process, or to print pre-packaged copies of the modification documents and send directly to the borrower via our integration with international shipping providers.”
As social distancing guidelines encourage or necessitate eClosings, a collaborative loan modification partner should be able to arrange remote online notarization, in which the borrower eSigns and the notary eNotarizes the closing documents. For customers who prefer in-person closing, scheduling technology can cut time and effort from the process.
ServiceLink offers solutions in both scenarios, through its network of several thousand notaries, automated signing technology and easy-to-use applications that enable borrowers to schedule their own closing appointments for a better overall experience.
Your loan modification partner should facilitate the compliant recording of the signed, notarized modification documents with the applicable recording jurisdiction requirements. Where appropriate, ServiceLink facilitates electronic recordation of all documents. In instances that automated recordation isn’t possible, there should be processes in place for the documents to be hand-delivered in a timely and professional manner directly to the county.
Where lenders take advantage of the mortgage modification policy (MMP), being able to secure that insurance through your loan modification partner is a plus. ServiceLink offers cost effective policies for the MMP product protecting your lien position. Also, ALTA polices are available in Alaska, New York and Texas where the MMP is not available.
“The reason ServiceLink is such an effective and reliable loss mitigation partner is that we offer a true end-to-end solution. We service all loan types with loan modification and partial claims,” Crocker shares. “We built the foundation of our crisis-level loan modification protocols years ago, when hurricanes were causing so much devastation during a particularly intense period of time. When the pandemic struck, we were ready. We applied what we’d learned in the past and began customizing solutions to address the new demands being placed on servicers. We know that by helping them assist their borrowers, we can be part of the supportive relief effort, too. During these historically difficult times, we value the opportunity to be a true partner in the default space.”
To learn more about ServiceLink’s loss mitigation solutions, visit svclnk.com/servicers.