Throughout the country, as states continue to relax stay-at-home restrictions and mortgage rates track at a record low, Americans are beginning to list their homes for sale again. As of mid-May, mortgage applications consistently rose 11% from a week earlier in the fourth-consecutive period of increases as buyers reentered the market.(1)
ServiceLink National Flood, working with lenders to provide accurate and reliable flood zone determination information in the mortgage and refinancing process, experienced both unprecedented trends and workflow challenges in Q2 of this year.
“March into April this year was the highest volume month we’ve seen in our 28-year history,” says Mike Hanson, Senior Vice President of ServiceLink National Flood. “The market was booming in March. We already had a natural upswing in motion. Then, the Fed established the rate drop to keep the economy afloat, and we started to see a wave of refinancing.”
Perhaps the bigger story in the aftermath of those volume spikes came as ServiceLink National Flood faced the mandatory government-imposed work-from-home orders.
“Majority of our process is completed digitally. We track addresses and apply geospatial information to determine where they fall within the flood map – all within a matter of seconds,” says Hanson. “A smaller part of the process is manual determinations done by our team of more than eighty researchers. Many of these are instances of new construction or rural addresses that require additional information to make a reliable determination.”
When news of the need to shift all operations to employee homes came down on March 16th, Mike Hanson and his team quickly went to work. Thanks, in large part, to an active business continuity plan that ensures clients will not be impacted by a power outage, Internet outage or catastrophic event, ServiceLink National Flood was able to act immediately. Over the course of five days, and with zero downtime, they had their entire team in place from their homes with the hardware needed to connect seamlessly back into the system.
“We had zero missed SLAs throughout the transition,” says Natascha DeVries, Vice President of Account Management at ServiceLink National Flood. “There was never a glitch in the system, because our business continuity plan is always in place. Much of our operation is based in Texas within a tornado zone. In a matter of seconds, we can have our team get to safety while calls are transferred to other locations. This year put the system to the test and we clearly passed.”
ServiceLink National Flood maintains the most extensive business continuity program in the industry, including multiple hot sites, mobile recovery and regular testing cycles. All core applications are housed in a Tier III datacenter with redundant networks, predictive monitoring, multiple power grids, backup generators and 24/7 multi-layered security.
Moving forward, ServiceLink National Flood is committed to continue serving lenders and their customers through their 100% domestic research to provide accurate and reliable flood zone determination information. Using the most current FEMA data, advanced technology and comprehensive, nationwide GIS coverage, ServiceLink delivers highly accurate flood determination reports – with one of the fastest turn-times in the industry – to help lenders maintain compliance with ever-changing federal regulations and guidelines.
(1) DeSanctis, A. (May 13, 2020) Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey, Mortgage Bankers Association