This piece originally appeared in the September 2022 edition of DS News magazine, online now.
Speaking during a recent Five Star webinar entitled “Is 2022-23 Really the Golden Age of Mortgage Servicing?” Seth Sprague, CMB, Director of Consulting Services for Richey May, noted that, traditionally speaking, mortgage servicers fare best in periods like the one we’re currently experiencing: eras featuring slow, voluntary prepayments; timely payments; and low levels of delinquencies.
“There’s been a lot of effort in this industry on quality of the originations, and we are seeing that in the servicing portfolios that exist today,” Sprague added. “The whole trick on servicing cash flows is to have borrowers who are making timely payments, [and to] have an efficient technology stack that intercedes with those customers as they want to be interacted with.”
Such a technology stack enables a servicer to keep costs down, revenue high, and—most importantly—advances low, Sprague explained.
But with the originations side of the industry facing headwinds in the form of continued interest-rate increases and the resulting economic slowdown as the Fed attempts to steer around a possible recession, is the back half of 2022 genuinely shaping up to be a servicing “Golden Age?” Joining Sprague to comment on the topic were Jay Jones, EVP of Servicing for Mr. Cooper; Dan Sogorka, President and CEO of Sagent; and Julian Hebron, Founder of The Basis Point, a “a sales & marketing strategy consultancy for banks, lenders, and fintechs.”
The State of the Industry
During the height of COVID-19, forbearance numbers spiked as the government intervened to try to help mitigate the impacts of the pandemic and keep as many struggling homeowners in their homes as possible during the global health crisis. As those have begun to wind down and delinquencies and advances have dropped, mortgage servicers are enjoying strong cash flows, according to Sprague.
“Strategy is very important based on your overall business model, and it’s important that your strategy aligns with your core competencies, your technology, and what your consumers are telling you,” Sprague said.
Consumers are demanding more loan transparency today, as well as easy access to their information, said Jay Jones, EVP of Servicing at Mr. Cooper. They expect servicers to perform at a certain level, regardless of what’s going on in the environment.
Sagent saw an opportunity to increase focus on consumer needs and expectations, as a way to differentiate the company in a crowded market, said Dan Sogorka, President and CEO of Sagent. “If you do that, you can actually make money as a servicer. This can be a good business for you.”
Giving Consumers What They Need (and Want)
With foreclosures …….