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On November 1, 2023 Stavvy moderated a webinar panel hosted with HousingWire. The webinar discussed the current mortgage servicing landscape and the roles technology and policy play in evolving the industry. The panelists included:
- Shane Hartzler, EVP of Servicing @ Stavvy
- Candace Russell, VP of Post-Sale @ Carrington Mortgage Services
- Marrisa Yaker, Deputy General Council @ Padgett Law Group
- Brenden Kelleher, Associate Director of Loan Administration @ Mortgage Bankers Association
- Cecelia Riane, VP of Servicing Strategy and Integration @ Freddie Mac Single-Family Portfolio and Servicing Division
Here’s a recap of the key concepts covered throughout the webinar.
Stavvy’s recent “Evolving Mortgage Servicing and Technology Landscape” webinar, hosted with HousingWire, centered on the theme of knowing your customer and engaging with them on their terms. Candace Russell, VP of Post-Sale at Carrington Mortgage Services, might have summed it up best with her quote.
“Let's say you buy a portfolio, or acquire a portfolio, or originate in an area where everybody's used to walking into a local branch, and that's how they do business. You will have to adjust to that preference, even if you are just set up with the best technology, the best IVR, you are going to have to deal with the preferences of that portfolio that you've just acquired.” ~Candace Russell
Regarding the technology landscape, everyone involved understood the importance of driving digital adoption for not only servicers and borrowers but also policymakers. Freddie Mac’s VP of Servicing Strategy and Integration, Cecilia Riane, expressed the following.
“It's not just about the servicer’s technology; it's the ecosystem itself, and it requires layers of tools in order (from start to finish) to have a digital experience – have an eSign loan mod. So, your policy is your policy, but how you execute on the policy and get you there (I can't underscore enough) takes understanding and planning. And you have to start small and do things in chunks and learn.” ~Cecelia Riane
Evolving an ecosystem takes a long time. But, just like anything else, relentless progress drives any impactful change, no matter how small the steps forward might seem at the time. The five key takeaways from the webinar below are what leaders in the mortgage servicing sector should consider to drive widespread adoption of digital solutions.
1. Take the 'scary’ out of it
The unofficial motto of the webinar, “taking the ‘scary’ out of it,” is an overarching theme that can be applied to all aspects of digital adoption. Whether you’re educating or implementing, accurately addressing the concerns of servicers and borrowers is critical to ensuring that they understand how a specific technology solution solves their particular pain points.
A significant hurdle before you can advocate for technology and policy change is to double down on education. For borrowers and servicers, educating them on the benefits of digitizing processes is a clear first step. However, a group that is often overlooked yet still needs education is policymakers— specifically county constituents.
“Sometimes, some of these county employees have been there a very long time. They might not realize that there are good changes and want to do that. Sometimes, it's just bringing that education forward.” ~Cecelia Riane
3. Start small, collaborate, then advocate
A theme echoed throughout the webinar is that starting small with technology that people are comfortable with encourages wide-scale digital adoption. This piggy-backed into knowing your customer and engaging with them on their terms. Servicers must analyze their portfolios by demographics and locale to understand if the level of technology they wish to implement will be effective in achieving servicing goals.
Not everyone is instantly sold on digital solutions. That’s why support from other servicing leaders who have made the digital leap is critical. Cecelia Riane pointed out that adoption leaders are often happy to help their peers understand technology, provide insights, and join forces to become leaders of digital transformation. You also don’t always have to look externally for help. Large companies can look internally for insight into what works and the best places to start. The more that leaders in mortgage servicing work towards these goals, the quicker everyone can advocate for impactful policy changes.
4. Trust the data
The mortgage servicing industry is highly data-driven. Presenting tested and trustworthy data to sway those resistant to change is essential. This goes back to the point of starting small. If you’re a solution provider, lead with the product data you trust the most and build from there.
“It's about leveraging the data that's available to us, ensuring that we've governed that data that we trust it, and then using it to make the decisions to communicate with the homeowner [and] to communicate amongst ourselves, to stop passing paper wherever possible.” ~Cecelia Riane
5. Evolve the ecosystem
The servicing ecosystem consists of many layers of policy and digital tools that help execute that policy. Big changes happen slowly. Deliberate planning and implementation can successfully move servicing out of legacy systems and toward a new, digital future.