MReport February 2019

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 51 of 67

50 | TH E M R EP O RT SERVICING THE LATEST O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T Partnerships and Platforms Mr. Cooper acquires the Seterus platform, and nearly $50M in servicing rights with it. C oppell, Texas-based Mr. Cooper has announced that it is acquiring IBM's Seterus platform. The agreement—worth $48 bil- lion—entails acquiring servicing rights underlying $24 billion in GSE mortgages and entering into a sub-servicing contract for an additional $24 billion in mortgages as well as the pur- chase of the platform. "IBM acquired Seterus in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to help a client manage a portfolio of distressed loans," said Jay Bellissimo, General Manager, Cognitive Process Transformation, IBM Global Business Services. "We were suc- cessful in this mortgage servicing work and the portfolio is now much more stable. The time is now right to divest this business, which is no longer core to IBM's portfolio, to a mortgage servicing specialist whose domain expertise and scale can further advance this business." Mr. Cooper expects to fund the acquisition with financing on the mortgage servicing rights and cash. Subject to regulatory approvals, the transaction is targeted to close in the first quarter of 2019. "We are excited to welcome more than 300,000 customers and the Seterus team to the Mr. Cooper Group family. We are confident our new team will be energized by our people-first culture, and our new customers will benefit from our user-friendly mobile and online tools designed to help them manage their home finances," said Jay Bray, Chairman, and CEO of Mr. Cooper Group Inc. "This transaction is consistent with our outlook for profitability targets and portfolio growth." Mr. Cooper provides servicing, origination, and transaction-based services related principally to single-family residences throughout the United States with operations under its primary brands: Mr. Cooper and Xome. Mr. Cooper is one of the largest home loan servicers in the country focused on delivering a variety of servic- ing and lending products, services, and technologies. Xome provides technology and data-enhanced solutions to homebuyers, home sellers, real estate agents, and mort- gage companies. Brushing up on Vacant Property Law A recent Legal League 100 webinar took a deep dive into vacant and abandoned property law. T he Legal League 100 continued its series of compli- mentary webinars with a presentation entitled "De- velopments in Vacant and Abandoned Property Law." Hosted by Stephen Hladik, Partner, Hladik, Onorato & Federman LLP, the webinar provided an overview of vacant and abandoned property state statutes in effect, states with legislation pending, and what a model definition of "vacant" or "abandoned" property should be on a national level. Many of the problems stem from the lack of a consistent, nationwide legal definition of what constitutes a "vacant" or "abandoned" property. Servicers, property preservation vendors, and financial services attorneys alike are often hampered by the inconsistency of these definitions across state lines, and by the fact that they are often confusing even within them. "While the number of total foreclosures nationwide may be declining, there is still a major issue facing lenders, servicers, cities, and municipalities in how to deal with the problems cre- ated by vacant or abandoned properties," Hladik said. "The risk of loss on these types of properties is obviously much higher than an occupied property, and lenders or servicers need new and innovative tools to be able to minimize the risk by shorten- ing foreclosure time frames wherever possible." Hladik—who also participated in DS News' "Zombie Homes— Challenges and Guidance" webinar this past summer—started with the basics, defining exactly what constitutes a "zombie property" and diving into the unique legal, servicing, and prop- erty preservation challenges presented by abandoned properties that are stranded in some stage of the foreclosure process. Hladik also discussed why this type of abandoned property is so preva- lent in states with judicial foreclosure processes. As Hladik explained, the nationwide number of zombie properties has been on the decline since peaking during the financial crisis, but they still remain abundant enough to cause problems in states such as New York, New Jersey, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio. Hladik then examined how effective so- called "fast-track foreclosure laws" had been in the states which have adopted them, including New Jersey, Washington state, and Connecticut, to name a few. The webinar then delved into recent legislation in states such as Pennsylvania, which passed two noteworthy anti-blight laws in June of 2018, designed to more clearly define "vacant" and "abandoned," as well as to generally help expedite the process of maintaining these properties during the foreclosure process and then getting them turned and back on the market as soon as possible.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of TheMReport - MReport February 2019