MReport November 2022

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20 | M R EP O RT COVER STORY scopes and the right products? From a servicing perspective, we specialize in more high-touch servicing, special servicing, and loss mitigation. We also service a sizable population of business- purpose loans. This year we built out our capabilities and further refined our servicing model for business-purpose loans as we're dealing with a different type of customer. We nearly quadrupled that portfolio. We're looking at how we continue expanding our product sets. How do we get ready for what's next, instead of continuing down the path where we were previously headed. From a title perspective, we've really expanded our footprint, and while we have been licensed in all states, we've now taken on more of that direct- ly, as opposed to using workshare partners. We are heavily involved in the individual transaction market with our partners, as well as the securitization space, and we've supported a significant number of SFR securitizations. It's a smaller market when you look at it; more of a commercial-type transaction. We're focused on continuing to expand our capa- bilities and improving the process and experience as we go. From a Due Diligence standpoint, we've focused primarily on the non-QM space and less in the conventional space, so now we're actively increasing our product suite. We're currently building potential for non-performing loans and reperforming loans. We have quite a few other different scopes that are in line from a new product perspective as well. We want to grow ourselves as a more full-service diligence firm and we see significant opportunity in the space, including consolidation in the market. How do you navigate shifts in the market from a staffing perspective? A utomation and cross-training. Automation adds efficiency, accuracy, and cost reduction. We partner closely with our technol- ogy partners to identify opportu- nities for automation so we can focus our human capital efforts on where we need them most. From a diligence perspective, our teams are organized by product type. If client volume is low, we want to be able to shift resources and get the most efficiency out of being able to shift and focus on another product or client. When facing a possible recession, are you more focused on innovating, bunkering down to improve efficiencies, or both? W e're focusing on both. Of course, we all wish volumes were back where they were earlier this year, but we see this as an opportunity for growth. With our strong financial backing, we are in it for the long haul, and that's across all of our businesses. The more that we can innovate, make things more efficient, and automate, the better we're going to be from a long-term perspective. We're really choosing to invest in ourselves and grow so that when volumes do come back, we're ready and all we need to do is scale and go. What are the big wins you're most proud of accomplishing in 2022? I f we look at the end of 2021 to now, we've grown our servicing portfolio by about 60%. I mentioned the BPL growth that we've seen; we quadrupled that portfolio, and we focused on the borrowers' channels of choice, how they prefer to be contacted. We focused on opening other methods of being able to interact with us and modernizing communication. Better chat, enhanced email functionality, and overall looking at how we can better serve the borrowers. We've made a lot of strides in building that out and have tried to focus on how we can remove friction and make it an overall better experience. We are also in the final stages of redesigning our customer website. We're investing in providing our borrowers resources to help navigate market conditions. From a title perspective, we've expanded our markets and are continuing to internalize as much production as we can. We made substantial progress this year and have additional planned expansion. From a diligence perspective, this year alone, we've participated in over 40 securitizations. We're an approved rating agency TPR firm with proven experience and a broad client base. We've continued to grow year-over-year and demonstrate our experience and footprint in the market. With current market conditions, it's a bit of a pause in the significant growth we've seen in recent years. But again, as we pivot and look at what else we can build, automate, and improve, it's positioning us for a very successful future. Tom Clerici, CTO, Freedom Mortgage What are the primary headwinds you're facing as we approach 2023, and how are you working to surmount them? A lot is going on, particularly in the technology space. From Freedom Mortgage's perspective, it's all about engagement with our customers. We're in a digital age. We want to make sure that everybody can work with us via the mechanism that they feel best, whether that's on their computer, on their mobile device, or on their phone, whatever it is. A large portion of what we're working on is around what we can do for our customers and consumers in general. How do we improve engagement with our customers and consumers in need of a home loan? How do we make it easier for them to work with us? How can we best help them in fostering homeownership? And how can we bring the tech tools to bear, so that the process is beneficial and seamless as it can be? The cyber challenge is always there, so we're always doing what we can to harden our systems and defend and defeat whatever the latest and greatest threats are. There are new ones every day, and there's a lot at stake. We put "The more that we can innovate, make things more efficient, and automate, the better we're going to be from a long-term perspective. We're choosing to invest in ourselves and to grow so that when volumes do come back, we're ready to go and all we need to do is scale and go." —Katie Brewer, COO, Selene Finance

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