By Mary Katherine Quasarano
Vice President of Learning and Development, Celink
Late last month, RMD published an important call to action for those in the servicing industry, an article titled “Reverse Mortgage Originators Tackle Ways to Improve Servicing”
From this servicer’s perspective, many of the stated and determined efforts of originators to deal with — or “tackle” — the difficult task of servicing are timely, welcome, and much appreciated.
Where We Agree
Training and Education
It’s important to call out the fact that servicing of the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage product is highly complex, specialized, regulated, and nuanced work. Within the Due & Payable business unit alone, there are 14 separate and unique work streams. Under these circumstances, side-by-side, on the job training/learning has become the tried, true, and most effective means of transferring job knowledge. It is time-consuming work, and a post-test confirms successful knowledge transfer.
Job knowledge is an essential element of all successful loan servicing, and yet what may be even more important is the demonstrated ability to confidently and empathetically interact with a borrower that may be over six decades older and in physical and/or emotional distress. The post-test for those particular skills can be more intuitive than factual – though Celink is working diligently to close the gap between “feeling” and “knowing” when a candidate is competent and ready to interact with borrowers.
The stated “wish (for) more training and education for the employees who interact directly with borrowers and their families” is a strongly shared aspiration!
In the original piece, an originator commented: “If we can have dialogue between the front end and the back end to help persons in the middle, it would be really, really good.”
Our people couldn’t agree more, and extend a warm invitation to all of our partners on “the front end” to seek out our input and expertise in order to convert each and every borrower at closing into a well-informed and engaged spokesperson for our product and industry. Partnership and education are the essential keys to our mutual success.
Where We (Respectfully) Disagree
In the article, one loan officer calls for “more oversight from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and possibly the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”
This is simply not warranted. A robust compliance management system, annual certifications, and the powerful internal charge to always “do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason” form the backbone of most, if not all, servicing operations. It is most certainly the foundation from which Celink operates.
Providing Erroneous Information
Misinformation is never acceptable. Human beings service this complex product, and though rare, misinformation may be given from time to time. When the error is promptly recognized and acknowledged, harm can be mitigated, and the invaluable gift of learning takes place.
It is no mistake, however, when a caller not identified in loan documents as an authorized point of contact is refused any borrower or loan information! No servicer is legally able to give out or provide any information to anyone except the borrower or their authorized contacts.
This is not poor servicing; on the contrary, it is providing borrower protection and servicing of the highest caliber.
RMD’s article noted that “…once the borrower signs the loan documents, his or her fate – and the loan’s reputation – is fully in the hands of the servicer.” Yes, it most certainly is. The more originators and servicers come together, the safer the borrower transfer — from your sound and capable hands into our sound and capable hands — will be. In spirit and purpose, we’re all in this together.
It’s in that spirit you are invited to contact Katie Rizzo and Emily Ford in Celink Client Relations at Allies@Celink.com to let our collaborative efforts begin.
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