Mahwah, N.J.-based leading reverse mortgage lender and servicer Longbridge Financial and Lansing, Mich.-based reverse mortgage subservicer Compu-Link Corporation (Celink) have renewed their subservicing relationship for a new term, renewing a partnership that was first established in 2015.
While the length of the new term was not disclosed, the new partnership agreement will be in place “for years to come,” according to Celink, and will build on the work that both organizations have made to improve and streamline processes and customer service.
What the partnership means for both companies
For Longbridge’s part, the company is pleased that this partnership will be continuing. The lender continues to be pleased with the progress Celink has made to its subservicing operation according to Richard Burke, Longbridge SVP of servicing and vendor management.
“Longbridge has a long-standing partnership with Celink and we’re very excited to continue the relationship into the future,” Burke said. “Celink has made many enhancements recently and those changes have improved the service to our customers. We look forward to our continued collaboration as we work together to advance and evolve the borrower’s experience.”
Celink is similarly pleased to continue its association with Longbridge according to Ryan LaRose, the company’s chief client & industry relations officer.
“Longbridge has been a key partner to Celink for a number of years and they are a very important part of achieving our goals for the reverse business,” LaRose told RMD. “They have continued to invest in building a very impressive operation and have plans to grow their business and the industry overall, and we want to do our best to support them in that.”
These thoughts were echosed by Celink CEO Marion McDougall, who also called Longbridge a “key strategic partner” for the subservicer.
“We believe that our investment over the past 24 months in cloud infrastructure, omni-channel solutions for senior borrowers, robotic process automation, and process engineering provides great value to both our clients and the industry overall,” McDougall said.
Celink’s recent enhancements
Celink maintains servicing partnerships with several major reverse mortgage industry lenders, and has been spearheading its enhancements to continue to maintain existing business and to cultivate new partners, LaRose explains.
“Celink has made significant investments over the past 24 months towards improving the borrower experience,” he says. “The ‘typical’ reverse borrower has changed over time and continues to change, especially with the newer originations. To address those changing needs, first and foremost we developed (and continue to invest in and enhance) our Borrower Portal.”
The company launched its portal last year after a development cycle of approximately six months. LaRose explains how the presence of the portal helps borrowers accomplish a lot of specific tasks related to the management of their loan.
“[The portal] allows borrowers to not only review their loan information securely online, but also allows for them to transact,” he says. “[That includes] being able to complete line of credit draw requests, complete e-sign for their Annual Occupancy Certificate, request a payoff quote on their loan, etc.”
Celink has also invested in its call center teams and the technology they use to further improve the borrower experience to ensure that an inbound question is either immediately answered or routed to a professional who has the sought-out information, he says.
“At the end of the day, improving the experience for reverse mortgage borrowers means providing them with omni-channel tools to help them with their loan in the manner that works best for them – whether that’s digitally or by engaging with one of our representatives over the phone,” LaRose tells RMD.
When asked about what Celink wants the broader industry to know about this ongoing partnership with a major lender, LaRose says it comes down to the emphasis the company places on specialization.
“Celink’s sole business is reverse mortgage subservicing and we have developed deep expertise in that area since we entered the industry back in 2005,” he says. “The partnerships that we have with our clients are key to our growth and we want to do what we can to support them as they execute on their growth plans in the future. We are all working towards the same goals: to grow the industry and continue to provide a better experience for seniors.”
Earlier this year, Celink announced that Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation had selected the company to serve as its own reverse mortgage subservicer.
Notably, Celink in March was also awarded the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Single Family Secretary-Held Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Assets contract and will provide loan servicing for HECM reverse mortgage loans sponsored by FHA. The reverse mortgage industry response to the news was resoundingly positive, with lenders and industry professionals praising Celink’s proficiency in the reverse mortgage servicing realm.
However, Novad Management Consulting — the company which has held HUD’s Single Family Secretary-Held HECM Assets contract since 2014 — has filed a protest against the award, a move which was “expected” to take place according to people familiar with the matter as detailed in RMD’s previous reporting. HUD has until July 19th to make a determination on its merits and either respond to or dismiss the protest.