Servicers are leveraging technology from MCS to mitigate risks from natural disasters

Mortgage & Real Estate

HousingWire sat down with Mike Housewright, chief information officer at Mortgage Contracting Services, to talk about the ways servicers can be proactive in preparing for natural disasters.

HousingWire: The rate
of natural disasters seems to be increasing. What kind of technology is
available now to mitigate some of these risks compared to what mortgage
companies had to rely on in the past?

Mike Housewright: MCS has implemented a geographical information system that allows us to
understand the impact of storms (ex. tornados and hurricanes), flooding,
natural disasters and fires on the properties we manage and proactively take
action. This technology supports real-time alerts, map overlay of
satellite and drone imagery, etc.

This new technology
allows us to be more proactive in preparing for storms and being ready to
handle them after they hit. In the past we had to be a lot more reactive; we
would have to wait until the storms passed then get vendors in the area just to
assess which areas were damaged and what condition the properties were in. Now
we’re definitively out in front of these events, and able to provide our
clients with real-time, actionable data.

HW: How is MCS
leveraging its technology to help mortgage servicers track and prepare for
natural disasters?

MH: By using
map overlays of the storm’s tracks and satellite and drone imagery, we are able
to look at a client’s portfolio of properties to determine where the risk is.
We are also able to determine which properties are occupied and which are
vacant. This allows our clients to prioritize which properties need to be
addressed first and enables them to prioritize customer outreach immediately.

HW: Vendor management
is critical when financial institutions are working with so many partners. How
is MCS easing that burden for its clients?

MH: We will
continue to see significant technology innovation in the coming years at the
point of service with our vendors in the field. Our IT and vendor management
teams are partnering to simplify and improve the interaction between MCS and
our vendors. We know that communication is key to providing the highest quality
of service to our clients.

We continue to focus
on improving our integration with third party products, dynamic forms and image
technology. We are also continuously
working to simplify and improve the quality of work-order instructions, as we
believe effective communication with all parties is key to providing
exceptional results to our clients. 

HW: Companies
providing mortgage services like property preservation and inspections weren’t
always on the cutting edge of tech utilization. How has that changed in recent
years and what new technology will we be seeing from MCS in the near future?

MH: Some of
the new technology we are beginning to utilize will allow us to enhance the
customer experience, improve quality of our service, and increase the
productivity of our staff. Two such technologies are Robotic Process Automation
(RPA) and AI/Image classification.

When it comes to
RPA, our business team has implemented several dozen “bots” that have improved
our employee productivity. One common example is moving data between
applications. Many of our APC’s must enter the same data, look up data, and/or
transfer data between MCS systems and third party applications and these manual
processes can be time consuming. Bots are a great way to automate this process
and free-up staff time for more mission critical activities.

Image processing and
handling is one of the most important aspects of our business. We recently
conducted a successful “proof of concept” that used AI/image classification
technology to detect duplicate images, blurry images, and auto-classified
(tagged) images into six categories (kitchen, street sign, etc). Based upon the
results of our successful pilot, we are in the process of implementing the
first phase of our AI project.

This technology will
reduce the overall number of images that must be processed and ensure they are
tagged properly. We will use this technology as a core part of our business,
allowing for improved efficiencies and quality of work.
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