Suzanne Ball, president of America’s Infomart, a field services company based in Dallas, plans to be at the MBA National Mortgage Servicing Conference to check the pulse of her peers on loan information security issues.
Exchange of information security between banks with growing foreclosure inventories and their field representatives may be key to the success of efforts to expand REO-to-rent opportunities this year.
It is an issue of great concern to mortgage professionals like Ball, because the amount of data exchanges for each and every property under management and two-way communication between servicers and field servicers is enormous. “It is a crucial issue to the property preservation industry and will be a very hot topic going forward,” she said.
The conference brings together the main players who help shape up future housing market developments, which is why it matters.
Recent feedback from the servicers associated with America’s Infomart suggest the existing technology used in the field and by the servicers varies to the extent that data is processed and transmitted through “too many different layers of technology.”
It implies data-security information accuracy and communication speed can be easily compromised before it reaches the end servicer.
Privacy issues centered around that “how secure is the software” challenge, she says, need be addressed head on to be able to minimize the information exchange layers that can cause a breach and ensure staff that performs field work communicates directly with personnel in a servicer’s shop.
Multilayer approaches where data move from the servicer to a national field services group, then to a subcontractor, a regional group or another party before it reaches the contractor in the field may entail security breach risks since it will have to move along in reverse before it gets back to the serivicer.
She is hopeful “to get some additional feedback and guidelines” about how this concern she shares with peers in the field services industry and the mortgage servicers they work with, at the MBA conference.
“Privacy is a really a big concern right now. There are more foreclosures coming up this year so information security and how to personalize service to best address servicer’s needs is a hot topic right now,” she said.
Her receipt for success is: Treat each property as a unique individual, bundle a multitude of field services in one shop and conduct them at once or at least provide estimates to the servicers in time, as needed.
It may be easier said than done, but in today’s marketplace it appears to be a necessity.
“The days of ordering a large portfolio, all cookie cutter the same solution are in the days of the past,” she says. Servicers are watching their property preservation budgets and costs and are shopping for the best priced quality services, so that will be a major theme in 2012, along with how to handle the influx of foreclosed properties and remain compliant with federal and state regulations.
At the conference and going forward Ball will be closely watching the market.
For example, she’s following market developments in the Chicago area and Las Vegas where regulators have their spotlight on the legality of holding servicers financially responsible even when they do not hold the title on a delinquent mortgage. “The outcomes of these legal challenges will certainly chart the course of the property preservation industry over the next year.
“As things change within the industry,” she added, flexibility of operation is another key issue going forward.