The U.S. economy and housing market has been anything but predictable the last few years.
The only constant in the mortgage marketplace has been a lot of change — and that change is happening fast. As a result, there’s been an ever-increasing demand that those of us who service home mortgages need to pivot quickly to adapt and, as always, remain committed to putting the homeowner first. Mortgage servicing is not about just collecting payments — it’s about building relationships with homeowners throughout the life cycle of the loan.
Delivering An Easy, Personalized Experience
Cenlar is a subservicer who performs its servicing functions for our clients, which consist of banks, credit unions, mortgage companies and other financial institutions. Our philosophy is to treat our clients’ homeowners as we would like to be treated. When Cenlar on-boards new homeowners, we have a welcome program. This is a series of communications with a warm introduction to the services we provide that anticipates and proactively address homeowners’ needs during the first three months of their journey and ensures we have a longer, more satisfying relationship.
This on-boarding occurs whether it’s a new loan or when we become the servicer during a transfer of servicing. In the first 90 days it’s like triage. You have to be the best at it because that coming and going can be turmoil for the homeowner. Servicers need to make sure homeowners feel like they have landed in the right place — they know how to get in touch with you, and that as a servicer, we’ve got this handled.
Education Is Key
If you think about the role of a mortgage servicer, our role is to make it easy for the homeowner — easy to learn about their mortgage product, easy to get what they need when they need it, and easy way to resolve any issues.
We also have to continue to educate homeowners about their loans. The more educated homeowners are, the better. Homeowners need to be aware of and understand the basics of their loan — how to make a payment, and the processes involved with escrow analysis for example. At Cenlar, we have created an escrow email that is sent to homeowners and links to a video explaining escrow analysis.
Data Always Matters
The homeowner experience is not a single moment in time. It’s the full experience, over the lifetime of the relationship with the homeowner — whether that’s onboarding, escrow, payments, or year-end initiatives. It’s important to be aware of those moments, and do everything to ensure communications are as personalized and proactive as possible.
That’s why using data and analytics that trigger important events that have occurred or are happening in the homeowner’s experience can help to deliver better service. A homeowner now has the expectation that you know something has changed, you know them, you remember what they told you, and you can use that information to better serve them, customizing their experience as much as possible.
An Extension of Your Brand
In a private label offering, a servicer is an extension of the brand that is outsourcing the portfolio. Being a subservicer, this entails homeowner-focused solutions to heighten the experience when they interact with our contact center. This can include a dedicated call center that speaks to homeowners using the bank, credit union, or other financial institution. So, you’re giving homeowners a personalized interaction with promotion of the same “valued feeling” that they would receive if they were speaking to their own financial institution.
Today, we are living in a digital landscape and homeowners value convenience in their everyday lives. Homeowners who need answers to simple questions want the self-service tools to do so without having to call, whether that’s through interactive voice response (IVR), the web, a mobile app, or bots.
It’s making the self-service channels so easy to use that homeowners prefer them over calling. In fact, we average almost 150,000 bot interactions per month, with 85% no longer needing to speak with a live representative.
And, for those homeowners who want to speak to a representative, you have to be there for them, providing them with quality, caring service. It’s about meeting the needs of homeowners and communicating with them based on their preferences. Making those experiences positive and handling the homeowners’ questions in a single contact are important regardless of the method of how they reached you.
We will always get questions from homeowners about aspects of the servicing of their mortgage products and we play a critical role in optimizing the handling of those situations. A servicer doesn’t just manage homeowners’ accounts, they are ‘listeners’ to the homeowners needs and concerns, gathering information and providing it to our clients who are committed to delivering the best possible products and services to provide the optimal solution again and again for their homeowners.
Orginally published in the Mortgage Women Magazine September 2023 issue. Read More