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A Simple Philosophy on Default: Getting It Right When It Matters Most

Client Partners A Simple Philosophy on Default: Getting It Right When It Matters Most

A Simple Philosophy on Default: Getting It Right When It Matters Most
By Ingrid Jaschok, Senior Vice President, Default Operations

It’s been an exciting couple of months as I settle into my new role here at Cenlar as SVP of Default Operations, and I’ve been touched by the outpouring of well wishes from colleagues across the industry as I embark on this next adventure. 

I have more than 25 years of experience in this space at places like Flagstar Bank, Citibank, Freedom Mortgage and Mr. Cooper, roles that have allowed me to develop a clear vision for how my organization at Cenlar should operate.

Client service is a priority to me and to the entire organization. Every day we must earn your continued faith and confidence, and we know that our collective success depends on being a true partner with you. In this spirit, I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce my vision, how we’re already executing it at Cenlar and what it means for you and your homeowners.

My philosophy is simple: I want to keep homeowners in their homes. If, for some reason, a homeowner needs to walk away from their home, it is vital we help them do that with dignity, providing assistance where we can. Ultimately, it is our responsibility to take care of both the homeowner and the property to the best of our ability.

We want to ensure the softest landing possible for the homeowner who is experiencing a hardship. At the same time, we want to preserve the property as quickly as we can, not only to protect our client’s investment but also to protect the neighbors and the community around the home in question. The alternative is the proliferation of “zombie properties,” and that’s simply bad for everyone.

The great news is I’ve joined an organization that’s strong already, as evidenced by Fannie Mae naming us a 2023 STAR Performer in the Solutions Delivery category. Fannie selected honorees in the Solutions Delivery category based on their ability to resolve delinquent loans, their effectiveness at managing their collections call center and their capabilities in people, processes and technology.

These all have been areas of focus at Cenlar, and as you’ll see, they continue to be.

Moving Forward

There’s no denying we’ve navigated an intense period, as an organization and as an industry, over the last five years. Everyone knows the realities that the COVID-19 pandemic brought with it.

The industry’s view of loss mitigation has shifted since the outset of the pandemic, and loss mitigation is critical to both my philosophy and to our role as a servicer. We want and need to be really strong in this area.

To achieve this, we’re building an agile organization that has the ability to adapt and evolve as conditions and regulations change. We already have control reporting change management and data-driven testing, and we’re working now on streamlining the entire area further by automating reporting, timelines and testing.

To ensure we’re reaching homeowners as soon as possible, we’re continuing to grow our omnichannel communications program this year. We rolled out collections emails in 2023, giving us another avenue to reach homeowners who are past due on their mortgage. These emails provide a simple reminder to homeowners to make their payment or to contact us if they need help, but do not replace our efforts via outbound calling or letters. Rather, they are a supplemental digital campaign layered in as part of a holistic strategy to reach homeowners who may be at-risk.

We’ve added loss mitigation and collections text messages to our program, encouraging homeowners to give us a call so we can get them assistance. It’s all about recognizing that when you’re in a loss mitigation scenario, you’re stressed. The last thing I want is for a homeowner to be worried about their home but also scared to contact us. The sooner we connect, the sooner we can get them into a program that makes the most sense.

As new technology opportunities arise, we will continue with enhancements, including in the omnichannel space. My team has collaborated closely with our digital innovation team to ensure we’re always enhancing the experience we provide for our clients and their homeowners. They’ve been tremendous partners with us, and we’ve already met to initiate for 2024 and 2025 a technology roadmap specifically for the default area.

One of the results of the partnership between Cenlar’s default and technology teams is something we’re calling “guided flows.” When a homeowner calls us, we need to ensure we provide them a consistently excellent experience. To help assure this, in our Default Call Center, we are leveraging guided flows, a dynamic tool for reducing risk, improving compliance and assuring homeowners receive the loss mitigation option that makes the most sense and gets the best outcome.

Guided flow uses on-screen prompts and reminders to guide our agents from start to finish through the call, simplifying for them a complex, always-changing regulatory environment. It standardizes the call flow — scrubbing the account to identify key loan characteristics so that every scenario has been considered — and takes notes for the agent along the way, providing a consistent account of each call, no matter the agent. It reduces agent training time — so we can quickly scale to meet homeowner demand — and increases agent empowerment because they know they always have support. Simply, it ensures the homeowner gets the optimum experience from a compliance, regulatory and customer service perspective. Even better, the tool is agile, so we can continuously enhance it.

We think these efforts signify our dedication to getting things right for homeowners when it counts the most, and they are just a few of the things we’re working on. We’ve built a really strong team at Cenlar in the default area, and I have no doubt that we will continue to see results as we continue to invest in people, process and technology.

I can’t wait to share what’s next with you.

A recipient of the 2019 Women in Housing Leadership Award for Diversity & Inclusion, Ingrid Jaschok has more than 25 years of experience in call center operations, loan administration, mortgage loan servicing, loss mitigation, bank and nonā€bank financial institution management, as well as regulatory and compliance oversight.