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Enhanced Homeowner Advocate Team to Bolster 2022 Foreclosure Avoidance Efforts

Client Partners Enhanced Homeowner Advocate Team to Bolster 2022 Foreclosure Avoidance Efforts

Enhanced Homeowner Advocate Team to Bolster 2022 Foreclosure Avoidance Efforts

As pandemic-era relief programs expire, some borrowers may find themselves faced with the prospect of foreclosure in 2022. That’s a distressing thought for any homeowner.

The best-case scenario for everyone — homeowner, client and servicer — is to keep people in their homes. That’s where Cenlar’s Homeowner Advocate team comes in. The team conducts secondary reviews of loans eligible for foreclosure referral to ensure all foreclosure avoidance opportunities were made available to homeowners before entering the foreclosure process.

Cheryl Young, Vice President of Default Management, and Shannon Tomasso, Director of Default, have seen firsthand the effect the pandemic has had on homeowners. They are just two of the people at Cenlar applying their expertise to ensure that, as more loans enter the foreclosure process, we continue to focus on keeping homeowners in their homes.

Cheryl has spent 30 years in the mortgage servicing and residential real estate industry, and has worked closely with our bankruptcy, pre-foreclosure and foreclosure teams over the past four years. Shannon joined Cenlar in 2020, bringing with her two decades of experience in the mortgage industry, including 12 years specializing in late-stage default.

They recently sat down to discuss how our Homeowner Advocate Team supports clients and their homeowners exiting forbearance.

Q: Forbearance ended at the end of 2021, and a lot of people want to know what’s next. What’s the plan for 2022?

ST: We have a large inventory of loans in pre-foreclosure eligible for foreclosure. The goal is to move through those loans within the first quarter of 2022. But we don’t want to rush. We’re going to complete our same review that we always have, mindfully. We want to do everything we possibly can for homeowners before we put the loans into foreclosure.

As part of that, we’re making sure that we have enhanced procedures for our Homeowner Advocate team. Its sole job is to take a look at the situation from the homeowner’s point of view. “What can we do to avoid sending the loan to foreclosure?” “What opportunities are there?”

CY: The Homeowner Advocate team was created to double check our loan review process and make certain we have afforded homeowners the opportunity to avoid foreclosure. The team looks for any response from the homeowner that needs to be addressed further, including if the borrower was responsive to foreclosure avoidance programs like repay plans and forbearances and resolution of payment disputes. Loans that meet the criteria for further review can be referred to the proper department for a final attempt to avoid foreclosure or resolve the open issue.

For all loans meeting the criteria for referral for foreclosure, the Homeowner Advocate team will revisit and retry our initial standard 31-point foreclosure review before referring the loan to foreclosure.

Q: With the potential for greater foreclosure volume in 2022, what changes has Cenlar made to help our clients and their homeowners?

CY: We’ve enhanced our loss-mitigation communications channels in preparation for the ending of CFPB’s temporary rules. We’ve also set up a formal feedback loop, where we’re able to go directly to the loss mitigation team with any issues or questions on an account, and work closely with them to make sure that all opportunities have been exhausted before referring any loan into foreclosure. Loans in active loss mitigation are excluded from being eligible for the foreclosure referral review process.

ST: That’s one of the biggest things that we’ve been able to accomplish — to make sure that the homeowners who were impacted by the pandemic are given every opportunity to cure that delinquency before we move them into foreclosure. We are doing everything possible to make sure that everything is correct and that foreclosure is a last resort.

Q: What role will automation play in your effort?

ST: We’ve worked to automate some of our processes to make them more efficient and effective. We’ve already automated our inventory report to ensure we are constantly refreshing our pipeline and prioritizing loans for review where it logically makes sense to do so.

We’re finalizing the automation of the pre-foreclosure review process. It starts with a walk through of our 31-point checklist. It’s designed to prompt the reviewer to verify each alternative has been considered before moving forward.

Q: What is most important for our clients and homeowners to know?

ST: We understand our clients want to improve portfolio performance after such a long period of hardship and delinquency and we — along with our clients — want to assure that we manage the process in a compliant manner. To protect the interests of all involved and assure that all homeowners are given every opportunity to preserve their homes, we will diligently follow the processes we’ve put in place to assure we’ve done all that we can to help homeowners stay in their homes.