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Lending

Can servicers bridge the trust gap with homeowners?

National Mortgage Settlement monitor said things are getting better

missing puzzle piece

It is hard to characterize the entire mortgage servicing industry, but the zeitgeist at the Mortgage Bankers Association's National Mortgage Servicing Conference & Expo is that things are better now than they were two years ago.

It does vary servicer to servicer, but people are generally acknowledging that things are getting better.

However, there is always going to be conflict about distressed servicing until the economy picks up fully, said Joe Smith, monitor of the $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement, in an exclusive HousingWire interview.

Smith emphasized one key advice for servicers: make peace with the locals.

“Show them that you are really interested in getting the best outcome for consumers. Get them believing in your good faith. There is still a trust gap even though it is better than it was,” he explained.

It is important to let this process work now and let the whole regime work in order to see if they need to tweak it, Smith explained. 

Servicers have a right to be concerned. “But they need to understand that there is a reason that all this happened. It happened because of what happened in the last five years,” he noted.

But Smith did add that he is hopeful that over time the relationship between the homeowner and the servicer will be in a better place.

“I believe now that people believe us,” Smith said. “The main thing to me is that people think what we have done has integrity and it is true. It is not a cover up; it has some teeth and it has had some impact.” 

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