"High Touch" Servicer Expands to 47 States
(Update 1: Fixed incorrect headline) National Asset Direct, Inc., an advisor and portfolio manager focused on the distressed mortgage market, said late Thursday that the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance had granted a license to service first and subordinate lien mortgage loans to iServe Servicing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of NAD. With the latest authorization, iServe is now authorized to service residential mortgages in a total of 47 states -- including California, Florida and Texas. iServe is among the new entrants into the "high touch" servicing space that targets the needs of distressed mortgage investors; HousingWire has covered the emergence of this space at length in the past few months. "High-touch" servicing has grown in demand from regional and national investors looking for aggressive loss mitigation strategies on loan portfolios they acquire -- and with the number of sub- and non-performing notes continuing to grow, the demand for custom servicing platforms has grown, as well. "Improving the way that distressed mortgages are serviced is a critical but overlooked aspect of the current plan to fix the housing market," said Louis Amaya, chief investment officer and chief operating officer at National Asset Direct. "In order for this plan to succeed, we believe that servicers must re-evaluate each mortgage on a case-by-case basis with an eye to mitigating risk and preventing foreclosures, if possible. If the borrower does not have the ability or willingness to stay in the home, opportunities should be created to allow the borrower to exit the property with dignity by allowing them to share in proceeds if they assist in creating a preferred liquidation strategy, thereby helping them to make a transition." HW has heard from more than a few investors in the past few months lamenting what they call a "one size fits all" servicing approach among many of the larger servicing shops; that's not to say, however, that some of the larger shops are refusing to cater to the custom needs of distressed mortgage investors. GMAC's Residential Capital LLC recently rolled out its own custom servicing division this past August, and hired former EMC Mortgage CEO John Vella to lead the effort. It remains to be seen, however, if the larger servicing shops can compete with the customized platforms being put into play by firms such as iServe, among others. Amaya said his firm limits loss mitigation specialists to roughly 150 cases each, a number far lower than the industry average. "While the vast majority of this industry continues to work on a volume basis ... toward sub-performing and non-performing mortgage assets," NAD's Amaya said, "iServe is uniquely positioned to provide tailored, private-sector solutions to home owners." For more information, visit http://www.iservecompanies.com. Write to Paul Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.