The servicing industry is in dire need of a technology update, and one expert explained blockchain could be the key the industry is missing.
“Blockchain is a giant and exciting step forward in servicing technology,” said Ali Vafai, president of The Money Source, a 2019 HousingWire Tech100 winner. “In fact, I think it’s going to create a new world order in the mortgage industry.”
HousingWire’s Tech100 recognizes the most innovative and impactful companies in the housing and mortgage industries. Now, HousingWire is launching an all-new award program – the Tech Trendsetters, which recognizes the experts behind these innovative companies.
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“SIME – Servicing Intelligence Made Easy is an award-winning platform that has redefined the servicing industry to deliver great customer service – for servicers and borrowers,” Vafai said. “We built it because we believe that borrowers deserve great customer service for the largest and most important purchase in their life. And that Servicers or Lenders need to protect their most important asset – their borrowers.”
HousingWire sat down with Vafai to talk about how blockchain and technology could transform the servicing industry.
HousingWire: What is the greatest hurdle technology solves, or can solve, for the servicing industry?
Ali Vafai: Just as technology has been stuck in the eighties in the servicing industry, so has customer service. Kind of funny in an industry called “servicing.” To truly drive amazing and high-quality service for borrowers, it goes beyond just focusing on technology on the originations end of the business. Technology is critical to delivering great customer service on the servicing end of the business – where the relationship is the longest…up to 30 years. While mortgages may seem complex to consumers, customer satisfaction and five-star ratings can be a thing for servicing. It starts with the right technology that provides data and insights that fuel great customer service. The days of waiting to find out what’s going on with your borrowers until your subservicer can take the time to hunt down data, call recordings or documents are gone. Today, great technology powers proactive customer service – knowing your borrower’s payment habits, providing them self-service tools, finding human connection points, knowing when they’re going to buy or sell and providing them tools and education that dials up the joy of homeownership. In other words, technology grows happiness in homeownership.
HW: How can (or should) blockchain be utilized to meet the tech needs for servicers?
AV: Blockchain is a giant and exciting step forward in servicing technology. In fact, I think it’s going to create a new world order in the mortgage industry. At TMS, we received three provisional patent approvals that center around blockchain technology that will create a whole new level of security and data sharing in the industry. One of them deals with the way we gather information and streamlines the process. The others look at what we call “Servicing Performance Scores.” This will not replace FICO, but will give a better sense of a borrower’s ability to meet their promise to pay by looking at their past payment habits and digital behavior. The third is to create a central database of all servicing records to understand the unpaid principal balance and when the next payment is due. Every company will be able to run a credit report on any borrower with a mortgage based on real data.
HW: Does improving servicer technology directly impact the borrower, or is it more of a back-end improvement?
AV: Innovative servicing technology makes life easier for borrowers and servicers. Borrowers reap the benefits of high-touch, high-tech customer service. Servicers have real-time oversight of their portfolio and the ability to be more proactive with their borrowers to maintain the joy of homeownership. Our subservicing team is powered by SIME – which provides real-time transparency into each and every loan. Plus, it provides 4-D intelligence on a borrower – from payment patterns to knowing when a borrower is in search of a new home. For our clients, they see what we see with SIME. Call recordings are heard with the click of a button. All documents and loan notes can be viewed in real-time. The benefits of this type of new technology are significant – saves time and protects your portfolio.