A senior residential mortgage and tech executive with Accenture believes one of the major trends that emerged in 2012 is the banks' willingness to conduct more short sales while continuing to pursue other loss mitigation efforts.
Ghazale Johnson, a senior executive with Accenture Credit Services, specializes in both residential mortgages and technology.
Johnson says servicers have "really embraced the short-sale concept," and other loss mitigation tools.
What prompted the change, she says, is a recognition by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2012 that short-sales could be encouraged by simply making the process easier. Some of the 2012 short-sale changes included the removal of limitations associated with private mortgage insurance and pushback from second-lien holders.
The result, Johnson notes, was a greater willingness among servicers and lenders to push forward with short sales.
Johnson responded to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's report of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac foreclosure prevention actions rising 4% from the second quarter to the third quarter, calling it "encouraging" and a "win-win for servicers, investors and borrowers."
Earlier on, she notes "complexities" affiliated with the short sale process made it a less likely method of limiting losses just a short few years ago.
"Lenders and buyers were stepping away," she says, and the stigma of short-sales being too difficult to do took time to remove.
However, 2012 freed up the process, leading to positive gains in the amount of work-outs and short-sales executed.
As for what 2013 brings, Johnson says servicers had two years to focus on scaling their operations while also focusing on the development of their internal systems. Those changes were made in the wake of the crisis to respond to an influx of foreclosures.
With the hardest part over, she expects servicers to refocus on developing a long-term operating model for servicing loans. She sees a focus that will likely search for "cost-effective" and "strategic operating" models.