Mortgage

Altisource expands servicing to handle forbearance overflow

The goal is to be a "surge protector" for servicers who need additional capacity, Altisource says

Altisource Portfolio Solutions, a provider of real estate, mortgage and foreclosure services, said it has expanded its Texas operations center to handle the overflow from home-loan servicers trying to cope with customers requesting forbearances.

The Luxembourg-based company said it is adding customer service workers to its operations center in El Paso, Texas, who will handle forbearance requests as a “brand representative,” meaning they will act as if they work for the mortgage servicer who contracts with Altisource.

“Current moratoriums and forbearance plans are benefitting borrowers facing economic uncertainty and unemployment but creating customer service challenges for banks and servicers,” the company said in a statement.

Altisource in April opened a 30,000-square-foot building in the Northwest Corporate Center in West El Paso that is bigger than its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, an Altisource senior vice president told the El Paso Times earlier this year.

The company wants to act as a “surge protector” for mortgage servicers inundated with calls from customers seeking forbearance, said Robert W. McKinley, an Altisource vice president.

“The long-term objective is to continue working with them and other clients after the pandemic,” he said.

The share of mortgages in forbearance dropped to 6.87% in mid-September, representing 3.4 million home loans, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in a Monday report.

That’s down from a pandemic high of 8.55% in the first week of June, according to MBA data.

Weekly forbearance requests as a percent of servicing portfolio volume increased to 0.11% from 0.10% the previous week, the report said. The abandonment rate, meaning the people who hung up after waiting for a period, dropped to 6.9% from 7% the previous week.

The time it took to handle a call remained flat with the previous week’s 7.8 minutes, the MBA report said.

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