Automated System Pre-Qualifies Borrowers for HAMP
A new service released Monday could help mortgage lenders and servicers better manage the deluge of calls they receive from borrowers looking for a loan modification. Basking Ridge, NJ-based Avaya is a communications company that specializes in interactive voice response (IVR) systems, the automated phone systems that companies use to collect customers’ information before connecting with a live representative. The company released a new product Monday that will help lenders and servicers pre-qualify borrowers for modifications under the Making Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). The phone system places an outbound cold call to borrowers, notifying them they may be eligible for a HAMP modification. The system walks the borrower through a series of questions to determine pre-eligibility. If the borrower is identified as someone who is pre-qualified, a live agent takes over and initiates the modification process. Once the modification process begins, the system places additional automated calls to the borrower updating the status of the modification process. Avaya Professional Services managing director Ajay Kapoor told HousingWire lenders and servicers are inundated with calls from borrowers looking for modifications, and many times, eligible borrowers are getting lost in the crowd. The IVR system, he said, can help lenders and servicers better utilize limited call center staffs. Kapoor said although many customers may not like using IVR systems to deal with businesses, market research shows that tide is turning and people are adjusting to ever-improving IVR systems. “The alternative is pretty dire,” Kapoor added, noting borrowers are more inclined to use an IVR compared to waiting on hold for hours to speak with a call center employee. Kapoor declined to specify what lenders or servicers are in the process of implementing the service, but said the product is customized for the lender with the firm’s marketing jingles or other familiar identifiers to make the borrower more comfortable with the cold call. The system provides certain identifying information about the borrower to relieve any concerns from borrowers afraid they are getting scammed. The information the IVR system collects from the borrower is useless without access to the full account information. “The types of questions we ask, unless you know the other half of the information, you can’t do anything with it,” Kapoor said. Write to Austin Kilgore.