Lenders initiate 500,000 short sales through Equator in one year
Lenders initiated more than 500,000 short sales on Equator's automated platform in one year of operation, the technology provider said Tuesday. The company said it has seen "substantial growth" in its short sale operations, including a platform built specifically for the government's Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program, which launched in April to provide incentives to servicers for short sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure. Equator reported initiated short sales, meaning not all have closed. Short sales can be a long and tedious process as borrowers, servicers, lenders and investors must all agree on the terms of sale instead of foreclosing. Data from the Congressional Oversight Panel suggested lenders are moving most of their short sales out of the HAFA program and into their own programs. According to COP, the Treasury Department has spent only $4.3 million through the program, translating to roughly 661 closed transactions in eight months. Still, Equator Chief Operating Officer John Vella said lenders have initiated 140,000 HAFA short sales, with more than one-third coming in the fourth quarter. "Our Short Sale and HAFA Workstations continue to provide servicers with a viable foreclosure alternative by generating faster responses and decisions, thereby offering impressive cost savings," Vella said. Equator also provides another platform that facilitates REO sales. Through it, lenders assign REO properties to real estate agents who have signed up to the program for a fee. Since it launched in 2003, Equator reported that more than $100 billion in assets have been sold on this platform. The company plans to release several new modules in 2011 in an effort to bridge a complete "end-to-end" default suite. Write to Jon Prior.