In honor of the 2020 HW Insiders list that was announced on Monday exclusively for HW+ members, HousingWire interviewed Dean Kirchen, senior vice president of WFG Default Services at WFG National Title Insurance Company, to get his insight on the servicing industry.
In this Q&A, he shares his thoughts on the biggest trends in the servicing industry and one of the issues that he thinks people aren’t paying attention to that they need to be.
For this week only, HW+ members get a sneak peak at the 2020 HW Insiders. The full profiles will be available Sept. 1, 2020.
HW: What trends in the servicing industry are you watching right now?
Dean Kirchen: We’re mostly focused on the various legislation that will impact the way servicers do business in states. That will have an effect on whether forbearance, foreclosure moratoriums and forbearance loan arrangements are made.
You could see a whiplash effect where if there’s forbearance or moratoriums that last for a certain period of time, or an extended period of time, what is that anticipated volume going to be like, if at all, down the road? And, do servicers have the capacity to handle the types of requests that they will be faced with, whether it’s qualifying forbearance, qualifying modifications, refinancing, foreclosures, etc.? We’re really just trying to gauge servicer capacity for when forbearances and moratoriums are lifted to see how they handle that and then we would go from there.
HW: What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received?
Dean Kirchen: The piece of advice that I’ve received in the past that I always refer back to is the importance of work ethic, accuracy and consistency. This is what keeps us moving forward and building new relationships.
HW: What’s one key thing that you do in your life that you think has been a key to your success?
Dean Kirchen: For me, it’s a work ethic. I’ve been working ever since I was in high school, and I was lucky enough my father ran a car dealership, so I was always hanging around the car dealership. In that time, my father taught me a lot about the importance of work ethic, and being in the car business, those were long hours. After spending all those summers with my father, it was that work ethic that’s stuck with me through life.
HW: How do you encourage innovative ideas?
Dean Kirchen: It’s important to ask questions, listen and then engage the right people within the organization to make decisions. It’s important to listen to what your clients are asking, how they’re asking it and then, engage with the frontline people within our organization on how they’re interacting.
How would they have handled this situation better? What would set us apart from the status quo? We’re in the service business, and just like in anything else, people want to feel special, and they want to feel like they’re not part of the herd.
HW: What’s something that people need to be paying attention to right now that they aren’t?
Dean Kirchen: It would be delinquency rates. What’s scary to me is that with the forbearance programs and moratoriums that are going on, are people being mindful that these payments will be due in the future? And, how are they providing for a future stream of payments that could be due, in regards to their mortgage payment, that could be in excess of what they currently pay?
Hopefully people are being mindful of these obligations that are being postponed because not all lenders will be putting those on the back end of the loan. They could be due within certain periods of time depending on who the investor is.
A lot of borrowers are making payments even though they are in forbearance agreements, but then you have another group of individuals who are not making payments under the forbearance agreement. How are they accounting for these future payment streams that could be due that could be in addition to their normal monthly payment?