WFG Title Insurance will now offer forbearance, loan modification, and foreclosure information reports as part of its general title and closing services.
The product expansion is in response to servicers who “exhausted all efforts” to keep people in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic collapse of 2020, according to WFG Default Title Services Senior Vice President Dean Kirchen.
“We have a team of underwriters who understand the nuances of foreclosures and the potential effect of recent legislation related to moratorium on foreclosures,” Kirchen said. “Offering customizable solutions for all our clients is key to this effort, regardless of their size. This focus is quite different from other providers in our space, who typically restrict that benefit to their largest-volume clients.”
Forbearance legislation and moratoriums have all but stopped foreclosure proceedings during the pandemic and will continue until at least June 2021. However, WFG officials said they expect a surge of default activity in the fourth quarter of 2021 and beyond once these initiatives are lifted.
“While we don’t expect an onslaught of foreclosures like we saw during the mortgage meltdown before the great recession, we can foresee a time after the current forbearance scenario ends in which as many as 500,000 to 700,000 foreclosures may occur,” said Patrick Stone, WFG executive chairman and founder. “That might begin as early as the fourth quarter of 2021 and, in case it becomes necessary, these services will be ready to support our default customers.”
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WFG reported its highest volume months ever during the second and third quarters of 2020. In September 2020, WFG rolled out a new cybersecurity website called WESTprotect with alerts on active Internet fraud threats for real estate agents, lenders, title agents and other settlement service providers.
The company also released the MyHome platform in the fourth quarter of 2020, designed to provide transparency to every participant in the real estate transaction through immediate access.
“The market remains underserved in the sense that the mortgage lending market has changed so quickly that everyone is still trying to keep up,” Stone told HousingWire last year. “The opportunity for a new player to come in 10 years ago, and be client-oriented and use technology to replace hierarchical management structures, is exactly the kind of firm lenders want to partner with today. In these uncertain times, we see our vision of a fully integrated tech stack as the main force of customers’ stability.”