One clear takeaway emerged from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Servicing Solutions February conference with its theme of “Roadmap to Servicing Success”: Mortgage servicers are facing some bumps on that road to prosperity.
In our pulse survey of conference attendees, servicers said they believe mortgage rates, a possible recession and rising loan delinquencies and defaults represent the biggest issues this year. After a brief dip in January, mortgage interest rates are climbing again, up 50 basis points over the past month, and applications for refinancings and home purchases continue to fall.
With ongoing inflation worries and continuing low inventory of available housing, MBA Chairman-Elect Mark Jones told the 1,400 conference attendees that more challenges are ahead and will require servicers’ creativity and commitment to address them.
Engaging through better communications
To shore up cashflow and head off problems, more mortgage servicers are seeing the opportunity to leverage regular billing and payment interactions to build stronger consumer engagement and lower barriers to payment. Most survey respondents expect to grow their volume of borrower communications in the coming months, with more relying on state-of-the-art omnichannel communications management and payments technology to improve productivity, efficiency and customer experience.
Digital communication channels will be a growing focus in 2023. According to our survey respondents:
- 67% expect to increase email communications
- 47% expect to increase SMS/text communications
In addition, 60% of servicers expect a rise in the percentage of online mortgage payments. For 20%, at least half of their payments are already digital, and 40% said they receive between 25% and 50% of all payments electronically.
Integrating communications and payments with a single vendor and on a single platform benefits servicers and their customers. Servicers can include secure links in emails and text messages to online payment portals. And portals include convenient access to archived communications such as past statements, escrow analysis and tax forms.
Some servicers are looking to gain control and agility with their communications, to adapt to changing business conditions. For nearly half of the respondents, it takes 2 to 4 weeks or longer to create new letters or make content changes to existing communications, including compliance disclosures. Those delays are often due to internal IT bottlenecks and back-and-forth exchanges with third party letter vendors for edits and approvals. Many are turning to modern CCM platforms to make these changes in minutes instead of days or weeks.
To learn about our industry-leading cloud technology and managed service for omnichannel communications, integrated with digital and print/mail service and epresentment and payments, please contact us.