It seems like the regulatory guidelines and target metrics for mortgage servicing have changed every week this year. Servicers have had to deal with this shifting ground as they work to support homeowners struggling during the pandemic. With those needs in mind, mortgage giant Fannie Mae surveyed over 500 of its servicing partners, asking them what they need to navigate these troubled times. What’s emerged is the Fannie Mae servicer toolkit.
Cyndi Danko, VP single-family credit risk policy at Fannie Mae, spoke to MPA about the new toolkit, what it offers, and why Fannie Mae developed it now, when the pandemic is almost nine months old and vaccines are already getting approved. She explained how servicers can access the toolkit and how Fannie plans to keep the information up to date. After supporting the mortgage market with $933 billion in single family liquidity in the first nine months of 2020, Danko sees this toolkit as Fannie putting their mouth where their money is.
“It’s a collection of resources, organized in a really easy to use mobile friendly platform,” Danko explained. “It addresses those common scenarios they face when trying to help homeowners whether it’s around working directly with the homeowner, or just doing their servicing activities, reporting mortgage forbearance plans, determining what workout options might be available post forbearance, if they need help or details on the new COVID-19 payment deferral solution, or staying compliant with investor reporting requirements.”
Danko explained that the toolkit was designed to cut through the massive amounts of information mortgage servicers face. She believes the toolkit offers a level of clarity that’s been missing around different issues like the new COVID payment deferral program or mortgage forbearance plan reporting.
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While the pandemic has been raging since March, Danko said the need for this program is still acute. We’re still seeing huge COVID-19 spikes across the country, being met by lockdowns which are, in turn, slowing the economic recovery. Servicers, Danko explained, are still on the frontlines helping struggling borrowers. As new policies and processes get rolled out to support those borrowers, Danko expects the servicer toolkit will ensure that servicing professionals are equipped with the most up to date information possible.
Danko emphasized, too, that the platform is designed for ease of use and instant uptake by mortgage servicers. The servicer toolkit is optimized for mobile and shouldn’t’ require any kind of training to use. It will be kept up to date by Danko’s team at Fannie, as well, using it to rapidly distribute any rule or regulatory change that might emerge in this still-uncertain environment. In the end, Danko emphasized that this tool is another means of helping the mortgage industry survive its latest shock.
“This tool is leveraging Fannie Mae and all the partners we’ve touched to make it easier and more efficient to serve the market,” Danko said. “As we think about serving the market in good times and bad, we’re able to do that in a way that’s collaborative with our partners and everybody else that operates in the mortgage ecosystem.”