Perspectives
May 06, 2019

Helping Homeowners When They Need it the Most

Yvette Gilmore
By
Yvette Gilmore, VP Single-Family Servicer Performance Management

At Freddie Mac we say it all the time, especially when a natural disaster such as flooding, a wildfire or a tornado hits: “If you’re having trouble making your mortgage payment, call your Servicer, the company you make your mortgage payment to every month.” However, it doesn’t take a natural disaster for homeowners to need assistance with paying their mortgage.

Unfortunately, homeowners experience challenging situations every day. Loss of a job, a loved one or an unexpected medical expense that can make paying their monthly mortgage difficult.

For homeowners that are having trouble paying their mortgage, it is a very stressful time. In fact, data points to the most active time in which mortgage-relief information is searched is between midnight and 4 a.m. It’s hard to sleep when there are unanswered questions keeping them awake that need quick and reliable answers.

The same online access to reliable and understandable information that customers want when searching for a home or taking out a mortgage, should be available to that customer struggling to make their mortgage payment.

The same online access to reliable and understandable information that customers want when searching for a home or taking out a mortgage, should be available to that customer struggling to make their mortgage payment. We’ve heard from many of our Servicers that they want to deliver self-service capabilities and other innovative solutions that help them assist homeowners.

At Freddie Mac we are also focused on how we can Reimagine ServicingSM to demonstrate our plans to redefine our servicing model to provide more value to clients and move the industry forward in helping homeowners. For clients that we’ve worked with for a long time, Freddie Mac’s new, collaborative approach will be clear. At Freddie Mac, we believe in loan servicing that is by, for, and about Servicers.

Freddie Mac is pursuing big ideas to change the landscape of servicing for each loan that our clients see in their loan portfolio—down to the smallest detail.

We’ve heard from our servicing partners and we’re using their feedback as the foundation of our servicing innovation roadmap. The focus is to make processes simple – reduce costs for our Servicers and minimize credit losses. All paths lead to experiences that make it smarter and easier to do business with us.

Freddie Mac loan Servicers will see changes in three key areas: technology, data, and process.

On the technology front: Freddie Mac is building a single sign-on portal for all servicing applications; integrated tools throughout the servicing lifecycle and faster expense reimbursement.

With data, we are changing how we collect, leverage and integrate data to increase speed, transparency and efficiency. And we’ll leverage our Servicer’s insights to drive even more effective change.

Finally, we’re reimagining servicing around our processes and practices to streamline the post-foreclosure experience by removing real-estate owned responsibilities, simplifying and standardizing investor reporting, automating manual processes and reducing duplicative steps.

Recently, we launched the Freddie Mac Servicer Honors and Rewards Program (SHARP)SM. Freddie Mac SHARP recognizes and rewards loan Servicers for their outstanding leadership, great customer service and positive efforts to help homeowners prevent foreclosure proceedings over the course of a calendar year. This is just one of more than a dozen Servicer-focused initiatives slated over the next couple of years.

A foreclosure is not good for anyone – the Servicer, the investor, the company guaranteeing the loan, and especially the homeowner and family. Unfortunately, it’s not always avoidable. However, when homeowners get back on their feet after a foreclosure or short sale, and then returns to owning a home, we want them to say their Servicer did right by them, was a trusted advisor and exhausted every possibility – so that the homeowner chooses to become a customer once again.

Over most of the last decade, Freddie Mac has had some of the lowest seriously delinquent rates on the mortgages it guarantees of any company in the industry. We have helped over 1.2 million homeowners avoid foreclosure and keep their homes through our loan workout options and we continue to help thousands more every month. Now is the time to take a step back and look at the servicing side of our business to deliver a better experience for our clients, so their customers can have a better experience when they need it the most, day or night.

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