Monday, February 18, 2008

Servicers push loss mitigation out to credit counseling agencies

(Housing Wire) Underscoring just how reliant the industry has become on third parties to manage the loss mitigation process, Computer Sciences Corp. said late last week that it has teamed with HOPE NOW Alliance members to extend its EarlyResolution loss mitigation platform to third-party credit counseling agencies.

Called the EarlyResolution Counseling Portal, CSC said it delivered the new platform to Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Countrywide and the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta Inc. in January for pilot testing. The full ERCP service will be available widely by the end of this month, CSC said.

EarlyResolution is a loss mitigation tool that CSC says is used by five of the top 10 mortgage servicers; the new counseling portal provides a common platform for mortgage servicers and nonprofit consumer counselors to work together. With ERCP, mortgage servicers can make loan data accessible to participating credit counselors, while counselors can complete debt evaluations more quickly in order to return workout recommendations to the servicer.

“This is a unique cohesive effort between nonprofit counseling groups and mortgage servicers who are aligned to preserve home ownership,” said Ed Delgado, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage senior vice president and HOPE NOW Alliance Technology Committee chair.

“With CSC’s help, HOPE NOW is providing a scalable, national solution to help stabilize the housing market.”

CSC and participating pilot institutions say that counselors will be able to handle a higher volume of inquiries and reduce training time and costs. ERCP’s technology will also streamline loss mitigation referrals to servicers, they say, by recommending workout options for delinquent borrowers that are consistent with servicer guidelines and in compliance with investor rules.

“CSC’s work with the HOPE NOW Alliance advances our objective of putting the right tools in place across all potential borrower contact channels — servicers, counseling agencies and borrowers,” said Kevin Schlumpf, managing director of the EarlyResolution practice at CSC.

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