The explosion of non-bank mortgage servicers is hurting American homeowners.
JOEL SUCHER, In These Times
…And that’s because the nation’s largest non-bank mortgage servicer has supplied its legions of outsourced customer reps in India with a software program that gauges the stress level of callers. Aided in its design by a team of 16 social psychologists, this new wrinkle on mortgage servicing was first reported in a December 2011 article in the Wall Street Journal. By analyzing speech patterns of past calls, the program coaches reps on how to respond to incoming questions posed by often dazed, confused and angry homeowners regarding such matters as incomprehensible penalties and fees on their monthly statements, or why they’ve been peppered with foreclosure notices after having, they thought, negotiated a loan modification. If the history of consumer complaints regarding Ocwen Financial Corporation is any indication, the software program may be keyed to stress-level categories ranging from mildly pissed to hot under the collar to positively postal.
Ocwen Financial is in the center of what could mildly be called a feeding frenzy in the lucrative world of mortgage servicing. Mortgage servicers are simply the out-front reps for the securitized trusts that allegedly own your mortgage. In other words, they’re the ones with the outstretched hands grasping for your monthly payment. As the mega-banks and other financial institutions shed their once-profitable sub-prime mortgage portfolios, their servicing operations are being taken over by non-banking operations. According to a recent article in National Mortgage News, the three top dogs in this realm—Ocwen, Nationstar and Walter Investment—have hoovered in an astonishing $1 trillion dollars of mortgage servicing rights (known as “MSR’s” in the industry).