Fannie Mae Supports Servicers with Closer Partnership
By Tanya Rutledge | July 19, 2016
As Fannie Mae continues to hone its focus on being a customer-centric organization, loan servicers are becoming an even more important customer segment.
Organized efforts such as the continuous improvement in Fannie Mae’s Servicer Support Center (SSC) and customer appreciation day events are helping servicers become better connected with Fannie Mae.
The SSC works with more than 1,000 servicers, so keeping the lines of communication open has been key to growing and solidifying these relationships, says John Curcio, director of single-family servicing for Fannie Mae. Developing the SSC Servicer Webinar Learning Series has also assisted in staying connected.
“During the financial crisis, it was important for us to respond to servicers and also to provide them with support that would directly benefit borrowers,” says Curcio.
“Now that we’re moving beyond the crisis, there is increased focus on the relationships we have with servicers and how we can partner with them to provide guidance and be consultative,” he says. “We want to understand how they manage their business and provide solutions that give them a better customer experience.”
The SSC staff is available to Fannie Mae’s servicing partners Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time.
Fannie Mae publishes and regularly updates policy information for servicers in its Servicing Guide, Curcio says. But having Fannie Mae employees and experts available to answer servicer questions has gone a long way in helping servicers understand their role as Fannie Mae customers.
“Our job is to help the servicers understand the meaning of the guide as it relates to everyday practices,” he says. “The idea is to have someone available to help them make informed decisions for their businesses.”
Curcio says the SSC engages in about 2,200 interactions per month.
Seat at the Table
As an extension of the center, Fannie Mae has been beefing up its outreach to servicers through proactive efforts such as customer appreciation day events and roundtables.
Michael Wallace, director of single-family business for Fannie Mae, says these events – which are both celebratory and educational – are part of the bigger picture of reaching out to bring servicers closer into partnership with Fannie Mae.
“Coming through the housing crisis, we’ve developed some great tools for helping servicers streamline their operations and enhance the borrower experience,” Wallace says. “And we are working on new ways to partner with them.”
Fannie Mae hosts several customer appreciation days per year, where between 70 and 80 lenders and servicers visit corporate offices in different areas of the country to interact with subject matter experts on a variety of topics.
In addition, Fannie Mae hosts more than a dozen roundtables each year. At these smaller, more intimate events, the company gathers information from customers to better understand their business plans.
“We share this information at all levels of our organization, including our executive team, to ensure the feedback is reflected in our corporate strategy,” Wallace says.
The evolution of the relationship between Fannie Mae and servicers as customers started a few years ago. According to Wallace, Fannie Mae is making every effort to understand how to help servicers achieve their business objectives and improve their experience when working with Fannie Mae. “This aligns with our broader strategy of becoming America’s most valued housing partner,” he says.
Lissa Lanning, vice president of mortgage loan servicing at Amarillo National Bank, which services Fannie Mae loans, says her organization has noticed the change. Her team utilizes the Servicer Support Center on a regular basis and sends representatives to Fannie Mae’s customer appreciation events.
“In the past, there was some distance there, but we really feel like Fannie Mae has developed a partnership with us now,” she says. “They have really done a great job at helping us on a more personal level.”
Tanya Rutledge is a freelance writer based in Dallas who specializes in real estate and finance topics. She has been covering business news for outlets in Texas and California since the mid-1990s.