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MBA Urges Political Unity at Servicing Conference

Rick Grant
Feb 17, 2016
2016 MBA Vice-Chairman J. David Motley, CMB

Hundreds of mortgage servicing executives are in Orlando this week for the Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Mortgage Servicing Conference and Expo 2016. While final attendance numbers have not yet been made available, the organization was doing a brisk business at its registration booth all morning and at least one speaker suggested that more than 2,000 executives had registered for the event. By 9:00 a.m., many attendees were seated in one of the Hyatt Regency’s largest ballrooms to hear an opening session presentation from 2016 MBA Vice-Chairman J. David Motley, CMB.

Motley, who is president of Colonial Savings, F.A. and its divisions—Colonial National Mortgage and CU Members Mortgage—welcomed attendees to Orlando and then focused his initial comments on the high cost of loan servicing and its correlation to increased regulatory oversight.

“In the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, we have a new regulator with unprecedented oversight authority. The Agency has instituted thousands of pages of regulations that affect the way we do business every day. Implementing the servicing rule's requirements necessitated system changes and staff training which had an incredible impact on our business operations, and bottom line,” Motley said.

And it’s not just federal regulations that are costing servicers. He pointed out that “duplicative and overly burdensome state regulations are presenting new layers of complexity for servicers and consumers.”

Despite these challenges, Motley told attendees that by working together with legislators and regulators, the industry could take an active role in making things better for consumers.

“I’m proud of who we are and the business we do. We have helped millions of borrowers move forward through the financial downturn.  Now it’s time for us as an industry do the same,” Motley said. “MBA and its members believe every consumer is entitled to quality customer service, timely communication, and a fair hearing if they fall behind on their mortgage payments. And that’s why we’ve worked with policymakers to improve regulations so we can ensure the best quality service to our customers now and well into the future.”

And that seemed to be the core of his presentation: The future of the servicing industry may depend on the industry’s willingness to unite and take an active part in the political process.

“Industry, policymakers and consumer advocates all want to provide consumers with quality loan servicing. We want a system that allows us to serve our customers; to achieve this, servicing regulations must continue to evolve and we must remain engaged with regulators to help them get it right,” Motley said.

Motley told the audience that no one expects meaningful legislative activity to come from the “lame duck,” post-election session of Congress. However, he said the MBA had to operate under the assumption that things can and will happen in the lame duck. The time to take action, he said, was now.

For its part, MBA will be working to secure four primary objectives in 2016:

►Ensure that future loss mitigation programs are developed in a thoughtful manner so they can be employed during the next credit down-cycle.

►Reduce regulatory overlap, duplicative or contradictory regulations, each of which lead to confusion.

►Fine tune CFPB amendments to the servicing rule and help the industry implement them when they are released later this year.

►Ensure that regulation doesn’t pick winners and losers by business model.  Regulation should set standards that allow for innovation and creativity, governed by sensible regulation, in the servicing space.

Motley ended his presentation by urging every MBA member to get involved in the organization and attend functions that will make the industry’s voice heard by legislators and regulators.

“Inevitably, we will experience another economic downturn in our lifetime,” he told attendees. “The point is we can either prepare now, applying the lessons learned in the last crisis, or we can wait until the government creates policy in a crisis.  We’ve seen that movie and it’s not pretty.”

2016 MBA Vice Chairman J. David Motley, CMB delivers his opening remarks during the association’s National Mortgage Servicing Conference and Expo 2016

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