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Getting Borrowers Back on the Road to Recovery

John Lawrence, EVP of Specialty Servicing, Selene Finance

As EVP of Specialty Servicing for Selene Finance, John Lawrence’s primary focus is on strengthening the servicing strategy, and differentiating Selene in the servicing space. Lawrence has more than 25 years in the industry, having delivered unprecedented service and flexibility in the mortgage and real estate services market segments. Prior to joining Selene, Lawrence served as President of BSI. Before that, he held senior executive positions with PIMCO, PennyMac, Wells Fargo, and IndyMac Bank.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Selene Finance is a residential mortgage company with strong experience in all aspects of mortgage loan servicing. Selene’s loan servicing team boasts an average of more than 16 years of mortgage loan and credit management experience. The company was founded in 2007 to address specific needs in the mortgage industry, adhering to their motto of “Keeping borrowers in their homes is our primary objective.”

DS News had an opportunity to catch up with Lawrence recently to discuss how the servicing industry dealt with the unchartered waters of the pandemic, and the current state of the market in getting borrowers back on the right track.

DS News: The industry has endured a challenging past few years. What were some of the things the industry has done well in navigating these challenges? Are there things that the industry could have done better?
Lawrence: I think, undoubtedly, what has been done well is the early adaption of getting technology onto our borrower portal. This way, we were able to get people into forbearance programs very quickly. By doing that, whether they needed assistance or not, they felt comfort in knowing that their mortgage servicer was providing help for them with the unknown, which is what we were all facing.

DS News: Was there anything that could have been done better? Any improvements the industry needed to make
Lawrence: Nothing really jumps out, but I would say that the dynamics of working from home in addition to everything else that was going on was a challenge for us to think about. We needed to make sure that our training was adaptable for the need to hire more resources, handling increased call volume, and other things like that. We needed to be more prepared and pivot. We could not call people into the conference room to instruct them on things. We needed to connect virtually, which really forced us to move fast and get new tools out there so that we could hire and train people we never actually met in-person and conducted all of this virtually.

DS News: Looking at the remainder of 2022, what does success look like from your perspective? What are the things you're hoping to accomplish?
Lawrence: Without a doubt, it will be converting the forbearances into borrowers who are now performing on their mortgage via a modification deferment. We are looking to put these borrowers into any type of program to help them get back on track is what we're in the process of currently dealing with. This is number one on the list to our investors, customers, and everyone involved in making sure we get that right.

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.
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