At Bayview Loan Servicing, Michael Waldron is responsible for the Compliance and Oversight Department’s management, leadership, and direction, as well as the company’s overall compliance strategy. With more than 20 years’ experience spent serving the industry in a wide variety of legal and compliance-related functions, Waldron is known for his ability to navigate the regulatory landscape and build relationships that add value to those with whom he works.
This past September, Waldron served as the Lab Director of the Servicing & Compliance Lab at the 2019 Five Star Conference & Expo. DS News recently spoke to Waldron about the current state of servicing and why conversations between different industry participants are so crucial to better serving the needs of homeowners.
What are some of the top issues currently facing the industry?
There's a lot of good work being done in the servicing industry, and sometimes that's lost on folks because of the path that we've been down. We're continuing to focus on how to best utilize automation, how to empower the customer to self-service—which is what the customer wants—and how not to lose track of the customer experience throughout that. This is still a people business, so how do you focus on the quality of the process and the quality of people through automation? This is still a “people business.” How can we enhance the experience? One of the biggest challenges that the industry faces is in our constant push towards efficiency and automation is how to make certain that we don't lose sight of the customer.
Some of the most-discussed challenges right now are the impacts of natural disasters and the possibility of a recession on the horizon. How can servicers prepare for those possibilities in order to mitigate the potential impacts?
Neither one of which can we control, but we can be proactive in our preparation. If you look at how far we've come on the natural disaster front, there was a time where I and many other leaders in the space felt we were still rewriting the playbook each time a natural disaster would come along. Everything from being on the ground, to playbooks that can be utilized, to how we handle outreach to our customers not only after the disaster but in advance, and getting ahead of folks evacuating and considering what their struggle would be. It’s about making ourselves available and further educating them that we are here for them, as an industry.
On the recession side, it's not dissimilar from the disaster experience, to the extent it would come to fruition. We've been through a crisis before, and so fully recognizing what worked and what didn't in an effort to come out of that crisis is invaluable for any potential future events.
How are new technical logical developments changing the way you do business?
First and foremost, it is about staying true to your mission statement. It's about not losing sight of what our core mission as an industry is. It's understanding the place for automation, as well as its limitations. It's committing and remaining committed to engaging and retaining talent. It is a process by which, recognizing that while efficiency and standardization is important, it's not the only critical aspect of what we do.
It's about being thoughtful about assessing new technologies. It's being disciplined about when the technologies are truly at a level where they can be implemented, versus when perhaps you should put the brakes on and allow it to develop to a point where it can be more effectively utilized and applied. This all comes back to understanding the customer experience and asking the critical question: is this additive to that customer experience or does it detract from it?
You served as Lab Director of the Servicing and Compliance Lab at the annual Five Star Conference & Expo this year. Why are the conversations fostered by industry events such as that one so important?
The intent is to empower servicing professionals with insight into compliance and regulatory issues, which is a significant undertaking. But with the right group of folks, representing the right mix of platforms, it's something that is perfectly achievable. The goal here is to present information that can be executed upon, that's operational. One of the disconnects within the space, historically, has been between the business and compliance and how advice is provided. In order to be truly effective, and to be a good partner to the business, one has to be able to provide advice in a way in which the business can operationalize it. The way in which we structured the Servicing & Compliance lab was to reach not only compliance and regulatory professionals, but also business leaders who have a history of being successful on their platforms.
I've been a longtime supporter of Five Star. There's a real value. The Five Star Conference in particular brings business leaders together with compliance and legal, which is invaluable. The manner in which the industry comes together for the various labs and forums is different from other conferences. It allows for a dialogue to occur, not simply amongst what I'll call “like-minded professionals,” but also promotes a dialogue that allows you to expand your skill set and learn from those on other platforms that are navigating similar issues, just in different ways.