Editor’s note: This feature originally appeared in the December issue of DS News.
Christopher Carman is Litigation & Compliance Counsel for BSI Financial Services, a specialty sub-servicer, which has offices in Texas, Pennsylvania, and California. He is responsible for oversight of litigation involving BSI, which involves not only contested default matters, but also defensive and complex litigation. He is admitted to practice law in the States of Texas and California, and is a graduate of the University of Texas for both Finance and Law.
Carman has been in the mortgage servicing industry for over twenty years, with most of that time spent as in-house counsel for a number of mortgage servicers. He also has experience working for default servicing law firms.
Carman spoke to DS News about the challenges facing servicers, how to better protect against fraud, and his thoughts on the case against the CFPB.
What do you foresee some of the biggest challenges facing servicers and law firms in 2020?
Servicers will continue to have to bolster their technology to keep up with their customer’s demands for things being handled quicker, cheaper and more efficiently. Unfortunately, if a loan does go into default, and counsel is hired, removing all impediments to effective communication with the law firm is still the most challenging factor that servicers have as they attempt to keep down costs and to maximize timelines.
How have technological advancements changed the way you and the industry are doing business?
Everything can be obtained now with the touch of a button, or so it seems, and that is light years from when I first started in the industry. That technology allows the servicer to better respond to its customer’s needs, but also can become something that the customer overuses to question the servicer when not necessary.
I do believe these advances are good for the industry as they allow for more production with fewer resources. I don’t have any specific thoughts about what is next, but I’m sure that the technology will only grow more efficient for both the public and the consumers.
What can be done to better protect homeowners from fraud?
Education and information is out there, and if the homeowners choose to take advantage of that situation, then that gives them ammunition to ask the right questions. Hopefully also with the documentation required to originate new loans that would cause the companies to ensure that the loans are only being done when qualifications are present.
What are your thoughts on the Supreme Court's decision to hear a case against the constitutionality of the CFPB? How could this case impact the housing industry?
It is an interesting choice for the court to take this case on, and I am unsure at this time how the court may rule. I know that the CFPB has attempted to regulate the industry almost to its breaking point, and it would be interesting to see if the free market would move differently if the CFPB was removed from the equation.
Although foreclosures have been at record lows in recent years, what should servicers and law firms do to prepare if, and when, that trend changes?
As long as the servicers and law firms have the proper technology and processes in place, they should both be able to handle any increases at the time when the market does go down like it inevitably will. Having the proper groundwork in place will minimize having to just increase staffing which is often difficult to achieve.