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Servicers Shine at Annual Five Star Conference

The final day of the 2023 Five Star Conference & Expo in Dallas kicked off with a gathering of the industry’s top mortgage servicing executives, economists, and government representatives at the 2023 Mortgage Servicing Forum.

Hosted by Altisource and Sagent, along with Forum Partners Aspen Grove Solutions and Stretto, the event brought together industry subject-matter experts to discuss the challenges facing the servicing space and a convergence of ideas to find the best path to advance the industry forward.

The event began with Welcoming Remarks from Rick Sharga, President & CEO of CJ Patrick Company, who provided an overview of the various topics set to be covered during the Forum.

Sharga is currently the CEO of CJ Patrick Company, a market intelligence firm geared towards real estate and mortgage companies. As one of the country’s most frequently quoted sources on real estate, mortgage and foreclosure trends, Sharga has appeared on CNBC, CBS News, NBC News, CNN, ABC News, FOX, and Bloomberg. He is a founding member of the National Mortgage Servicing Association (NMSA), and sits on the Board of the National Association of Default Professionals (NADP). Sharga has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, including roles as EVP at ATTOM Data, Carrington Mortgage Holdings, RealtyTrac, and Chief Marketing Officer at Auction.com.

Sharga then welcomed to the stage, the event’s Keynote Speaker, Ann Thorn, Head of Home Loan Servicing with Wells Fargo. As Head of the Home Lending Servicing team for Wells Fargo, Thorn’s group services mortgage loans and home equity products for more than six million customers nationwide. A 30-year veteran of the mortgage industry, Thorn joined Wells Fargo from Caliber Home Loans, where she served as Chief Loan Administration Officer, and was responsible for all production and servicing operations in Caliber’s Retail, Wholesale, and Correspondent channels. She has led large teams and complex operations, with particular expertise in areas like servicing and default, including the Mortgage and Vehicle Servicing team at Bank of America, and Default Services at JPMorgan Chase. She graduated from Marquette University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing. She has received industry recognition as 2020 DS News’ Top 25 Women of Law, and was recipient of the 2020 Five Star Lifetime Achievement Award.

In addition to discussing her own career path, Thorn addressed the room of approximately 300 in attendance, discussing the current state of the mortgage servicing space, the impact of rules and regulations on the industry, and the future of industry.

Thorn then introduced the panelists and moderator for the first of three discussions, the “Headwinds & Victories: A Conversation With Top Servicing Executives” panel. Panel one brought together top leadership from BOK Financial, BSI Financial, Carrington Holding Company, Flagstar, Ocwen, and Xome for a discussion of the current state of the industry, and where it is headed next.

Moderated by Wes Iseley, Senior Managing Director of Carrington Holding Company, LLC, the panel of experts featured a lively discussion between Ingrid Jaschok, SVP, Senior Director, Default Servicing for Flagstar Bank; Michael Keaton, SVP, Default Subservicing for Ocwen; Michael Merritt, SVP Mortgage Customer Care and Default Servicing for BOK Financial; Shawn Miller, SVP, Head of Business Development for Xome; and Gagan Sharma, Founder and CEO of BSI Financial.

In the second panel, “Innovation by Necessity: The Latest in Mortgage Servicing Technology,” Moderator Michael Waldron, Founder and President of Compliability Solutions hosted reps from Aspen Grove Solutions, Bron Inc., OrangeGrid, Stretto, and Xome to discuss the latest trends and innovation in mortgage servicing technology to find out what's working, what is currently in development, and what the industry still needs to do in order to advance forward.

The panel featured a number of experts in the mortgage tech space, including Kevin Hamilton, President of Bron, Inc.; Mike McAuliffe, COO of Aspen Grove Solutions; Shawn Miller, SVP, Head of Business Development for Xome; Todd Mobraten, CEO of OrangeGrid; and Igor Roitburg, Managing Director for Stretto.

The final panel discussion, “The Big Picture: Government Loan Servicing Update,” featured Moderator Candace    Russell, VP of Post-Sale Activities, Default Servicing with Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC hosting a panel of regulatory and compliance experts to gauge their feelings on the current state of the industry’s regulatory environment. A group consisting of Benjamin Gottheim, VP, Servicing Policy, Single-Family Servicing for Freddie Mac; Laura Packard, VP, General Counsel–Compliance for Sagent; Reg Shepherd, Executive Principal, Client Relations for Xome; and John Thibaudeau, VP, Single-Family Real Estate Asset Management for Fannie Mae discussed an array of regulatory concerns currently facing the servicing space.

To wrap the event up, Sharga returned to the stage to provide a synopsis of the day’s events and thank the packed room for taking part in the event.

About Author: David Wharton

David Wharton, Editor-in-Chief at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received his B.A. in English and minored in Journalism. Wharton has nearly 20 years' experience in journalism and previously worked at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm, as Associate Content Editor, focusing on producing media content related to tax and accounting principles and government rules and regulations for accounting professionals. Wharton has an extensive and diversified portfolio of freelance material, with published contributions in both online and print media publications. He can be reached at [email protected].

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