Editor's note: This piece originally appeared in the March 2021 edition of DS News.
At Fannie Mae, Cyndi Danko develops policy for selling and servicing activities, the representations and warranties framework, mortgage and borrower eligibility, underwriting, and loan management/ servicing standards and requirements, including loss mitigation. Danko oversees all aspects of credit risk policy that maintain the risk management processes of the Single-Family Business.
Prior to her current role, Danko was VP, Risk Management Technology Solutions in Single-Family Digital Products. She was responsible for managing the company’s core credit risk management applications, including Desktop Underwriter (DU), Collateral Underwriter, and the Collateral Data Delivery System. In this role, she developed strategy and managed operations for a team that designed and implemented new risk management enhancements and features for customer-facing applications.
Could you talk about what problems you’re looking to solve with Fannie Mae’s Servicer Toolkit?
With so many American homeowners struggling to make ends meet amid the pandemic, our servicers play an important role in helping borrowers navigate financial challenges. As we interacted with servicers during this pandemic-driven crisis, we gathered their feedback and closely examined it. Based on that feedback we created the Service Toolkit as a platform for one-stop shopping for all of the information, and solutions we’ve introduced over the last year that enables servicers to help homeowners. It’s easy to use, it is mobile-friendly, and provides this information right at their fingertips. As they’re working with borrowers, they have easy access to the information they need to help struggling homeowners.
At the same time, we can now leverage that platform any time we update those solutions to help servicers, whether it’s a policy change, a new script, or a training video that may be helpful to them and their borrowers. It is a quick way to distribute information to servicers.
As you developed the Toolkit, were there any examples of things you tried that worked better or presented more challenges than you anticipated?
The Toolkit is built on the feedback from servicers as we work with them and try to understand the challenges they face. As a result, when we deployed the Servicer Toolkit, we were able to offer a solution that was ready to go, ready for them to use. Now, as we get feedback about additional questions or updates they’d like to see, we’re able to go in and implement any changes. What has been very helpful from the get-go was that we built the Servicer Toolkit in partnership with those servicers.
Could you discuss what that feedback process looks like?
Our servicing partners are critical, especially during this challenging time and because of their work with homeowners. We interact with servicers on a day-to-day basis. Our employees are dedicated to ensuring that we’re there to answer questions and help with any challenges servicers encounter. The feedback was primarily through those daily interactions and it allowed us to gather the input, catalog it, and then leverage it to build this tool. Our Servicer Toolkit is part of a larger “Here to Help” effort we have undertaken. It involves providing accurate, reliable, real-time information to the market. You can find “Here to Help” resources for consumers on our KnowYourOptions.com website and information for lenders and servicers on FannieMae.com. It is an effective tool to help get information out, not just to lenders and servicers but also to consumers. “Here to Help” helps consumers understand the options that are available to them and helps with conversations between homeowners and servicers.
As we continue through the pandemic and help servicers in good times and bad, the Servicer Toolkit will be there with any updated information. During the pandemic, we have issued over 70 lender letters publications of policy changes or solutions for lenders and servicers.
Does the Servicer Toolkit also incorporate feedback from your AI assistant tool, Ask Poli?
Yes. Servicers are able to pose questions directly to Ask Poli and get responses. That’s a mechanism for us to gather feedback. With AskPoli, we can see in real-time what questions people are asking. Also, Ask Poli shows us when a servicer or any other user provides us with “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” as to whether their question was fully answered. We monitor that user data to understand what additional information we need to add for users to ensure they get the answer they are looking for.