Last September, Scott Valletti joined Homespire Mortgage as Vice President of Loan Servicing. Brought in to grow and advance their new servicing initiative, Valletti is an industry veteran with more than 20 years of loan servicing and compliance experience. He is a mortgage professional known for his commitment to service and his particular expertise in regard to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We recently caught up with him to talk about his first six months on the job, as well as the reasons he ultimately decided to partner with TMS Subservicing.
TMS: Scott it’s great to be able to speak with you. Can you talk about the process you went through after deciding Homespire Mortgage needed a subservicing partner?
SV: Thanks for having me. When I was first brought on, Homespire was pretty much just an originations company. Every loan they originated, they sold, and they saw an opportunity to get into the service side of things. Obviously, the decision brought benefits to the company, as well as our customers. And when I came on board, the first thing I did was start looking for a subservicer, then we got to work on acquiring our Fannie and Freddie licenses. At the time, we targeted four subservicers that we wanted to talk to, and they were TMS, of course, and three of your competitors.
TMS: Just to spare our readers the suspense, you ended up picking TMS Subservicing as your servicing partner. Talk about what went into that decision, and what impact the servicing platform SIME, which stands for Servicing Intelligence Made Easy played?
SV: First, we wanted an overview of their system of record, we wanted 100% transparency into our portfolio, and we wanted to have access to our portfolio. With some subservicers you just don’t have that access, you only have partial access to their servicing system. With TMS we have real-time access to our portfolio with the SIME system. For a servicer like us that’s just getting into the ballgame and doesn’t want a lot of delinquency at first, that was big. It was also important for us to have that transparency into our portfolio right from the start. I can say that TMS Subservicing checked all the boxes for us.
TMS: So, the transparency helps you see if your portfolio is performing and that borrowers are staying on track. Can you talk about identifying opportunities to retain borrowers and refinance them for the next loan?
SV: Well, that’s a big thing because we want to retain customers. We want to retain all of our borrowers, and if they’re going to go through a refinance, we definitely want them back. I think the relationship with the borrower and the SIME system gives us the ability to see exactly what TMS is doing with our borrowers. For instance, when are they making calls? When do they start outreach? When do letters go out? When do they broach the subject of loss mitigation? The SIME system gives us all that. It’s more than just transparency into our portfolio, and it’s absolutely essential for retention.
TMS: Did customer service ratings factor into your decision? At TMS we talk a lot about helping to Grow Happiness. Does that resonate with you?
SV: After we interviewed all of our potential subservicing partners for Homespire, I talked to a few of my contacts at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about their opinion of TMS Subservicing. During those conversations, we came away with the knowledge that TMS was held in very, very high regard with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And, if they’re held in high regards with Fannie and Freddie, they’re going to be held in high regards with me. But I just think the familiarity that I had with TMS, as well as the commitment to customer service you mentioned, plus the SIME system and the reporting. When you add it all up, the choice was obvious to us.
TMS: That’s very interesting and great for us to hear. Can you tell us a little bit more about your relationship with Fannie and Freddie, or share more from your conversations with them?
SV: I’ve been in the business for so long that I’ve dealt with a lot of people, and I reached out to a few that I trust, and I point blank asked them about TMS. I asked if they would be good for a company that’s just getting into this servicing game. And again, everything that we were told from Fannie and Freddie, was the relationship we’ll have with them will be perfect. When you have a smaller portfolio, which we will have at the start, you’re really not going to get that hands-on approach from other subservicers that you get from TMS. And they serviced their own loans before. Lastly, we have a separate client team we can go to with any type of line-level question about our portfolio. We also have a separate client liaison that’s in charge of our portfolio and being able to go directly to that person with any issues is a differentiator for TMS.
TMS: Were there any other big differences between TMS and the other subservicers you considered that stood out as big strengths or weaknesses?
SV: I just think the customer service approach again, the portfolio transparency and the general report set that TMS provides compared to the others. TMS can set up more than 90 servicing reports compared to 40 or less from the competitors. So, the general reports TMS is going to provide to us over the other people we talked to was big. Then, everything is real time with SIME. For example, when TMS has a phone call with a borrower, and they put notes into the system we can go in and see the notes right away. With most systems, you have to wait for the upload in the middle of the night before you can actually see any of your data the following day.
TMS: TMS was an originator at one point. How important is it to find a partner that has that experience?
SV: It’s very important actually. TMS had a portfolio of their own loans, so they understand servicing and they understand how important it is to service them up to the standards of Fannie and Freddie. And that was big for us. We wanted a partner who had experience, both with subservicing and servicing their own loans as well. Having been a servicer of their own loans made TMS appealing because I know they’re going to take care of my customers the same way I would 100% of the time.
TMS: Can you talk about the people aspect of TMS and the hands-on approach?
SV: That’s essential for us. The client liaison, and the relationship we have with the client team is very important. And just the hands-on approach that we’re going to have, and that TMS is going to have with our borrowers that made us very comfortable with the decision. What I will say to the folks at TMS is this, we are very excited and it’s going to be a lot of fun, and I think rewarding for all of us.
TMS: Scott, thanks so much for your time today. I know our readers will appreciate your unique perspective on picking a subservicer.
SV: Thank you so much. That was fun.