Sessions at last week's national mortgage servicing conference here were named after popular television shows. The discussion on improving profitability was called "Wheel of Fortune."
Representatives from four mortgage banks spoke at the conference, sponsored by the Mortgage Bankers Association, about ways to boost revenues on the payment processing side of the mortgage lending business. Although there were no definitive answers, there were some common themes.
Taking advantage of cross-selling opportunities and finding additional sources of fee income were mentioned most frequently by the panel as ways to bolster profitability.
Sally B. Wilson, vice president for business development of Dallas-based Capstead Mortgage Inc., said that cross-selling has been a major success for the company so far. Ms. Wilson said Capstead offers a credit card, long-distance phone plans, and insurance products to customers in its servicing portfolio.
Ms. Wilson added that about 25% of the costs to service loans have been covered by income generated from Capstead's cross-selling efforts.
Martin R. Hansen Jr., vice president of Horsham, Pa.-based GMAC Mortgage Corp., said that for companies like GMAC and Capstead, which are not affiliated with commercial banks, it is imperative to find other products to sell to attract mortgage customers.
"Banks essentially provide one-stop shopping around the corner," he said.
To compete against the bank-owned mortgage companies, Mr. Hansen said GMAC offers property and casualty insurance, and other types of homeowner insurance, mainly by direct mailing and telephone solicitations.
Ms. Wilson said that Capstead will eventually use the Internet to cross- sell products. She did not elaborate on how soon this would occur.
Two representatives from bank-owned mortgage companies spoke more about loss mitigation efforts and finding new sources of fee income than cross- selling opportunities.
"Reducing loss runs hand in hand with finding additional sources of revenue," said Janet L. Brown, vice president of NationsBanc Mortgage Corp., Charlotte, N.C.
She said that NationsBanc uses an automated phone service, which lets late-paying customers call and give their checking account information. The servicer can then immediately cut a check for the mortgage payment instead of waiting for the customer to send it in the mail. NationsBanc charges a fee when customers use the service.
Barry L. Bell, senior vice president of BancOklahoma Mortgage Corp. in Tulsa, said his company is looking at captive reinsurance to increase profitability. Captive reinsurance is a way for lenders to share profits with private mortgage insurers.