At least one problem bedeviling Washington can be fixed quickly by lenders using existing technology, pleasing borrowers and boosting compliance. The Home Affordable Modification Program processes expose banks to embarrassment and penalties, and borrowers to confusion and anxiety. After months of effort and expense, the results are paltry, and all parties, regulators included, are frustrated.
Hamp requires borrowers to establish their eligibility by submitting many documents to the mortgage holder, so it's no surprise that paper becomes an issue. Lenders' staffs, trimmed by recession, are drowning in it. And unlike when the mortgage crisis was building, scutinized lenders obey rules scrupulously: no doc, no mod. Borrowers must deal with call centers, faxing and mailing documents. Files get lost awaiting missing documents.
These problems are all responsive to enterprise document capture, Web-enabled technology that most large banks already use in some areas. It can be rapidly deployed for Hamp with minimal IT involvement. Borrowers' documents can be captured by systems that allow multiple parties to view the images. The systems have workflow capabilities that keep modifications moving forward, fully compliant.
Lenders know where they have large numbers of loan modification candidates. They can set up temporary Hamp intake centers convenient to them, advertise their availability, and tell borrowers what papers to bring. The lender's agents come equipped with devices that capture the documents and instantly, securely ingest them into the system, verifying their accuracy or creating an alert so that corrections can be made on the spot.
Rick Smith is CEO of Imagine Solutions in Dallas.