If you’re a fan of fine cuisine, you’ll understand the hours of meticulous preparation that go into creating a juicy cut of prime rib, a succulent duck confit, or a decadent cheesecake. Chefs must plan their menus weeks in advance and prepare ingredients hours or days ahead of time so that your dish may arrive at your table in under an hour.
Kitchens use the French phrase “mise en place,” which translates to “setting in place.” It means having all the tools ready at your workplace and all the ingredients prepared for creating the final dish. Without this critical process, restaurants wouldn’t be able to serve the number of guests they needed to be profitable.
Now imagine if you could apply the principle of mise en place to mortgage servicing. When a default resolution department receives a loss mitigation application, what if underwriters had everything they needed right in front of them? With no more hunting and gathering of documentation from homeowners and third-party sources, applications could be completed in a fraction of the time—and Servicers could deliver homeowner assistance much quicker. That means more homeowners avoiding foreclosure and staying in their homes.
Okay, comparing chefs to mortgage servicers might seem like a stretch. But, if you think of it in the sense that they’re both following a recipe that results in a perfectly produced end product, it might seem plausible. While chefs create delicious meals to nourish our bodies, those in the know understand that Servicers perform much more noble work of keeping people in their homes.
Instead of a recipe, default management Servicers must follow strict regulatory guidelines to properly provide a homeowner with a loan modification or other loss mitigation assistance. Although servicing processors and underwriters are not slicing, sizzling, and searing food, they are sorting through and searching for dozens of documents necessary to complete their duties. It’s common for documents critical to processing the application to be missing, requiring Servicers to reach out to homeowners for the information, further drawing out the process and causing frustration for Servicers and homeowners alike.
With Brace’s Doc Viewer, all the documents that the homeowner provides are automatically linked and displayed next to the correct section of their file. Documents homeowners upload through the Brace Consumer Portal (payslips, W2s, receipts, and more) are automatically connected to the appropriate stage of the file review. Downloaded screenshots from third-party agency sites like Neighborhood Watch and CAIVRS can also be linked to the relevant section of the application.
In a kitchen, if you make one mistake on an order, the Expo (Expeditor) who organizes the orders will call you out, then the chef will make you “re-fire” the dish and start over from scratch. A slight mistake can disrupt the kitchen’s rhythm and delay the entire party’s food.
If a processor is missing a piece of supporting documentation from the homeowner, the result is similar. The Servicer must reach out to the homeowner to provide the documents, which can drastically delay the file being completed and a workout decision being delivered. Delays like this can happen multiple times while the application is being processed, which can result in the application missing the required RESPA date and being closed without a resolution.
The Brace document viewer shows each piece of documentation next to the relevant data points, enabling underwriters to instantly see what’s missing from the file and expediting the resolution of the application.
You’re probably wondering how Brace organizes and presents all these documents since a Servicer has to reference a wide range daily. Homeowners or Servicers can add documents as they work through the application. In its default setting, the document viewer can support any document type required by a servicer, including PDF, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, BITMAP, and HEIC (iPhone) uploads.
You’d be shocked by how much time and energy chefs waste sending back food products that their purveyors deliver incorrectly. Likewise, Servicers waste a lot of time requesting proper documentation after the customer sends the incorrect information specific to each data field in an application.
The Brace system acts as a gatekeeper that prevents document clutter and only prompts homeowners to upload the specific documentation needed as proof for each data point. All items uploaded like bank statements and recent months’ payslips are screened and filtered into the relevant sections of the application. Brace’s document management system also accounts for the more tricky items, like looking for PCS Orders when an active duty deployment is listed.
Sometimes a single document can be used as supporting documentation for more than one area of the loss mitigation application. For example, a payslip can be used to verify both income and hardship. When this happens, the homeowner or Servicer can easily link the document instead of uploading again and again—allowing all parties involved to work smarter, not harder.
To ensure all information is correctly verified, there’s no getting around the meticulous “stare and compare” work Servicers must perform daily. However, with the Brace Document Viewer, the errors associated with the traditional methods of document viewing (alternating between paper documents, spreadsheets, and PDFs) are significantly reduced. Servicers now have an organized and easily accessible document file that they can rearrange to their liking.
After linking the documents to their appropriate sections, the underwriter can select their preferred view to populate next to the digital Brace workflow. Servicers can view multiple docs relevant to a section on a single screen. When the documents are harder to read, Brace lets Servicers zoom in and expand the document in place for a closer look.
Like food safety, digital accessibility demands stringent precautionary measures with every interaction. The ability to upload thousands of documents into any system warrants a high level of digital security. To prevent introducing vulnerabilities through the data process layer, every file uploaded, whether by the Servicer or homeowner, is scanned with the most up-to-date virus software.
Many chefs will tell you that you can cook the most delicious food in the world, but if it’s plated poorly, no one will want to eat it. That’s the power of visual appeal.
In mortgage servicing (especially in default resolution), the accessibility, organization, and overall management of homeowner and Servicer documentation are akin to stunning food presentation. Brace has gathered and collated your loss mitigation file into a nice, neat package. To see how we do this, schedule a demo.