Fiserv Launches Tools to Enable Lenders to Help Borrowers Remain in Homes

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorBrookfield, Wis.–In a preemptive move to help borrowers at risk of defaulting on their mortgage payments, Fiserv Inc. has released two tools to allow financial institutions to identify and contact borrowers with repayment solutions.The tools systematically identify borrowers who are at risk of becoming delinquent, explains Jim Smith, executive vice president of portfolio services at Fiserv. Once the borrowers are identified, the key is to contact them before they go into default.The biggest problem, Smith notes, is that many at-risk and delinquent borrowers are unaware of their options and do not contact their lenders for help. “Sixty-five percent of people in foreclosure have no contact with their servicers, but contact is critical,” he says. “People don’t understand there are other options to modify mortgage payments, because no one tells them. Getting the message out that all is not lost, and you don’t have to lose your home because you may be able to drop your payment, is crucial.”PRISM (Predictive Risk Index Score Modeling) is a proactive tool that provides a borrower’s risk score based on a number of criteria, including credit score and collateral. The score identifies candidates with high, moderate and low risk of becoming delinquent.Once delinquent borrowers are identified, Fiserv’s Home Retentions Solution works to negotiate a forbearance or modify the repayment plan. “Our goal is to keep borrowers in their homes and rework their debt so it’s affordable to stay,” says Smith.In addition to the company’s new tools, Fiserv is using their technology services to ensure more borrowers are contacted and made aware of their options. Such services include an interactive online chat with home retention counselors, available in a number of languages. Additionally, clients may choose to have Fiserv act as an agent, mailing letters to borrowers without the financial institution’s name, or sending gas cards that can only be activated if the recipient calls an 800 number and speaks to a counselor.”Fifty percent of the borrowers we contact with agreements are accepting,” says Smith. “Advocacy groups are speaking out, telling lenders that they should reach out to borrowers prior to delinquency. The proactive approach may have more options.”