Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) leaders speaking at the opening session of this year's national servicing conference in San Diego said that current challenges are resulting in a greater spirit of cooperation within the industry and with the government that will continue throughout the year.

Addressing 2,200 people, the MBA's president and CEO John Courson said that this year will be the year of dynamic strategic planning to create processes that bring the organization to assist the industry into an "Apollo 13" type of safe landing, alluding to the troubled space mission during which astronauts faced life-threatening challenges coming back to earth but ultimately prevailed.

Despite challenges such as capacity shortages and a flood of regulations, Mr. Courson said servicers have done a good job with modifications. These also have been complicated by other challenges such as the fact that up to 60% of borrowers do not file complete loan-mod packages, a situation that has required multiple contacts and exhausted servicer resources, he said.

Expectations do not fit the reality of things so the MBA is proposing specific programs to assist both servicers and borrowers especially those forced into unemployment.

MBA's chairman Rob Story said that the organization is now focusing on putting together suggestions and tools that will help servicers deal with sometimes "unnecessary" regulatory requirements that "undermine" their efforts to complete more loan modifications. Cooperation is very important, he said, noting that there should not be competition over foreclosures.

"Every good idea should be considered," said Story.


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