National servicing standards "are clearly doable" according to New York Banking superintendent Richard Neiman, but the Empire State's top regulator says a lack of cooperation between the states and federal regulators is hobbling the effort.

In a speech in Dallas at a servicing conference sponsored by SourceMedia Neiman called for "a renewed level of cooperative federalism."

He noted that "initial disagreement" expressed by some state attorneys general about the first draft of a servicing standards document indicates it will be a challenge to develop a national standard.

But if the industry focuses on lessons learned from creating subservicing standards, he said, "This is doable. There are enough models out there, there's enough engagement with industry and customer groups…We know the areas we are going to address."

The regulator said that among other things, "Performance data should be required to be reported at the federal level and in a standardized format as part of any comprehensive set of national minimum standards for servicers." He likened it to originators and their Home Mortgage Disclosure Act reporting obligations where a unique identifier is issued to track mortgages through the life of the loan.

Neiman urged servicers that are "on the day-to-day frontlines of these issues" to assist efforts made so far at the state and federal level to create a standard. "I would strongly encourage industry members not to wait for these rules to make the changes that we need today,"

He encouraged servicers to take action and make "the positive changes necessary" bringing the needs of borrowers, investors and their companies into balance, instead of waiting for the regulators to set up best practices for them.

The future of mortgage servicing depends on how well the industry and the regulators work together to modernize the marketplace so it moves towards excellence, he said.

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