Lopez Calls on Servicers to ‘Enhance Borrower Experience’

PHOENIX–Loan servicing represents a great marketing opportunity for the commercial/multifamily sector, said MBA Chairman Rodrigo Lopez, CMB.

Lopez, chairman of NorthMarq Capital Finance, Omaha, Neb., noted servicers cultivate a relationship with clients over a seven to 10-year period with the ultimate goal of servicing new loans for the same clients.

lopez“We should maximize this opportunity to serve the needs of the client-borrower, not just service the loan,” Lopez here this week at the MBA Commercial/Multifamily Servicing and Technology Conference.

Lopez cited three steps for first-rate loan servicing. “First, servicers should have a clear understanding about the key elements of the transaction of the loan and how it was structured,” he said.

Second, Lopez said, recognize the client’s complete needs–for information, timely action and clear communication. Third, “be mindful of the rapidly evolving environment that could impact their collateral on the loan,” he said. “Socioeconomic and technology trends have direct influences on many of your clients. Hopefully, underwriters envision these trends and changes as they develop the contract.”

For example, the way commercial real estate is used today is very different than just a decade ago, Lopez noted. “Office space is transforming for greater telecommuting,” he said. “Retail space is shifting to compete with online sales transactions and digital services. Technology has greatly impacted the way our customers do business.”

As a result, commercial real estate servicing is evolving at a “record” pace, Lopez noted. Servicers, asset managers and portfolio managers will have to manage the collateral as well as the borrower relationship as these changes take place–and they will have to stay within the constraints of existing legal documents, he said.

Technology represents the servicing sector’s next opportunity, Lopez said. “By embracing new technologies, we have the opportunity for tremendous growth. New technologies will help us not only attract and communicate with more clients, but also new generations of employees.”

Lopez noted one in four workers in the United States today are Millennials–the generation born between 1977 and 1995–and said adopting relevant technology to engage this rapidly growing population segment will improve business operations and help us recruit and retain good and creative employees.

“Innovations can be linear, or they can be disruptive,” Lopez said. “But one thing is clear: we as an industry must embrace innovation. It’s liberating and exciting to think with a mindset of what could be rather than one based on what has been.”

Lopez urged commercial mortgage servicers to “embrace” new opportunities. “Seek out business disruptions that improve the borrower experience, create operational efficiencies and advance your business and our industry,” he said. “Our industry will be better for it. Your company will be better for it. And you will be better for it.”