Real Estate

Black Knight Mortgage App Helps Lenders Recapture Refi Business

Homeowners can now use an app that’s provided by their loan servicer to manage payments to also track the current value of their home, check refinancing rates, shop for mortgage insurance and initiate requests for help when they run into trouble making mortgage payments.

Black Knight has made those “self-service” capabilities available to consumers through its Servicing Digital solution, which is now integrated with several of the company’s other offerings — including its automated valuation models (AVMs), and Optimal Blue PPE, a widely used product, pricing and eligibility engine.

Black Knight introduced Servicing Digital in 2018 to help mortgage borrowers make payments, view detailed payment history, and explore scenarios for paying down or refinancing their loan.

Integrating AVMs from Black Knight’s Collateral Analytics lets consumers get an accurate picture of what their home is worth, by tapping into the same valuation models used by lenders when underwriting loans and calculating opportunities to refinance. And integration with Optimal Blue PPE gives consumers instant access to personalized refinance pricing and eligibility — providing loan servicers with opportunities to “recapture” homeowners when they refinance, the company said.

Joe Nackashi

“The power of Black Knight is that we are able to bring many of our solutions together to create a better experience for the customer and create efficiencies for servicers,” said Black Knight President Joe Nackashi, in a statement. “With retention rates near historic lows, a growing number of servicers are realizing that delivering a superior customer experience is instrumental to success.”

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac dropped a 50-basis point refinancing fee on Aug. 1, which could provide an added incentive for homeowners to refinance their existing mortgage. The fee amounted to about $1,400 for a borrower refinancing a typical $280,240 mortgage.

Black Knight also touts Servicing Digital as a tool that can help homeowners who are having trouble making their payments, by allowing them to initiate requests for help — including forbearance, forbearance extensions, or loan modifications — without having to make a call.

That feature could help loan servicers handle what’s expected to be a crush of homeowners seeking help when their pandemic-related forbearance plans come to an end in the months ahead.

Black Knight estimates that 65 percent of active forbearance plans, representing 1.2 million homeowners, will expire this year. With so many plans expiring in such a short window, loan servicers could be dealing with an average of 18,000 homeowners coming out of forbearance each business day this fall.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finalized new rules in June, warning loan servicers not to initiate foreclosure proceedings against borrowers until they’ve been given the chance to apply for assistance but don’t qualify, or if a home has been abandoned or the borrower can’t be reached.

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