Why is this issue important?

With $10.3 trillion in mortgage principal being serviced today, how servicing is done touches a huge portion of the American public. The industry’s current challenges, if left unresolved, could undermine the critical role that homeownership plays for millions of American families – particularly young families and those with middle and lower incomes.

Why is Urban working on this issue?

The high cost of servicing delinquent loans and the inconsistency in standards applied by regulators, guarantors and investors are locking too many families with good but not perfect credit out of the mortgage market. It’s a complex and significant problem that needs what Urban is good at providing: evidence, analysis and candid conversation among experts, policymakers and stakeholders.

Who is part of the Collaborative and how were they chosen?

Members of the collaborative were chosen to ensure broad representation among the major stakeholders on this issue. We have representation from each of the following categories:

  • National servicers
  • Specialty servicers
  • Sub-servicers
  • Community banks
  • Credit unions
  • Consumer and civil rights organizations
  • Academics

The Collaborative includes other servicing industry stakeholders such as technology providers, consulting firms, mortgage insurers and individual/private citizens.

How can I join the Collaborative?

In order to keep the process manageable, membership in the collaborative is by invitation only. If you are interested in participating, please contact Collaborative Executive Director Alanna McCargo at Amccargo@urban.org.

Do Collaborative members have to pay to be part of the group?

No. The only necessary condition for participation is a commitment of staff time and intellectual engagement. Some, but not all, members have also contributed data and financial resources.

What will you produce and when?

Over the next 18-24 months, we hope to produce a series of research papers on a variety of issues that will ultimately lay the groundwork for specific, actionable policy recommendations, which we also intend to publish towards the end of, or shortly after, that time period.

Why didn’t you include all servicers and all stakeholders in the Collaborative?

Our goal in forming the collaborative was to convene a group that was both representative of the key stakeholders yet small enough to make the task of organizing and working with the group reasonable.  Unfortunately, if we included every institution or expert with an interest or a worthwhile view on the topic we would not be able to accomplish this.

How will you reach consensus on the issues?

We will strive to reach consensus on the issues and recommendations wherever possible. Where it is not, we may publish differing views or views that fall short of consensus.

Who is representing consumers in these proceedings?

The Urban Institute was founded to improve lives and strengthen communities so any work we do takes consumers into account. We also have participation by consumer groups, civil rights organizations and academic experts long focused on consumer issues.

How will you keep any single perspective or interest from dominating the conversation?

We will have several simultaneous work streams and conversations directed by several Urban Institute staff, with a wide range of perspectives at the table. There will not be an opportunity for any one entity to dominate the work of the Collaborative.

What new data will you develop?

We don’t know yet if we need to develop new data. Our first task is to assess the existing data and see if new data is, in fact, needed or if we can combine existing data and/or look at existing data in new ways.

What will be made public?

Our objective is to make both our policy recommendations and research that goes into those recommendations publicly available.

What role will government regulators play in this process?

No government agencies are officially involved but we have been keeping—and will continue to keep—the relevant government agencies informed of our work.

How is the Collaborative funded?

The Collaborative is funded by a subset of members of HFPC’s Housing Finance Innovation Forum, a group of organizations and individuals that support high-quality independent research that inform sevidence-based policy development.