“Back to the Future”- The VOM Spike.
Underwriters look for relief, seeking fast turn time verification solutions as loan defaults explode.
In general, mortgage underwriters must exercise extra due diligence to determine consumers’ ability to repay. In these uncertain times, Service 1st (a credit reporting agency specializing in credit reports and risk mitigation solutions for lenders) is experiencing a trending spike in verifications and supplements, particularly with verifications of mortgage (also referred to as VOM), not seen since 2009.
With stricter underwriting guidelines and added volume, the industry is also experiencing longer than normal closing times.
Multiple VOMs can add to unnecessary time and aggravation in connecting with creditors for authentication. Theresa Dunham, AVP of Service 1st, shares some simple tips that have helped clients reduce friction for their borrowers and trigger quicker turn times.
First, Dunham answers the what, when, and why of VOMs.
WHAT IS A VOM?
A VOM is a supplement verification requested by underwriters that documents a borrower's mortgage payment history and up-to-date monthly balances and payments that are not reflected on the credit report. These supplements are ordered using a third-party credit reporting agency, like Service 1st, to process with the borrower's creditor.
WHEN ARE VOMs REQUIRED?
VOMs are one of many critical verification supplements used by underwriters in the final stages of loan decisioning. Through the COVID crisis, creditors have, in some instances, been nearly three months behind in reporting consumer credit history. S1 has observed multiple VOM requests due to extended closing times. For example, if a loan originated in May with a delayed closing date of late August, there is a chance your borrower has defaulted in the past 1-3 months. A VOM is crucial to make sure they are still current on payments.
WHY THE IMPORTANCE NOW TO UNDERWRITERS?
The last time we saw this demand was back in 2009 after the housing crash where any transaction required a VOM due to the historical highs in default and unemployment.
Fast forward to today, the industry has seen the highest growth ever in loan volume due to historically low rates. Now factor in a coronavirus-induced economic slowdown, forbearance defaults, sky-rocket unemployment, and increasing closing times by up to 150%.
Therefore, underwriters are not only requiring VOMs to mitigate these new risk factors but adding more verification checkpoints through supplements, including just before closing.
ARE THERE WAYS TO REDUCE TURN TIME IMPACT FROM VOLUME SURGE?
Yes, you can speed up VOM turn times and facilitate a better experience for all stakeholders.
Let's first clarify the two ways a creditor authenticates a borrower to their mortgage account: 1) verbal validation method or 2) proof of wet signature. We recommend the latter as the most straightforward and efficient way.
1. Verbal authentication
We do not recommend this option. This option painfully requires the borrower to wait on a three-way conference call for creditor authentication. However, if choosing this option, our processing team minimize client interaction with beyond the expected service, saving lenders and their borrowers over 45 minutes in wait time.
2. Wet signature validation (recommended option)
Digital e-signatures are not accepted as a valid form of authentication by over 95% of creditors. They need to verify an actual signature to the original loan docs.
For all your credit reporting, loan origination solutions, and verification needs, our team has seen month over month reduction in turn times by implementing smart and efficient workflow methods. With the influx of supplements being requested, you can avoid unnecessary delay by requesting a wet-signature application from your borrower up front.
Contact us at info@SRV1st.com to learn more.