America First FCU Keeps Compliant With Servicing Regs With FICS
Credit unions have always wrestled with the decision of whether to retain servicing in-house or release servicing. Up until the mid 1990’s, Ogden, Utah-based America First Federal Credit Union released the servicing on nearly all their mortgages. The few loans not sold on the secondary market were serviced using manual spreadsheets and paper reports.
However, the credit union wanted to bring servicing in-house to provide better service to its members. America First FCU also needed a system that would take the burden of manually keeping up with servicing regulations off their servicing department. America First FCU evaluated several options and selected FICS’ residential loan servicing software, Mortgage Servicer.
“Mortgage Servicer provided the best combination of price and functionality for what we needed,” said Rhea Schade, assistant manager of Mortgage Servicing for America First FCU.
Mortgage Servicer automates servicing functions including escrow administration, collections, investor accounting, payment processing, loss mitigation and year-end reporting. America First FCU said the integration with their core credit union system makes it very easy to accept payments at the teller line and provide superior customer service to their members. The software also provides the capability to automate and reduce the time spent on monthly regulatory reports.
“The reporting system creates snapshots of all our borrowers, including histories of all interactions with borrowers,” Schade said. “This is extremely valuable in today’s climate, where defaults and loan modifications are being carefully monitored by regulatory agencies.”
Schade also said that the key to such a long relationship with one system is FICS’ diligence in keeping the software up-to-date with technology developments, investor needs and online capabilities during the past 17 years.
“FICS always keeps up-to-speed on changes to servicing guidelines from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other agencies,” Schade said. “We don’t have to worry about building the investor changes or federal regulations into our workflow. Mortgage Servicer is updated to meet those changes so I can focus on providing the best servicing experience for our members.”
For 17 years, Mortgage Servicer has enabled America First FCU to service their loans in-house with better service standards than when they released servicing. As a long-time assistant manager of the department, Schade said one of the best benefits to using FICS is how easy the system is to learn for new employees.
“Every servicing department experiences turnover, and Mortgage Servicer is one of the easiest systems to learn,” Schade said. “In March, we were able to quickly train three new employees on the system using online Webinars.”
With the FICS systems in place, America First FCU has also been able to remain in compliance with regulatory mandates.
Schade said another key to their long-term relationship is how dedicated FICS is to adding functionality that their customers need.
“Throughout each year, FICS’ customers submit their enhancement requests for the software,” Schade explained. “FICS is open to discussion about the pros and cons of how developing these requests will affect its customer base. Enhancement requests that positively affect the systems and satisfy the needs of customers are added to the development pipeline.”
About America First Federal Credit Union
America First Credit Union was founded at Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City, Utah, on March 16, 1939, by a small group of people determined to form their own cooperative to promote their collective economic well-being. In its 71-year history, America First has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 100 branches, is the 11th-largest credit union in assets in the United States with more than $5 billion, and is the 6th-largest credit union in membership in America with more than 530,000 members. For more information, visit the credit union’s website at www.americafirst.com.
Founded in 1983 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Financial Industry Computer Systems, Inc. (FICS), specializes in providing flexible, comprehensive residential and commercial technology solutions to the mortgage industry. FICS' systems are designed for Microsoft® Windows® with the most recent solutions using .NET framework that include a rich Windows® Presentation Foundation user interface and multi-tiered shareable services. The company also provides innovative document management and web-based capabilities into its full suite of products. Additional information about FICS is available via the company's website at www.FICS.com.