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Q&A: TMS President Ali Vafai on CAREspondent Lending

As we make our way through the first quarter of this year, we were excited to sit down with TMS President Ali Vafai to learn about the exciting growth opportunities for CAREspondent Lending.

Q: TMS made the decision to double down on CAREspondent at the start of this year. How did this decision come about?

Vafai: It starts with our unique approach to what our industry calls Correspondent Lending. We believe that we’re not just buying loans off of our clients’ books, we are buying people’s homes. That’s why we call it CAREspondent Lending. When you think about it with CAREspondent Lending as your lens, it drives a very different way of handling that customer. Yes, price is critical – now more than ever. But, what happens to your customer after you sell them off is even more critical. Will you be top of mind to that customer when it comes time to refi or purchase a new home? Will they be taken care of by your investor the same way you took care of them when you originated them or will they be left on hold with little to no help? Will the homeowner have such a great experience thru the life of loan servicing, that they want to send you a referral? Or are you just originating their loan and then saying “Sayonara”? For these reasons, we felt that the industry was in desperate need to put the customer at the center of every decision – and we know of no other investor who approaches it the way we do. This is what the industry needs and this is what TMS can uniquely deliver.

Q: What’s one of the biggest and most exciting changes that came out of this new strategic decision?

Vafai: It’s really simple. We are laser focused on our clients’ success and delivering an exceptional customer service experience for the homeowners that we take care of on their behalf. What was eye opening to us is that there’s a reported 9% retention rate of customers in this industry. This means that only 9% of customers return to the original lender. We believe that with our laser focus we can change that paradigm and help our CAREspondent clients drive future revenue with special services we provide like Co-branding and returning the customer back to the lender. Most investors don’t offer co-branding to their clients. We say, “Why not?” We understand the heavy investments our clients have made in originating that customer. Keeping the lender top of mind and giving them back their customer is the best way for us to champion their success.

Q: How does TMS deliver on that?

Vafai: Beyond giving the customers back to our CAREspondent partners with co-branded billing statements and a one-of-a-kind mobile app that allows customers to be one tap away from us, we also deliver the gold standard in customer service. It starts with our highly trained Customer Careologists who work on the award-winning SIME (Servicing Intelligence Made Easy) platform. We also deliver homeowners a lot of coaching and other tools to manage, protect and enjoy their home. When customers become part of TMS, we welcome them to what we call our Happinest.

Q: With this new focus, what are the next big goals for TMS CAREspondent?

Vafai: We have big plans to focus on the success of our lender clients, and for a new standard in customer servicing homeowners. For our clients, we are developing tools and resources for them to add real value to their company growth. We recently added the DPA page and just this month we launched the Rehabtastic line up of four renovation programs, so that our clients have new niche products to offer their customers and diversify their offering. This is more than just saying to our clients we’ll buy these types of loans, we’re offering them training and marketing tools so that they can have success with this lineup. What exactly are those tools and resources? Well, you’ll have to be on the lookout for them. They’re pretty exciting!

For our homeowners, beyond the current opportunities where we help them save on homeowner’s insurance, or when they buy or sell a home, we have new services coming out that will help them with the demands of homeownership.

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February 26, 2019