DS News

DS News December 2022

DSNews delivers stories, ideas, links, companies, people, events, and videos impacting the mortgage default servicing industry.

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Page 65 of 99

64 As a mentor to many who are earlier in their careers, I tell them a tough cycle like today is better to learn in. is 'trial by fire' approach is especially true in mortgage servicing, which gets even more technical during down cycles. Default management is full of nuances across forbearances, loan modifications, and judicial vs. non-judicial foreclosures. is is granular work that involves consumers, banks, lenders, servicers investors, regulators, lawyers, title companies, appraisers, and—of course—a whole ecosystem of fintech software solutions. Whether those are folks from other indus- tries or younger team members already in the mortgage space, it's up to all of us to groom the next generation of mortgage experts. I've said it before (and insiders know it well): this isn't an industry that's taught in universities. It's taught in the trenches. LESSONS FROM MY OWN CAREER PATH is is why I've made mentoring others such a high priority. I spent most of my two-decade mortgage career at law firms representing lenders on issues pertaining to foreclosures, bankruptcies, and property-related litigation. is included managing scale foreclosure operations during the fallout from the global financial crisis. At the same time, I watched the tech disruption revolutionizing other industries, saw what it did to the people and companies who weren't prepared, and didn't want that to happen to me or this industry. So I dove into digital transformation and the role of technology in making things better for mortgage operators, consumers, and investors. It was very organic, and definitely a learn-in- the-trenches moment. e same approach led to my current career chapter as Chief Legal Officer for Sagent. I had been observing the innovation progress in mortgage originations and noticed Sagent's laser-focus on bringing that same progress to mortgage servicing where lenders manage and grow lifetime relationships with homeowners. e rest was good old-fashioned hustle to network and find a way to this next opportunity. IS YOUR MORTGAGE RESUME RELE- VANT FOR THE FINTECH ERA? Only now, almost a year into this job, am I asking myself whether it was more the mortgage or the fintech expertise that got me here. My answer (at least for now) skews toward mortgage expertise. I was able to pick up on the fintech part because, as noted before, I have maintained a long-term lens on the impact of technology in mortgage. For me, there's an additional aspect which is my extracurricular curiosity and exposure to the world of tech startups. Watching innovation in other spaces gave me context: how a startup unfolds as a founder conceives an idea, obtains funding, deploys said funding into constructing said idea, and then redefines the status quo into a better experience for users, customers, and industries. Regardless, you can see from my example how exploring your own skill set, curiosity, and long-term interests can help you find or fine- tune your path. So let me boil this all down to two pieces of advice: 1. Be confident. Don't ever think you don't have the right experience. Markets, policymaking, mortgage operations, and the fintech software that powers it all are always evolving in real- time. Experience is gained daily. 2. Be brave. Don't fear that this market cycle will send you packing. If your head is in the game and you're ready to solve complex problems, a tough market cycle could just be your best growth chapter. is applies exponentially as the servicing innovation era converges with the latest market cycle. Opportunities abound for those always working to keep their mortgage resumes fit for the fintech era. Wendy Lee, EVP, Chief Legal Officer at Sagent, has been engaged as a legal executive in mortgage servicing and technology for more than 20 years. As both a front-line lawyer and executive leader, she helped grow and shape the culture, internal governance, and customer experience in law firm life. Lee also has in-house experience, being part of founding teams for a few technology startups and an in-house counsel at a publicly traded bank engaging with servicing operations. Whether those are folks from other industries or younger team members already in the mortgage space, it's up to all of us to groom the next generation of mortgage experts. By: Wendy Lee Feature

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