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MortgagePoint ยป Your Trusted Source for Mortgage Banking and Servicing News 32 August 2023 F E A T U R E CHANGE MANAGEMENT Ann Thorn, Wells Fargo's Head of Home Lending Servicing, discusses takeaways from her first two years on the job and how her team is working to implement the bank's vision for a much-reduced servicing portfolio. B y DAV I D W H A R T O N I n September 2020, the Five Star Insti- tute (parent company of MortgagePoint) awarded the annual Five Star Lifetime Achievement Award to Ann Thorn, then serving as EVP and Chief of Opera- tions & Servicing for Caliber Home Loans, Inc. Normally, this award would have been handed to Thorn onstage at the Hyatt Re- gency Dallas, as part of the annual Five Star Conference & Expo. She would have taken the stage beneath a 300-foot bank of screens projecting a profile video featuring Thorn and testimonials about her career from vari- ous respected colleagues and mentors. All of it would have taken place in front of a crowd of applauding industry colleagues. All of that would have happened in any other September. But I probably don't have to remind you that during September 2020, eight or so months into the global COVID-19 pandemic, very little was like "any other September." Instead, Thorn accepted her award on a number of much smaller screens, as attendees tuned in to watch her deliver her thank-you speech as part of the first-ever Vir- tual Five Star Conference, amid a turbulent global situation in which so many aspects of our daily lives had become encompassed by the boundaries of the laptop screen, the phone screen, the tablet screen. It was a snapshot of the unprecedented challenges facing a mortgage industry attempting to navigate a world where the brakes had been slammed to the floorboards only half a year earlier: where millions were facing the loss of income or employment, where the entire mortgage ecosystem was, by necessity, forced to collaborate and innovate in ways it never had before, with millions of homeowners suddenly learning what the word "forbearance" meant. With one wave of COVID-19 spiking after another, even as the industry and government worked to help keep people in their homes, no one knew what the next year would look like, much less beyond. It's perhaps appropriate, then, that one year after the industry took a moment to appreciate and reflect on Ann Thorn's career during that broadcast, the next chapter of it began. On September 7, 2021, Wells Fargo an- nounced that Ann Thorn had been named head of the company's Home Lending Servic- ing operations. As described in the press release, in this role, Thorn was tasked with overseeing "the nation's largest mortgage servicing portfolio including loans with total unpaid principal balances of nearly $1.1 tril- lion as of June 30, 2021." Needless to say, it was no small task, but it was one that Thorn was excited to tackle. As the months passed and the nation began to emerge from COVID-19's shadow and figure out just what "normal" looked like, Thorn and her team at Wells Fargo were, like all of the nation's servicers, tasked with helping homeowners as they reached the end of their forbearance period and worked to get back on track with their payments. According to a May 2022 report from the St. Louis Fed, about 16% of individuals with mortgages used forbearance at some point after April 2020. While the Fed's data notes that most of those homeowners only made use of forbearance for three months or less, that still leaves a lot of people in need of their servicer's help when it comes to figuring out what happens next. Even with a global health crisis in the rearview mirror, the mortgage landscape is rarely stagnant and never boring. The refi D A V I D W H A R T O N , Editor-in-Chief at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received his B.A. in English and minored in journalism. Wharton has nearly 20 years' experience in journalism and previously worked at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm, focusing on producing media content related to tax and accounting principles and government rules and regulations for accounting professionals. He joined Five Star in 2017 and has served as Editor-in-Chief since 2021. He can be reached at david.wharton@thefivestar.com.

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