By Tiffany Keohane, Client Implementation Manager & Susan Portnoy, SVP Product and Enterprise Operations
It may sound like a “stretch,” but some of the basic principles of yoga offer a surprisingly relevant checklist of best practices to look for when assessing a tax servicer – practices that will pay off in both the short and long run for lenders. Here are five yoga-inspired best practices of a great tax servicer that will help ensure a healthy bottom line for the lender and positive experience for the borrower.
#1 A great tax servicer provides an honest assessment of strengths and weaknesses.
For anyone who is just beginning to explore yoga, an important first step is to honestly assess their strengths and weaknesses, including identifying any special sensitivities that need to be considered. This lets them understand what type of yoga and level of difficulty will work for them at the outset and, most importantly, how they can avoid injury and set themselves up for long-term success.
Likewise, lenders would be well-served to partner with a tax provider that takes the time on the front end to conduct an assessment that identifies what is and isn’t working in order to develop customized business rules. At LERETA, we always begin with a thorough process assessment that yields invaluable guidance on how clients can improve efficiency and cost effectiveness with their tax servicing.
This extensive front-end assessment includes questions to uncover the pain points and bottlenecks in their processes, what trips up their employees, what types of things can be automated and how to best optimize their business rules, approval decisioning and risk reporting. In fact, we’ve found that our clients are thrilled for this kind of honest feedback that can improve their operations, mitigate risk and reduce borrower dissatisfaction. Without a strategically planned and executed assessment, lenders are left to do business the same way they’ve always done it and will miss out on new opportunities for automation and customized operations.
#2 A great tax servicer should be flexible.
Everybody knows yoga is all about flexibility and improving the ability to move easily and do more without fear of injury. So too, a great tax servicer has the ability to be flexible with clients to meet their unique parameters and decisioning preferences.
LERETA’s Total Tax Solution® was designed with a structured foundation built on decades of industry experience, but with the flexibility to customize business rules so that clients don’t have to settle for a one-size-fits-all solution. Being able to incorporate lender-specific preferences like disbursement decisioning and risk tolerance can make a huge difference in streamlining processes. Learning a client’s operations environment and how they do business during the process assessment phase helps identify opportunities for customization – and that customization is only possible with a tax servicer that is built for flexibility and adaptability.
Inflexibility to customize tax set up and ongoing management will invariably lead to more manual interventions, exceptions and one-off workarounds. And that leads to more time and money spent, not to mention the headaches for employees and poor customer service experiences for borrowers. LERETA’s structured, but flexible approach sets our clients up for long-term success with customized business rules that minimize exceptions and maximize productivity.
#3 A great tax provider should maintain control at all times.
Flexibility without strength and control can do more harm than good. It’s critically important that our clients take advantage of flexibility only from a position of strength and control; otherwise they risk letting exceptions get in the way of standard, controlled and efficient operations.
We’re very proud of our ability to offer clients flexibility, but we do so with controls in place so they don’t veer off in directions that will decrease productivity and increase risk. In tax servicing, too much customization and flexibility erode efficiencies and diminishes streamlined processes.
#4 A great tax provider should be ever-mindful of risk tolerance on the client’s behalf.
Yoga may look calm and serene, but anyone who’s tried it knows the risk of injury is real. Managing that risk by operating within the bounds of the person’s current level of ability along with their tolerance for pushing the envelope is key to avoid getting hurt. Different lenders maintain different levels of risk tolerance, so why would it make sense to work with a tax provider that doesn’t offer flexibility to customize processes that match unique risk preferences? Likewise, why would it make sense to work with a tax provider that isn’t fully engaged in maintaining controls in or order to maximize risk mitigation on an ongoing basis?
LERETA begins factoring in risk tolerance preferences from the very beginning with the assessment phase, then incorporates it in the creation of customized business rules, and continues to monitor for necessary adjustments based on a client’s changing business dynamics. We will always look at any requests for customization and determine the risk factor before putting the change in place. If it might increase risk, we let them know and work together on a solution that meets all objectives.
#5 A great tax provider should be able to respond to changing dynamics.
Yoga is an evolutionary process that changes based on a person’s increasing level of skill and stamina, as well as external factors such as illness or lifestyle that can affect their performance. And anyone who’s managed a loan portfolio knows that things don’t stay the same forever. Internal and external forces will always be at play influencing the tax component.
Working with a tax servicer that can respond to these changing dynamics can mean all the difference in maintaining peak performance with cost savings, efficiencies and risk management. The ability to pivot and change course with a tax provider that is set up to be flexible will ensure ongoing success – which is why our clients’ success is our primary objective.
LERETA doesn’t consider ourselves a vendor to our clients, but rather a partner who is invested in their success. Our ability to customize, change rules after the fact and respond quickly to client requests keeps performance at its peak and gives our clients confidence that LERETA is there as a partner to leverage opportunity and minimize negative factors.
To learn more about how LERETA can give you peace of mind with tax servicing contact us at sales@LERETA.com.