After hundreds of lawsuits and thousands of complaints, banks are finally pushing for reform. The measures are meant to screen out people convicted of felony criminal offense, such as theft or fraud.
The Mortgage Field Services Industry is facing ever-increasing requirements to ensure there is appropriate oversight of their third-party service providers. One by-product is the requirement to have a valid criminal background check. Background checks are a long-term standard practice in many organizations as a way to mitigate risk. Background checks are now a mandatory reality for the mortgage field service industry, but to date, no standard has been applied that is valid for multiple clients.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) which was created out of the Dodd-Frank Reform Act has rolled out new regulations requiring financial institutions to manage their risk appropriately. These reforms are across the entire mortgage industry, but the major issue of compliance for our business of inspections is by requiring third-party vendors to pass a criminal background check.
As a result, the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) in conjunction with Aspen Grove Solutions (AGS) and First Advantage established a solution, called Aspen iRecordTM, a Standardized Background Compliance Solution for the Financial Services Industry. Now the mortgage field services industry has a centrally managed criminal background check process set in place and it verifies that an inspector has the credentials to conduct mortgage field services at every property they visit. It is thought that this new credentialing system gives a collaborative approach, builds professionalism and trust in our services, and shows we are passionate about maintaining a safe, sound and secure vendor network.
If you have not heard about this new criminal background requirement provided by Aspen Grove from the major Nationals, you soon will. Within the months to come more and more banks and national as well as regional mortgage field service companies will be requiring this new background check from their vendors. You won’t be able to conduct inspections without it!
Aspen iRecord assigns a unique “ABC” number to those who pass a criminal background check through AGS. This new system will require one of two things: (1) the inspector uses the AGS phone app, which allows them to enter in their unique ABC number at each property they are inspecting, or (2) the inspector enters their ABC number into the InspectorADE cell phone app. In essence, in the very near future, you will not be able to conduct an inspection for any National Mortgage Field Services company unless you provide your unique ABC number. The Aspen Grove Solutions program is not just a standardized background check. It’s a complete onsite verification system that validates that the inspector at the property has the credentials to be there.
The process for obtaining your unique ABC# takes about a week. To help ensure your future success in the mortgage field services industry, you should sign up as soon as possible. National mortgage field service companies who have not already joined Aspen Grove Solutions will also need to get on board with this new standardized process as well. Soon, banks and mortgage companies are going to demand that all of their vendors, from Nationals down to the inspector in the field, be required to provide an ABC number in order to be paid for their inspections.
The opportunities this new background procedure will ensure are priceless to those interested in staying in the industry. Those who have an ABC number from Aspen Grove Solutions will be in high demand. Estimates of 25% to 40% of unqualified inspectors will be forced to drop out of our industry because they either refuse to go along with the process or worse, they are not qualified to step foot on a client’s property due to previous felony convictions. By the laws of Supply and Demand, this practically guarantees that those who have an ABC number will most assuredly be sought out to do inspections.
The new background process has already started. Wells Fargo had MCS go through the process first. LPS (Black Knight) is next in line, followed by all other Nationals who service Wells Fargo to follow shortly thereafter. This is all going to happen in a very short time frame.
As a company, NMFS spends about $800 a year on background checks for the CEO personally, just to contract with the Nationals to conduct their inspections. When the Aspen Grove Solutions system is fully implemented, inspectors will no longer have to pay for background checks for every company the desire to work for. With this new background process, one fee is paid once a year. Then, you provide your ABC number to any new company you work for. The fee for background checks are part of our business and is tax-deductible. For other questions about Aspen Grove and this entire process, visit the FAQ on their website.
Why is it $65? Aspen Grove charges $62 for a background check which helps them cover the cost of servers and their verification process. NMFS adds $3 to process the application. We take your photo and your payment, then process your application for you. We choose which of the three background check companies that Aspen Grove offers that best suits our need for quick response and acceptability. We then put time and effort into emailing an SSA-89 and check it for accuracy. We then monitor the status until returned. We do all this for $3 above the cost of the background check itself.