Wells Fargo hires Caliber’s Ann Thorn to lead mortgage servicing

Longtime mortgage-industry leader Ann Thorn is leaving Caliber Home Loans to manage Wells Fargo’s servicing portfolio.

The banking giant’s home lending unit, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, appointed Thorn as head of its mortgage servicing division. Thorn spent the previous two years at Caliber as that company’s chief loan administration officer in charge of production and servicing for retail, consumer direct, wholesale and correspondent channels. Before joining Caliber, Thorn held loan-servicing positions at Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase.

“She knows this industry inside and out, understands what customers expect and is a perfect fit for this critical role, as we work to resolve our legacy issues and chart our transformation path forward,” said Kristy Fercho, head of Wells Fargo Home Lending.

The San Francisco-based financial institution possesses the nation’s largest mortgage servicing portfolio, with unpaid principal balances totaling nearly $1.1 trillion at the end of the second quarter. In the first months of the pandemic, Wells Fargo also bought back $14 billion of delinquent loans.

Thorn, who starts her new role on Sept. 13, takes over as the industry is set to encounter a surge of potential loan modifications when COVID-related relief expires. The first wave of homeowners who entered forbearance thanks to the CARES Act in early 2020 will see protections end in September per the legislation’s provisions and payments restart. As of Aug. 31, 1.71 million homeowners remained in COVID-related forbearance plans, with exits set to continue though mid 2022.

Although Wells Fargo has received praise for safety precautions during the coronavirus pandemic, Thom joins a company that has seen its share of customer-related controversies in recent years, including reports that the bank placed borrowers in forbearance plans during the pandemic without their consent. On Thursday, regulators ordered Wells Fargo to pay a $250 million penalty in connection with problems in its home lending unit and violations of a 2018 consent order.

Thorn departs Caliber Home Loans following its recent acquisition by New Residential Investment Corp. The two companies closed the deal in August, with New Residential announcing its plans to combine the mortgage platforms of its subsidiary, NewRez, with Caliber’s.

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