Alaska Innovation Delivers for Homeowners
Alaska has a history of taking care of its own, doing things differently, and tackling challenges head-on. This attribute was a game-changer when Alaska Housing Homeowner Assistance funds were ready to be distributed.
Alaska Mortgage Servicers worked closely with Alaska Housing to distribute Homeowner Assistance, often making funds available more quickly than their national peers. That included development of a uniquely Alaskan, highly streamlined information-sharing system between Alaska Housing and Mortgage Servicers: the short Common Data File.
A Streamlined Approach
A more targeted version of the national standard, the Common Data File (CDF), the short CDF reduces the initial amount of data needed and eliminates extraneous material not pertinent to Alaska Mortgage Servicers. The resulting process streamlined review time, reduced the number of major data exchanges from about 10 to two, and ultimately accelerated the ability for Alaska Housing to process payments to eligible applicants.
The short CDF has 12 data fields including the borrower's name, loan number, property address, and current state of the mortgage. The original CDF used nationally has 155 required data fields, five different program types, and 17 different record types. The abbreviated approach facilitates payments in as fast as five days; the fastest processing time nationally is approximately one month.
The innovative and modified record system exchange specifically addresses the unique needs of Alaska Mortgage Servicers, and dramatically simplifies a highly complicated and potentially lengthy process.
Working Together to Help Alaskans
“Discussing the parameters of the nationwide system with Alaska Mortgage Servicers, it quickly became apparent that we needed to devise a solution that was less cumbersome and more precisely designed for the Alaska marketplace, where high-touch relationships are a key component of business,” says Jan Miyagishima, Alaska Housing’s Director, Mortgage Services.
“As managers of the Alaska Housing Homeowner Assistance funds, our goal was to offer a secure option that local Mortgage Servicers could effectively manage, while simultaneously providing more customer-focused service.”
– Jan Miyagishima, Alaska Housing's Director, Mortgage Services
Early Adopters Pave the Way
First Bank, located in Ketchikan, was an early adopter of the short CDF and instrumental in identifying ways to create a better system for Alaska Mortgage Servicers. They were the first financial institution to work through Alaska Housing's test product and offer suggestions to augment the process. First Bank also was one of the first Mortgage Servicers to begin distributing funds, providing much-needed assistance to Alaskans.
As of mid-August 2022, Alaska Housing is more than 50% complete processing payments to eligible applicants. The short CDF process has been used for roughly 25% of AHFC’s eligible applicants.
Alaska Housing anticipates that two Mortgage Servicers, Alaska USA Federal Credit Union and Northrim Bank, will complete their borrowers' applications and fully process payments by the end of August. The remaining Alaska Mortgage Servicers should be completing payments before the snow flies this winter.