Features

Steve Forsythe – RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation

Strategic growth in mortgage services

No doubt, the mortgage industry has undergone dramatic changes since the onset of the Great Recession in 2008.

And while there has been significant roll up, consolidation and closure of many companies, RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation has grown rapidly and, as Steve Forsythe puts it, “in the right way.”

That is: The company is emphasizing the borrower experience while dedicating itself to establishing a firm foothold in compliance. As general counsel, Forsythe has been instrumental in supporting this growth while navigating the industry’s “complex web” of regulations, consumer protection and data privacy laws. Not to mention the daily assaults on precious personal information.

“I am attracted to what the in-house counsel does as far as being integral in steering the company with respect to its goals and initiatives,” says Forsythe, who initially established himself as a structured finance attorney.

Mastering compliance, achieving growth

Headquartered in Fort Mill, South Carolina, RoundPoint is a top ten non-bank integrated mortgage company. Its portfolio has grown by more than 10 times in just six years—today it services $90 billion in mortgage loans, compared to $8.5 billion when Forsythe joined in 2013.

As he explains, much of that growth has come from the aggressive expansion of its program to acquire mortgage servicing rights (MSR)— contractual agreements with lenders to service existing mortgages. The goal is to continue growing that area while building out the company’s loan origination business in a “consumer-oriented way.”

To aid in that, RoundPoint offered preferred stock for the first time in 2018—selling off about 20 percent of voting rights—and also entered into a senior secured term loan nearly double the size of its existing loan to be used primarily for the future purchase of MSRs.

Forsythe and his internal team of four lawyers and three support staff have worked on all facets of these transactions. With the stock offering in particular, after the structuring and sale of the securities the biggest challenge was governance logistics: RoundPoint now has third party investors and established a pseudo-public company governance regime. Forsythe spearheaded that undertaking, establishing a new board structure and committees.

“That addition [of outside investors] required a change in the corporate governance regime,” he says. And although there are no current plans to do so, “the idea was to get the company in shape for a public offering so that the change to the governance requirements of a publicly traded company wouldn’t be too great a shock to the system.”

Dealing with constant scrutiny

Among all the recent changes, Forsythe also negotiated the terms of a 12-year build-to-suit lease for a new 150,000-square-foot headquarters in Fort Mill, South Carolina, (moving from RoundPoint’s previous home base in Charlotte, North Carolina). About 600 employees are being relocated to that new space, “with room to grow,” he says.

Meanwhile, his team has a regular rotation of subservicing contracts to draft and revise, as well as ongoing negotiations to facilitate relationships with vendors and purchase and sale relationships with MSR seller counterparties (RoundPoint has about 30 sellers that it purchases MSRs from).

Throughout all of this work is a constant focus on compliance in a dynamic regulatory climate. RoundPoint services mortgage loans in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and the Virgin Islands, and originates loans in 39 states. As Forsythe explains, each of those entities have developed or are in the midst of developing or revising consumer protection laws. Those, in turn, are overlaid with federal mortgage industry regulations, as well as governance around consumer information, fair reporting, origination procedures, lending thresholds and various mortgage terms, definitions and guidelines.

RoundPoint is subject to routine state audits at any time. All of this while dealing with regularly fluctuating interest rates and the constant threats to breach borrowers’ data. It is an environment that requires you to be adaptable, in constant learning mode, and ever on your toes, he says.

“There’s a lot of scrutiny—you don’t want to be out of compliance,” Forsythe says. “Even if a company has one little foot fault, it could end up being quite costly.”

A “natural progression”

Earning his JD from the University of Illinois College of Law, Forsythe spent several years as a structured finance attorney during which he became embedded in the mortgaging capital industry. He made the shift in-house with Homeward Residential Inc. in 2009. He calls it a natural progression because of his experience in the mortgage industry and expertise with capital markets and compliance issues.

“I was attracted to what the in-house counsel does as far as being close to the goals and initiatives of a company,” he says, “and being integral in steering the company with respect to those goals.”

He joined RoundPoint in 2013, citing the draw of a small, growth-oriented company with a dedication to compliance.

“RoundPoint has a high focus on compliance,” he says. “The company is very good at it. Everyone has the same objective: We all want to do the best for our clients. There really is a strong team spirit.”

Indeed, RoundPoint was named one of 2019’s Best Mortgage Companies to Work for by National Mortgage News, and CEO Kevin Brungardt was recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal as one of the Most Admired CEOs in the Charlotte region.

Forsythe says he has enjoyed being part of a strong executive team dedicated to growing the business and honing its focus. And that financial success funnels down to benefit the company’s more than 700 employees, he adds.

“What I really enjoy is building a strong company that creates opportunities for people I work with every day,” Forsythe says. “I truly take satisfaction in RoundPoint’s success.”

Published on: December 8, 2019

regions:

categories: , ,

Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in Vanguard” badge that links directly to your article!

Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing tag) where you want to display our review banner.

Testimonials

I was honored to be the subject of an article. I enjoy reading Vanguard articles and seeing how other attorneys got to their positions and see their jobs. It's also interesting to see how different law firms partner with the subjects of the articles.
– Henry Marquard, in-house counsel, Stanley Consultants Inc.
It was a great honor to be featured in Vanguard Law. Working with every member of the team, from the initial interview with Erin Clark, through production with Victor Martins, writing the article with Taryn Plumb and creating the final content with Dave Gushee, was a true pleasure. Everyone was very professional, enthusiastic and supportive, and their creative approach and positive attitude clearly came through in the final product.
– Kevin C. Rakowski, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Compliance with Radian Group Inc.
The piece highlighting my company, Bob Baker Enterprises, Inc., came out fabulous. Our company is in the new and used car sales and service industry. Everyone was great to work with and extremely professional. They produced a high-quality product and have provided expert assistance and guidance post-production of the article.
– Wade Poulson, General Counsel, Bob Baker Enterprises Inc.
As promised in advance, my feature in Vanguard has increased my visibility within the profession and prompted more than a few people I have not communicated with recently to reconnect. One of the Italian law firms I have used in the past is now in the process of interviewing me for an article on their website and tweeting out the feature story. Activity and the number of people connecting with me on LinkedIn has soared, which is great. The Vanguard writers and editorial staff were great to work with—highly professional and made the effort to make the experience both fun and rewarding (they were also respectful of the time pressures and demands all lawyers face). I was very pleased with the experience and the final outcome. Needless to say, I have been very pleased. All in all working with Vanguard has been a very positive experience which generated good publicity for both Shawcor and myself. My sincere thanks.
– Tim Hutzul, General Counsel, ShawCor Ltd.

LATEST EDITION

Summer I 2022

READ NOW

GET VANGUARD IN YOUR INBOX.

  • * We’ll never share your email or info with anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.