Community Initiatives First Quarter 2018 Activity Summary

Community Initiatives
April 18, 2018

Opening Lines of Communication in 2018

Outreach & Education

Safeguard's Community Initiatives Department (the Department) launched its 2018 outreach and presentations with a first quarter marked by unprecedented events. The success of this outreach was shown by the unprecedented number of attendees, as more code enforcement officers attended events during the months of January through March of 2018 than in previous years. The Department’s outreach demonstrates its regional commitment and both solidifies and maximizes the clear message that it is relaying regarding the activities and actions of the mortgage servicing industry.

The education platform created and led by Michael Halpern, director of community initiatives, and Heather Lazar, community relations liaison, focuses on the two stages of foreclosure – pre-sale and post-sale; the roles of trustees, servicers, investors, and insurers; and innovative solutions through legislation and research tools.

Regional-based outreach was exemplified in Kentucky and New York. The Department collaborated with the Kentucky League of Cities to offer half-day educational classes to hundreds of code enforcement officers throughout the Bluegrass State. Fulton, Carrollton, Somerset, Moorhead, and Berea hosted presentations for code professionals that highlighted legislative updates. Halpern and Lazar added Safeguard’s expertise related to Vacant Property Registration (VPR) ordinances. Currently, there are 37 local or county enacted or proposed ordinances in Kentucky. VPR elements highlighted by Halpern and Lazar during the classes included necessary ingredients for successful VPRs, goals to obtain through such legislation, “triggers” for registration, creating concise definitions, including strong and easily understood requirements, and critical components for compliance. 

The same regional-based outreach took place in New York as the Northern Adirondack, Finger Lake, and Central chapters of the New York State Building Officials Conference hosted their annual conferences. More than 1,100 code enforcement officers attended and took part in Safeguard’s state certified presentations.

The Department participated in a full-day class at the annual EduCode conference in Las Vegas. Although the conference is hosted by the Southwest Chapter of the International Code Council, code officers from 18 states attended the seminar that dug deeply into the foreclosure process and VPRs. 

Finally, the Department sponsored, exhibited, and led a class at the annual conference of the Code Enforcement Association of Texas in Fort Worth, Texas. Existing partnerships were strengthened and new ones were formed as Safeguard participated in the Association’s annual event, which drew over 300 officers from throughout the state.

Mortgage Servicer & Property Preservation Contacts Resource

For many years, Safeguard has made outreach to local governments, especially to code enforcement officials, a priority in our efforts to safeguard our clients’ interests. The initial vision of Robert Klein, our founder and chairman, saw the divide that existed as a result of municipal officials’ struggle to identify and communicate with the proper loan servicing staff. These struggles often led to frustration and negative outcomes for all parties. The community initiatives department continues to bridge this gap by providing no-cost educational training and “tools” to assist municipal officials, helping them realize our shared goal in preserving and protecting properties.

While the primary tool that we have offered to municipal staff to help identify proper points of contacts is Compliance Connections, we strive to provide additional ways to assist in facilitating transparency and opening the lines of communication. We continue to see an influx of registration ordinances (which are tracked and added to our custom matrix). Additionally, we regularly receive comments during our various municipal presentations pertaining to difficulties in communicating with the proper parties, which may result in punitive action against servicers.

Therefore, we have re-created a servicer contact sheet originally developed several years ago through the MBA VPR Working Group. The current version can be accessed by clicking here. Please feel free to share.

We welcome any feedback. If you have any questions, concerns or comments please contact the community initiatives department at community.initiatives@safeguardproperties.com.

We would like to extend our appreciation to members of the industry who have provided their information. Thank you for your partnership and commitment in building relationships and creating win-win solutions.

If you wish to be added to this resource, or would like to update your information, please email community.initiatives@safeguardproperties.com.

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