Foreclosure Summit Toledo OH November 14

The Foreclosure Summit was held November 13-14 in Toledo OH. The main themes of the conference were rising foreclosure statistics, predatory lending, pre-foreclosure counseling, debt and financial management and policy- regulation/legislation. Each session was a series of presentations followed by a Q&A segment when time allowed.

The conference was attended by approximately 200-250 people including representatives from HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A number of lending institutions/servicers were present including:

  • JP Morgan Chase
  • National City Bank
  • New Century Mortgage Corp.
  • Option One Mortgage Corp.
  • Homecomings Financial Network
  • Countrywide Home Loans
  • Huntington Bank
  • Key Bank
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • Charter One Mortgage
  • TCF Bank

Opening remarks were provided by Lisa Rice, VP at national Fair Housing Alliance who discussed the rising rate of foreclosures. Ms. Rice emphasized that this conference (final one out of 6 in Ohio) should be a catalyst to reverse the numbers. The committee wanted to hear from all parties specifically on the following issues and how they can impact the statistics.

  • property maintenance
  • economic issues
  • effective loss mitigation
  • rescue programs
  • social issues

Lisa Rice Power Point Presentation

Ruth Clevenger, VP Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland re-iterated Lisa’s sentiments and reviewed the Fed’s role in establishing adequate regulations and policy.

Uncovering and Preventing Predatory Lending Practices
Jeffrey Dillman from the Housing and Research Center defined a predatory loan as “any loan that is inappropriate for the borrower”.

Kimberly Kilby from the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center (Dayton) reviewed some of the primary indicators which would indicate predatory practices;

  • borrower in foreclosure due to high monthly payments
  • borrower has an Adjustable-Rate-Mortgage and does not anticipate getting a raise
  • false information provided to the borrower
  • borrower loaned more than the value of the house
  • borrower charged excessive closing costs
  • borrower not provided with all disclosures at origination.

Ms. Kilby suggested when discussing a loan modification to look at the market value of the home as opposed to an amount the borrower may qualify for.

Kimberly Kilby Power Point Presentation

Stephen Adamo, President and CEO of Charter One Mortgage gave an overview of CCO (Citizens Financial and Charter One) and reviewed their practices and quality controls in place during underwriting.

Debra Brown and Denise Jernigan from Fannie Mae discussed some of the initiatives undertaken at Fannie Mae to eliminate predatory practices. Fannie Mae statistics do not show Ohio in the “top-ten” of states with predatory lending violations, however their statistics indicate that there are four times as many misrepresentations on mortgage documents in Ohio as there are nationwide.

Fannie Mae Power Point Presentation

Lewis Allen VP of Real Estate Valuations at Option One discussed some of the issues surrounding accurate appraisals in light of an increase in identity theft. Some of the suggestions he provided were to:

  • require a resume and verify license
  • appraisals should be provided in a PDF format
  • appraisers should sign exactly how their name appears in the ASC National Registry.
  • require interior property photos
  • enhance QC procedures
  • be aware of zoning issues
  • require review of the complete MLS history of a property
  • expand the ASC Registry to include appraisals so all all appraisals will be available for each property.

Lewis Allen Power Point Presentation

Senate Bill 185

Wendy Patton from Policy Matters Ohio reviewed some additional foreclosure statistics.

Wendy Patton Power Point Presentation

Thomas McGuire, Assistant District Attorney discussed the insufficient staffing in place to follow-up and prosecute violators of the bill. The current plan is to have the state file civil suits while leaving criminal charges to local municipalities.

Luther Liggett, an attorney representing the banking industry, discussed a possible consequence of this bill will be the secondary market not securitizing loans issued from a broker (as opposed to national banks) due to an recent alert from Standard and Poors. Per Mr Liggett this will result in the cessation of independent brokers practicing in Ohio. In addition, input into the Bill was not received from the banking industry. In fact, the one member of the Legislature with prior banking experience was barred from the discussion on the creation of the bill.

Rachel Robinson, consumer advocate and staff attorney for the Equal Justice Foundation downplayed the concerns and focused on the benefits of the bill. A great deal of discussion revolved around the language in the bill that referred to “unconscionable” acts by the lender.

It was agreed that there are discernable differences between national banks who are regulated and audited versus non-national entities.

Foreclosure Prevention Counseling and Education Efforts

Foreclosure Prevention Program representatives from Columbus (Paul Haggard), Cuyahoga County (Mark Wiseman) and Toledo (Michael King) all reviewed their efforts to address the foreclosure problem along with emerging trends they have seen.

Michael King Power Point Presentation

Mark Wiseman Power Point Presentation

Marketing efforts continue and are expanding as local programs try to reach borrowers at the earliest time of distress. Additional initiatives underway include pre-purchase training.

Jayna Bower with Neighborworks discussed national initiatives. A current issue being addressed is training as there is a high turnover ratio in the non-profit arena.

Jayna Bower Power Point Presentation

NeighborWorks Presentation

Improving Communications and Getting Results

Deb Oakley presented a list of “Best Practices” for all involved parties. To achieve success, all parties must recognize, admit to, and work to resolve their deficiencies. Deb has presented this to 20 servicers and has received some commitments to “the Pledge” and continues to press remaining servicers to commit. Consumer best practices were received from counseling agencies. The goal is to “keep the eye on the prize” which is homeowner retention
Deb Oakley Power Point Presentation

Donna Sheline from Chase discussed some of Chase’s initiatives including their “REO Gifting Program” where select REO properties are gifted back to the community through non-profits. In addition, Chase offers free Loss Mitigation training to counselors to assist in ensuring borrowers receive accurate and valuable information as they attempt to resolve their issues. Donna discussed escalating all the way to her if issues are not resolved.

Robin Stout Magala from Freddie Mac stated that Freddie Mac compensates servicers who complete workouts and penalize those that don’t. Freddie Mac also requires servicers cross train their staff between collections and loss mitigation, possibly eliminating issues of borrower complaints stemming from aggressive collection activity at a time of financial distress. Freddie Mac also pro-actively mails notices directly to non-responsive borrowers. Freddie Mac servicers must advise borrowers if their loan is a Freddie Mac loan if requested.

Terry Theologides from New Century stated that his entity has primarily sub-prime loans securitized primarily outside the GSE’s (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). Even in this realm of numerous investors, servicers have the necessary flexibility to perform loss mitigation.One initiative undertaken at New Century is the establishment of a customer advocate/ ombudsmen position to review and assist borrowers. Institutional investors typically do not allow disclosure to the borrowers if they request information on the investor.

Terry Theologides Power Point Presentation

There is an effort underway to establish a website with toll-free numbers for the Loss Mitigation departments at the various servicers. This will provide non-profit counselors with access to the proper entity at the servicers.

Deb Oakley discussed a working group that is being developed to address code enforcement issues including servicers , code enforcement officials and field service providers. One concept involved the creation of a website with contact information with the correct individuals at the servicers that would be accessible to code enforcement individuals nationwide. As an example of efforts servicers take to be good corporate partners, Deb Oakley stated servicers have paid Safeguard Properties (alone) $82,000,000 YTD nationwide to address vacant and blighted homes.

The Foreclosure Summit was held November 13-14 in Toledo OH. The main themes of the conference were rising foreclosure statistics, predatory lending, pre-foreclosure counseling, debt and financial management and policy- regulation/legislation. Each session was a series of presentations followed by a Q&A segment when time allowed.



Alan Jaffa

Alan Jaffa is the chief executive officer for Safeguard, steering the company as the mortgage field services industry leader. He also serves on the board of advisors for SCG Partners, a middle-market private equity fund focused on diversifying and expanding Safeguard Properties’ business model into complimentary markets.

Alan joined Safeguard in 1995, learning the business from the ground up. He was promoted to chief operating officer in 2002, and was named CEO in May 2010. His hands-on experience has given him unique insights as a leader to innovate, improve and strengthen Safeguard’s processes to assure that the company adheres to the highest standards of quality and customer service.

Under Alan’s leadership, Safeguard has grown significantly with strategies that have included new and expanded services, technology investments that deliver higher quality and greater efficiency to clients, and strategic acquisitions. He takes a team approach to process improvement, involving staff at all levels of the organization to address issues, brainstorm solutions, and identify new and better ways to serve clients.

In 2008, Alan was recognized by Crain’s Cleveland Business in its annual “40-Under-40” profile of young leaders. He also was named a NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® finalist in 2013.


Chief Operating Officer

Michael Greenbaum

Michael Greenbaum is the chief operating officer for Safeguard. Mike has been instrumental in aligning operations to become more efficient, effective, and compliant with our ever-changing industry requirements. Mike has a proven track record of excellence, partnership and collaboration at Safeguard. Under Mike’s leadership, all operational departments of Safeguard have reviewed, updated and enhanced their business processes to maximize efficiency and improve quality control.

Mike joined Safeguard in July 2010 as vice president of REO and has continued to take on additional duties and responsibilities within the organization, including the role of vice president of operations in 2013 and then COO in 2015.

Mike built his business career in supply-chain management, operations, finance and marketing. He has held senior management and executive positions with Erico, a manufacturing company in Solon, Ohio; Accel, Inc., a packaging company in Lewis Center, Ohio; and McMaster-Carr, an industrial supply company in Aurora, Ohio.

Before entering the business world, Mike served in the U.S. Army, Ordinance Branch, and specialized in supply chain management. He is a distinguished graduate of West Point (U.S. Military Academy), where he majored in quantitative economics.



Sean Reddington

Sean Reddington is the new Chief Information Officer for Safeguard Properties LLC. Sean has over 15+ years of experience in Information Services Management with a strong focus on Product and Application Management. Sean is responsible for Safeguard’s technological direction, including planning, implementation and maintaining all operational systems

Sean has a proven record of accomplishment for increasing operational efficiencies, improving customer service levels, and implementing and maintaining IT initiatives to support successful business processes.  He has provided the vision and dedicated leadership for key technologies for Fortune 100 companies, and nationally recognized consulting firms including enterprise system architecture, security, desktop and database management systems. Sean possesses strong functional and system knowledge of information security, systems and software, contracts management, budgeting, human resources and legal and related regulatory compliance.

Sean joined Safeguard Properties LLC from RenPSG Inc. which is a nationally leading Philintropic Software Platform in the Fintech space. He oversaw the organization’s technological direction including planning, implementing and maintaining the best practices that align with all corporate functions. He also provided day-to-day technology operations, enterprise security, information risk and vulnerability management, audit and compliance, security awareness and training.

Prior to RenPSG, Sean worked for DMI Consulting as a Client Success Director where he guided the delivery in a multibillion-dollar Fortune 500 enterprise client account. He was responsible for all project deliveries in terms of quality, budget and timeliness and led the team to coordinate development and definition of project scope and limitations. Sean also worked for KPMG Consulting in their Microsoft Practice and Technicolor’s Ebusiness Division where he had responsibility for application development, maintenance, and support.

Sean is a graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts and received his Masters in International Business from Central Michigan University. He was also a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force prior to his career in the business world.


General Counsel and Executive Vice President

Linda Erkkila, Esq.

Linda Erkkila is the general counsel and executive vice president for Safeguard and oversees the legal, human resources, training, and compliance departments. Linda’s responsibilities cover regulatory issues that impact Safeguard’s operations, risk mitigation, enterprise strategic planning, human resources and training initiatives, compliance, litigation and claims management, and mergers, acquisition and joint ventures.

Linda assures that Safeguard’s strategic initiatives align with its resources, leverage opportunities across the company, and contemplate compliance mandates. Her practice spans over 20 years, and Linda’s experience covers regulatory disclosure, corporate governance compliance, risk assessment, executive compensation, litigation management, and merger and acquisition activity. Her experience at a former Fortune 500 financial institution during the subprime crisis helped develop Linda’s pro-active approach to change management during periods of heightened regulatory scrutiny.

Linda previously served as vice president and attorney for National City Corporation, as securities and corporate governance counsel for Agilysys Inc., and as an associate at Thompson Hine LLP. She earned her JD at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Linda holds a degree in economics from Miami University and an MBA. In 2017, Linda was named as both a “Woman of Influence” by HousingWire and as a “Leading Lady” by MReport.


Chief Financial Officer

Joe Iafigliola

Joe Iafigliola is the Chief Financial Officer for Safeguard. Joe is responsible for the Control, Quality Assurance, Business Development, Accounting & Information Security departments, and is a Managing Director of SCG Partners, a middle-market private equity fund focused on diversifying and expanding Safeguard Properties’ business model into complimentary markets.

Joe has been in a wide variety of roles in finance, supply chain management, information systems development, and sales and marketing. His career includes senior positions with McMaster-Carr Supply Company, Newell/Rubbermaid, and Procter and Gamble.

Joe has an MBA from The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and holds a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University’s Honors Accounting program.


AVP, High Risk and Investor Compliance

Steve Meyer

Steve Meyer is the assistant vice president of high risk and investor compliance for Safeguard. In this role, Steve is responsible for managing our clients’ conveyance processes, Safeguard’s investor compliance team and developing our working relationships with cities and municipalities around the country. He also works directly with our clients in our many outreach efforts and he represents Safeguard at a number of industry conferences each year.

Steve joined Safeguard in 1998 as manager over the hazard claims team. He was instrumental in the development and creation of policies, procedures and operating protocol. Under Steve’s leadership, the department became one of the largest within Safeguard. In 2002, he assumed responsibility for the newly-formed high risk department, once again building its success. Steve was promoted to director over these two areas in 2007, and he was promoted to assistant vice president in 2012.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Steve spent 10 years within the insurance industry, holding a number of positions including multi-line property adjuster, branch claims supervisor, and multi-line and subrogation/litigation supervisor. Steve is a graduate of Grove City College.


AVP, Operations

Jennifer Jozity

Jennifer Jozity is the assistant vice president of operations, overseeing inspections, REO and property preservation for Safeguard. Jen ensures quality work is performed in the field and internally, to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations. Jen has demonstrated the ability to deliver consistent results in order audit and order management.  She will build upon these strengths in order to deliver this level of excellence in both REO and property preservation operations.

Jen joined Safeguard in 1997 and was promoted to director of inspections operations in 2009 and assistant vice president of inspections operations in 2012.

She graduated from Cleveland State University with a degree in business.


AVP, Finance

Jennifer Anspach

Jennifer Anspach is the assistant vice president of finance for Safeguard. She is responsible for the company’s national workforce of approximately 1,000 employees. She manages recruitment strategies, employee relations, training, personnel policies, retention, payroll and benefits programs. Additionally, Jennifer has oversight of the accounts receivable and loss functions formerly within the accounting department.

Jennifer joined the company in April 2009 as a manager of accounting and finance and a year later was promoted to director. She was named AVP of human capital in 2014. Prior to joining Safeguard, she held several management positions at OfficeMax and InkStop in both operations and finance.

Jennifer is a graduate of Youngstown State University. She was named a Crain’s Cleveland Business Archer Award finalist for HR Executive of the Year in 2017.


AVP, Application Architecture

Rick Moran

Rick Moran is the assistant vice president of application architecture for Safeguard. Rick is responsible for evolving the Safeguard IT systems. He leads the design of Safeguard’s enterprise application architecture. This includes Safeguard’s real-time integration with other systems, vendors and clients; the future upgrade roadmap for systems; and standards designed to meet availability, security, performance and goals.

Rick has been with Safeguard since 2011. During that time, he has led the system upgrades necessary to support Safeguard’s growth. In addition, Rick’s team has designed and implemented several innovative systems.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Rick was director of enterprise architecture at Revol Wireless, a privately held CDMA Wireless provider in Ohio and Indiana, and operated his own consulting firm providing services to the manufacturing, telecommunications, and energy sectors.


AVP, Technology Infrastructure and Cloud Services

Steve Machovina

Steve Machovina is the assistant vice president of technology infrastructure and cloud services for Safeguard. He is responsible for the overall management and design of Safeguard’s hybrid cloud infrastructure. He manages all technology engineering staff who support data centers, telecommunications, network, servers, storage, service monitoring, and disaster recovery.

Steve joined Safeguard in November 2013 as director of information technology operations.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Steve was vice president of information technology at Revol Wireless, a privately held wireless provider in Ohio and Indiana. He also held management positions with Northcoast PCS and Corecomm Communications, and spent nine years as a Coast Guard officer and pilot.

Steve holds a BBA in management information systems from Kent State University in Ohio and an MBA from Wayne State University in Michigan.


Assistant Vice president of Application Development

Steve Goberish

Steve Goberish, is the assistant vice president of application development for Safeguard. He is responsible for the maintenance and evolution of Safeguard’s vendor systems ensuring high-availability, security and scalability while advancing the vendor products’ capabilities and enhancing the vendor experience.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Steve was a senior technical architect and development manager at First American Title Insurance, a publicly held title insurance provider based in southern California, in addition to managing and developing applications in multiple sectors from insurance to VOIP.

Steve has a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University in Ohio.