Delgado Applauds Passage of Ohio Foreclosure Fast Track Bill, Urges Senate to Act

Safeguard in the News
November 18, 2015

On the topic of blight in residential neighborhoods, Ohio-based Safeguard Properties Chairman Robert Klein said, “A vacant and abandoned house is not a bottle of wine. It doesn’t get better with age.”

The state of Ohio is taking steps to remedy the vacant and abandoned property crisis, however, and the rest of the country may follow suit. A bill that would reduce foreclosure timelines and therefore shorten the amount of time that residential properties remain vacant in Ohio passed by a unanimous 88-0 vote in the Ohio House of Representatives earlier this week.

Ohio HB 134 is the second attempt at passing a “fast track foreclosure” bill in the state of Ohio in order to expedite the residential foreclosure process after a similar bill failed last year in the Ohio Senate. Just as Ohio HB 134 did on Tuesday, the previous bill passed unanimously in the state’s House last year. The legislation, if it passes in the Ohio Senate, would reduce the lengthy foreclosure process in Ohio from its current timeline of two to three years or longer down to as low as six months in many cases.

For the mortgage industry, the passage of Ohio HB 134 represents a step toward solving what Five Star Institute President and CEO Ed Delgado termed a “community crisis of national proportion.”

“I applaud the Ohio House of Representatives for passing this bill, and I am pleased that it received such overwhelming support,” Delgado said. “Reducing the amount of time that properties are vacant will ultimately eliminate neighborhood blight and prevent the calamities that often accompany it, such as vandalism, violent sexual assault, drugs, prostitution, and overall deterioration of communities. This bill will take steps to ensure that these magnets for crime will be more quickly rehabilitated and promote the safety of neighborhoods across the state. I urge the Ohio Senate to act quickly in passing this bill.”

Ohio State Rep. Cheryl Grossman, a joint sponsor of Ohio HB 134, stated, “To be able to shorten this process from two to three years down to six months benefits everyone. I think it will have a huge impact. This is something that’s not unique to one area of the state. There are problems throughout the state and throughout our country on what falls in this category. What we can do to respect the homeowners that are maintaining their properties and being responsible and not have to have a boarded-up house next to them, that is huge.”

The bill now moves on to the Ohio Senate, where it ran into problems last year. But Ohio HB 134 has some strong backing that may give the bill the lift it needs in order to pass the Senate and become law.

“We know the people in the Senate who are very involved in this project, including the Governor’s office, and we’re going to keep pushing to make this thing pass. I feel pretty confident that once it passes in Ohio, other states will pick up on it.

The idea for the bill was first proposed by Columbus City Attorney Rick Pfeiffer, and Ohio HB 223 was introduced to the Ohio Senate in June 2013 by Grossman, a Republican, and Ohio State Rep. Michael Curtin, a Democrat. The bill passed unanimously in the Ohio House in April 2014, but then an amended version of the bill failed to make it out of the Ohio State Senate Finance Committee when it was introduced there eight months later in December. A new version of the bill, Ohio HB 134, was introduced earlier this year by the same two joint sponsors, Grossman and Curtin.

The changes to Ohio HB 134 from the bill that did not pass in the Ohio Senate last year include:

  • additional criteria defining a property as vacant and abandoned (three things from a checklist instead of two);
  • a high burden of proof (clear and convincing evidence) that the criteria for defining a property as vacant and abandoned are met;
  • a requirement that the mortgagor must be in monetary fault, along with a burden of proof;
  • a statement that if another mortgagee or defendant has filed an answer or objection, it will preclude the expedited foreclosure;
  • allowing the purchaser to file a motion with the court to proceed with the transfer of the property title if the deed is not prepared within 14 days, and the recording of the court order or confirmation of sale can act as the transfer of title (the previous bill allowed only the recording of the court order to act as transfer of title without first going through the court motion process;
  • and a requirement that the officer record the deed within 14 days after the confirmation of sale and payment of the balance due, not one or the other.

“This preserves the original intent of the bill to allow for an expedited process to foreclose on vacant and abandoned homes while not impeding the homeowners’ rights,” Grossman said. “It also allows second and subsequent attempts at sheriffs sales to be conducted without a minimum bid. This will aid in selling more foreclosed homes to reduce the number of empty houses in our neighborhoods, greatly preventing and reducing the number of blighted homes.”

If Ohio HB 134 passes in the Ohio Senate, Ohio would be the eighth state since 2009 to pass a fast track foreclosure law. The others are Michigan, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Indiana, New Jersey, and Nevada. As is the case in Ohio, the majority of these are judicial foreclosure states, meaning the foreclosure process must pass through the courts to be complete; the only one of the aforementioned states where the foreclosure process is completely non-judicial is Michigan.

Ohio’s bill raises the possibility of fast track foreclosure legislation at the national level. Delgado, who spoke on the topic of finding solutions for neighborhood blight and vacant properties at the National Property Preservation Conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this week, called Ohio HB 134 “an important template toward the introduction of a national course of solution for vacant and abandoned properties.”

“This is the first bill that actually details that once you get a property that is vacant and abandoned, it will be fast-tracked to about six months on the foreclosure,” Klein said. “That is going to have a tremendous, tremendous impact on vacant and blighted properties. We still have a way to go, but this is definitely the first push. The sooner we get this bill passed in the Ohio Senate, I think it will have an impact on community blight on a national scale.”

Source: DS News

Additional Resource:
Safeguard Properties Fast-Track Legislation Resource Center

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CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

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.

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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.

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CHEIF INFORMATION OFFICER

George Mehok

George Mehok is the chief information officer for Safeguard. He is responsible for all strategic technology decisions, new systems deployments and data center operations supporting a national network of more than 10,000 mobile workers.

George has more than 20 years of leadership experience dedicated to high-growth companies in the mobile telecommunications and financial services industries, spanning startups to global industry leaders.

George played a senior role in the formation of Verizon Wireless, leading the IT product development and strategic planning team. He led the integration planning for the Verizon merger including: GTE, Vodafone-AirTouch, Bell Atlantic Mobile and PrimeCo.

As chief information officer at Revol Wireless, a VC-backed CDMA wireless communications network operator, George’s team implemented an integrated technology infrastructure and award-winning business intelligence platform.

George holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Eastern Michigan University and an M.B.A. from The Ohio State University. He is a board member of Akron University’s School of Business Center for Information Technology, in addition to an advisory board member for OHTec.

In 2013, George won the Crain’s Cleveland Business CIO of the Year award for his team’s work in completing a major acquisition and technology transformation at Safeguard. In 2015, George’s team was recognized by InformationWeek’s annual Elite 100 ranking of the most innovative U.S.-based users of business technology. The mobile inspection technology developed at Safeguard was selected as InformationWeek’s “One of the top 20 ideas to steal in 2015”.

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General Counsel and Executive Vice President

Linda Erkkila, Esq.

Linda Erkkila is the general counsel and executive vice president for Safeguard, with oversight responsibilities for the legal, human resources, training, compliance and audit departments. Linda’s broad scope of oversight covers regulatory issues that impact Safeguard’s operations, pro-active risk mitigation, enterprise strategic planning, human capital and training initiatives, compliance and audit services, litigation and claims management, and counsel related to mergers, acquisition and joint ventures.

Linda’s oversight of the legal department along with multiple compliance and human capital focused departments assures that Safeguard’s strategic initiatives align with its resources, leverage opportunities across the company, and contemplate compliance mandates. Her practice spans almost 20 years, and Linda’s experience, both as outside and in-house counsel, covers a wide range of corporate matters, including 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.

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Chief Financial Officer

Joe Iafigliola

Joe Iafigliola is the Chief Financial Officer for Safeguard. Joe is responsible for oversight of the Control, Quality Assurance, Accounting and 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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AVP, Mobile and Analytics

Jason Heckman

Jason Heckman is the assistant vice president of mobile and analytics for Safeguard. He is responsible for both Safeguard’s mobile development and strategy as well as the company’s data warehousing and business intelligence. Jason oversees the design, development and release of all Safeguard’s internally developed mobile applications. He also oversees the development and delivery of operational and analytical data technologies throughout the organization.

Jason joined Safeguard as manager of mobile in 2012. During that time he led the development and integration of Safeguard’s mobile applications across the company’s vendor network to provide real-time data from the field. In 2014, he was promoted to director of mobile applications and named assistant vice president in 2017.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Jason was the director of application development and business intelligence for Revol Wireless, a privately held wireless provider in Ohio and Indiana.

Jason holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio.

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AVP, Business Development

Tim Rath

Tim Rath is the AVP of business development for Safeguard. He is responsible for developing innovative growth strategies for Safeguard and developing and overseeing potential partnerships, mergers and acquisitions.

Tim joined Safeguard in 2011 as project director and has filled numerous roles within Vendor Management, most recently serving as director of vendor management, a role he assumed in 2011.

Prior to Safeguard, Tim worked as director of supply chain at PartsSource Inc. in Aurora, Ohio, a provider of medical replacement parts, procurement solutions and healthcare supply chain management technology services. He also has held sales positions with Rexel, ComDoc, and Pier Associates, all based in Ohio.

Tim holds a degree in marketing and sales from The University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. He also earned his FAA Certified Commercial UAS (Drone) Pilot license in 2017.