Five Minutes with Alan Jaffa
The November issue of DS News focused on Safeguard Properties CEO Alan Jaffa as the subject of its feature FIVE MINUTES WITH.
FIVE MINUTES WITH
Get to Know Industry Executives Beyond the Boardroom
CEO, Safeguard Properties
Alan Jaffa has served as CEO of Safeguard Properties since 2010. Prior to becoming Safeguard’s CEO, Mr. Jaffa served as the company’s COO and SVP of Operations. He joined Safeguard in 1995 and has been at the forefront of the company’s growth from a small startup to the nation’s largest privately held mortgage field services company.
Has the enhanced regulatory landscape changed the way Safeguard does business?
The heightened regulatory landscape has helped us identify and remediate any gaps in our robust quality assurance processes. We also have been able to build stronger relationships with our clients through onsite audits. Each one serves as an opportunity to enhance and strengthen our processes.
Additionally, Safeguard’s national vendor network works to ensure operational controls, adequate personnel screening, training and quality assurance. While we conduct business and compliance audits and background checks on our primary vendors, we also require that they perform audits and background checks on their employees and subcontractors.
Safeguard is committed to building and sharing industry best practices to protect the integrity and value of our nation’s housing stock, to deliver the most efficient services, and to work on behalf of our clients to comply with all regulatory requirements.
As one of the largest field services organizations in the country, Safeguard maintains properties in communities across the United States. What are the processes and procedures that you have developed to serve such a varied geographic area?
With the millions of points of data our vendor network collects every day, Safeguard analyzes that information to ensure the appropriate number of vendors is assigned in each geographic location, and we monitor performance indicators to effectively complete work in communities across the country.
We use data to create heat maps to visually identify servicing needs in a particular location so work orders are funneled appropriately. This is coupled with vendor quality results and performance indicators to ensure that vendors can handle the capacity and complete the work effectively.
How is Safeguard maintaining those relationships with communities around the country? What processes has Safeguard put in place to protect neighborhoods?
A large part of Safeguard’s ability to maintain positive relationships with city and code officials is through our Community Initiatives Department and its extensive outreach and education. Our team attends conferences and meets face-to-face with city officials across the country to help cultivate good relationships.
Safeguard continues to maintain and build relationships with municipalities and code enforcement groups in cities across the country through our Code Compliance Department, by providing tools to foster open communication, and ongoing outreach to city and code enforcement officials.
Our code compliance team helps prevent and mitigate compliance issues and advises our nationwide vendor network of all compliance issues or hazards.
We also developed a tool called Compliance Connections that is designed to connect city officials with mortgage servicers to preserve the value of communities and real estate portfolios. This online portal provides instant notification of property issues and fosters communication, which helps expedite resolution.
It seems that today, the expectations placed on field services organizations are higher than ever before. How does Safeguard balance providing quality performance with the speed demanded by the industry today?
Safeguard has made a significant investment in technology to help balance quality and timeliness of work. We have provided our vendor network with a suite of online and mobile tools that have decreased timelines and built-in “smart” scripts and controls that ensure accuracy.
Our mobile applications give our vendors the ability to deliver results while still at a property rather than having to wait until they return to their offices at the end of the day. This allows us to relay those results to our clients in significantly less time than before, helping remediate property issues in a timely manner.
The smart scripts vendors follow on our mobile platform to guide them through the reporting process, including the tracking, labeling, and time-stamping of all corresponding photos. Because the photos are time-stamped within the app, there are fewer opportunities for errors.
You are someone who started early on with the company and worked his way up to the position that you hold today. What advice would you give to industry professionals looking to work their way up the corporate ladder?
The best piece of advice I could give to is to surround yourself with the best and brightest people and trust them to do their jobs. Nobody knows everything, and the more you can rely on smart and talented people, the more successful you’ll be. Safeguard wouldn’t be the industry leader it is today without its dedicated and reliable staff of about 1,700 employees in Ohio, Texas, and Kentucky, and its nationwide network of more than 10,000 vendors across the country.
I also would recommend something Safeguard’s Founder and Chairman Robert Klein instilled in me, and that’s to anticipate the client’s needs. Do not wait for them to tell you exactly what they need, because we are already analyzing the data we collect for them to identify trends and create processes or tools based on those results.
Please click here to view Five Minutes with Alan Jaffa [PDF].
Safeguard Properties is the mortgage field services industry leader, preserving vacant and foreclosed properties across the U.S., Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Guam. Founded in 1990 by Robert Klein and headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Safeguard provides the highest quality service to our clients by leveraging innovative technologies and proactively developing industry best practices and quality control procedures. Consistent with Safeguard’s values and mission, we are an active supporter of hundreds of charitable efforts across the country. Annually, Safeguard gives back to communities in partnership with our employees, vendors and clients. We also are dedicated to working with community leaders and officials to eliminate blight and stabilize neighborhoods. Safeguard is dedicated to preserving today and protecting tomorrow. Website: www.safeguardproperties.com.