George Mehok Examines Role of Information in Mortgage Servicing
In the December issue of DSNews, George Mehok, chief information officer at Safeguard Properties contributed an article on property preservation and the valuable role that information technology plays in it.
The Future of Default Servicing Property Preservation
We hold a hidden treasure in our computer systems. It is called data, and the mortgage field services industry has a lot of it.
Safeguard Properties alone has data on tens of millions of properties in every city and every state in the country. And every month we learn more. As contractors perform more than a million inspections and deliver on hundreds of thousands of maintenance and repair requests each month, we add to the treasure trove.
But data is only a treasure if you actually analyze it and do something with what you learn. So what do we learn by looking at billions of points of information about inspections, grass cuts, lock changes, debris, boarded windows, secured pools, vandalism, leaky roofs, wet basements, mold, hazardous materials, and myriad other things? We learn a lot. Most important, we learn how we can do a better job of protecting and preserving the millions of properties mortgage servicing clients entrust to the care of property preservation companies.
By analyzing the data, we can see deficiencies or quality issues that require corrective measures to improve quality. In one year, for example, Safeguard experienced a 39 percent improvement in REO properties with no deficiencies or quality issues and a 76 percent improvement in the timeliness and quality of grass cuts by analyzing our own performance data and taking corrective action.
Ultimately, our goal is to utilize the data to predict trends and patterns. By analyzing the performance history of contractors along with property condition reports, for example, we can start determining the likelihood of on-time and proper work order completions by contractor and by geographic region. Such insight can be used to build vendor network capacity where market needs are highest.
Not only is data important to improve operational performance, but it also allows field service providers to be better “eyes and ears” for their clients. By analyzing data, we can predict which properties in which regions will be more prone to damages or vandalism. As a result, we can make recommendations to clients so they can better protect assets that may be at higher risk.
Additionally, by providing mortgage servicers with reports that give them a clearer picture of what is happening in the field, property preservation partners can empower their servicing clients to make better business decisions about their own internal requirements and procedures to protect the integrity of their properties and their financial interests. The data can also be used to help identify ways to reduce code violations, fines, and fees, and with the insight gained, both servicers and field service providers can improve community relationships.
By analyzing and acting on information, field service companies become true partners in the field, helping their mortgage servicing clients become more proactive rather than reactive to address property issues. At the same time, using information as a tool to identify, predict, and act on trends, we can help to improve quality and evolve best practices across the industry.
To view the article in PDF, please click here.
Safeguard Properties is the largest privately held field services company in the country. Located in Cleveland, Ohio and founded in 1990 by Robert Klein, Safeguard has grown from a regional preservation company with a few employees and a handful of contractors performing services in the Midwest, to a national company with more than 1,600 employees. Safeguard is supported by a nationwide network of subcontractors able to perform any requested superintendence, preservation, and maintenance functions, as well as numerous ancillary services in the U.S., the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.