Kellie Chambers Shares Tips for Adapting to Regulatory Changes

In the June 2013 edition of Servicing Management, Safeguard’s Kellie Chambers, assistant vice president of property preservation, authored an article titled Tips For Adapting to a Changing Regulatory Environment.

Tips For Adapting to a Changing Regulatory Environment
Servicers can – and should – rely on their field services partners to stay on top of regulatory changes that affect vacant properties.

Comedian George Carlin once joked: I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed.

Without change, businesses, industries and government agencies quickly become irrelevant to those they were created to serve – just as a dollar bill becomes irrelevant to someone who needs quarters for a parking meter.

But adapting to change can be a challenging and stressful process. This is certainly true for the mortgage servicing industry as it responds to ever-changing investor guidelines and government regulations designed to strengthen and protect the nation’s housing market.

When guideline and regulatory changes affect policies and procedures related to property preservation for vacant defaulted and foreclosed properties, the mortgage servicing industry should view their partners in the field as resources and allies to respond effectively.

Step One: What does it mean?

Whether they are guidelines to help reduce bid volumes, new property condition and timeline requirements for conveying properties post-foreclosure or changes to improve transparency around loan status, when guidelines and regulations are introduced, it is important to start by understanding what they mean and how they will affect existing processes and systems. The deeper the subject knowledge and the more diverse the perspectives to interpret the rules, the more comprehensive the evaluation will be.

Representatives from the mortgage servicing and field service sectors – from multiple organizations and various levels within those organizations – should come together to discuss the details of the new regulations, share their interpretations, reach consensus where they can and identify points that require clarification. This kind of connection can be achieved through conference calls or other forums.

One designated representative can then work on behalf of the industry to review the group’s interpretations and make inquiries to the government-sponsored enterprise or agency issuing the new requirements. This collective approach is more efficient for servicers, investors and government agencies alike in helping to ensure consistency and accuracy in implementing new guidelines and regulations across the industry.

Step Two: Roll it out

Once the industry understands the new requirements, the best course is to implement them – even if there are initial concerns.

In the roll-out phase, mortgage servicers should rely on their field service companies to track and monitor results to provide objective data to determine whether guideline and regulatory changes are working or where modifications may be needed.

Mortgage servicers also should look to their field service partners to make recommendations for and assist with updating systems and procedures to accommodate changes related to property preservation services.

Invoicing systems may need to change to reflect new pricing thresholds for bids. Manual processes may need to be automated to comply with new reporting requirements. System changes will need to be tested and verified.

Everyone involved in the new processes will need to be trained – from the mortgage servicer’s side to the field service provider’s billing staff – on all aspects of the new guidelines and regulations. Field servicers can and should take the lead to develop this training for servicers.

Also, field servicers must ensure that the vendors that perform services at properties are properly trained on the new guidelines and regulations related to repairing damages, bidding for repairs, assessing property condition and other requirements.

Step Three: Analyze and modify

After 30 or 60 days, evidence will begin to emerge to show whether new guidelines and recommendations are meeting their goals.

For example, when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued its Mortgagee Letter 2010-18 guidelines in May 2010, the changes were designed to reduce the time frames to convey properties, reduce bid volumes for repair approvals and improve the condition of properties at conveyance.

The data demonstrated that the goals were achieved to reduce bid volumes and improve the condition of properties at conveyance. With regard to reducing the time frame for conveyance, the industry saw a trade-off. Requirements for higher levels of repairs extended the time to convey, but the result was a higher-quality product. This trade-off was viewed as worthwhile.

In another example, Fannie Mae’s new property preservation guidelines, Property Maintenance and Management: Property Preservation Matrix and Reference Guide, issued in early 2013 were designed to reduce bid volumes and provide greater transparency with regard to loan status.

An example of a previously requested practice that is now mandatory is Fannie Mae’s HomeTracker system. HomeTracker is an online tool that manages requests and bids to provide services that exceed certain allowables. It permits servicers to search property information, submit bids, receive responses and track the history of over-allowable bids.

This new technology requires that the servicer provide more information – such as loan and inspection history and date of default – to allow Fannie Mae to make more informed decisions. This resulted in a more efficient bid process and better communication between Fannie Mae and servicers.

The new guidelines also required servicers to secure properties within seven days. However, this change was inconsistent with the requirements of those servicers whose policy is to provide more notice to borrowers, resulting in higher numbers of denials and a need to respond manually to each notice. As a result, servicers are re-evaluating their rules and business practices to accommodate the new Fannie Mae guidelines.

Because mortgage servicing is a constantly changing industry, servicers should rely on their field service partners to guide them through changes in guidelines and regulations. This partnership helps servicers understand how changes will affect their business practices and respond accordingly. By working together, we can respond effectively to ensure that the services we all deliver remain relevant to protecting and sustaining a strong housing market. s

Kellie Chambers is the assistant vice president of property preservation for mortgage field services company Safeguard Properties. She can be reached at

Please click here to view the article in PDF.

About Safeguard 
Safeguard Properties is the largest mortgage field services company in the U.S. Founded in 1990 by Robert Klein and based in Valley View, Ohio, the company inspects and maintains defaulted and foreclosed properties for mortgage servicers, lenders,  and other financial institutions. Safeguard employs approximately 1,700 people, in addition to a network of thousands of contractors nationally. Website:



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.