MBA National Mortgage Servicing Conference & Expo 2015
The Mortgage Bankers Association had more than 1,500 mortgage loan servicers, field services companies, attorneys, asset management companies and other servicing personnel attend its annual mortgage servicing conference last month in Dallas, TX. Despite the weather conditions, the MBA once again delivered a top notch conference. Diamond Sponsor Safeguard Properties had the privilege of introducing this year’s keynote speaker, Former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens. Greitens delivered a powerful and motivational message about courage, persistence and the willingness to become a servant at heart.
Safeguard was also honored to lead a panel discussion during the conference. This session summary can be found below.
Moderator: Michael Halpern, Safeguard Properties
- Russ Cross, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
- Sheri Johnson, American Association of Code Enforcement
- Patrick J. McCarthy, Fannie Mae
- Dawn Stockmo, National Community Stabilization Trust
The panel looked at the continuation of headlines addressing “zombie” foreclosures, and the difficulties servicers often face in trying to ensure properties don’t deteriorate and fall into this state.
Additionally, there has become an increased scrutiny on maintaining properties that goes above the industry standard provided by investor and insurer guidelines. Trying to stay compliant with each independent jurisdiction’s code remains a significant challenge.
The panel provided ways in which servicers and communities have partnered together to find solutions to some of the most challenging portfolios.
Opening the Lines of Communication
The panel discussed the importance of proactively engaging all levels of government through multiple national and state organizations, specifically the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities and American Association of Code Enforcement.
Keeping the lines of communication open has long been a staple of interacting with communities. Continued communication and education is important, especially in overcoming the challenges of employee turnover and lack of transmission of information to a new administration. With ongoing communication, relationships can be built and real solutions can be achieved by working together.
It has been shown that these relationships provide tremendous cost savings for municipalities. The panel advocated for continued outreach, stronger relationships and a greater push to expeditiously address property maintenance issues.
The audience was encouraged to view vacant and abandoned homes in a time-sensitive manner and procedures such as bid request and approvals should have the necessary quality controls in place to avoid unneeded delays.
One of the biggest issues communities face are charged-off properties. Several years ago Fannie Mae implemented a policy halting charge-offs, which increased the efforts of working with local communities to get these types of properties into the hands of responsible owners.
Programs such as First Look increase purchase opportunities for responsible parties such as owner occupants and not-for-profits. Fannie Mae was heralded for innovative partnerships, including teaming up with the Cuyahoga County Land Bank located in Ohio. The panel discussed the partnership and how the concept is growing as more and more communities create land banks.
With the advent of the National Stabilization Programs (NSP) there was a need for an entity to support neighborhood stabilization by transferring foreclosed properties to local housing providers. As NSP drew to a close, the National Community Stabilization Trust (NCST) had to develop and evolve. The successes it achieves are a continuation of the long standing partnerships it developed from its onset.
The panel discussed taking part in alternative and community friendly REO dispositions by utilizing land banks and other nonprofit organizations such as Slavic Village, which provides an aggressive repair strategy for post-sale properties.
Another creative solution to help stabilize communities is SecureView, a patented state-of-the-art technology that secures unoccupied properties without exposing vacancy.
The panel concluded with encouraged the entire industry to continue working together and coming up with creative solutions that have positive outcomes for communities across the nation.
The MBA National Mortgage Servicing Conference & Expo was held in Dallas, TX.