MBA National Mortgage Servicing Conference & Expo

The Mortgage Bankers Association hosted its annual servicing conference last month, welcoming members from all aspects of the mortgage field services industry to sunny Orlando, FL.  Safeguard’s VP of Business Development Tod Burkert was honored to introduce this year’s keynote speaker, Captain Mark Kelly, an American here who inspires others to be their best while remaining true to their core values. During Kelly’s keynote address he discussed purpose, perseverance and the power of preparation. 

The opening session also featured a welcome from Bill Cosgrove, MBa’s 2014 chairman-elect and David H. Stevens, MBA’s president and chief executive officer. The Deputy Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Steven L. Antonakes also addressed the attendees.

Additionally, Safeguard was honored to participate on two session panels during this conference.  These session summaries can be found below.

Post-Foreclosure Resolution – Best Practices

Moderator: Jodi Gaines, Claims Recovery Financial Services


  • Kellie Chambers, Safeguard Properties
  • Matt Martin, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Sarah Martin, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Andrew M. Trevayne, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

Key Requirements
The panel started the session by reviewing the key requirements in ML-13-18 and outlining best practices. This includes discussions around the following topics: Condo and HOA foreclosure requirements; condo and HOA payments of dues prior to conveyance; best practices for handling an uncooperative and non-responsive condo and HOA’s; conveying with clear marketable title, which is still the number one reason for reconveyance; and payment of utilities.
The key is to make sure these fees are updated and paid to avoid title and lien issues. If a condo or HOA is being uncooperative the panel suggested contacting MC&B for direction. Be prepared to outline your efforts in trying to contact the condo or HOA when you reach out to MC&B.
Mobile Home Conveyance
When it comes to mobile home conveyance, there are many do’s and don’ts. First, at origination do make sure the title is canceled to the real property. The main reason for reconveyances of mobile homes is lack of clear title. A recommended best practice is to have a process that identifies properties that are mobile home in your servicing platform. This way, when you make your referral to the foreclosure council they know it’s a mobile home.  
HUD Best Practices
During this session the panel discussed best practices when it comes to FHA claim payments. It has been found that error codes around taxes, insurance, attorney fee and UPB discrepancies are the main reason for claim payment delays.  By monitoring and correcting these in a timely manner, delays will be reduced. Often times claim blocks are not cured prior to submitting a claim to HUD for payment. These include title issues, failure to service timely, and property conditions. These claim blocks must be cured for payment to be released.
What MC&B looks for in their claim reviews is the following: HIPR is reviewed for conditions that are surchargeable.  If conveying with non-surchargeable damage a best practice is that this needs to be clearly documented when filing your claim to HUD with supporting documentation that shows the damage is not surchargeable.

The panel also noted that HUD is considering using P260 documentation for supporting supplement claims.
VA Best Practices

  • Resolving utilities
  • Provide CMT within 60 days or property will be reconveyed
  • Providing valid appraisal 

Property Preservation Best Practices
Below are best practices to ensure claimable expenses:

  • Proper photo document (before, during and after) with proper date stamps
  • Meeting required investor and insurer timeframes for securing, conveying, inspecting, yard maintenance and eviction
  • Audit documentation should include use of cost estimating software for price validation, dump receipts, and storage receipts

Below are best practices for timely conveyance:

  • Monthly interior inspections must be completed for compliance and to address any new conditions
  • Securing timely and addressing adverse conditions immediately to prevent further deterioration of the property
  • Timely bid submission of overall work that is required
  • All supporting documentation readily available
  • Timely resolution of code violations
  • Timely payment of condo, HOA, utilities, taxes and any other outstanding invoices that impact title or recording of HUD Deed
  • Timely recorded foreclosure deeds , as well as timely and properly executed deeds to HUD (do not send to record without written instruction)
  • Good communication and collaboration between property preservation, claim filers, attorney firms, title companies, MCB and HUD

Overall, the panel provide excellent insight and recommendations on how to improve the post foreclosure process, which if implemented will improve audit results, speed up claim payment and reduce and avoid reconveyances. 

Emerging Technology, Data Analysis Strategies and Tactics for Property Preservation and REO

Moderator: Jim Taylor, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage


  • Robin Kramer, CitiMortgage
  • George Mehok, Safeguard Properties          
  • Sean Ryan, Aspen Grove Solutions
  • Ben Windust, ServiceLink (a Black Knight Company)

The session started off focusing on a number of emerging risks in the property preservation and REO space. The panel cited conflicting investor requirements, escalating complaints and media coverage, and extended foreclosure timelines as a few of the factors leading to new examination activities focused on this area.

The panel shared some tips for navigating around these risks, underscoring the importance of having leadership whose vision will continue to evolve alongside, or ahead of, the industry practices. Quick action to resolve escalated issues and a systematic process to evaluate and learn from these challenges was recommended.

Integrated Solutions
The panel presented an overview of an integrated field services quality assurance platform. It was highlighted that it is critical to have strong people, a process, and technology in place, but noted that the investment really belongs in integrating the technology. The integrated solution, Safeguard Technologies was presented. This solution features steps of assignment, collection, assessment, analysis, visualization and integration.

Statistics from two years ago, when five percent of Safeguard’s one million inspections were completed via mobile device, was compared to current statistics, which put this number at 97 percent. Even further, 50 percent of the results coming in via mobile device to Safeguard are transmitted within 30 minutes of inspecting the asset. This can greatly reduce the time involved with addressing an adverse property condition.

It has been determined that the most valuable addition to the solution in recent months has been the ability to visualize results using mapping technology. Filtering by loan and property parameters, as well as incorporating big events, such as a weather disaster, allows servicers and vendors alike the ability to zero in on areas of priority and understand situations at a macro level. Quality is improved and risk is reduced when such massive and powerful data is converted to information using such a tool.

Compliance through Technology
During this session the current industry environment was also discussed, noting that it is no longer enough to comply. Companies must be able to prove compliance and must also prove that their providers are compliant. It was emphasized that compliance must be reproducible, and this can only be achieved through technology.

Aspen Grove’s mobile application connects financial institutions to the operators in the field and validates the identity of the individual completing work at a property. The panel cited the evolution of moving technology from the hands of the business to the hands of the operators.

Statistics were shared regarding complaint patterns and the volume of loans entering foreclosure. It was concluded that the deterioration of property condition is strongly tied to foreclosure timelines. Mobile technology can play a large role in pushing the industry to make more real-time decisions for property maintenance.

Registration Requirements
Both vacant property registration and foreclosure registration have their own requirements. The panel discussed the option of the industry to move toward a more cost-effective means to provide cities with information needed to protect their communities.

Potentially Valuable Tools
It was suggested that remote monitoring could be a valuable tool for the industry, but the business process is currently limited in its use of the technology. Once the questions of which properties should utilize the technology and how it can be paid for are answered, this tool could be of great use.

Vendor scorecards have played a large role in improving quality throughout businesses in the industry. They will continue to evolve with technological advances, but are only as strong as the data put into them. Data must be relevant and recent in order to be useful.

Suggestions of centralizing property-related data were met with interest, but skepticism around getting all the industry players in agreement and integrating the data with many of the antiquated systems used in the industry.

Technology is a powerful resource for the field services industry and can aid in keeping companies compliant, improving quality control and minimizing timelines. Technological advancements will continue to be made, but the industry as a whole needs to evaluate which tools bring the most value and how to integrate solutions appropriately so that they are being utilized to their full potential.

The MBA National Mortgage Servicing Conference & Expo was held in Orlando, FL.



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.