Michael Greenbaum Discusses Vendor Timeliness

On January 28, National Mortgage News published an article entitled Oversight and Communication Help Build Vendor Relationship.  In it, Mike Greenbaum, Safeguard’s vice president of operations is quoted expressing the importance of timeliness.

Oversight and Communication Help Build Vendor Relationship

Maintaining the appearance of vacant and foreclosed properties is one of the main responsibilities for mortgage servicers and field service providers, but having proper vendors in place to complete the tasks to fulfill this obligation is anything but easy.
The vendor management process allows a servicer and property preservation firm to build a relationship with their suppliers and providers that is meant to strengthen both businesses. It is not the process of trying to negotiate the lowest price possible to complete a job, but for all parties to benefit from working together. The common goal at the end of the day during the vendor management process is to ensure that the requirements and oversight are met to benefit not only a homeowner, but the entire neighborhood.
In order for a well-rounded relationship to be developed between vendors, servicers and property preservation firms, there needs to be constant monitoring and communication to ensure that all parties are working together.
When it comes time to select the right vendor, there are several factors that servicers and field service providers need to consider. First, assessing a vendor’s overall risk of remaining in compliance with industry guidelines as well as local code enforcement issues is critical when determining their overall qualification for a job.
“It’s our money and performance, so everything is on the line for us. The more successful my vendor is, the more successful we are,” said Sherilee Massier, property preservation manager at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, as a panelist at the 2012 National Property Preservation Conference in Chicago discussing effective vendor management strategies.
To assess the work of a vendor, scorecards are a valuable tool that is used extensively throughout the industry. But all companies rate their vendors based on different components.
For example, Jack Evans, manager of property preservation at JPMorgan Chase, said the New York-based servicer has focused more on quality versus quantity over the last few years. He added that it is necessary to have the “eyes and ears” in the field verifying that the work is actually being done properly. If this is not happening, Evans noted that clear and concise feedback is essential.
“The key to this whole idea is to do it consistently,” Evans said about monitoring how vendors accomplish their work orders. “You have to monitor vendors at least once a month and give them timely feedback so if there is an issue, you’re not going more than 30 days without addressing it. If you’re not having those conversations or are scoring them every month, the issue may not be fixed in a timely manner.”
Meanwhile, Michael Greenbaum, vice president of operations at Safeguard Properties, said timeliness is a critical rating for the Valley View, Ohio-based field service provider’s scorecard. He continued that one of the challenges with measuring quality within the REO environment today is that there are multiple results coming from the clients’ field teams as well as from the field service companies’ teams, in which this information is utilized to communicate effectively with the vendor networks to provide the necessary training to ensure quality results. “Timeliness is a firm measure and it’s easy to calculate whether you’re on time or not,” Greenbaum added. “When we look at your work, it either meets our expectations or it doesn’t.”
Furthermore, from a servicer standpoint, Evans and Massier said flexibility and how a vendor treats their client are two keys aspects when choosing who maintains their portfolio’s assets. For example, will a vendor be accessible in case an emergency occurs at the property like a boiler explosion?
As a servicer, there is always some sort of management and oversight for a vendor, whether it is monthly reporting or auditing. Over the past year or two, Massier has seen that servicers have gotten tighter controls for their vendors.
“In addition to timeliness, quality and compliance, we’re looking at and need to know if a vendor has identified their risks and what controls are in place to mitigate those risks,” Massier added. “I want to see the plans on how you change this as well as the management of processes and procedures that you have in place to control any of your risks.”
Another area that is critical to decide if a vendor is capable of handling a particular job is being familiar with their background and qualifications. Additionally, what is the vendor’s capacity to handle a certain amount of workload during the busy seasonal orders?
“Our vendor evaluation is consistent not just with our primaries, but the secondary’s we keep, too,” said Chellie Stewart, REO and claims supervisor at Central Mortgage Co. “Vendors come on site to our shop while we also go to them to see their business processes live. There’s nothing like hearing that a vendor has 2,000 employees, but when you walk in, there are only three desks there.”
Secondly, Stewart said the Little Rock, Ark.-based company speaks to other servicers to hear about the positive and weakness characteristics each vendor possesses.
Marc Hinkle, senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Mortgage Contracting Services, said the Tampa-based field service company typically starts with a formal request for proposal to see how many vendors are interested in a particular task. Once those results come back, MCS prescreens the candidates to figure out who has the capacity and price requirements to be added to the company’s network.
Also, Hinkle said MCS mandates that all of its vendors take an online educational program certifying that they understand the training requirements about working for them. This web-based program has to be completed on an annual basis. Despite these courses, Hinkle understands that there still will be conflicts with a vendor’s performance that needs to be remediated.
“When we identify deficiency trends with a particular vendor, the first reaction is to not punish them, but to have a heart-to-heart discussion with them to find out the root cause of the problem,” Hinkle continued. “We also make sure that licensing requirements needed at the local level are up to date and valid through a series of audits and site visits to validate that. It is all a multilayered approach.”

To view the online article, please click here.

About Safeguard
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.



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.