Never Too Big to Serve

July 13, 2017

Successful field services companies are designed for the high-touch needs of small servicers

The mortgage servicing industry has seen a seismic shift over the past few years as a result of the enhanced regulatory environment brought on by the housing crisis. As a result of these new regulations and restrictions, many financial institutions have been exiting loan servicing and there has been a proliferation of nonbank servicers entering the market and/or buying portfolios or servicing rights and gaining a greater market share.

Today, servicers are tasked with many obligations, including managing field services activities, dealing with oversight and compliance mandates, managing continual changes within the regulatory environment, unfunded mandates resulting in expansion of responsibilities, and ensuring adherence to strict budgets and heightened cost controls.

For years, national field services companies have been working in partnership with both large and small servicing shops to provide a comprehensive default services outsourcing model that enables the smaller servicing organizations to deploy compliant practices in a timely and cost-effective manner.

National field services providers, like Safeguard Properties, have developed tools and resources that provide value-added service and information regardless of a client’s portfolio size.

While some servicers see national field services companies as too large to handle their portfolios efficiently, nothing could be further from the truth.

For example, at Safeguard, our clients range from smaller local banks, small servicers and sub servicers, governmental agencies and large blue chip financial institutions.

Under a true outsourcing model, smaller volume servicers have the benefit of operating in a state-of-the-art default servicing platform environment at no additional cost to them; with the customer centric focus and resources one would expect from a local provider.

These benefits can provide value to the smaller volume servicers in that they can share risk with their field services provider by ensuring timeliness of service, compliance with applicable rules and regulations, as well as leveraging comprehensive data analytics and a cutting edge technology platform.

These servicers are enabled to do more with less as they outsource typical in-house functions to their field services provider.

Field services companies need to remain committed to providing the highest level of service to their mortgage servicing clients regardless of their portfolio size and to ensure that all work is performed in accordance with their clients’ agreed-upon criteria and investor/GSE requirements.

Keeping Servicers in Compliance through Outsourcing
There has been much change in the servicing industry since the housing crisis. Numerous regulations have been enacted by Dodd-Frank, Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Veterans Administration, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), designed to protect borrowers and provide guidelines for those maintaining defaulted inventory.

This has put many organizations in a situation where they do not have the resources to comply with these unfunded mandates. A full outsourcing model provided by a field services company enables smaller servicers to maintain compliance without any additional cost.

For instance, an outsourcing model with a field services company typically provides for some or all of the following activities:

  • Managing and tracking of allowables to ensure efficient preservation of properties in compliance with investor guidelines
  • Managing the bid process, when applicable, by submitting bids to the investor using the investor’s bid submission program (such as P260/Yardi for FHA loans)
  • Ensuring conveyance extensions are submitted and managed when necessary
  • Managing cost-to-date information
  • Managing and remediating customer complaints and ensuring proper tracking, disposition, and auditability of results

An added benefit is that the servicer can leverage their field services provider’s relationships with communities around the country to efficiently address code violation issues enhancing their reputation in the community and can take advantage of the company’s industry knowledge where quite often they have helped to shape policies, regulations and guidelines through direct partnership or committee participation with investors and GSEs.

By leveraging a field services company’s outsourcing options, mortgage servicing organizations have been able to decrease the size of their internal default staff, saving time and money, as they fulfill their servicing responsibilities.

Technology for Efficient Operations
Investing in new technology has been key for field services companies in providing innovative solutions. Through mobile adoption by vendors, investing in data centers and piloting new technology, like video in the field, field services companies continue to ensure quality and innovation for the mortgage servicing industry: a major benefit for all sizes of servicing organizations.

When deciding on a partner to work with, servicers should pay particular attention to determine if the field services company:

  • Has invested in latest infrastructure, security, applications, and database technologies;
  • Has deployed business process management systems that provide order and loan level processing automation to ensure efficient service delivery;
  • Has deployed mobile technologies to provide timely, comprehensive, and accurate property results from the field;
  • Offers full-service, secure Internet portals for servicers and contractors with access for ordering, communicating, reviewing work order/photo results and reporting;
  • Utilizes integrated data warehousing capabilities that provides web-based reporting, extensive portfolio data analytics and automated report scheduling capabilities;
  • Has integration plug-ins to communicate with third-party order processing and invoicing platforms such as Aspen Grove, Equator, Black Knight, and iClear;
  • Utilizes an incident management platform to accurately track client requests and compliance status;
  • Has state-of-the-art data centers with 24/7 monitoring; and
  • Utilizes a centralized call center supporting multiple service center locations.

Of particular value to servicers, both large and small, is having a secure client portal. This comprehensive web-based site should offer a wide array of reports that can be scheduled to run on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

These reports can be configured to track and report on problem resolution activities and change requests. Once access is granted, each person should have historical loan level information of the services conducted at the property including work orders and updates, photo documentation and audit support, detail of all bids provided and their disposition, expenditure details including cost-to-date and problem-resolution timelines.

Mortgage servicers, both large and small, have come to rely on their field services companies as an extension of their own staff’s duties and responsibilities.

In times of tight budgets and cost containment initiatives, it is imperative that that smaller servicing organizations leverage the tools and resources that a national field services company can provide.

As compliance mandates continue to proliferate, it is only prudent to investigate what your field services company provides today and determine if the value add technology and outsourcing services that a national provider provides as part of their suite of services can benefit you as well.

Source: HousingWire (Never Too Big to Serve pdf)



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.