Schneiderman Announces More Than $11 Million in New Funding for Statewide Foreclosure Prevention and Relief Programs

Industry Update
October 9, 2015

Since 2012, attorney general’s foreclosure prevention and relief programs have helped more than 50,000 New York families fight to keep their homes
Earlier this week, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced $11.5 million in new funding for more than two-dozen legal services organizations statewide to help prevent foreclosures, keep families in their homes, and rebuild communities hit hardest by the housing crash.

Awards will be granted to 28 legal services providers with proven track records of providing services to at-risk homeowners. The grants, which are now before the state comptroller for review and final approval, are for one year with a possibility of a one-year renewal. The new round of funding brings the total foreclosure prevention investment by the office of the attorney general to more than $70 million.
The new round of funding will support the Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP), a network of nearly 90 housing counseling and legal services agencies that provide free, high-quality assistance to at-risk families across New York to help them avoid foreclosure. A report released this summer by the attorney general’s office showed the program already helped more than 50,000 New York families.

The attorney general has committed $100 million to support HOPP from the settlements that his office negotiated with the nation’s largest banks following the collapse of the housing market.
“New York has long been at the forefront of creating innovative ways to address the foreclosure crisis,” Schneiderman said. “I have said since the day I took office that no one should ever lose their home because they didn’t have access to a lawyer. My office is dedicated to using all the tools at our disposal to make sure mortgage servicers are held accountable in providing relief to New York families who continue to weather the foreclosure crisis.”
The legal services providers who will be granted awards include:

  • Brooklyn Legal Services Corp A
  • Brooklyn Bar Association
  • City Bar Justice (NYC)
  • Empire Justice Center (Rochester)
  • Grow Brooklyn
  • JASA (Queens Legal Services for the Elderly)
  • Labor and Industry For Education (Long Island)
  • Legal Aid Society of North East NY
  • Legal Aid Society of NYC
  • Legal Assistance of Western New York
  • Legal Aid Society of Mid NY
  • Legal Service Bronx
  • Legal Services of Central NY
  • Legal Services of Hudson Valley
  • Legal Services of Rockland County
  • Long Island Housing Services
  • MFY
  • Nassau Suffolk Law Center
  • Nassau County Bar Association
  • New York Legal Assistance Group (NYC and Long Island)
  • Queens Legal Services
  • Queens Volunteer Law Project
  • South Brooklyn Legal Services
  • Staten Island Legal Services
  • The Legal Project (Capital Regions)
  • Touro Law Center (Long Island)
  • Western New York Law Center

The $11.5 Million in funding comes on the heels of an additional $10.1 million investment for housing counseling agencies across New York that was awarded earlier this year, funded by settlements the attorney general reached with Bank of America and Citibank in 2014. Those grants are going to 56 housing counseling agencies that are part of the HOPP network.
“Attorney General Schneiderman’s Homeowner Protection Program is a critical resource for New Yorkers,” said Christie Peale, executive director at the Center for NYC Neighborhoods. “Middle- and working-class homeowners across the state have faced so many struggles – the foreclosure crisis, Hurricane Sandy, predatory scams and more. Throughout, this incredible program has been there to help New York families. The Center for NYC Neighborhoods applauds Attorney General Schneiderman for his continued support of the program at a time when New Yorkers need it most.”
In addition to HOPP funding, the attorney general has established systems designed to hold mortgage servicers accountable and ensure New York homeowners are getting the relief to which they are entitled. In 2012, the attorney general established the mortgage servicing “Escalation Program” through a partner agency, the Center for New York City Neighborhoods (CNYCN). The escalation program allows HOPP grantees to raise the profile of cases that are particularly difficult or where servicers are not being responsive to modification requests in a timely or reasonable fashion. CNYCN has established relationships with senior-level staff at many of the mortgage servicing companies that can quickly address these issues. Over the past three years, 562 escalation cases have been raised by HOPP partners, and 504 of those cases have now been resolved.
In another innovation spearheaded by the attorney general, Long Island HOPP partners collaborated with the Nassau and Suffolk County Courts to create “Bank Days,” when mortgage servicers like Bank of America and Wells Fargo offer struggling homeowners the face-to- face support they need. High-level executives, resolution managers and underwriters have attended these twice-a-month events to resolve issues on the spot and help get homeowners loan modifications. Of the more than 850 cases that Bank of America has worked on at these events this year, 50 percent have been resolved.

The attorney general has made combatting the housing crisis a priority of his administration. His fight against the foreclosure crisis includes the HOPP program and two other key pillars: the New York State Mortgage Assistance Program and

New York State Mortgage Assistance Program
The New York State Mortgage Assistance Program (NYS-MAP), which began processing applications from across the state in October 2014, provides families at immediate risk of losing their homes with small loans to pay off debts that are a barrier to mortgage modification.
NYS-MAP loans, which may be as much as $40,000, help families who are struggling to avoid foreclosure to pay off mortgage arrears, delinquent second or third mortgage liens, or unpaid property tax bills. The program is funded with money from the bank settlements.
The program is modeled after a New York City-funded pilot program administered through the Center for New York City Neighborhoods. OAG is working with CNYCN, as well as the Empire Justice Center, to assist in the operations of NYS-MAP. Both agencies are contracted by the office of the attorney general to assist with the administration of HOPP.
In less than a year, NYS-MAP has approved 438 loans across the state totaling more than $13 million. The average loan amount, statewide, is $26,320., launched in December, is a Web-based app that helps homeowners avoid foreclosure rescue scams and determine whether a mortgage assistance company has been vetted by a government agency. OAG urges homeowners at risk of foreclosure to work with a free, qualified housing counseling agency within HOPP. The app is supported by funds from the bank settlements.
OAG launched in direct response to an observed increase in mortgage rescue scams and deed thefts in New York and across the country. According to a December report by the Center for NYC Neighborhoods and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, more than 42,000 homeowners have been conned out of $100 million nationwide.
New Yorkers have been hit particularly hard. From March 2010 to September 2014, New York homeowners submitted more than 2,700 foreclosure rescue scam complaints to the Lawyer Committee for Civil Rights, documenting at least $8.25 million in losses. Since launching the app in December, the OAG has invested in a targeted advertising campaign to ensure vulnerable homeowners are using the site. As of September, AGScamHelp has been attracting an average of 4,000 users per week. has several informational features:

  • Search Government-Vetted Companies: allows consumers to search the name of an individual or company to determine if that entity is a “government-vetted” agency (that is, either a member of the attorney general’s HOPP network or a HUD-certified counseling agency). If the company searched is not a government-vetted agency, the consumer will be told to proceed with caution and advised with several tips on how to identify signs of a foreclosure rescue scam.
  • Locate Nearby Counseling Partners: The Web-based app also features an interactive map that allows consumers to find the nearest HOPP grantee. The attorney general has dedicated $100 million to fund HOPP, a network of more than 85 housing counseling and legal services agencies across the state that are dedicated to providing free assistance to New Yorkers.
  • Report Scams: Consumers who have already been contacted by, or are in the process of working with a company suspected of operating a foreclosure rescue scam, also will have the option to file a complaint with the attorney general’s office. They will be directed to a separate page where they can complete a complaint form online. All complaints will be directed to the attorney general’s bureau of consumer frauds and protection, and will be mediated by the attorney general’s office.
  • Get Tips: offers details on how to recognize signs of a foreclosure rescue scam, including samples of scam letters and other materials utilized by fraudsters to target homeowners, and provides information about recent foreclosure scams that have been the subject of enforcement actions brought by the attorney general’s office and other law enforcement agencies.

Read the full 2015 HOPP report here.

Source: Niagara Frontier Publications



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.