The Hope of High Tech

Industry Update
July 6, 2017

If you stop and think about it, the technology we use in our daily lives is truly mind-blowing. Take Google, for instance. When you begin typing a request into its search bar, the engine starts to guess what you’re looking for—even showing you suggestions while you’re still typing. This level of sophistication requires a lot of data and extremely advanced technology.

Can we do something similar when it comes to servicing mortgage loans? Yes, we can.

We are on the cusp of a quantum leap?in our industry, as the technology we use is catching up to the tremendous amount of data we already possess.

As we are all probably aware, the mortgage industry has not historically been known?as the most cutting edge, especially on the servicing side. But things are changing—and quickly. Mortgage servicing technology is starting to catch up with the vast amount of data we have accumulated over the past several years, allowing us to make full use of that information and improve what we do.


Most servicers now store more than 10,000 elds of data on every loan they service. Just a few years ago, the industry typically captured and stored no more than a couple of hundred data points.

Technology improvements still haven’t fully caught up to the vast amount of data we capture, but servicing systems have become much more robust over the last few years. In fact, in the next few years, we believe servicers will be able to use all that information already housed in their systems to make better, faster decisions that will enable them to improve customer service, lower risk, reduce fraud, and increase loan quality. The data is there, but we haven’t had the tools to fully exploit it. Now that the tools are within reach, we will be able to service loans smarter, better, cheaper, and faster than we ever have before.


While advancements in technology are closer to making servicer data more actionable, there are several imperatives hastening it, making this change not just something that will be nice to have, but something that must happen—and soon.

Certainly, regulatory compliance pressures and investor demands are driving servicers?to improve, but so are increased consumer expectations. As we noted in the Google example, consumers today are used to pressing a button on a smartphone and getting what they want almost instantly.

We are already seeing that urgency on the origination side of our business with the advent of the digital mortgage. Consumers can now apply for a loan online and check the status of their application no matter their location or the time of day.


By truly leveraging all this data, we will?be able to make our processes better and faster, while also lowering risk and improving quality. More specially, we will be able?to respond to borrower requests faster and more accurately. at will come in handy, especially given the regulations that require us to respond to customer requests—for a loan modification, for example—within a certain number of days. A combination of more data and better technology will reduce the time?of our response. It should also increase the quality of that response, which will, in turn, improve the customer’s experience.

Improved data can also improve overall customer service. An underwriter or loss mitigation agent, for example, will be able to resolve matters faster based on our historical experience with all of our customers. We’ll know what may work and what won’t—even before the customer calls.

While it is important to do things faster for the borrower, we also want to make sure we are not increasing risk in the process. Better data mining will enable us to better spot and reduce fraud. We will be able to track certain trends and patterns so that we can identify the potential risk of fraud and loss. This is just what our industry needs.


What particularly intrigues us is the use we can make of the recordings of conversations with customers.

We’re all familiar with the notice we get when we call a financial institution or other organization: “is call may be recorded for training and quality assurance purposes.” That’s not just an annoying disclaimer. In fact, we actually do use those recordings?for those stated purposes. We use them to make sure our employees are making the required disclosures to borrowers and are treating customers appropriately. We also use them to identify which of our call center representatives are doing a good job and which ones need to improve.

But instead of listening to just a sampling of these phone calls, enhanced technology will enable us to listen and learn from every single one of our calls. Yes, everyone. As we look ahead to the next year or two, we think that is the next step of advanced intelligence gathering.

You might be wondering, “With all of the tens of thousands of calls servicers get each year, what difference will it make between listening to a random sampling of calls as opposed to all of them?” The answer is a lot. In fact, the more data we can learn from, the better the results.

Another intriguing aspect will not just be listening to the words being spoken but being able to interpret what the customer is saying beyond the actual words, and identifying and extracting meaning from the borrower’s— and the agent’s—tone. We’re already seeing this speech technology being put to use on Wall Street trading floors to mitigate losses from fraud and unauthorized trades. Using voice data and other information, banks and securities firms can try to head of bad trades or illegal activity by their employees before they happen.

In the mortgage servicing realm, we’ll be able to ensure even better quality to our customers than we can now. In theory, if we can listen to all phone calls instead of a random sample of them, we’ll be better able to make sure all of our employees are always doing things the right way and providing good support all the time. I know for a fact that as a servicer, we do it a vast majority of the time.

The question is, can we go even further to improve the quality of the work we do? I think we can. is technology will enable us to improve the quality of our delivery?by identifying exceptions earlier and implementing fixes more quickly.


These phenomenal technological advances will make the next year or two an exciting time for mortgage servicers—as well as?our borrowers and investors. If technology improvements come even close to matching the increase in data capture we’ve seen over the past few years, taking customer service and quality control “to the next level” won’t be a trite cliché but a reality.

Source: DS News



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.