US Banking Committee Statement on Housing Finance Reform

On November 21, the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs held a hearing titled Housing Finance Reform: Powers and Structure of a Strong Regulator.  Both Chairman Tim Johnson and Ranking Member and U.S. Senator Mike Crapo gave statements as prepared for delivery.

United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs
Housing Finance Reform: Powers and Structure of a Strong Regulator


WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) held a hearing titled “Housing Finance Reform: Powers and Structure of a Strong Regulator.”

Below is Chairman Johnson’s statement as prepared for delivery:

“I call this hearing to order.

“This hearing continues the Committee’s effort to examine housing finance reform proposals. Today we will explore the current regulatory structure related to the secondary mortgage market and survey the issues related to the proposed regulatory structure in legislation.

“S. 1217 creates a new regulator—the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation or FMIC. This new regulator would wear many hats, as the operator of the insurance fund, the regulator of the Home Loan Banks, mutual organization, and Common Securitization Platform, and authorizer of issuers, servicers and guarantors with regard to guaranteed mortgages.

“Because the structure of the housing finance system is complex with a wide range of market participants taking part, it is critical that we have a strong, effective regulator. Any piece of legislation will need to clearly detail the structure, functions, and powers of the new regulator. This regulator will need to coordinate closely with a variety of other federal and state regulators to be effective, and have flexibility to set appropriate standards and rules. In addition, we need to consider whether the new regulator should regulate for safety and soundness, conduct exams, set capital standards, play a counter-cyclical role, crack-down on bad actors through enforcement actions, and resolve failed institutions it regulates.

“We should not forget that we have experience with a weak secondary mortgage market regulator. OFHEO was widely viewed as weak, which contributed to the problems at Fannie and Freddie and Congress created FHFA in 2008 in response. We cannot afford to return to the days of weak regulatory oversight of the secondary mortgage market, so Congress should be clear and explicit about the responsibilities and range of tools any new regulator should have.

“Today’s witnesses bring a wealth of experience to this important conversation. They will outline essential tools needed by the new regulator, as well as important lessons they have learned as regulators of the deposit insurance fund, insurance companies, and the secondary mortgage market.

“We are all aware that housing is a key part of our nation’s economy. A well-equipped, appropriately structured regulator will provide certainty to market participants and ensure a strong and stable housing finance system that provides mortgage credit to Americans across this country.”

Please click here to view the online statement.


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, today delivered the following remarks during a Banking Committee hearing on how best to structure a strong and effective regulatory entity for taxpayer-guaranteed mortgages: 
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
“Today, the Committee will discuss how best to structure a strong, independent regulator—with appropriate checks and balances—as part of the new housing finance system.  We have a broad panel of witnesses and I thank you all for coming to testify.
“In past hearings, I have highlighted the mistakes of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before they were placed in conservatorship.  Not only did they operate as undercapitalized companies, holding just 45 cents in capital for every 100 dollars in mortgages they guaranteed, but they acted like highly-leveraged hedge funds, purchasing nearly 40 percent of the private label subprime securities at the peak of the housing bubble.
“These forces culminated in a perfect storm whose clean-up cost taxpayers billions of dollars in bailouts, crushing our economy and undermining America’s international standing.  We must learn from these mistakes. 
“When considering reform we must address three pivotal issues about the new regulator:  First, how can it appropriately balance its dual role as a regulator and a reinsurer in a highly complex market with diverse stakeholders?  Second, what authorities and powers should be vested in the new agency to ensure it is effective without duplicating existing efforts?  Third, how should we structure the governing board so that the agency is well equipped to carry out its responsibilities on day one?
“S. 1217 would create the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation, or FMIC, as the primary regulator for taxpayer-backed mortgages.  The FMIC would provide catastrophic loss insurance funded by premiums and guarantee fees on eligible mortgage securitizations.  As such, it would be a hybrid between the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Housing Finance Authority.
“The FDIC was created as an independent federal agency in response to the bank failures in the 1920s and early 1930s.  It is comprised of a five-person Board of Directors, with no more than three directors from the same political party.  The FDIC has survived 80 years without depositors losing a single cent of insured funds, largely in part because its board is designed for long-term stability and continuity without sudden movements or extreme policy shifts.
“As the guaranteed mortgage industry will need similar stability and continuity, the new regulator should have a similar balance of views.  In addition, the new regulator will serve as the principal line of defense for the taxpayers and should have a strong, clearly defined purpose.
“Its activities—and the activities of those it regulates—must result in strong underwriting standards and responsible homeownership.  Any reinsurance fund, industry participant and ensuing mortgage or financial product must be well capitalized to insulate taxpayers from unwarranted risk.  And, to adequately oversee a diverse industry and to coordinate with state and other regulators, the new agency will need superb technical expertise.
“In order to accomplish all these goals, we ought to reach consensus on key principles.  The new regulator should be an independent agency—resolute in its mandate and unwavering to political winds.  Its leadership has to be balanced out to ensure true political independence.  Its safeguards and underwriting standards must be based upon qualifying standards to provide mortgages, but to protect taxpayers.  Its finances must be frequently examined to ensure accountability and transparency including appropriate stress tests.
“Lastly, the agency cannot exist in a regulatory vacuum: it must coordinate with other agencies in a holistic approach to sensible regulation.  Any new regulator must avoid regulatory duplication that leads to increased paperwork and regulatory burdens which increase the cost of credit while creating legal nightmares.
“Adopting these principles is crucial because the agency will be tested immediately upon it creation.  Some of the immediate tasks it will have to undertake include: establish rules for the structure and use of a federally insured mortgage markets within perimeters set by Congress; determine approval criteria and guidelines for market participants; and set up a cooperative to ensure access for small participants in a manner that also maintains adequate taxpayer protections.
“Today’s hearing is a good platform to discuss how best to enable the new agency to succeed.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”

Please click here to view the online statement.

Please click here for a related statement from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

About Safeguard 
Safeguard Properties is the largest mortgage field services company in the U.S. Founded in 1990 by Robert Klein and based in Valley View, Ohio, the company inspects and maintains defaulted and foreclosed properties for mortgage servicers, lenders,  and other financial institutions. Safeguard employs approximately 1,700 people, in addition to a network of thousands of contractors nationally. Website:



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.