VA Circular 26-15-16 Auction Service for the Termination of VA Loans

On July 1, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released Circular 26-15-16, subtitled Auction Service for the Termination of VA Loans.

Auction Service for the Termination of VA Loans

1. Purpose. This Circular provides guidance to mortgage servicers of Department of VeteransAffairs (VA) guaranteed loans electing to use an auction service as a means to terminate a loan. VA authorizes mortgage servicers and holders to employ an auction service in lieu of completing a traditional foreclosure sale, where feasible. The process must comply with VA requirements, federal, state, county, and local foreclosure laws.

2. Background. Per Title 38, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), section 36.4322, VA has delegated the loan termination process to mortgage servicers. When a delinquency cannot be resolved and the loan has been deemed insoluble, the servicer refers the loan to foreclosure. The servicer is required to complete a valid foreclosure sale following VA requirements and complying with all federal, state, county, and local foreclosure laws. VA requires the servicer to obtain a VA liquidation appraisal to establish the fair market value of a property and calculate the Net Value. VA’s Net Value is the fair market value of real property, minus the calculated amount representing the costs VA will incur in acquiring and disposing of the property. The resulting “Net Value Bid” is the minimum credit to the indebtedness applied for claim computation under 38 CFR 36.4324. If the sale proceeds are greater than the Net Value, the actual proceeds of the sale will be credited to the indebtedness. The cost factor used will be the most recent percentage of the fair market value that VA calculated and published in the Notices section of the Federal Register.

3. Issue. Traditional foreclosure methods hinder the opportunity for servicers to obtain greaterproceeds at sale, which are applied to reduce the Veteran’s debt. This may result in VA paying a higher guaranty claim payment and VA to assume the liability of managing and marketing a conveyed property in Real Estate Owned (REO) inventory. The state and county foreclosure process limits the number of potential third-party bidders, and additional costs are incurred by VA as a result of properties conveyed to VA after the completion of a traditional foreclosure sale. The overwhelming majority of winning bidders of foreclosure sales are the mortgage holders, who routinely elect to convey properties to VA instead of incurring the costs of managing and marketing the properties in their own REO portfolios. Upon accepting conveyance, VA pays an up-front property preservation and management fee, plus additional costs associated with maintaining, preserving, and marketing the property.

4. Auction sales may improve awareness among potential bidders and increases marketability,competition, and sale proceeds, when a mortgage servicer terminates a loan through an auction service. Increase to sale proceeds benefit the Veteran by potentially reducing the Veteran’s debt. Auctions generally shorten the amount of time the property remains on the market, thereby decreasing the risk of damage or vandalism. Such third-party sales at auction would save VA the costs of managing and marketing a property. Potential increases in sale proceeds are especially advantageous to servicers in situations where the total loan indebtedness exceeds the Net Value and VA pays the maximum guaranty. Holders may find it advantageous to pursue termination through an auction service, rather than having to waive a greater amount at foreclosure.

5. New. VA authorizes servicers to use an auction service in localities where available to complete the termination of a VA-guaranteed loan as opposed to a traditional foreclosure sale. The servicer must comply with VA regulations and determine the likelihood of increased sale proceeds. VA cannot recommend or advise which auction service to use. However, mortgage holders are accountable for the “selected auction service’s” failures to follow all federal, state, and local laws in addition to errors invalidating an auction sale.

6. As always, VA encourages servicers of VA-guaranteed home loans to explore all reasonable options to help Veterans retain their homes or avoid foreclosure. Once the mortgage servicer has exhausted all home retention and alternative to foreclosure options and determined foreclosure is unavoidable, the servicer may use an auction service to terminate the loan. The results of the auction must be equal to or higher than Net Value, as VA will only apply proceeds of sale equal to or greater than Net Value to the guaranty claim. All properties will be sold “AS IS” in accordance with financial matters pursuant to the terms set forth by the auction service to all bidders. VA does not provide financing for properties sold by foreclosure sale or auction.

7. Guidance to Servicers.

a. Priority of Review. VA expects servicers to exert all reasonable efforts to assist Veteran borrowers in retaining ownership of their homes or mitigating losses when retention is not possible. If the servicer has exhausted all loss mitigation efforts and determines the loan insoluble, they may use the traditional method of foreclosure or an auction service to terminate the loan.

b. Appraisal. Mortgage servicers must obtain a VA appraisal to determine the “Net Value.” At least 30 days prior to an auction sale, the holder must request that VA assign an appraiser to conduct a liquidation appraisal to establish fair market value. The “Net Value Factor” is applied to the fair market value to determine a Net Value bid.

c. Marketing. In order for auction expenses to be eligible for reimbursement on a VA claim, properties selected for an auction sale will be marketed for a minimum of 15 days prior to the scheduled sale and sold for an amount equal to, or greater than, the “Net Value Bid.” Mortgage servicers must ensure they employ a non-affiliated auction service to market properties to the greatest number of potential bidders possible. Auction services may use all marketing tools available including advertisement through television, radio, newspaper, and the internet to expose properties to potential buyers in multiple geographic regions. Marketing of the property should be designed to alert the largest number of potential buyers and provide those potential buyers a means to participate in the auction process. A mortgage servicer that employs an auction service meeting all VA auction marketing requirements will be eligible for reimbursement of auction fees on a successful sale without the actual calling or crying the sale.

d. Servicer Reporting Sale Results to VA. Servicers will continue to report bid results to VA through the VA Loan Electronic Report Interface (VALERI). Servicers will report the amount of the highest bidder to VA on the “Results of Sale” event in the VALERI application. The credit to indebtedness must equal or exceed the Net Value of the property securing the loan.

e. Servicer Claiming Fees Related to Termination Through an Auction Service. When a property is successfully sold at auction, VA will reimburse an “auction fee” up to 5 percent of the sales price at the time of claim submission. The “auction fee” will be reviewed by VA and considered payable up to the maximum guaranty amount of the loan. When submitting the claim under guaranty, the fee incurred must be included as a line item expense. VA will not pay an “auction fee” for homes offered at an auction sale, but not actually sold to a third party. If a property is conveyed to VA in error after a completed auction sale, the property will be reconveyed to the mortgage servicer and any acquisition paid, plus the costs associated with accepting and maintaining property in the VA REO portfolio, will be collected from the mortgage servicer.

f. VA foreclosure timeframes will not be extended to accommodate an auction sale. Mortgage servicers are expected to terminate insoluble loans in accordance with the “State Foreclosure Process and Statutory Bid Information” listed at and not increase the liability of the Secretary when liquidation is the most prudent course of action. The decision whether to pursue a second auction sale or to proceed with a traditional foreclosure to terminate a loan is not mandated by VA.

8. Guidance to VA Staff.

a. VA Claim Review. VA will review the auction fee as a line item at the time of guaranty claim submission to ensure the fee does not exceed 5 percent of the auction sale price.

b. Special Considerations. Regional Loan Center (RLC) management may contact VA Central Office (VACO) for guidance in unusual situations.

8. Rescission: This Circular is rescinded July 1, 2016.

By Direction of the Under Secretary for Benefits
Michael J. Frueh
Director, Loan Guaranty Service

Please click here to view the online Circular.

About Safeguard 
Safeguard Properties is the mortgage field services industry leader, preserving vacant and foreclosed properties across the U.S., Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Guam. Founded in 1990 by Robert Klein and headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Safeguard provides the highest quality service to our clients by leveraging innovative technologies and proactively developing industry best practices and quality control procedures. Consistent with Safeguard’s values and mission, we are an active supporter of hundreds of charitable efforts across the country. Annually, Safeguard gives back to communities in partnership with our employees, vendors and clients. We also are dedicated to working with community leaders and officials to eliminate blight and stabilize neighborhoods. Safeguard is dedicated to preserving today and protecting tomorrow.  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.