Magazine article Mortgage Banking

Dealing with Turmoil in the Industry

Magazine article Mortgage Banking

Dealing with Turmoil in the Industry

Article excerpt

Speaking in October at the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA's) Annual Convention in Chicago, just prior to the announcement that he would be leaving Freddie Mac, Charles "Ed" Haldeman, chief executive officer of the government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) talked about the challenging operating environment the company faces. "We are seeking to have our employees feel committed and engaged with our company--which sounds easy, but it's challenging to do, given the unusual circumstances we deal with," he said.

Among those circumstances cited by Haldeman are: "An undefined future and periodic headlines about abolishing Freddie Mac, [and] a white paper from the Treasury Department about winding down. All of those have a negative impact on the morale of the company, and we've had to work hard on building a culture where employees feel engaged and committed and appreciated," said Haldeman.

Also at the MBA Annual Convention, Vicki Vidal MBA's associate vice president of loan administration, public policy and industry relations division, speaking to an audience about servicing standards, said, "As a servicing industry, we don't want to put too much into stone because we have several different models that servicers operate under."

For example, she said, "A true single point of contact [SPOC] for one person may not be the best solution; it may be that somebody who is actually making decisions would be a better person to be that SPOC, but the [contact] person may need to change as that loan goes through modification, forbearance or short sale. These are complicated rules and you have to have expertise."

At the REOMAC Technology and Wellness Expo in Hollywood, Florida, in October, Steven Meyer, director of the high risk and hazard claims departments for Safeguard Properties, Valley View, Ohio, described conflicting positions previously taken by real estate agents and others who deal with local officials. "It was [like] the Hatfields and McCoys," he mused--a reference to the feud between these two families in the latter part of the 19th century in West Virginia and Kentucky. "But now we understand each other," Meyer assured listeners.

Speaking from the audience at a property preservation panel during the REOMAC conference, Richard Doyle, a licensed real estate broker with Richard Doyle Real Estate, which maintains offices in three Florida locations--Clearwater, Tampa and St. Petersburg--suggested that real estate agents show municipal officials that "we're operating with good will, then they'll lessen penalties" for code violations, he said. "Once you get that recognition, it goes a long way," said Doyle.

At the same event, Virginia Mays, chief executive officer of Weathervane Contracting LLC, Lafayette, Colorado, reported, "It can take 20 phone calls to get a code officer to talk to you," but "negotiating with them is possible. It's good to check with them on what [violation] items can be skipped," she noted.

Stephen Weiss, vice president of business development for Foreclosure Response Team, Fort. Lauderdale, Florida, lamented during the REOMAC conference that "short sales are a slow, arduous process"--in part because "so many agents don't understand it. Many are attempting to submit offers that are below-market and are creating delays and problems" as a result. …

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