Certification: Monty Hall Visits the REO Industry

It never ceases to amaze me at how many ways the C Level folks in this Industry attempt to hustle a dollar.  More on point and not unexpectedly every dog and pony show is coming out of the woodwork to capitalize upon the rush of sheeple to stand in line and in essence buy hope.

Certification.  What a novel concept.  First and foremost no two Nationals agree on jack shit.  Forget anything else you may read on this post but this:  Whether hope is sold on the corner by the gram or on the Internet electronically, it is still the same con.  While Financial Institutions may have ways they want things done not a single one of them has, to date, issued any meaningful standardized mechanism to determine whether or not one set of testing is any different than any other let alone anyone is required to possess a Certification with specificity to how Contractors perform field services.  As a matter of fact they never will!

Liability.  This is how every single person from the Mortgage Banker’s Association (MBA) to Sources at the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) describe the quandary.  Here’s the deal:  The minute any bank,trust, investment firm or HUD states Company A has the industry standard of Certification you open the door for litigation.  Let me run you through the scenario:  First, there is NO bilingual Testing available. So, are you discriminating against people based upon language?  Yeah, most Departments of Motor Vehicles dealt with this.  Makes no sense as Stop and Alto look nothing alike.  Next, the minute you side with Company A on a winterization and they perform one in a State requiring a Master Plumber’s License you are going to be sued.  More?  The person with your Certification falls off a roof that you certified them for performing basic roof tarping.  Yeah, there’s a lawyer that will jump on that.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury.  My client was a humble deacon before taking this test.  When he obtained his certification he was never tested for the OSHA Components with specificity to tying off when above 5 feet.  So, the negligence demonstrated by issuing this Certification and the issuing of a Work Order requiring him to perform this roof tarping were part and parcel the lynchpin to his injury.  Further, the bank owning the property is negligent for approving a methodology wherein my client was falsely secure in his knowledge.

The Monty Hall problem has attracted academic interest because the result is surprising and the problem is simple to formulate. Furthermore, variations of the Monty Hall problem can easily be made by changing the implied assumptions, and the variations can have drastically different consequences. For example, if Monty only offers the contestant a chance to switch when the contestant has initially chosen the car, then the contestant should never switch. If Monty opens another door at random and only happens to reveal a goat, then it makes no difference.

The problem is that we are not talking about rolling the dice (probability theory for the wonks out there) or trading it all for Curtain Number Three.  We are talking about spending hard earned money (we all know the Nationals have stolen more and more lately through nefarious charge backs dating back three years or more) on voodoo science.  At best, all one may hope for is a nice piece of paper to hang on their walls with the credibility out there today.

The very foundations of the Testing Protocols are suspect including both the questions and answers.  First, there is NO transparency with respect to whom puts these tests together.  Second, there is no proctoring of any testing.  Third, there are ABSOLUTELY NO US Government benchmarks to accredit against.  That is the critical one.  We are not talking about College Level Entrance Proficiencies (CLEP) here.  We are talking about taking tangible real estate and performing services upon them which may result in the injury and/or death of the purchaser.

To be fair, the Property Preservation Industry is in dire need of Certification of Skill Sets.  To do this, though, the Industry needs a Come To Jesus moment.  It cannot continue to issue Work Orders requiring Contractors to perform tasks that they are incapable of doing and then back bill them for monetary gain.

A lady in Texas is reporting on precisely this situation.  She tells a Regional Order Mill that she is not qualified to repair a foundation.  They put the screws to her and demand a temporary fix.  Lo and behold the temporary fix is not a selling point so the Regional back bills her due to no fault of her own.  You know, she lives 15 miles from their office.  Texas is not the place to screw with people’s livelihoods.  That’s all I am going to say on that.

I will say this about the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS):  they are plugged into the Industry.  They are much like the Masonic Lodge (I was a Member and simply became bored and left) in that they attempt to keep everything hidden.  If NAMFS would finally get some spine; if Eric Miller would finally step to the plate and allow a little bit of sunlight in, I believe they would have a good model to work upon.  That is both their drawback to the Contractors whom are not sloven Regionals or Nationals and their attraction to the latter.

Everyone whom reads this Article knows that I despise the vast majority of what NAMFS has become.  Here is an opportunity to prove me wrong.  Why not crack the door just a bit and discuss the Certification Model?  Hell, Michelle Hirsch, Vice President of Brunswick Companies, sat down for an Interview (over half an hour) to help better explain what Errors and Omissions (E&O) was.  Granted, I threw in a hardball or two, the point is that she was honest and candid.  Now, Contractors fear no Conspiracies and understand why E&O is a necessary part of the landscape.  How much more so if Miller were to do the same?!  Hell, I would confine the Q&A to predetermined parameters as is normal in most high stakes interviews!  Why not reach out and ask him yourself?

I am not opposed to Certifications.  What I am VEHEMENTLY opposed to are Certifications with no qualifications surrounding them.  Make no mistake I want NO part of dictating whom nor how they are created; I have no horse in that race.  What I want and I believe both Contractors and the general public-at-large want is a system which has credibility like ANY OTHER credentialing segment of society:  A way to both measure and track the veracity of the metrics utilized in the issuance thereof.

Let’s get beyond all the bullshit and get down to brass tacks.  We all know Certifications are coming.  Soon, I predict, you will have to pay to play; you will have to pay for one of the rags to be able to play with the Nationals.  Why not bring a sense of honor to this?  Why not look out for the CONSUMER for once in this tragic movie called Property Preservation?  Why not actually CARE about whether or not a Contractor knows what the hell he or she is doing instead of whether or not they have Visa or American Express?  Mr. Miller, now is the occasion to rise above the petty grievances; now is the time to tell the Board that this is the one shot, the one opportunity to do it right.  I have bowed down for the better of the Contractors.  I have them at heart.  Tear down that Wall Mr. Miller and speak to the Contractors.

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