Murky Loyalties: Micro Versus Macro in a Gentrified World

There is a little known about criminal case going on in Israel right now which centers around an Arab Israeli going to Syria and fighting with Syrian Rebels against Syria’s President  Bashar al-Asad.  Arrested after his return to Israel, Hikmat Massarwa, a 29-year-old baker, is accused of unlawful military training, having contacts with foreign agents and traveling to a hostile state.  The prosecutor in Lod is spinning up visions of jihad while  Judge Avraham Yaakov is searching for clarity.

The world we live in, much like the intricate woven web of geopolitical politics prevalent today, is not as it used to be.  How much more so both the cut throat tactics and rabbit holes present in the REO/P&P Industry.  The lack of regulation prevalent today contribute to both a disservice to the American Public and the actual Contractors servicing it.

While still in its infancy, the Property Preservation Industry (PPI) has, on the one hand, attempted to become a legitimate entity.  In roads have been made by such organizations as Mortgage Contracting Services (MCS) with respect to the creation of dialogue between governmental organizations and agencies.  Caroline Reaves, CEO of MCS along with Chad Mosely, MCS SVP of Business Development, were interviewed recently with respect to moving PPI in the ultimate direction of getting the foreclosures presentable for sale which makes everyone, including existing homeowners, far more happy.  From neighborhoods to neighbors I believe is the phrase used.  Yeah, right.  I get extremely nervous  when anyone in the PPI begins to speak about doing something good.  While MCS’ intentions may be innocent, I only have the track record of an Industry mired in a lack of regulation and plagued by thousands of Complaints to go on.

I really love all the touchy – feely love thing going on in the Industry.  The thought of National and Contractor, holding hands in the darkened basement of a foreclosed home covered top-to-bottom in toxic black mold while singing Kumbaya really gets my blood pumping!

Gentrification has the same intended consequences whether it originates after a natural disaster, such as in Hurricane Katrina, or in what we are witnessing today in the wake of the sub prime mortgage crisis.  I propose taking the term gentrification to a whole new level:  The Gentrification of the Property Preservation Industry!  There is absolutely no way around using this term after what has happened in this business.

If we had statistics which were public I am confident that we would see the shifting of Contracts underneath the centralized power and control of fewer and fewer Companies.  The National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) would be one of the only Associations with this kind of information.  It appears, though, NAMFS’ only interest in dialogue with non Members seems to be from the double barrel of litigation as we saw with me.  Sad, really, as I am sure that many Contractors may actually have had an interest in joining NAMFS.  I also predict that current NAMFS Members will be reevaluating their positions with NAMFS and that will eventually equate to less money flowing into the NAMFS coffers.

NAMFS and many within their Membership are well aware of the trends being seen since 2007.  Whether we address the requirements of Safeguard Properties (SGP) and their requirements of both Order Mills and Contractors to take larger and larger price reductions and discounting [Editor’s Note:  We went round and round with Mary Printz, SGP Vendor Recruiter, whom continued to attempt to make us give a TWENTY FIVE PERCENT REDUCTION AS OPPOSED TO THE ORIGINAL TWENTY PERCENT DISCOUNT on all services rendered) or simply the egregious actions of both National, Regional and Otherwise Unspecified Order Mills refusing to pay Contractors for services rendered, the actions being taken today are reducing the front lines of the boots-on-the-ground.  What is even more nefarious, in my opinion, is the scope with which it appears this organized or perhaps autonomous scheme seems to be taking place.

Gentrification, within the PPI, is occurring at a break neck pace.  By all accounts there is a concerted effort to ensure that any Old Guard Contractors; Contractors whom were the backbone of this Industry, are purged.  There is a feeling; there is an atmosphere thick enough to cut with a knife, that unless you are willing to commit fraud, you will no longer be allowed to work on the large Contracts.  I have many Sources I am able to bring to bear on this last statement.  I actually am working a story right now where Contractors in Montana refused to do mold remediation and their North Carolina Order Mill master submitted fraudulent photos and statements on their behalf to CoreLogic  that the work was done.

The microcosm of the Property Preservation Industry is really a small component of the macrocosm of deregulation.  The seedy underbelly; the calculated efforts of the few to remove the many, is coming more and more to light.  Where will your Company be?  One has to ask themselves this question whether they are an Order Mill or Contractor.  It is one thing to appear on the front page of Foreclosurepedia, it is quite a different thing to be in front of a Congressional Oversight Committee.  More on point and what should be of most concern is:  Do you want to be the next Lender Processing Services (LPS) staring down possible civil and criminal indictments?

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