The National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) has finally woken up and realized that a pandemic is sweeping across the face of the earth. After 2,269 infections, 48 deaths, and the Governor of Ohio announcing that there are potentially 100,000 infected and that number will double every 6 days, Eric Miller was forced to come out from his slumber and issue a watered down, two paragraph statement which reads as follows,
As a result of the March 11, 2020 World Health Organization’s declaration of Covid-19 as a pandemic and the confirmation that the virus is easily transmitted via person to person contact, NAMFS believes it prudent to immediately suspend making contact for delinquency/occupancy determination inspections. NAMFS has previously stated and strongly believes, that requesting contact information and/or use of door hangers is no longer a viable part of this inspection type. NAMFS endorses and recommends the obtaining of contact information and/or requesting communication with the occupant be completed through alternative solutions such as delivery services, certified mail, electronic means (text/email) etc.
In situations where contact is required; i.e. Loss Draft Inspections, Cash For Keys and others, NAMFS encourages the understanding of all parties requesting and completing these services while this situation continues to evolve. NAMFS also believes that due to the pandemic classification of Covid-19 that any associated penalties or denials of payment, regardless of “level” (Investor/Insurer through National service provider) should be suspended through the end of April 2020, at a minimum.
I give Miller props for appearing to address COVID-19. The issue that I have is that Miller, whose annual salary tops One Hundred and Twenty Thousand Dollars per year consuming nearly EIGHTY percent of all NAMFS member dues; Miller whose health care is guaranteed, simply sung out hollow words when the whip was cracked. It would have taken all of about 30 minutes to obtain consensus amongst the Prime Vendors to guarantee a removal of the illegal chargebacks and draconian timelines which, in the best of times, strain an already deteriorated supply chain. In fact, Foreclosurepedia and the International Association of Mortgage Field Services (IAFST) have been in constant contact with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with respect to COVID-19 and timelines associated with the distressed asset channel. To date, Foreclosurepedia is unaware of ANY communications between NAMFS and HUD. Moreover, though, HUD has the power to order changes in timelines — NAMFS members have ZERO incentive to change them as they would lose money!
Continuing to reinforce my position that NAMFS is either unwilling or incapable of providing solutions to the Mortgage Field Services Industry is the fact that its membership are all collecting siloed pools of information from Labor with respect to COVID-19. Each and every member appears to have a questionnaire wherein they require Labor to advise as to their capacity and ability to address COVID-19. And even those processes are a debacle. For example, Brookstone Management is requiring Labor to answer their questions DIRECTLY INTO THE EMAIL ITSELF! Really? You want Labor to write an essay like they were back in high school literature 101? Building upon this, how is Brookstone going to meaningfully extrapolate those responses into actionable intelligence? Here is the email, in part, issued out to Brookstone’s misclassified employees,
Answer all questions completely with comprehensive responses; please refrain from just Yes/No answers.
- Does your organization have a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)?
- Does your BCP have a plan to respond to and recover from mass absenteeism events, such as the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
- Does your plan consist of remote work capabilities?
- Has your organization taken precautions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19?
- Do you have procedures for communication with Brookstone, your suppliers and essential staff if you incur an impact?
- For employees that may have had exposure, have steps within your organization been taken to quarantine them for a specific duration?
- Will you provide notification on impacts to Brookstone within 24 hours? If not, how often can we expect updates from you as a third party on preparation & impacts?
- Have you had any impacts to date?
The blind, leading the deaf, leading the dumb. If it weren’t for the massive casualty counts amassing, I would characterize this surreal scene as a Comedy of Errors — a Ship of Fools on the SS Miller getting ready to capsize on the distant shore ahead. It gets better, though. Northsight Management makes it abundantly clear that they could give two shits about Labor and merely care about making that almighty dollar. Here is their statement, in part, with emphasis highlighted by Foreclosurepedia,
By now we are all feeling the impact and ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efforts to contain it. Please note that while Northsight Management offices are currently operating business as usual, we are assessing our Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and preparing for possible disruptions that may lead to our staff working in a remote capacity. In an effort to minimize disruptions and ensure we are addressing the needs of our vendor partners in a timely manner, should you be unable to immediately connect to a Northsight representative, we ask that you provide detailed information through voicemail [Redacted] by providing the best contact number to return your call, as well as your email contact information. […]
Finally, if you or any of your employees or sub-contractors suspect that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, please do not visit or work at any Northsight Management locations for at least two weeks after returning to work.
Wow! Pigeonhole the entirety of operations through a single, solitary phone number?! Gotta wonder how that is going to work out. Tens of thousands of work orders, handled by thousands of misclassified employees, and everyone attempting to dial a lone phone number for guidance? That alone bumps Northsight towards the top of the We Don’t Have A Clue awards list. And not a single mention about they care about Labor. Why? Because they and their Leadership do not!
And what about the firms working as Prime Vendors, direct to HUD? I mean Guardian Asset Management, whom had the largest Awards without competition in history totaling nearly $25 Million, has refused to say a single word! It is a common theme when you are purchased out by a multi-billion dollar conglomerate like New Residential Investment Corp.
Five Brothers, a firm which I have had issues with in the past, actually gets an admirable mention. See, its about the optics that you project regardless of how you handle a situation. Here is how Five Brothers’ President summed up their Memo,
There is no reliable indicator as to the impact of this pandemic and the cumulative effect on all of our businesses, but we intend to operate in a manner which provides ongoing communication and transparency to our clients, and with compassion and integrity to our staff and vendors.
May you and yours remain healthy,
Kudos out to Mrs Badalamenti-Kalas. Good optics, excellent prose, and she protected the interests of both Management and Labor — this time. And there is no love lost between Five Brothers and myself; however, props where props are due! The reality, though, is that this crisis has truly driven home the point that NAMFS and its membership do not possess the requisite skillsets necessary to do anything other than protect their own fiefdoms. The siloing of information is dangerous, itself. The inability to get on the same proverbial page and address the needs of Labor, whom at the end of the day make the money NAMFS members engorge themselves on, is an abomination. For years, NAMFS members have purposefully misclassified employees as independent contractors — Hurst v Buczek, over a decade ago, made that readily self evident. Today, though, when the opportunity presented itself to show just a modicum of compassion, the messaging was heard LOUD AND CLEAR: Whether you live or die is immaterial, we only care about your production capabilities.
So, what is the solution? The reality is that there isn’t one. COVID-19 is the new pop sensation. Even PornHub is on the bandwagon giving free, premium level pornography to those in Italy! And while many may argue that the Mortgage Field Services Industry is the longest continuing gangbang in history, the fact of the matter is while PornHub has compassion for its patrons, NAMFS does not. An unequivocal statement that NAMFS members will suspend all chargebacks; a guarantee not to force Labor into areas where a State of Emergency has been declared; and an accelerated payment plan to completely pay out Labor — as opposed to the 30 and 40 days some NAMFS members hold money for — is precisely what is needed NOW!