For years, the very existence of the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) owed itself to Safeguard Properties. Party rhetoric and tone were established in lock step as Eric Miller, NAMFS Executive Director, played the role as mouthpiece for the Mortgage Field Services Industry. And when Labor began to take a stand, almost a decade ago by coining the phrase boots on the ground, Eric Miller made it clear to everyone that the use of that phrase would not be tolerated. In essence, even acknowledging that Labor existed, rendered you persona non grata.
Things have changed since the death of Safeguard Properties’ founder Robert Klein has died. And with a 70% labor attrition documented by NAMFS itself, the reality is Miller no longer has the swagger he used to. Miller’s ability to isolate Labor while enriching his cartel appears to be coming to an end as you will read below.
In a recent DSNews article, all the usual suspects gathered round in order to explain their take on how to enrich themselves and their Clients. Whether it be Carrington’s Louis Harman, Guardian Asset Management’s Jerry Mavellia, MCS’ Chad Mosley, or Freddie Mac’s Ryan McGuinness, not a single one of these people stated that Labor was a necessary part of the workflow when it came to natural disasters impacting assets. And it was most comical to note the verbal gymnastics that they used in order to be the one whom stood furthest away from Labor. Par for the course when it comes to talking out both sides of the neck as these people are accustomed to doing.
Noting that Carrington’s attempts to perform property preservation completely collapsed; noting that Mavalia has lost hundreds of millions of dollars in future US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) revenue for Guardian; noting that MCS has sold itself and changed its name just to stay in the game; and noting that Freddie Mac is still under HUD conservatorship, the reality is that DSNews could have done much better in selecting their interviewees.
Elizabeth Squires, AVP, Client Account Management made a statement that people should take note of. And while I have no love for Safeguard, the reality is that this is a women whom has chosen to buck the Miller party line and speak honestly. Here is her quote with the Question from DSNews atop her answer,
Are there any other important aspects of natural disaster/climate change response that you think should be on the industry’s radar right now?
Each servicer, GSE, and investor have their own view of best practices, so getting to a more consistent approach where you have allowables based on conditions is the biggest opportunity we have. Eliminate the “bid and wait” cycle and ensure that we utilize the boots-on-the-ground time most effectively when we have an impacted area.
I want that to sink in for just a moment. Safeguard Properties was the only entity that believed Labor was important and sending Labor back, time and again, for useless bids because the company could not negotiate the approval or, more on point, did not have the intelligence to have predetermined allowables is probably the most prescient thing I have heard this decade.
Now, I am not telling you to go work for Safeguard Properties. I think they have light years to go before they would make for a good partner with Labor, but I am saying that they are moving in the right direction provided that Squires’ mentality is sanctioned and that their C Level begin to adopt it.