The following are a few excerpts from a larger article appearing on Foreclosurepedia over the weekend which occurred between Foreclosurepedia and several pre and post conveyance providers in the Mortgage Field Services Industry.
On layoffs and tech: The layoffs are coming and it is going to be the new norm. Look, the only way any of us are still around is to have our names tacked up on the little plastic banners at the Five Star or IMN or wherever. But that comes at a steep price. We’ve peeled back just about as far as we can on what we pay Labor. Technology, if you call it that, really happens behind the scenes. PPW — Verisk as you say — is really just this front facing piece that collects information from those in the field. When it comes into us we have to mold it. You are right when you say that for every work order issued, we repackage it multiple times. But that is done with other pieces of tech that we pay for.
On lack of capital: When you spoke of capitalization and who has it and who doesn’t you kinda hit a sore spot with a lot of C Level folks. As you know, we are not owned by a larger firm and I don’t think hedge firm is really the right word, but I’ll roll with it as it’s generic. Look, my company is paying when paid I mean we have capital to fall back on but why wouldn’t I? When I have to compete with say Guardian who has the ultimate backing of two huge entities and backstopped by SoftBank, it’s hard to make mistakes. And then the problem of Labor. I know you continue to drive home the point that Labor is getting the shitty end of the stick, but the reality is that many of these folks have nowhere else to go. I mean that is capitalism. So, if I make a mistake or a GSE decides not to pay me or slow pay me I still have to pay Labor and that comes out of my pocket immediately. MCS, Guardian hell ServiceLink can all go to their parent companies and pull the money. I’m not saying that’s unfair, but it makes it hard because I have to go pull that note at a higher rate if I don’t have the capital in house.
On Education: The one thing none of us want is ongoing education in the Industry under one roof. I know that sounds horrible, but look there isn’t one size fits all. You were talking about how we all repackage a work order and the problem there is that I may have a I don’t know a FHA inspection, ok? And then I know that I have a Client whom is on the marketing side of that — appraisal, the realty side, whatever. So, I may throw in a few more photos like up and down the road. But when you test someone, say on the FHA regs and it doesn’t call for that then the education butts up against regs and that gets dicey. All of us tell our vendors how to do the work order and many of us have instructions on the website on how to do it. Forget about the employee misclassification, what I am driving at is we all have a way of doing it and that is how we market it upward to the Clients we bid on.
On Chargebacks: Yeah, you really stirred up a shitstorm on that some years ago. Everyone knew it was a line item to bump the margins, but look, some of them were spot on. I saw that article about NFR and how they were squirming around to explain the Wells Fargo sheets sent over and that is really kinda how it goes down. We used to have Teams that could fight them, but honestly there is no longer that kind of money floating around. And if we start kicking up dust, then our Client might decide not to renew our Contract. If you want someone to blame, blame HUD or the banks. HUD knows exactly what is going on and if they thought it was wrong they would have come down on us a long time ago. I’ll grant you it’s all cat and mouse. You follow the cases; it’s no mystery. I mean it’s the cost of business and it doesn’t just hit Labor, as you say, we eat a lot of them ourselves.