A Municipality Approach to Loss Mitigation Education

Educational collaboration is a goal Mortgage Contracting Services LLC aims to expand through free summits across the country. And municipalities are the center of their attention.

Following the success of its first session held in Frisco, Texas, the firm said it planned to host additional mini-summits in locations where executives travel to attend scheduled tradeshows and other industry events to ensure higher participation.

Judging from feedback from attendees, the firm said, such events are in demand.

The Tampa, Fla.-based property preservation, inspections and REO property maintenance provider is offering default code enforcement mini-summits that bring together mortgage servicers, vendors and local code enforcement officers.

MCS executives describe these summits as an extension of other company initiatives whose ultimate goal is “to ensure industrywide education and collaboration.”

Caroline Reaves, CEO of Mortgage Contracting Services, says these mini-summits “will outline the intricacies of the default servicing industry for code officers,” starting with the definitions of pre-sale and post-sale foreclosure, MERS demonstrations, and everything in between including how MCS interacts with each of its clients.

Reaves sees the program as a way to not only promote goodwill between these parties, “but to also best prepare them to manage the defaulted properties within their jurisdictions.”

MCS is using its national presence and relationships with some of the largest mortgage servicers in the country to update information and knowledge about demand for quality loss mitigation and property preservation practices. It helped bring into the mix the expertise of its network of insured preservation vendors that assist with workflow process improvements and loss mitigation services.

Market developments before and during the ongoing foreclosure crisis continue to indicate local market information and outlooks are key to structuring efficient default and loss mitigation strategies.

According to Jonathan Dienhart of Hanley Wood Market Intelligence report, gains in new home closings in areas that have had more resilient local economies than average and very affordable housing show that “traditional economic drivers of household growth and labor market strength are still the most reliable way to predict the strength of housing demand.”

Some of the country’s major mortgage market players also are embracing a local market approach to loss mitigation.

For example, Freddie Mac’s Take Root Community Stabilization Initiative provides funding and expertise “to help targeted local municipalities stabilize their neighborhoods and sustain homeownership.” The initiative fosters collaboration between lenders, state and local governments, and housing professionals in municipalities across the country “to develop strategic outreach campaigns.”
Freddie’s stated goal is to promote vacant property sales at the community level by marketing these properties to “new homeowners” in compliance with the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the Making Home Affordable Program efforts to minimize foreclosures.

MCS is talking that same issue through an already laid out roadmap of ways to proceed with its innovative approach to financial education.

The firm says it can draw on the advantage of working with municipalities across the country, to also bring together for an interactive information exchange local code enforcement representatives, vendors and servicing shops.

Direct communication between area contractors and mortgage servicers during these educational sessions creates opportunities to discuss pressing issues, define local market challenges and effective property preservation issues faced by each community.

Mini-summits educate participants about specific problems and encourage collaboration between the code enforcement community and other default industry players. Plus, code officers have the option to use these educational sessions to fulfill their continuing education requirements.

Greg Carr, a code enforcement administrator from Frisco, found the effort “mutually beneficial for banks, property preservation companies and city code enforcement departments to work together to achieve the same goal of preserving properties.”

The service is free to the municipalities and other attendees. Once these entities schedule a code enforcement mini-summit with MCS, the company will then enlist the local vendors and mortgage servicers who are interested in attending.