Specialty Servicer Forms Attorney Network

Wingspan Portfolio Advisors LLC, a Dallas-based mortgage servicer specializing in highly delinquent loans, has formed a professional network of attorneys to assist in efforts to help borrowers avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. These law firms are normally more involved in seeing foreclosure actions through to their conclusions, but membership in the Wingspan Professional Attorney Network (WPAN) signifies their interest in seeking other ways to help their lender and servicer clients.

As Steven Horne, Wingspan Portfolio Advisors CEO explains, "As an attorney myself, I understand that while law firms provide the legal services associated with foreclosure, they and their clients will benefit more by finding ways to make the assets re-perform and keep people from losing their homes. They want to explore all the options before foreclosure becomes inevitable, and that's where the Wingspan Preferred Attorney Network comes in."

Wingspan Portfolio Advisors takes over when traditional loan servicers give up on severely delinquent transactions, working closely with borrowers on payment plan options and structuring loan modifications that can be sustained over long periods of time. "By becoming a member of the Wingspan Preferred Attorney Network," Mr. Horne says, "law firms are demonstrating their commitment to finding alternatives to foreclosure even when the process has already started, by working with us to save loans. That is a valuable service enhancement for their lender and servicer clients, and a real boon to consumers." Wingspan Portfolio Advisors is highly familiar in working with attorneys by virtue of its alliance with the American Legal & Financial Network, the AFN, a national network of banking and legal professionals. In its alliance with the AFN, Wingspan uses AFN member attorneys exclusively wherever possible. When necessary to use non-AFN member attorneys in certain jurisdictions, those firms are encouraged to join the organization.

AFN's CEO, William LeRoy, says, "We see great value in our alliance with Wingspan Portfolio Advisors, as it brings our member attorneys opportunities to assist in the important effort of keeping borrowers in their homes. Making sure we seize each of those opportunities is a priority for the AFN and its members." Many of the members of Wingspan Preferred Attorney Network are also members of the AFN.

Membership in the Wingspan Preferred Attorney Network is organized along the lines of a professional designation, says Tom Force, legal services manager for Wingspan Portfolio Advisors. Each member attorney receives a level designation among three available, based on experience initially, and later upon loan resolution success. The three levels are "Select," "Eagle," and "Angel," which is the top among the three.

"The more loans we can save with their assistance, the higher the level we will use to recognize them," Mr. Force notes. "Each level comes with its own distinct logo, which member firms can use on letterhead and advertising to show their commitment to helping in this national crisis. "Wingspan Professional Attorney Network members are referred foreclosure actions by servicers and Wingspan Portfolio Advisors, and are encouraged in their conversations to make certain that borrowers understand that options other than foreclosure may be available to them.

"Borrowers are often in shock through much of the default process," Mr. Horne says. "The more people telling them that the beginning of a foreclosure action is not necessarily the end of their homeownership, the more willing they become to explore all the alternatives with us." Wingspan Portfolio Advisors is not compensated by borrowers, Horne adds, but by lenders and servicers when they succeed in bringing loans back from default to re-perform once more.

Carolyn Taylor, an attorney with the law firm of Hughes, Watters and Askanase, in Houston, Texas, says Wingspan Portfolio Advisors' depth of experience in resolving problem loans makes her feel that members of the Wingspan Professional Attorney Network can make a positive difference in the lives of borrowers. "Unlike traditional servicing models, Wingspan recognizes the borrower's emotional attachment to the home and how that can be a critical component in restoring seriously delinquent mortgages to performing status," she says. "We share the vision and commitment to keeping people in their homes. We are honored and excited to be part of the Wingspan Preferred Attorney Network as an 'Angel' member."

Alan Wolf of The Wolf Firm, in Irvine, California, agrees. "We are very proud to have been selected by Wingspan for this prestigious group of attorneys," he says. "Wingspan is a well-armed 'wingman' for the loss mitigation and servicing industry, with their innovative borrower behavior modeling tools. We're delighted to be a part of it." Steven Eisenberg, partner at Stern and Eisenberg in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, sums up his feelings on the potential for saving more families from the depths of foreclosure with, "Our firm is very excited at the opportunity to soar with Wingspan."