Strong Relationships Help Servicers and Vendors Fight Foreclosures
Familiar faces in the default and servicing world are working together with property preservation vendors to fight foreclosures in this new frontier for the housing market. Victor Draper, executive vice president of Provest, a Tampa, Fla.-based national process server provider, has many contacts in the mortgage servicing industry. Many of the people he talks about have moved over to the vendor side. Some are leaders and either own or are COOs and CEOs of vendor companies that support servicers. These include inspection companies, broker price opinion companies, loss mitigation and home retention companies, process and skip-trace companies, and REO companies. “We realize there are some efficiencies that can be gained. Maybe there is a smarter way to do some of these things that benefit the industry as a whole not just its own profit center. We’ve made those moves over to do this,” says Mr. Draper, who is soon moving from his office in Garland, Texas, to Tampa. Prior to working at Provest, he led the default services department at Countrywide Financial Corp.
“People outside our industry should see that this is very much a knowledgeable industry. Before, people thought property inspectors 'don’t know anything. They don’t know what mortgage default people want or know what’s going on Capitol Hill. They’re just vendors.’ That used to be true until about seven or eight years ago.”
The maturation and the growth of these people have made the difference, he adds, “Before when times were good, you had vendors that they were using. It wasn’t a ton of your outside business, because your default rates were a much lower percentage. It wasn’t as big as an issue as it has become over the last six or seven years with the default starting to go up. And of course, heavily over the last year and a half.”
Over the years, this tight-knit community of servicing professionals has moved around but kept in contact along their personal and professional journeys. “It’s a huge industry but a small family. A lot of people are in positions now working with servicers. We have been part of that, we are still part of that world,” said Mr. Draper.
A lot of times the word in the newspapers or on Capitol Hill is that the foreclosure and default industry is in shambles.
“No, there’s a very solid foundation we’ve worked together and we know this industry,” he declares. “Combining that talent makes it a really robust industry where people have some great ideas and try to do as much as possible under the rules and even create new rules to help homeowners. It’s amazing what we have here if we could just get enough of a push to continue to assist homeowners.” Mr. Draper speaks highly of Caroline Reaves, president and chief operating officer of Mortgage Contracting Services, a provider of property preservation and inspection services with headquarters in Tampa. She is based out of the company’s Dallas office.
“Before she came to MCS, she was actually the president of First American’s off-shoring divisions and their default servicing outsourcing unit. Before that, she ran all the default for Midland Mortgage out of Oklahoma City,” he said. “Her daughter and son-in-law both work for Provest over here in Garland. We’re all a close family as well.”
Ms. Reaves loves catching up with old co-workers and fellow professionals at conferences like the annual MBA Servicing Conference, which was held this year in Tampa. “I think it’s always good to do that and get their ideas on how things are going, to see what other products are out there that can help us. In Tampa, we talked to several companies that are wanting to partner with us,” she says. “I think everybody is trying. Because we’re all so busy, it’s very hard to go into a new business line or offer a new product, but this is our core competency, and if we can partner with people, I encourage people to do that. Partner and let the people who are experts at the work do the work.
“Most of my friends are in the industry. Almost all of them are. In fact, last night we have a group of us that worked together at some point, we do this once a month, we all get together. Some of them are still at First American, some have gone on to other places, some are competitors of mine, and we still get together to meet as a group.”
She says the industry is too small not to keep friendships in place. “At the servicing conference, I spent most of my time with the people I worked with in Oklahoma City. You have to do that. To be honest, because there are so many conferences and we do have to work together as teams, Robert Klein and I talk a lot on a personal basis. And he’s our biggest competitor.”
On Patrick Carey, chief executive officer of Titanium Solutions, who came to Titanium after many years of running default for Wells Fargo, Mr. Draper said, “Before that, he was down in Florida. Patrick has worked for Bob Caruso for three different companies over the past probably 15 years. When Bob left to run all of servicing for Bank of America, Patrick Carey stayed at Wells Fargo, became manager and executive vice president over all of default servicing. With Titanium, from a mortgage outreach perspective, he’s dealing with homeowners and getting them to understand modification. Patrick has only been doing that for less than a year,” says Mr. Draper.