A life in the profession by default

This article originally appeared in the January 2022 edition of DS News magazine, online now.

As a child, I wanted to be an archaeologist or an FBI agent. My father was a doctor; my mother teacher. I learned firsthand what I didn’t want for myself. My earliest memories of my freshman year at Albany Law School were sitting at Real Estate 101 with Professor Dubroff, a strong professor but embarrassed by boring documents. Bank A assigns the mortgage to bank C. Bank C assigns to bank D. Bank A then assigns to bank B. “What the Heck? “How could it ever be?” Apparently, these role models turned out to be the calling of my life.

I moved to Florida after graduating with my law degree and by chance a roommate worked for a bank / service agent. I got a foreclosure coordinator job in August 1997. It was another time then, but the job is pretty much what you’d expect. I referred cases to outside attorneys in Pennsylvania and other states while monitoring their deadlines. We had some autonomy in choosing companies, and the maintenance technology apparently wasn’t much different from today, outside of the rows of fax machines. I would order the security of the safe and manually fill out the foreclosure reference with a pen to include the long FITNO with the trustee and the securitization pool. I would send all references with guarantees in a FedEx to law firms with a cover page attached. After that the job was to make reports, follow up, get affidavits / assignments and attend meetings. I had to wear a costume every day.

We worked closely with the Loan Resolution Service (LRC), where I would meet my wife. The LRCs handled residential loan transactions, whether they were forbearances, modifications or short sales. These were pretty much the same workouts used today, but without as many rules affecting how contact can be made and workouts handled. CFPB, HAMP and other familiar acronyms we use today did not exist back then. I eventually joined the REO department as the Fannie Mae coordinator, where I was the liaison responsible for REOs sold and closed by Fannie Mae’s real estate department, as opposed to the internal REO sales department. It was an awkward position considering that my success meant everyone else’s jobs could be outsourced to Dallas.

I then moved to the position of REO Closeout, with my own network of lawyers and securities firms and the main goal of closing the REO contracts by the end of the month. The closers were in six cubes, surrounded by a sea of ​​REO Sales Manager “dogging” cubes daily, asking for status. It was my favorite job, and it gave me the experience to open my own repair department in Miami.

My experience was that of a small service store. It was more laid back to feel like a big family business rather than a big publicly traded company. I was talking about a lot less work, and some lawyers have definitely treated me differently as a result. I had an Access database system built for my REO closing service to process our fences.

I opened my law firm in July 2004, after a few years of private practice in local law firms dealing with foreclosures. My wife Antonella and I were the first two employees in our office, then in Hollywood, Florida. Having both started on the maintenance side, we were now officially on the other side of the business as the owner of the supplier. It’s a unique position because we have a sense of what the customer of service expects from us, but it can also be boring and over the top.

A key focus of foreclosure departments in the late 90s and into the first decade of the millennium was the “first legal date.” This was more imperative for FHA loans because of the potential for “reduction”; however, this extended to conventional loans as well, requiring the filing of the complaint / petition within five days of receiving the referral. we can all understand this across the country in judicial and non-judicial states, it’s symbolic of how law firms have adapted to industry priorities.

In 2009, the Florida Supreme Court created a foreclosure task force to address issues with the practice of foreclosures. As a result, they changed the Florida Civil Procedure Rules. As of February 2010, foreclosure complaints had to be sworn under penalty of perjury by the lender that all of the facts stated here are true. They specifically threatened to do this to sanction the lenders. A few years later, the requirement to certify actual possession of the original note in a separate instrument was added.

Nowadays, filing a complaint has grown from a simple unsworn pleading that can be filed in a day or two to a document sworn by an investor that includes multiple exhibits, including powers of attorney, assignments. , a note and an endorsement, as well as a signed certification. possession of the original ticket. As an added bonus, the fees for filing a complaint for foreclosures have specifically changed. When we opened the business in 2004, it cost $ 278 to file a foreclosure case. Now, the overwhelming majority of foreclosure cases fall under the category of $ 995 to $ 1,995 filing fees, which does not include additional fees for registration, reopening, indexing, etc.

In the early 2000s, the default world center was California, specifically Orange County with New Century, Bank of America, Countrywide, Ameriquest, and others. A decade later, there was a shift to Texas and the Carolinas, primarily to the Dallas area. Conference venues have changed accordingly. There are certainly (and unfortunately) fewer conferences in Vegas or other places that can have an image that can be negatively portrayed by the media. Overall, I think the industry has improved for the better. If there is still a need for efficiency and diligence, everyone understands that it is necessary to be meticulous, precise and without shortcuts which can be problematic.

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