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44 | TH E M R EP O RT O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T The Future of Property Preservation AN EXPERT PANEL AT THE NATIONAL PROPERTY PRESERVATION CONFERENCE ADDRESSED CHALLENGES IN THE MARKET. MARYLAND // Ed Delgado, President and CEO of the Five Star Institute, moderated an expert panel at the annual National Property Preservation Conference in Baltimore in November, hosted by Safeguard Properties. Gathering mortgage industry leaders, servicers, and investors, the conference is an "outlet for all facets of the industry to collaborate on how to best preserve and protect vacant and abandoned properties." "For the past 12 years, the National Property Preservation Conference has been the pre- eminent forum that brings leaders from HUD, the GSEs, mortgage servicing, and field services companies together to focus on solutions for property preservation issues," said Alan Jaffa, CEO of Safeguard Properties to MReport. "Ed's participation as moderator of a key conference session and his industry expertise have been paramount to the ongoing success of the event." The panel, titled, "The State of Property Preservation," included Jaffa as well as Ivery Himes, Director of the Office of Single Family Asset Management for HUD; Caroline Reaves, CEO of Mortgage Contracting Services; Terry Smith, CEO of Rushmore Loan Management Services; James Taylor, SVP of Asset Management and Preservation for Wells Fargo; and Jake Williamson, VP of Single-Family Real Estate Fulfillment for Fannie Mae. During the panel, the group dis - cussed important topics impacting the property preservation indus- try such as current conditions impacting the housing market, the industry's response to the natural disasters that plagued Texas and Florida, current servicing policy, regulatory reform, and more. Delgado launched the panel by touching on the current state of the marketplace, which is seeing rising home prices and the lowest unemployment rate in 17 years. In addition, with many com - munities reeling from recent natu- ral disasters such as Hurricanes Harvey in Houston and Maria in Puerto Rico, Delgado concluded that property preservation has never had a more crucial role in supporting the housing market. After giving his own assess - ment on the state of the market, Delgado turned it over to the panel to hear their thoughts. On the question of if the market will soon see a correction, Delgado asked Rushmore's Smith, "Is this the calm before the storm?" Smith said, "We are on the precipice of another housing cycle." To navigate today's changing landscape, during the panel Taylor advocated for a standardization of servicing rules. Taylor con - tributed to a recent whitepaper titled "Protecting Consumers and Communities" released by the National Mortgage Servicing Association (NMSA). Taylor is the Chairman of NMSA's subcom - mittee on vacant and abandoned properties where he advocates for addressing the issue of vacant and abandoned properties in regard to instituting policies that standard - ize procedures, definitions, and best practices. Overall, the other panelists agreed that general standardiza - tion makes sense but called on the industry and federal stake- holders to collaborate to work out the particulars. Unsurprisingly, in terms of property preservation needs, the discussion quickly turned to the recent hurricanes, and the indus - try's response to them. With a significant portion of Rushmore's servicing portfolio located in Puerto Rico, Smith fielded questions about current conditions on the island. Smith noted that the condition in Puerto Rico goes beyond properties and assets—it's a humanitarian crisis that we are facing. Jaffa and Reaves also discussed the practical matters of handling staffing when the foreclosure moratoriums that were put in place after the hurricanes are lifted, and how to address issues so the process isn't stymied. During the conference, Delgado also introduced Michael Braverman, Department of Housing and Community Development Housing Commissioner for Baltimore and a featured speaker at the event. Braverman has served the city of Baltimore for over 30 years, first as a prosecutor and then ris - ing through the ranks of Code Enforcement. Other sponsors for the confer- ence included Gold Sponsors Altisource, Mortgage Contracting Services, SecureView, and Xactware; Silver Sponsors MFS Supply and M&M Mortgage Services; and Bronze Sponsors Assurant and Brookstone Management. LOCAL EDITION SERVICING "We are on the precipice of another housing cycle." — Terry Smith, CEO, Rushmore Loan Management Services

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