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‘Disasters Happen at the Community Level’

Industry leaders from government, banking, and housing shared insights on how the industry can be prepared for the next natural disaster during Wednesday's Virtual Disaster Preparedness Symposium. 

Among the topics discussed during the event were the long term impacts of natural disasters, how technology can facilitate response and recovery, fraud protection, and loss mitigation efforts. 

Also included in the event was an afternoon keynote address from The Hon. Brian D. Montgomery, Deputy Secretary, Assistant Secretary for Housing—Federal Housing Commissioner, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

Montgomery said the nation has faced many challenges in recent years, most notably September 11, the Great Recession, recent natural disasters, and government shutdowns have provided “difficult but important lessons.” 

“As Deputy Secretary, I spend an enormous amount of time on disaster recovery, which spans all of our programs,” Commissioner Montgomery said. “This is an absolutely enormous responsibility for HUD, critical to many of our most vulnerable citizens who are being hit with devastating life events, and would put people with even moderate resources under unbearable strain.” 

He added that we cannot forget Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Florence, the California wildfires. 

“HUD is intently focused on supporting our populations most at risk, and ensuring our communities fully recover from these events,” he said. 

Commissioner Montgomery touched on the current COVID-19 crisis, saying while some states are being hit harder than others, it reminds us that “preparedness and mitigation occur prior to a natural disaster or natural emergency are totally intertwined.” 

Providing opening remarks was Timika Scott, SVP, US Bank, said little did she know that COVID-19 would alter business operations as it has.

“This is certain to be an event to remember as our world and our way of doing business has shifted,” she said. 

The morning keynote was presented by Dave Hughes, SVP, Customer Care, RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation, and he discussed the evolving strategy for disaster management. 

“The mortgage servicers charge is to recover a performing asset, which means restoring the value of the security and restoring the receipt of monthly mortgage payments,” he said. “However, at the community level, and at the human level, which is where we all [should] think and operate, our obligation and privilege is to one, understand the impacts to our customers, their families, communities, homes, and their livelihoods … “Disasters happen at the community level, and communities are recovered one home at a time.” 

Five Star would like to thank the following sponsors: Host Sponsor, National General Lender Services; Co-Hosts, Altisource, Auction.com, Guardian Asset Management, Innovative Field Services, and Insight One Financial.

About Author: Mike Albanese

Mike Albanese is a reporter for DS News and MReport. He is a University of Alabama graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in communications. He has worked for publications—both print and online—covering numerous beats. A Connecticut native, Albanese currently resides in Lewisville.
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