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Five Star Foreclosure Lab Showcases Servicer, Government, Attorney Experts

On Tuesday, the 2022 Five Star Conference & Expo continued its third day of programming with the returning Foreclosure, following the Property Management and Servicing & Compliance Labs that anchored Monday's educational programming and leading up to the REO Lab that closed out the conference Tuesday afternoon.

The Foreclosure Lab was presented by Host sponsor Altisource. with Travis Britsch SVP, General Manager, Marketplace, Altisource serving as Lab Director and MC on behalf of Host sponsor Altisource.

The morning opened with the "Where Do We Go From Here? The Challenges Ahead" panel, moderated by Alan Wolf, President & Managing Attorney of The Wolf Firm, A Law Corporation. Other panelists included:

  • Sasha Cohen, SVP Product Management, Sagent
  • Benjamin Gottheim, VP, Servicing Policy, Freddie Mac
  • Becky Halfmann, SVP, Bankruptcy & Foreclosure, U.S. Bank
  • Wes Iseley, Senior Managing Director, Carrington Holding Company, LLC (who received Five Star's 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award the night before)
  • Brooke Sanchez, Partner, Managing Bankruptcy Attorney, Kent McPhail & Associates, LLC

On the topic of bankruptcy, Brooke Sanchez, Partner and Managing Attorney at Kent McPhail & Associates, LLC said, One other thing that isn’t talked about is if you have a lot of equity in your home, bankruptcy is not a good option for you. As we see these equity conditions continue, or if they rise, that will keep some people out of bankruptcy.” 

Next up, Michelle Garcia Gilbert, President/CEO, Gilbert Garcia Group, P.A. moderated a session entitled "Loan Modifications: Tools in the Toolbox." Panelists included:

  • Ryan Bourgeois, Partner, BDF Law Group
  • Michael Merritt, SVP, Mortgage Default Servicing, BOK Financial
  • Candace Russell, VP, Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC

Finally, the Foreclosure Lab closed out with "Back to Business: Next Steps for Servicer/Attorney Partnerships," moderated by Stephen Hladik, Partner, Hladik, Onorato & Federman, LLP. His panelists included:

  • Monica Cespedes, VP, U.S. Bank
  • Jennifer Rogers, Founding Member, Managing Attorney, IDEA Law Group, LLC
  • (Melissa Black, First VP, Default Services, PennyMac Loan Services, LLC, was originally scheduled to participate but was unable to attend.)

On the topic of foreclosures, specifically contested foreclosures, Cespedes said, “One of the things that we were expecting was that they would go up as we started moving through the process [after the moratorium ended] and I think that is a natural response to realizing the moratorium is over.”  

“The other issue that we are seeing a lot of is title issues. You’re getting these files that have been sitting for so long...and if we’re not running title reports, we have no idea. So that’s another thing we are watching very closely. 

About Author: David Wharton

David Wharton, Editor-in-Chief at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received his B.A. in English and minored in Journalism. Wharton has nearly 20 years' experience in journalism and previously worked at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm, as Associate Content Editor, focusing on producing media content related to tax and accounting principles and government rules and regulations for accounting professionals. Wharton has an extensive and diversified portfolio of freelance material, with published contributions in both online and print media publications. He can be reached at [email protected]
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