Person of the Week: Rich Rollins Talks Short-Sale Efficiency

ong-standing roadblock for servicers wanting to use short sales has[/b] been the labor-intensive processes involved. National Quick Sale CEO Rich Rollins, who sits on the Treasury's foreclosure-prevention advisory committee, discusses ways to avoid that obstacle. [b]Q:[/b] How would you characterize the current interest in distressed properties – whether short sales or foreclosures? [b]Rich Rollins:[/b] There is increasing interest in all distressed properties due to the lowered valuations they offer; however, the issue continues to be the tight restrictions banks are placing on lending. There is substantial inventory, plenty of potential buyers, but not enough banks willing to lend. [b]Q:[/b] Why have short-sale transactions historically held the reputation of being inefficient? [b]Rollins:[/b] Because they are. The paperwork involved in a short sale is far more than that involved in a foreclosure. In a short sale, underwriting of the seller is performed, their hardship verified, the fact that collusion between seller and purchaser is not a factor, and more attention is being given to current value. In a foreclosure sale, there is no seller per se, much less valuation analysis provided, and as the property stays on the bank's inventory as an REO, much more aggressive writedowns are being performed. [b]Q:[/b] The Treasury has produced a lot of detailed guidance in the form of Making Home Affordable, but are the program's goals realistic? [b]Rollins:[/b] None of the previous "silver bullets" issued has had a long-lasting effect. This program appears to address some of the previous issues, but it is too early to see if the effects will last. [b]Q:[/b] How do you see the government's plan affecting the interplay among various vendors and service providers? [b]Rollins:[/b] Specifically in the short-sale arena, I see a significant interplay. New timelines being issued by the Treasury, the tracking and reporting required, etc., will require more automation to achieve the goals being established. For example, electronically collecting all required data and docs, managing the securing of all required signatures, collecting current valuations, pulling required data from the servicing system and doing the pre-analysis using [net present value] models, as well as getting the answer back to the seller or their agent – all this interaction requires collaboration. Technology can assign tasks and coordinate outsourcing vendors, and trying to do all this manually is not a trivial undertaking. [b]Q:[/b] As a member of the Treasury's advisory committee for its servicing-related initiatives, you have an inside look at how the department is developing and, in certain situations, revamping its approach to managing the mortgage crisis. Is the Treasury open to suggestions from the industry, or do officials appear set in their ways? [b]Rollins:[/b] No, I believe the input that the assembled committee provided was well received and will be reflected in their final r

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