5 Star Commentary

This past week I had the opportunity to attend the 5 Star Default Servicing Conference.  The 5 Star Conference, to me, is about education.  How can we do our business if we do not have the necessary cutting edge information to support and service the default community?  Many banks and outsourcers recognize the agents that come to 5 Star in order to learn and keep current.  The information at 5 Star was excellent.  Steve Forbes' keynote address hit home with me.  It was an opportunity to catch a glimpse of this amazing visionary's economic forecast and viewpoint.   His message was one for allowing markets to correct on their own without large scale intervention.  Interventions he said would lead to an extended and slower recovery.  From my conversation with other agents and attendees, shadow inventory is growing.  There are many vacant homes around the Country just sitting out there deteriorating.  This is a shame and a waste.  In my local market, we have a dire inventory shortfall.  Yet, 8% of all mortgages in my County are 90+ days delinquent, ~3% of those mortgages are in foreclosure and less than 1% of that is becoming bank inventory.  Last year at this time, Prince William County Virginia saw the same delinquency rates; however, REO rate was 3% versus .8%.  Where is this inventory going?  First time home buyers are anxious to enjoy an $8000 tax credit.  Unfortunately, due to low inventories they may be forced out of the current market.  I heard from several sources that the banks are waiting until the first quarter of 2010 to start marketing building inventories.  This large build up could once again set the market into a downward spiral.  Perhaps the banks recognize this and will release their building inventory slowly; however, non-performing assets will still need to be addressed.  I also heard from several sources that the banks are looking for the government to change a line item on the mark to market accounting guidelines.  This will help them better manage their required reserves, and provide them the ability to deal with more non-performing assets.  The panels at 5 Star were also an excellent opportunity to learn from the best.  Our industry and our markets are constantly changing.  Keeping current is the way to keep one step ahead and an opportunity to meet our clients and gain a better understanding of our client's perspectives and needs.  Ultimately, it is all about them and what we can do to better serve them.   

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