Stewart Offers REO Services for Community Banks

August 4, 2011

Stewart Lender Services (SLS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Stewart Title Company, has developed a boutique asset management and disposition solution for community banks. The focus is maximizing the value of each bank’s assets in the shortest amount of time.

By using a proactive approach, starting as early in the process as possible (pre-foreclosure); preserving the property up-front; maintaining the condition; and accurately valuing the asset from the onset, Stewart reduces a bank-owned property’s days in REO to save its clients’ time and money. Stewart’s unique approach combines a disciplined metric-management methodology with the ability to customize the process and strategy for each individual asset.

“Community banks have very valid concerns about the disposition of bank-owned properties given current market conditions,” said Michael Harris, senior vice president of Stewart Lender Services. “Stewart’s solution provides customers with assurance that all their assets are handled in the same high-quality manner. Additionally, we ensure that all vendor partners are up to date and in compliance with local laws and regulations regarding vacant properties.”

“Stewart bucks the trend of most asset management companies that resist ordering title until a contract has been accepted,” said Landon Smith, senior vice president of Stewart Lender Services REO title division. “Stewart orders title upfront and begins working on issues that could delay the closing. This greatly reduces the overall number of days an asset is on the market and on the bank’s balance sheet.”

In addition, building relationships through one-on-one communication to fully understand each community bank’s individual requirements helps Stewart to tailor its processes to meet the specific needs of each customer. “Community banks have a great deal of apprehension over value reconciliation,” said Harris. “Determining the value of an REO property is critical. Most clients still rely on the appraisal ‘cost’ approach vs. the direct sales comparison, i.e. ‘market’ approach of a Broker Price Opinion (BPO). We value a property accurately from the onset to save time and money for our client.”

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