Courtney Thompson, J.D., is SVP of Default Mortgage Servicing, Flagstar Bank. She has 16 years’ experience as a lawyer and has been with Flagstar for seven years. Thompson says the most enriching part of her job is where law meets people, process, and technology. “Ultimately, we are responsible for consumers at risk of losing their homes,” Thompson says. “Every delinquent customer has a story, and most just want help from someone who has not just the knowledge and commitment to make the process work, but who has empathy for their plight.” As a young lawyer, Thompson learned quickly that in order to “ensure that you are always on equal (or better) footing in any room is to ensure that you are always the most prepared, and that you show up.” Today, Thompson is proud of her team at Flagstar, especially for how it came together to support customers during COVID-19. “In a year where the world has been upside down, we’ve been asked to show up for the people, processes and technology in a way we haven’t seen in over a decade since the last recession,” Thompson says. Next year, Thompson says mortgage professionals must ensure they are “keeping up with the rapidly changed regulatory requirements promulgated to and through the COVID-19 pandemic.” Thompson adds that mortgage professionals will also have to take on the implementation of the CFPB’s regulation associated with the FDCPA and manage through the pipeline of CARES Act forbearance customers “to ensure that are able to avail themselves of the multitude of options available in a post-COVID world.”
Ann Thorn has more than 30 years’ experience in the areas of originations, servicing, and default and is regarded as one of the top operations executives in the mortgage industry. At Caliber, Thorn is responsible for all Production and Servicing Operations in Caliber’s Retail, Wholesale, and Correspondent channels. She is responsible for the end-to-end customer experience and is an executive stakeholder for the company’s transformation strategy, enhancing operations processes for the evolving digital landscape. Thorn began her career at Fleet Mortgage Corporation, which was later acquired by Washington Mutual and eventually by JPMorgan Chase. During the 21 years she spent there, she worked in the areas of foreclosure, bankruptcy, loss mitigation, claims, and other supplemental areas for prime, sub-prime, and home equity portfolios. More recently, worked with Bank of America as SVP of Consumer Operations starting in 2015. Thorn joined Caliber in 2019, working under CEO Sanjiv Das. “I commend her for being such a leading light who truly inspires people across the company to do the right thing,” Das said in a report from DS News. Thorn has received a number of awards throughout her career, including the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Five Star Conference. “To my mentors and colleagues and my friend and my family thank you for all of your support. Obviously, this would not happen without all of you each and every day,” Thorn said upon accepting the award.
Jennifer Warren’s passion for the legal industry started at the young age of three, when she would watch legal dramas like Matlock, LA Law, and Law & Order with her father. Warren became employed with a law firm when she was just 20 years old, and for the next 20-plus years, she worked to advance herself and her knowledge base within the field, culminating in her ultimate goal of owning her own business and utilizing the expansive knowledge and skills that she had developed to provide services and assistance others. “Owning the company allows us the discretion to be selective with our partners and ensure that our respective values and goals are in line,” Warren said. As the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to bring uncertainty to our industry, there will be a potential default spike coming in the near future. “We have all learned from past experience that default spikes always lead to even greater regulatory scrutiny.” Warren says that having an effective, updated, and proactive Quality Control and Compliance process in place will be essential in 2021. “It is essential that mortgage professionals eliminate any potential risk and situate themselves in the best position for uninterrupted growth.” Warren said that her company works with their clients to evaluate and streamline their processes, policies, procedures, and case management systems to help them achieve high-performance and revenue-saving practices. Warren Greene is passionate about being able to assist their clients with their needs and provide them with an additional perspective.
Marissa Yaker, since the age of eight, had dreamed of being an attorney. She said she loves everything about the practice of law. Yaker said,“You truly learn something new every day. My passion for it has been the same since I was a kid, and I think I still bring that excitement to my work every day.” The best part of her job, she said, is providing legal training to her firms’ clients and being on the forefront of legal issues that impact the legal industry. “Working with our clients to resolve complex legal issues is rewarding because it’s intellectually challenging and keeps me stimulated both as an attorney and a professional focused on exemplary client service,” she said. Yaker added that she is proud to be a part of an industry that is evolving daily, with leadership increasingly female. “As a female, our voices are just as loud as our male counterparts, and more people are hearing us now,” Yaker said. “At [Padgett Law Group], much of our leadership is female, and we strive to maintain the meritocracy that our firm has always been.” She added attorneys and legal professionals can help lenders and servicers by further consolidating both complex and routine work with firms that have proven expertise in multiple jurisdictions. She said Padgett Law Group offers national bankruptcy services, coupled with comprehensive default practices in its multistate footprint. “It’s this kind of expertise across relevant practices and a broad geographic footprint that is, as I see it, the path to a better partnership between mortgage servicers and law firms,” she said.
Kristin Zilberstein has over two decades’ experience as a legal practitioner, including 11 years working in the residential mortgage default space. Zilberstein’s main focus is on bankruptcy with a particular interest in litigated matters and Chapter 11 bankruptcies. She is licensed in multiple jurisdictions, and in her practice, she manages multiple national portfolios and special projects across several mortgage servicing shops. “We are in extraordinary and unique times,” Zilberstein said. “Everything is on hold and will remain so until the moratoriums are lifted. Once they are lifted, there will be a landslide of foreclosures and bankruptcies.” One of the highlights of Zilberstein’s impressive career is that she has held a leadership role with the ALFN’s Bankruptcy Group for almost five years. She also recently served as a Candidate for the Board of Directors for the national trade association. Zilberstein was featured in the 2016 women’s issue of the ALFN ANGLE and is a highly sought-after bankruptcy speaker, author, and educator across industry conferences, publications, and client-training events. One experience that helped Zilberstein learn to speak up for herself and conquer challenges as a woman working in the legal industry occurred while she was in law school, selling cell phones at a local mall. “From those hostile encounters face-to-face in the mall, I learned to have a voice for myself,” Zilberstein said. “During those encounters and many others while practicing law, I have had to stop the person with whom I am speaking and ask them to address me professionally and with respect as I have earned it.”