This past Wednesday I attended an event put on by JP Morgan Chase at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in Midtown Manhattan. There were over 300 employees from Chase present, along with what seemed like at least 1000 brokers and agents. Chase’s national REO manager, former NFL football player Brian Stablein was a speaker, as was Jed Smith, a managing director at NAR. The evening was educational in nature, centering on the market outlook as well as Chase’s initiative to expand their REO agent base for the sale of their assets. I have never seen a lender be so forthcoming about how to become an REO agent for them, ever.
After the presentations, the floor was opened for a question and answer session, with a lively exchange between licensees in the audience and the panelists on the stage, all managers with JP Morgan Chase. It was quite unrehearsed. The agents really let the Chase people know just what they thought of the practice of their use of “out of town” BPO agents and appraisers, as well as the damage that was often caused by their use, and didn’t let the VP off the hook when her answer didn’t tackle the issue to their satisfaction. Candid, hard-hitting stuff. I had to give Chase credit for the apolitical, spin-free format.
Toward the end, the audience was told that we had two more questions before some complimentary food and drink. One of those final questions got up and said that she didn’t know what an REO even was, and that the presenters should have explained it at the start.
At an REO event.
I had to ask the people next to me if that really happened, and I didn’t doze off and dream it. No, we were all quite awake.
Now, I hate to pile on a well-meaning agent who is confused, and frankly I’d attend a baseket weaving exposition at the Waldorf Astoria just to drink the water, so the agent had every right to be there. And I don’t even fault her for not knowing what an REO is I suppose, because you don’t know what you know until you know it. But criticizing the panel for it seemed like one of those “only in New York” moments that only happen in the Big Apple. Sometimes a little humility is in order, you know?
Just in case you are wondering, “REO” stands for “real estate owned” by a lender after they foreclose on it. If you ever get a chance to do anything at the Waldorf-Astoria, by all means do so. There is no place like it in the world.
By the way, moments after I took this picture, I ran into Barb Altieri!