In 1981, Keith Murray, a licensed appraiser, established PCV Murcor, Inc. — a valuations company headquartered in Southern California providing residential and commercial valuation services nationwide. In 2006, Murray recognized that mitigating the housing market challenges started with valuing markets correctly and developing the best disposition strategy to mitigate losses, so he launched Vendor Resource Management, Inc. (VRM) — an REO disposition company.
Murray effectively used his 30-year valuations experience to develop REO disposition strategies that lead to VRM becoming one of the largest companies within this space, handling in excess of 10,000 REOs per month. Since its inception, VRM has managed and sold more than 600,000 corporate residential foreclosed assets.
In 2008, VRM began to expand its service offering to include more than REO disposition services. Murray established a leadership team of seasoned industry professionals who have become solution providers, by developing service offerings that respond to client-specific needs, versus convincing customers to adapt to pre-established processes. Murray identified that this approach was so effective that he began to build a full servicing solution.
He supported the establishment of VRMU, a real estate professionals training platform, in 2008, built a loan servicing solution in 2011, started High Tide Settlement Services in 2011, a property
preservation solution in 2015, launched VRM origination services in 2015 and established the Mortgage Collective — a thought leadership and networking platform — in 2013.
To reflect the evolution of VRM’s service offerings, the company was rebranded VRM Mortgage Services in 2012.
VRM REAL ESTATE ALLIANCE
Today, the combined capabilities of the VRM family of companies provide a full servicing solution for clients. Murray recently launched VRM Real Estate Alliance, to make it easy for clients to find everything they need in one place.
Cheryl Travis-Johnson, VRM’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said, “This platform will allow us to cost-effectively leverage the core competencies of the alliance partners to deliver the best possible solution to any industry pain point.”
Instead of out-of-the-box solutions that might provide too much or too little for clients, VRM focuses on tailoring its processes and systems to support the needs of particular end-users. The company uses its own proprietary technology for its front-end valuations as well as sales and marketing.
“We built our own systems and we have a very dynamic IT team to support each system. The beauty in that is the knowledge is ours — the team that built it is the one maintaining it, so we can make changes or fixes very quickly and clients don’t have to pay to get it done, our system is part of what you get when you choose us,” Travis-Johnson said.
The VRM Real Estate Alliance not only includes Murray’s family of companies, but also highlights companies he partners with to deliver services or philanthropic events. Murray is committed to providing services that promote neighborhood stabilization and celebrate communities and veterans.
Murray launched a nonprofit, PCV/ VRM Seeds of Hope, in 2008 and is one of the sponsors of the Council for Inclusion in Financial Services (CIFS), an organization committed to financial literacy and educating financial professionals on the economic benefits of diversity and inclusion. The CIFS third annual Financial Services Expo will be held June 3-5 at the Irving Convention Center in Irving, Texas.
Along with several donations to veterans through Seeds of Hope, Murray’s companies have invested a staggering $90 million in veteran-owned businesses since 2012.
In April, Murray launched Vendor Resource Management Investor Insurance, in partnership with OSC. This product is an insurance policy for investors of residential assets and is a complete online product offering and delivery.
Almost 50% of the assets that VRM oversees are bought by investors, and the company realized that many small real estate investors are unaware of the kind of insurance coverage they need for property that’s not their primary residence. With a number of natural disasters in diverse geographies in the last few years, proper insurance is more important than ever.
“These investors are not necessarily real estate professionals, and they might be using standard homeowner’s policies, or renter policies that don’t have proper coverage,” Travis-Johnson said. “There is an inherent risk when someone else uses the property, and the owners need to treat it like an investment.”
VRM launched another initiative in April — the VRM Community First Program, which is designed to assist investors purchasing assets through Conveyance Without Conveyance of Title (CWCOT) programs or purchasing loans from the GSEs or other financial institutions. Through this program, an investor can get property-related analytics, title curative specifications, and the best marketing/retention strategy on assets pre- and post-purchase.
“I believe communities are served best when investors have a method to quickly address title curative issues so properties can be quickly occupied by either a tenant or owner,” Murray said. “Simply put, properties sitting unoccupied cause blight.”
In fact, a recent Urban Institute report outlined the price paid by communities in the conveyance process, noting that “the longer a property sits vacant and unoccupied, the more likely it is to be damaged, vandalized, or affected by bad weather, thus requiring new repairs…Drawn out timelines also harm the neighborhoods where these properties linger unoccupied for years, resulting in neighborhood blight and neglect.”
Instead of a long, drawn-out process, investors using the VRM Community First program can have the title cured, preservation efforts started and the final disposition strategy implemented immediately upon purchase.
Ultimately, he will enhance the program to include a consumer-facing solution that could even help reduce the number of foreclosures through an online valuation tool that gives homeowners data analytics about their home, loan programs and a lower cost method to sell their home pre-foreclosure. This consumer-facing tool would also help sellers identify relocation options.
For Murray, the diverse companies he has founded or partnered with all reflect the values that have characterized his vision from the beginning.
“We want to continue what we started over 35 years ago, delivering solutions that help our clients mitigate losses while aligning our service delivery with community preservation efforts.”