Equator, formerly known as REOTrans, has seen 200,000 short sales initiated on its automated platform in seven months, said Chris Saitta, CEO of Equator. Lenders can elect to enable the agent-initiated feature within Equator’s network platform, a move that the firms says will help lower call volumes and involve the correct decision makers quicker for more timely responses to short sale inquiries. Equator launched the platform in November 2009. Saitta said there has been an additional 15,000 short sales initiated on its platform through the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program launched April 5 by the Treasury Department to provide incentives to mortgage servicers to conduct short sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure. Los Angeles-based Equator is currently working on platforms for the recently announced Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac HAFA programs, which for Fannie takes effect Aug. 1. Saitta said the HAFA program and automated programs such as the Equator platform have reduced the average timeline for a short sale from 10 months down to two. He added that because of this streamlining, short sales are going to meet the recent hype. "It is a fantastic strategy for everyone included. The borrower receives a graceful exit, and the lender saves money," Saitta said. Equator currently hosts a network of 700,000 real estate agents, 20,000 vendors and 16,000 asset managers. Saitta said this industry inclusion has led to the shorter time frame, but getting lenders to change how they conducted a short sale was not easy. "They accepted the need to change," Saitta said. "Even they would ask, 'You want me to change what I'm doing at the busiest point in my life?' They recognized the demand and the need to cut the timeline down." Write to Jon Prior.