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Member Profile – Michelle Mierzwa

This profile spotlights Michelle Mierzwa. Michelle is serving her third three-year term on the Board of Directors of the United Trustees Association. As Chair of the UTA Legislative Committee, Michelle has drafted legislation that became law in numerous instances. She has participated on speaking panels every year for UTA, continuously updating members on both compliance and legislation.

 

Michelle Mierzwa

What do you do, and for what company?

I am a Partner with Wright Finlay & Zak where I lead the Compliance Division. My practice focuses on loan origination, servicing, default, and foreclosure and I assist lenders, servicers, foreclosure trustees, and others in the industry with state and federal legal compliance in operating their businesses. 

What sets you apart from the competition?

I, and the firm in general, have a deep understanding of the state and federal statutes and case law governing the real estate lending industry.  We are also very involved in the legislative activity that shapes and creates new laws in our Western States. This historic and current knowledge and experience is crucial to our ability to serve our clients and assist them with ensuring compliance and avoiding and defending litigation.

What is the value of UTA for you?

UTA provides legislative monitoring and direct access to the legislative process through its state lobbyists. This allows members cutting-edge access to new laws and in many cases opportunities to impact and revise these laws before they are enacted. UTA also provides amicus briefing on cases with potential impact on our industry and provides opportunities for our attorneys to share their knowledge with members through educational programs, webinars, and the annual conference. Of course, the networking opportunities are also of great value. 

 What motivates you both in our industry and as a UTA board member?

I am motivated to help our members stay informed and compliant with the latest laws so they can avoid regulatory liability and litigation. As Legislative Chair, I work with our lobbyists and committee members to monitor, revise and pass legislation that will benefit, or hopefully minimize impact to, our membership. 

 If you could change or revise one thing about the default industry, what would it be?

I think changes to the compensation structure of investors for foreclosure trustees and hourly rates for default litigation counsel are long overdue. I believe the current structure provides a disincentive for quality firms and trustees to continue providing their valuable services. 

 What is your vision for our industry over the next 12 months?

It is my hope that the mortgage servicing and default industry will be able to efficiently move through the applicable loss mitigation processes to transition homeowners to any available mortgage relief or non-retention alternatives that suit their current financial circumstances.  If necessary, any foreclosures based on pre-COVID defaults and new foreclosures that are required based on inability to reinstate will be allowed to continue. In particular, it is my hope that our colleagues and clients are not the subjects of non-meritorious litigation designed to prolong legitimate foreclosures. During the next year, servicers, trustees, and other default providers will need to be vigilant in ensuring compliance with newly-enacted state and federal statutes as we work through this difficult post-COVID period.  

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