Interview with Steve Hicklin.
Who is Steve Hicklin, what do you do and for what company?
I have been an attorney in California for 34 years, and I am also admitted in Texas and Washington state. In 2018, I created my own law firm, The Hicklin Firm, with offices in Tustin, California. I specialize in default loan servicing and foreclosure compliance and litigation, which I have done almost exclusively since 2006.
What sets you apart from the competition at The Hicklin Firm?
There are a lot of great lawyers in our industry, but my experience and dedication set me apart from many of the firms in this space. I am the former Chief Compliance Officer for ReconTrust Company, Countrywide Financial and then Bank of America’s foreclosure trustee during the chaotic days of the last economic downturn, and I am the former General Counsel for Northwest Trustee Services. There isn’t very much in this business I haven’t seen since 1988, when I started practice. When you hire my firm, you get me – not a newer attorney no matter how talented – and my wealth of experience.
What is the value of UTA for you?
The UTA is the best source of intel on what is happening in the default industry. If there is legislation pending or a case working its way through the courts that will impact our business, the UTA will know about it. I have tremendous respect for the people affiliated with the UTA and their expertise. I enjoy networking and sharing ideas about how to improve our processes.
What motivates you both in our industry and as a UTA board member?
What we do has a huge impact on people’s lives and we need to approach our jobs with solemnity. Being a part of the UTA and on its Board of Directors allows me to impact the legislation and the cases that shape our industry. We all – borrowers, lenders, servicers and counsel – benefit when the rules are clear, make sense in the real world, and are complied with. The UTA helps make that happen.
If you could change or revise one thing about the default industry, what would it be?
I would love it if legislatures would work more with the industry to craft the laws we have to live with. What we do is complex and a mystery to many of the people who write the rules around what we do. Engaging more with the subject matter experts at the UTA and our lobbyists would make legislation work better for all concerned.
What is your vision for our industry over the next 12 months?
I think we will see a small wave of foreclosures as loans come off pandemic holds. It will not be like 2008-2013, but volumes will increase significantly. I do not expect a lot of new laws to be enacted, but we will have to work with state legislatures to revise some of the laws already on the books so that they make more sense in the real world, e.g. California’s after-sale bidding process.