FirstBank contracts RES.NET to streamline operations, automate REO process
Shortly after FirstBank selected RES.NET to assist it with the disposition of its other real estate owned (OREO) properties, Hurricane Maria presented new challenges.
“Following Hurricane Maria, it became urgently important to streamline the bank’s OREO process and workflow, while simultaneously enhancing the visibility of the bank’s available assets to a broader audience of potential buyers and investors,” FirstBank Vice President Bianca Torres Román said. “Within just one month of launching the new Buyer’s Marketplace, the unique number of visitors seeking information on our available properties more than tripled. Today, we are now reaching prospective buyers not just in Puerto Rico and the immediate region, but across the United States as well.”
The buyer’s site includes such assets as land, commercial, residential, multi-family, retail, apartment units and apartment complexes. The site enables searching for properties by territory, municipality, ZIP code and price range.
Features include photos of properties, information on amenities such as pools, views or topography, and the ability for buyers or investors to contact the bank directly. The available properties can be viewed here.
“Prior to partnering with RES.NET on the development of the Buyer’s Marketplace, we were limited in terms of the information and features we could highlight, as well as our ability to showcase a property,” Torres continued. “The traditional methods of marketing property in Puerto Rico are primarily through social media outlets, agent to agent exchanges and select online resources. Those methods have limited functionality, restricting the ability to upload photos, and in some cases, simply highlight a property’s specific location.”
In addition to the Buyer’s Marketplace, the bank has implemented RES.NET’s REO, Agent, Vendor, and Property Preservation portals to automatically track and manage its portfolio. With it, bank employees can manage the “process from the time a foreclosure has been conducted through the sale and closing to a new buyer. What was previously managed through a manual process has been improved through the automation of workflows, work cues, offer management tools and agent interaction, and notification features,” the release reads.
Keith Guenther, CEO and founder of RES.NET, said the “development and implementation” occur in less than six months, and that the “customized marketplace” will “assist the bank in connecting with potential buyers within Puerto Rico, as well as outside of the territory. This visibility of its available assets to a broader audience is an important step in the rebuilding efforts. Any effort that reduces the probability these properties remain vacant ensures the future stability of the region.”