FirstBank Puerto Rico Streamlines Operations, Automates The REO Process

RES.NET, a technology platform allowing mortgage bankers, investors, vendors, consumers and other parties to communicate around a real estate transaction, has successfully developed and deployed a Buyer’s Marketplace for FirstBank Puerto Rico. The new marketplace showcases the bank’s diverse portfolio of available assets and engages a much broader audience of potential buyers and investors than traditional tools available in the market. It was created in Spanish to accommodate the widest range of buyers.

Shortly after FirstBank Puerto Rico selected RES.NET as the operating platform to assist with the disposition of its OREO (other real estate owned) properties, the devastation from Hurricane Maria presented a new set of unforeseeable challenges for the bank and the island as a whole. The bank and RES.NET issued a call to action, expediting the development and deployment timeline, quickly launching the marketplace in its native language to contribute to the rebuilding efforts of the community.

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“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,” said Bianca Torres Román, VP, FirstBank Puerto Rico. “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 custom buyer’s site features a diverse range of assets available including land, commercial, residential, multi-family, retail, apartment units and apartment complexes. The site translation into Spanish enables prospective buyers and investors to easily navigate and independently search properties by territory, municipality, ZIP code and price range. Features include multiple photos of properties including photos of the interior, highlighted features providing information on specific desirable amenities from pools, to views or topography, and the ability for buyers or investors to contact the bank directly and/or make an offer. Prospects can view the available properties, or by navigating through FirstBank’s site.

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“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 whole portfolio. Bank employees can now manage the entire 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.

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Torres added, “With RES.NET, the complete portfolio can be viewed via the dashboard, providing real-time data and a more holistic view of our assets. Having access to this data is invaluable and helps ensure we are positioned for success in the future. Launching the Buyer’s Marketplace in combination with deploying our operating platforms is a pivotal moment for the bank’s OREO success.”

“I am very pleased with the work we’ve accomplished together with the team at FirstBank Puerto Rico,” said Keith Guenther, CEO and founder of RES.NET, a wholly owned subsidiary of USRES. “It is the combined dedication of both our teams that allowed this large-scale development and implementation to occur in less than six months. We worked closely with the bank’s staff to scope and develop this customized marketplace to 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.”